What to buy in Vancouver, Canada
Souvenir seekers in Vancouver, Canada will find plenty of opportunities for opening their wallet. Those who need something quick can find stores offering just about anything maple (maple mustard anyone?) or stamped with the Canucks’ (Vancouver’s hockey team) logo. The Vancouver shopping scene, however, is much richer and more varied than maple syrup and hockey pucks.
Handmade and Artisan Goods
Coastal Peoples Fine Art Gallery in Gastown is consistently written up as one of the best places to find handcrafted works of art. The gallery offers bits of everything (think books, jewelry boxes, sculptures and totem poles), all designed to reflect the history and culture of First Nations, one of the first tribes to inhabit Vancouver.
Granville Island Public Market on Granville Island is a good place for those looking for a greater variety of handmade goods (jewelry, accessories, soaps, lotions and more). The vendors at Public Market change weekly, so travelers never know when they’ll stumble on just the right souvenir.
Fashion lovers can easily spend an entire day exploring Robson Street in City Centre. Stores here range from unique clothing boutiques to high-end, brand name stores. Alberni Street, one block north of Robson Street, is Vancouver’s version of Rodeo Drive. It’s filled with luxury clothing and jewelry stores like Tiffany and Brooks Brothers.
Those who prefer multiple shops in a single, climate-controlled setting can choose from over 100 shops at Pacific Centre in (City Centre).
Mid-Main, the section of Main Street located near the Mt Pleasant district is the place for people looking to scope out the local design scene. Most of the stores here carry clothing and accessories designed by Vancouverites that are frequently manufactured in the city too.
Punjabi Market is for those looking for anything in the above categories but with an Indo-Canadian flair. Vancouver’s “Little India” in [Vancouver South] stretches along Main Street, from 48th to 51st Avenue. Shoppers can find costume jewelry stores mixed in amongst ones offering high-end jewelry. There’s also reasonably priced fashion stores that specialize in fabric, saris and other Indian clothing styles and an Indian grocery with plenty of Indian food staples and spices.
Robson Street in the City Centre is home to many touristy shops. Although not technically part of the street, the neighboring Alberni intersection is home to a variety of high-end shops such as Louis Vuitton and Hermes.
Pacific Centre has more than 150 shops, restaurants and services if you want to walk in an underground shopping centre. The shopping centre begins on the south end at Robson Street with the Nordstrom department store, and stretches all the way to Pender Street. There are many floors in the mall depending on where you are, and notable merchants include Holt Renfrew, Harry Rosen, Massimo Dutti, GAP, H&M and an Apple Store; the mall is connected to the Bay (at Georgia and Granville streets), and Vancouver Centre (a small mall mainly consisting of a lotto centre, London Drugs, and a food court underneath Scotia bank).
Gastown – the original town site of Vancouver and now the best place to find Vancouver kitsch
Gastown is the oldest neighborhood in Vancouver but is being reborn as a fashion and modern urban design district. Historic buildings house hip restaurants, galleries, and interior design and high-fashion shops.
Yaletown is also popular for its non-mainstream fashion boutiques and high-end salons. A few Popular Yaletown Shopping Streets are: Mainland St., Hamilton St., and Pacific Blvd.
Granville Island is a interesting place to go if you fancy the arts. The area boasts a Public Market, The Granville Island brewery, an art school (Emily Carr University of Art + Design), shops, a world music instrument store, restaurants, theatres, galleries, a hotel, boat docks and more.
Kerrisdale is the area centered around 41st, between Maple St and Blenheim St, consisting of roughly a hundred or so boutique-like shops, restaurants, and stores (chain or otherwise) in an affluent neighborhood.
Commercial Drive, especially the stretch between 3rd Avenue and Venables St. in East Van, is great for people-watching, produce (Santa Barbara Market), cheese (La Grotta del Formaggio), sausage (JN&Z Deli), etc.
Main Street, south of Broadway stretching to around 30th Avenue, has a vibrant and expanding collection of independent restaurants, cafés, high-end niche clothing stores and small boutiques.
East Hastings between Renfrew and Clark offers some of the best hidden delights in the city. There are many eclectic produce stores (Donald’s Market). Sausage and salami producers here are some of the best in the city (Moccia’s Italian Market).
Chinatown around Main and Pender, and westwards down Pender from Main, is an old historic landmark with grocery and herbal medicine markets that mimic the ethnic flavors, sights and sounds of Eastern Asia. Other modern Chinatowns have sprung up around 41st Ave. and Victoria Drive, also in Richmond and Surrey.
Punjabi Market around Main, between 41st and 49th Ave. Good, cheap Punjabi food along with some Punjabi fashion; street signs are correspondingly in Punjabi.