A sea plane coming in for a landing in Coal Harbour

Where to stay in Vancouver (What Area is Best for YOU)

There are many great neighbourhoods to stay in when you visit Vancouver. Which one is your favourite?

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?  What is the best place to stay in Vancouver?  What is the best part of Vancouver to stay in?  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!

Disclosure:  Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

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A map of Downtown Vancouver

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.  I think the West End is the best location to stay in Vancouver.

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.

Lighthouse Point in Vancouver's Stanley Park

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

BudgetBuchan Hotel:  No frills hotel with basic rooms and free wifi. Check the current price. 

ModerateSylvia Hotel:  iconic Vancouver hotel with great views of English Bay, right in the middle of the West End.  Check the current price.  

Stylish The Listel Hotel: upscale, contemporary art-filled hotel close to everything. See the current price.

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.

A seaplane flying into Coal Harbour, a great place to stay in Vancouver

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 definitely where to stay in Vancouver downtown.  Coal Harbour is a great destination for travelers interested in doing non-touristy things in Vancouver!

Highlights of Coal Harbour

Canada Place Cruise Ship Terminal in Vancouver

Hotels in Coal Harbour

Budget:  None in this neighbourhood

ModeratePinnacle Hotel Harbourfront, modern hotel with a bistro and pool. Check the current price. 

Stylish: Fairmont Pacific Rim, posh hotel with rooftop pool and great bars, right across from the convention centre. Check the current price.

Yaletown

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!

Vancouver Public art in Coal Harbour - A-maze-ing Laughter, a sculpture by Yue Minjun

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

BC Place Stadium in Coal Harbour, a great place to stay in Vancouver

Hotels in Yaletown

Budget:  none in area

Moderate: Rosedale on Robson Suite Hotel, with pool and sauna.  Check the current price.

StylishOpus Hotel, a great high-end hotel. Check the current price.

Honourable mentionJW Marriott Parq Vancouver, the newest high-end Vancouver hotel, complete with on-site casino and spa. Check the current price.

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.

Vancouver's iconic steam clock in Gastown, a landmark when you're deciding where to stay in Vancouver

Best Suited For?

Visitors to Vancouver who would enjoy staying in Gastown include history aficionados 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

Hotels In Gastown

BudgetThe Cambie Hostel:  simple dorm and private rooms and bar, free Wifi. Check the current price.

ModerateSkwachays Lodge, an aboriginal-inspired hotel. Click for the current price.

StylishDelta Hotels by Marriott Vancouver Downtown, all suite hotel with dining and event space. Check the current price.

Where to Stay in Vancouver – Granville

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 summer weekends, you’ll find 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.

Granville Street pedestrian mall on rainy night

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

BudgetHI Vancouver Central:  unassuming hostel with both shared and private rooms.  Free breakfast and Wifi. Check the current price.

ModerateBest Western Plus Chateau Granville:  good downtown hotel with bar and restaurant. Click for the current price.

Stylish:  North Granville has some of Vancouver’s finest hotels including Rosewood Hotel Georgia and the Four Seasons, both luxurious and up-scale.  Check the current prices here and here

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.

A south Vancouver sunset on the Fraser River

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

BudgetCoast Vancouver Airport Hotel:  unassuming hotel hear the airport with gym and restaurant.  Check the current price.

Moderate: Holiday Inn Express Vancouver Airport: contemporary hotel with airport shuttle. Click for the current price.

StylishRiver Rock Casino Resort:  large hotel with casino, spa and all the amenities. Check the current price.

Burnaby

What makes Burnaby unique?

Burnaby is a suburb directly east of Vancouver.   You may ask how far is Burnaby from downtown Vancouver; it’s only 13 kilometres from downtown Vancouver.  It is the third-largest city in British Columbia, and is often over-looked by visitors when considering where to stay.  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.

Burnaby is home to many parks and recreational areas including Central Park, Burnaby Lake and Deer Lake.  Michael J. Fox and Michael Buble both hail from Burnaby!

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 accommodations.  Business travelers doing business outside of the downtown core will find Burnaby a good choice.  If you’ve come with your backpack on wheels 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

A beautiful tree dropping it's leaves in Central Park, Burnaby

Hotels in Burnaby

BudgetThe New 401 Inn:  casual hotel with gym and free Wifi.  Check the current price.

ModerateDelta Hotels by Marriott Burnaby Conference Centre: sleek conference hotel. Click to check the current price.

StylishElement Vancouver Metrotown:  elegant rooms with free Wifi. Check the current price.

Other Options

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!  If you’re visiting Vancouver, you must consider the beautiful road trip from Vancouver to Banff.  It’s one of the most spectacular drives in the world!  If a guided tour from Vancouver to Banff works better for you, I’ve got all the information you need here.

Have you visited Vancouver?  What area did you stay in?

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10 thoughts on “Where to stay in Vancouver (What Area is Best for YOU)

  1. What a helpful and in depth guide to all the neighborhoods! It can be so tricky to figure out what part of town to stay in when you visit a big city, I find posts like this super helpful 🙂

    1. Thanks so much for your comment, Monica 🙂 Figuring out where to to stay in Vancouver can be difficult, I know! I’m so glad you found the article helpful 🙂

  2. This is perfect as we are heading to Canada we hope next year for a big tour in an RV. Coal Harbour would be for us. You had me hooked at non touristy!

  3. Hi! Great post! Did you know that the Four Seasons is shutting down in 2020 because they don’t meet brand standards? Sad but not surprising since they haven’t renovated the hotel in too long.

    I have stayed at both the Jw Marriott Parq and the Douglas and really like the Douglas, it has a very nice Pacific North West vibe.

    Cheers!

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