Where are you going to stay in Vancouver?
Vancouver is one of the premier destinations for travel today and it’s no wonder! From the beautiful snow-capped mountains to the crystal-clear Pacific Ocean, Vancouver truly is a bucket-list destination for many. When considering where to stay in Vancouver, you need to know what makes each area unique. What are the highlights of each area that make it worth staying in? Where are the great hotels and places to stay? Lastly, you need to know who each area is best suited for!
As a native Vancouverite, I’ve spent time in each Vancouver neighbourhood and know them well. Rely on me as your local guide! I’ll give you all the information you need to make the best decision when thinking about where to stay in Vancouver!
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The West End
What makes the West End unique?
The west end is the heart of downtown Vancouver. Very densely populated, it is primarily a residential neighbourhood, with calmed streets, mini-parks and beautiful heritage buildings. The West End is bordered by Stanley Park and English Bay and is the home of the famous Robson Street. Robson Street is a very fashionable shopping and dining area home to many high-end boutiques.
Best Suited For?
If you want to stay in Vancouver without a car, the West End your best choice. It is best suited for those who want an easy, walkable neighbourhood to explore that includes Stanley Park. If shopping is on your agenda, you’ll really enjoy the West End. If you crave a view of the ocean, English Bay will delight you and you’ll love staying in the West End. The West End is also a great place to stay in Vancouver with kids.
If you’re only staying in Vancouver for 4 days or so, the West End is a great choice as it’s close to many of the things you’ll want to see during your stay.
Highlights of the West End
- Stanley Park
- Robson Street
- Davie Village, Vancouver’s LGBTQ friendly area
- English Bay and Sunset Beach
- Excellent and diverse restaurants
Hotels in the West End
Budget: Buchan Hotel: No frills hotel with basic rooms and free wifi
Moderate: Sylvia Hotel: iconic Vancouver hotel with great views of English Bay, right in the middle of the West End
Stylish: The Listel Hotel: upscale, contemporary art-filled hotel close to everything.
Where to Stay in Vancouver – Coal Harbour
What makes Coal Harbour unique
Coal Harbour is a neighbourhood in Vancouver. It features marinas, beautiful mountain views and a mix of casual and upscale surroundings. It is the very heart of downtown Vancouver. You’ll see seaplanes take off against the backdrop of snow-capped mountains and the elegant Lions Gate Bridge.
Best Suited For?
Coal Harbour is an excellent location for folks in town before or after a cruise vacation. The cruise ship terminal is steps away and an easy distance to Coal Harbour. If you’re craving mountain and ocean views, Coal Harbour is the neighbourhood for you! Business travelers often prefer staying in Coal Harbour for its proximity to the the financial district. Coal Harbour is a great destination for travelers interested in doing non-touristy things in Vancouver!
Highlights of Coal Harbour
- Glassy skyscrapers
- Cruise Ship Terminal and Canada Place Trade & Convention Centre
- beautiful Vancouver mountain and ocean views
Hotels in Coal Harbour
Budget: None in this neighbourhood
Moderate: Pinnacle Hotel Harbourfront, modern hotel with a bistro and pool
Stylish: Fairmont Pacific Rim, posh hotel with rooftop pool and great bars, right across from the convention centre.
What makes Yaletown unique?
Formerly an industrial area, Yaletown has transformed into one of the most popular neighbourhoods and a great place to stay in Vancouver! Yaletown began its change into a residential area following Expo 86. The many remaining factories, rail buildings and warehouses have been re-purposed for residential living as well as business use. Yaletown has been recognized as one of the most significant urban regeneration projects in North America!
Best Suited for?
With the great pubs and bars in Yaletown, this area is well-suited for “hipsters” and young people looking to party and mingle! With a nearby Skytrain station, transportation around the greater Vancouver area is easy. Yaletown is the home of many parks and green spaces as well as excellent public art installations for those who appreciate the great outdoors. Sports enthusiasts and concert-goers will enjoy the easy access to BC Place Stadium and Rogers Arena.
I’ve written more about great places to eat in Vancouver for Ticker Eats the World – check it out!
Highlights of Yaletown
- Great restaurants and hip nightspots
- lots of green areas and public parks
- A great seawall for walking, running, roller-blading and cycling
- BC Place Stadium and Rogers Arena
Hotels in Yaletown
Budget: none in area
Moderate: Rosedale on Robson Suite Hotel, with pool and sauna
Stylish: Opus Hotel, a great high-end hotel
Honourable mention: JW Marriott Parq Vancouver, the newest high-end Vancouver hotel, complete with on-site casino and spa
Where to stay in Vancouver – Gastown
What makes Gastown unique?
Gastown is Vancouver’s original settlement and the very core of Vancouver. It was named after “Gassy” Jack Deighton, an English seaman who opened the first saloon in the area.
Gastown has a distinctive and historic architecture, including Vancouver’s own Flatiron building! Beautiful cobbled streets are evident throughout the area. Today, Gastown is a mix of hip fashion and furnishing stores, trendy bars and restaurants, nightclubs and art galleries. Gastown borders on the edge of the infamous Downtown Eastside, where Vancouver’s homeless and drug-addicted often congregate.
Best Suited For?
Visitors to Vancouver who would enjoy staying in Gastown include history afficionados and art lovers. Socially-conscious visitors would appreciate the economic diversity of this area. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly place to stay in Vancouver, Gastown is ideal.
Highlights of Gastown
- The statue of Gassy Jack, where every Vancouver visitor take a photo!
- The Steam Clock
- Great bars, restaurants and nightclubs
- Vancouver International Jazz Festival
- Gastown Grand Prix!
Hotels In Gastown
Budget: The Cambie Hostel: simple dorm and private rooms and bar, free Wifi
Moderate: Skwachays Lodge, an aboriginal-inspired hotel
Stylish: Delta Hotels by Marriott Vancouver Downtown, all suite hotel with dining and event space
What makes Granville unique?
Part financial district, part entertainment, the Granville neighbourhood of Vancouver is a diverse area! At the north end you’ll find the financial district with many banks, brokerage houses and gleaming towers. At the sound end lies the chief entertainment district of Vancouver. The sound end of Granville Street is closed to car traffic (buses only). On weekends, you’ll see thousands of pedestrians looking for fun!
Summer nights are when Granville really shines as one the best people-watching locations you’ll find anywhere. Street entertainers, buskers, fanatics and all manner of public oration will be on display on Granville Street.
Best Suited For?
If you’re in Vancouver for business, the north end of Granville Street will be your mecca. If you’re in Vancouver for fun, you’ll enjoy staying in the Granville area and you’ll find no shortage of diverting entertainment. The major theatres in Vancouver are in this area. They include the Orpheum Theatre (home of the prestigious Vancouver Symphony Orchestra) the Centre for Performing Arts, the Commodore Ballroom and the Vogue Theatre. If you’re in town with friends and looking for fun, Granville is the area for you!
Highlights of Granville
- The pedestrian mall on south Granville Street
- The Orpheum and Vogue Theatre
- Street performers and entertainers
- Many bars and nightclubs
Hotels in Granville
Budget: HI Vancouver Central: unassuming hostel with both shared and private rooms. Free breakfast and Wifi
Moderate: Best Western Plus Chateau Granville: good downtown hotel with bar and restaurant
Where to stay in Vancouver – South Vancouver/Richmond
What makes South Vancouver/Richmond unique?
South Vancouver is outside of the downtown Vancouver core and is mostly a residential area. Bordering on the Fraser River, south Vancouver is home to Vancouver’s Punjabi Market. There are also many distinctive ethnic neighbourhoods including many Vietnamese, Chinese and Korean residents. Immediately south of Vancouver across the Fraser River is Richmond. It is home of Vancouver International Airport and a thriving Asian business area.
Best Suited For?
If you’re in Vancouver to visit family, shop or need to be near the airport, south Vancouver/Richmond is the ideal location for you. Hotels are much less expensive than downtown and you’ll find excellent shopping in this area. Oakridge Centre offers an upscale boutique shopping experience as does McArthur Glen Designer Outlet Mall near the airport.
Visitors who enjoy Asian cuisine will appreciate the thriving restaurant scene in Richmond. It features some the best Asian food in North America (according to the New York Times!).
Highlights of South Vancouver/Richmond
- Oakridge Shopping Centre and McArthur Glen Designer Outlet Mall
- Many excellent Asian restaurants
- Punjabi Market
- Proximity to airport
Hotels in South Vancouver/Richmond
Budget: Coast Vancouver Airport Hotel: unassuming hotel hear the airport with gym and restaurant
Moderate: Holiday Inn Express Vancouver Airport: contemporary hotel with airport shuttle
Stylish: River Rock Casino Resort: large hotel with casino, spa and all the amenities
What makes Burnaby unique?
Burnaby is a suburb of Vancouver directly east of Vancouver. It is the third-largest city in British Columbia, and is often over-looked by visitors when considering where to stay in Vancouver. Burnaby has excellent transport links all around the Vancouver area thanks to the Skytrain system that runs through Burnaby. It is easy to get to downtown Vancouver from Burnaby on the Skytrain. Burnaby is a reasonable choice for visitors looking to find somewhere to stay outside the hustle and bustle of the city.
If you’re interested in going on the great sea to sky highway roadtrip, staying in Burnaby is an excellent choice. You can access Highway 1 westbound easily from many areas in Burnaby.
Best suited for?
Burnaby is an ideal location for families visiting Vancouver given the lower price you can expect to pay for accomodations. Business travelers doing business outside of the downtown core will find Burnaby a good choice. If you’ve come to Vancouver in winter to ski, access to the local mountains is easy from Burnaby.
Highlights of Burnaby
- Metropolis at Metrotown, Brentwood Mall and Lougheed Mall
- Central Park
- Burnaby Lake and Deer Lake
- Simon Fraser University
Hotels in Burnaby
Budget: The New 401 Inn: casual hotel with gym and free Wifi
Moderate: Delta Hotels by Marriott Burnaby Conference Centre: sleek conference hotel
Stylish: Element Vancouver Metrotown: elegant rooms with free Wifi
If you don’t like staying in hotels, are traveling with a large group or staying for longer than average AirBnB may be the right choice for you. There are hundreds of AirBnB choices in Vancouver and the surrounding areas. Use my link to get up to $62 off your first AirBnB stay!
Another option that I’ve enjoyed is home exchanging. It’s an excellent choice for longer stays, to reduce your costs, and to enjoy a larger space than you would typically have in a hotel room. You can learn more about home exchanging here.
Wherever you stay in Vancouver, you’ll get to experience the beauty, diversity and wealth of experiences Vancouver has to offer. Enjoy your stay!
Have you visited Vancouver? What area did you stay in?