Photo credit: photocafe / Flickr
Just south-east of the downtown peninsula, South Main refers to the stretch of Main between East 2nd and East 33rd Avenues but the neighbourhood, taking in the mainly residential streets on either side, is actually called Mount Pleasant . For a long time, this area was considered to be the “wrong side of the tracks” but with the hipsters moving in and opening galleries, breweries and boutiques, this is now Vancouver’s answer to New York’s Brooklyn.
Photo: JOWX / Flickr
Seeing and Doing
Being primarily a residential area, a lot of the appeal of South Main is in hanging out with the locals, strolling the neighbourhood with a coffee from a local roaster in hand. But there are a few spots worth checking out along the walk. A little north of the actual “South Main” border is the Main Street SkyTrain station, as Science World, a recommended stop for those with families. Two blocks east of Main at East 8th Avenue, you’ll find “Dude Chilling Park,” named by locals after the site’s modernist wooden sculpture of a figure in repose. During the summer it’s full of hipsters on picnic blankets as well as home to outdoor yoga and a Sunday farmer’s market. Continue up to East 15th Avenue for the grand Main Street Heritage Hall, which was at times both a post office and used by the RCMP. At East 33rd Avenue, head west a few blocks to get to Nat Bailey Stadium, an old-fashion 1950s ballpark which home to the minor league Vancouver Canadians baseball team. Right across the street is Queen Elizabeth Park, the city’s highest point, boasting spectacular public gardens.
Photo: Mount Pleasant BIA
Eating and Drinking
True to its roots, you’ll find a lot of great cheap eats along Main Street, as well as a few excellent high-end options. From Lebanese to Malaysian, South Indian to Peruvian, it’s on Main Street, and someone is doing it well. Some of the city’s best Chinese food is found here, especially high-end dim sum. A number of Vancouver’s renowned coffee roasters and cafes have outlets along and around Main Street, so be prepared for a case of the caffeine jitters. But for many people, what sets South Main apart from other neighbourhoods is the sheer number of craft breweries that have popped up over the past few years. If you start at East 2nd Avenue and walk up to East 8th Avenue, you’ll pass within two blocks of five different brewery tasting rooms.
Photo: Mount Pleasant BIA
Shopping and Souvenirs
South Main isn’t thought of as a traditional shopping district, but the independent nature of many of the stores means that you’re likely some unique souvenirs. Starting with those craft breweries, grab a growler (a refillable glass bottle, usually branded with artwork) and fill it up with a beer that you’ll never find at home. Or buy a bag of beans from one of Vancouver’s best coffee roasters for a different kind of brew. South Main is also an excellent place to look for vintage clothing and antiques, especially the street from East 16th Avenue heading south. You’ll find plenty of very cool clothing boutiques, but also little indie stores that are adorably eclectic: from a soap dispensary to a hemp bedding emporium, a jukebox store to a cowboy outfitter. Shopping on South Main is a lot of fun.
For more information visit the Mount Pleasant Commercial Improvement Society online.