What are the best things to do in Vancouver’s Gastown?

Answers from Our Experts (2)

Carolyn B. Heller

With its cobblestone streets and brick warehouse-style buildings, Gastown has a totally different vibe than adjacent Vancouver districts where shiny glass skyscrapers dominate the cityscape. Settled in the 1860s, Gastown is Vancouver’s oldest neighborhood, and one of the best ways to explore this area is simply to walk around.

These days, Gastown is home to many of the city’s high-tech and design businesses, as well as its most exciting restaurants and best cocktail bars. Plan to dine at contemporary eateries like L’Abbatoir or Boneta, and have a drink at the Pourhouse or out on the always-crowded patio at Chill Winston. Many independent boutiques have also set up shop in Gastown’s historic buildings, so schedule time to wander and browse.

Take break from your explorations with a donut at Cartem’s Donuterie (look for fun flavors like salted caramel or Canadian whiskey and bacon) or stop in for coffee at one of Gastown’s numerous java joints. Also check out the event schedule at SFU Woodwards, Simon Fraser University’s contemporary art and culture center, which hosts lectures, films, and avant garde theater productions.

Stéphane Mouttet
  • Stéphane Mouttet

  • Chef Concierge, Shangri-La Hotel Vancouver

  • Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Gastown is Vancouver's oldest neighbourhood. Designated a National Historic Site in 2009, the area features many historic Victorian homes and more than 180 shops, restaurants, bars, cafes and clubs.

Some restaurant recommendations: Alibi Room located at 157 Alexander Street (www.alibi.ca); The Diamiond located at 6 Powell Street (www.di6mond.com); Salt Tasting Room located at 45 Blood Alley (www.salttastingroom.com); and Cork & Fin located at 221 Carrall Street (www.corkandfin.ca).

One of my favourite stores is called Bruce Eyewear. They have a very nice selection of glasses from around the world (www.bruceeyewear.com).

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