Where to stay in Vancouver! The ultimate guide to Vancouver’s best neighborhoods, top attractions, and accommodation options no matter your budget.
Vancouver is one of the main cultural hubs in Canada with people from all over the world calling Van City home. It is the biggest metropolitan city in Western Canada. Because of its size and diversity, deciding where to stay in Vancouver can feel overwhelming. There are just so many unique neighborhoods and hotels to choose from.
Vancouver has a little bit of everything for everyone. There’s a good mix of upbeat progressive lifestyles with easy access to spectacular outdoor activities.
Choosing where to stay in Vancouver BC depends on your ideal type of vacation. There are neighborhoods full of local charm, delicious international cuisine, and plenty of outdoorsy options.
Let’s dive into my recommendations for the best places to stay in Vancouver!
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Where to Stay in Vancouver: The Best Neighborhoods
Where there are old warehouses, a hipster may not be too far behind. So is the case in Yaletown. This neighborhood of Vancouver began its resurgence in the late 1980s.
It is now home to some of the trendiest restaurants and cafes in all of Vancouver. And where are most of them located? Within old warehouses, of course.
Yaletown is also famous for its waterfront access and outdoor parks. A Yaletown visit wouldn’t be complete without a stroll along the Seawall. The Seawall is a paved trail that stretches for 17.5 miles along Vancouver’s waterfront. It is a beautiful area for walking, jogging, or cycling.
For a bite to eat, stop by Small Victory Bakery. Try an artisanal sandwich or pastry, along with a strong cup of coffee. One of the newer breakfast spots in the area is OEB Breakfast Co. It’s hard to have a bad morning if you start it with their french toast trifle or breakfast poutine. If dining with a larger group, the Blue Water Cafe has the space and award-winning fresh seafood.
Where to Stay in Yaletown
Kingston Hotel – A budget-friendly accommodation that provides guests with the basic comforts of a hotel stay. There are affordable guest rooms available with private bathrooms, but an even cheaper option is to book a room with a shared bathroom if you’re looking to save more.
The Kingston Hotel offers free continental breakfast everyday. Kingston Taphouse and Grill is the hotel’s onsite restaurant. This accommodation is for people who want a standard guest room without the cost of high end amenities.
JW Marriott Parq Vancouver – A well known hotel in the Yaletown area for its sleek design and more luxe accommodation options. Standard guest rooms are spacious and modernly furnished. The hotel offers a fitness center, spa and wellness center, and eight different restaurants and lounges.
The JW Marriott Parq Vancouver is centrally located near major Vancouver attractions. When it comes to choosing where to stay in Vancouver, this hotel is a top luxurious pick because of its amenities.
Opus Hotel – Located in the heart of Yaletown, the Opus Hotel has contemporary designed guest rooms, some which offer balcony views. Special amenities of the guest rooms include heated bathroom floors and Nespresso machines in each room.
La Pentola is the hotel’s main restaurant. It is an Italian inspired restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The OPUS Bar is open for dinner and cocktails in the evening.
The Opus Hotel also offers bicycles for its guests, perfect for riding along the Seawall. It’s easily considered one of the best hotels in Vancouver for its location and the many amenities offered to guests.
If history is your thing, Gastown is the best neighborhood to explore. Gastown is Vancouver’s oldest neighborhood, dating back to 1867.
It is a picturesque neighborhood to explore by foot. Take a walk down leafy streets at night to see the rows of lamps lit up for the evening. When choosing a hotel in a central location, Gastown can be considered the best place to stay in Vancouver.
Gastown is full of historical importance and Victorian style architecture. Fun fact, it is also the only neighborhood in Vancouver with a cobblestone street.
Walking through Gastown’s streets is a perfect way of getting a feel for the origins of Vancouver. Don’t worry if you’re not too into history because there is still plenty to explore in this area. Gastown also embraces modernity with an array of popular shops and boutiques that can be found around the neighborhood.
Gastown is also known for fine dining options. Wildebeest is a popular option serving Canadian fare, including Sawmill Bay oysters and venison. For upscale German food in a historic building, visit Bauhaus Restaurant. If you want a more casual restaurant for Canadian cuisine, try The Flying Pig for west coast salmon cakes or wild seafood papparadelle.
Recommended Experience: Gastown Walking Food Tour
Where to Stay in Gastown
The Cambie Hostel-Gastown – A budget-friendly option when staying in this historic neighborhood. This hostel offers guests dorm rooms and lockers. There is a shared kitchen to prepare meals and a dining area as well. Breakfast is also available for a reduced price for guests.
The Cambie Hostel-Gastown is ideal for young travelers who want to experience the heart of Gastown without spending too much money. This basic accommodation is ideal for those who want to spend more time outdoors, exploring the neighborhood.
EXchange Hotel Vancouver – A mid-range accommodation option in Vancouver with tons of history. The hotel is located in the building of the former Vancouver Stock Exchange. The building is now restored and the hotel has modern furnishings. A night at this hotel will make you feel like you’re staying in luxury without paying the highest price for it.
The EXchange Hotel Vancouver has a restaurant and bar onsite. There is also a fitness center available. This hotel is pet friendly and centrally located to Gastown and downtown attractions. It is one of the best places to stay in Vancouver.
Delta Hotels – A high end hotel near Gastown. Guest rooms have a separate living room with a television, making the rooms larger than standard hotels.
This hotel offers many amenities, including an onsite restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There is a fitness center open 24 hours and a business facility as well.
The Delta Hotels is another pet friendly option in the heart of the city. It is a top choice for downtown Vancouver accommodations. It is also walking distance to many attractions in the area, including the Vancouver Convention Centre.
If you want to feel like you’re in the center of a major city, go to the West End. For a cosmopolitan feel, it is the best area to stay in Vancouver as a visitor.
The West End is in close proximity to the Central Business District of Vancouver and there are plenty of public transportation options in this area, making it an easy destination to travel to and from.
The West End is also close to the Vancouver’s most famous attraction, Stanley Park. This neighborhood is also perfect for anyone who loves going to the beach as it has easy access to local beaches.
After building up an appetite walking around the neighborhood, there are a wide range of restaurants to choose from.
For a farm to table approach to cuisine, visit Forage for Pacific Northwest inspired dishes. Kingyo is the place to go for your fix of Japanese food. If you are craving something on the sweeter side, check out Nero Belgian Waffle Bar for Liege and Brussels style waffles with plenty of toppings.
Recommended Experience: Bike Tour of Downtown Vancouver & Stanley Park
Where to Stay in the West End
Tropicana Suite Hotel – If you don’t want to spend a lot of money but want to be in a good location, the Tropicana is your best bet. Guest rooms come with basic furnishings and a standard style. There are rooms available with a kitchen and sofa as well.
The Tropicana also offers laundry facilities and a sauna for guests. Choose this option for a quality budget-friendly hotel in the West End.
Times Square Suites – An apartment-like accommodation option, this hotel is a great choice for families. The guest suites have a separate living room and kitchen, which makes cooking your own food easy. A washer and dryer are standard in the rooms as well.
This accommodation feels more like staying in an apartment, rather than a hotel in the West End. This can be nice for that home away from home feel, especially if you’re traveling in a group.
The Sylvia Hotel – A waterfront hotel overlooking English Bay. Most guest rooms come withs standard furnishings, while some suites offer a sofa bed and full kitchen.
Sylvia’s Restaurant & Lounge is the hotel’s onsite dining option. Many of Vancouver’s local attractions are just walking distance from the hotel, including beaches, Stanley Park, and shopping on Robson Street.
Officially this area is named Kitsilano, but if you want to blend in with the locals, call it Kits. This is the ideal destination for great views and beaches (i.e. Kits Beach).
Kits is seen as one of the more scenic neighborhoods in Vancouver, with plenty of beach and mountain views. Aside from the beach, the Museum of Vancouver is also nearby.
A visit to Kits wouldn’t be complete without checking out nearby Granville Island. It is one of the top attractions in all of Vancouver for its large market full of local food vendors.
While in Kits, there are also plenty of delicious choices as well. One of the most sought after coffee shops in Vancouver is found here. Grab a cup of coffee at 49th Parallel Coffee. Visit a local favorite for breakfast, Cafe Zen. For Italian food made with simple ingredients, Trattoria Kitsilano is the place to go.
Recommended Experience: Urban Sunset Kayaking Tour
Where to Stay in Kitsilano
One Bedroom Homestay – An accommodation option in Kits that won’t break the bank. This homestay has one bedroom and one bathroom, along with a full kitchen. It’s a good option for those who don’t mind a smaller space for a smaller price tag.
3 Bedroom Vacation Home – A warm and bright option in the Kits neighborhood. This vacation house is fully furnished and comes with a great outdoor space to use when the weather is warm in Vancouver. The light and airy decor is welcoming and the property is close to local attractions in the neighborhood.
Families or people traveling in a larger group may opt for a spacious option like this vacation house. When deciding where to stay in Vancouver, Kits offers a more residential feel than other Vancouver neighborhoods. This accommodation fits in with that vibe well.
Maple Beach B&B – A local bed and breakfast in the heart of Kits. Maple Beach is centrally located near Kits Beach and walking distance to public transportation.
The quaint rooms in this Vancouver house are neatly decorated and come with a microwave and mini refrigerator. This accommodation is good for those who want a more local feel and the complete opposite of a stay in downtown Vancouver hotels.
Attractions such as Granville Island and the Vancouver Maritime Museum are walking distance from this bed and breakfast.
Coal Harbour is another neighborhood that is in close proximity to Stanley Park. This neighborhood offers stunning views of the city and its waterfront. For those who love an area with picturesque views, Coal Harbour is an ideal place to stay.
Coal Harbour also offers some of the best Vancouver hotels near Stanley Park. Due to its ideal location and natural beauty, it was once an extremely affluent neighborhood. Many of the biggest mansions of Vancouver were once located here.
After some time by the waterfront, grab some early morning coffee and more water views at 6 Degrees Eatery. Visit Cardero’s Restaurant and grab a burger or comfort food on the outdoor patio. Local seafood is never far out of reach in Vancouver. Order oysters with New Orleans flavors at Chewies Oyster Bar.
Recommended Experience: Vancouver Harbor and Indian Arm Lunch Cruise
Where to Stay in Coal Harbour
The Listel Hotel – A modern and trendy accommodation in Coal Harbour that isn’t too expensive. The modern design of this hotel makes it appealing to travelers who want an accommodation with style. There is local artwork on view throughout the hotel as well.
The Listel Hotel also offers a fitness center, as well as a bar and the restaurant, Forage. It is in a great location in Vancouver and many attractions are within close proximity.
Pinnacle Hotel Harbourfront – Te Pinnacle Hotel offers guest rooms with stunning views of Coal Harbour. This mid-range hotel is perfect for those who don’t want to spend a fortune but still want to experience a nicer stay.
The hotel has an indoor pool, fitness center, and a bar and restaurant onsite. There are also free bicycles available during warmer seasons for guests to enjoy the Vancouver outdoors. Pinnacle Hotel is one of the best Vancouver Convention Center hotels, perfect for those in Vancouver on business.
Fairmont Pacific Rim – An upscale accommodation in the center of Coal Harbour, Fairmont Pacific Rim provides guests with unique services, including a complimentary chauffeur service to the downtown area of Vancouver.
Guest rooms are modern and come with perks such as an in-room safe and an iPhone docking station.
There is a 4,000 square foot fitness center and a variety of onsite restaurants and lounges that serve food throughout the day. There is also live music every night and stylish decor throughout the hotel.
How to Get Around Vancouver
There are many options when it comes to getting around Vancouver. Vancouver’s downtown area and many of its local attractions are easily walkable.
In addition to walking, public transportation is also reliable around the city. The public transportation system of Vancouver is called TransLink. It is made up of buses, the SeaBus, the SkyTrain, and the West Coast Commuter train. Users of TransLink can load a Compass Card with rides ahead of time.
The bus is one of the most popular options when traveling around the city because of convenience. It runs 20 hours per day, from 5:00 AM- 1:00 AM. There are select buses that offer night services as well.
The fare for the Vancouver bus is $2.95, or $2.30 with the Compass Card.
The SeaBus is a ferry system that connects Vancouver with the North Shore. Traveling by ferry is a unique experience because you can take in the sights of Vancouver from the water. The SkyTrain connects downtown Vancouver with outer suburbs.
Fares for both the SeaBus and SkyTrain are determined by zone.
Top 10 Sights to See in Vancouver
The largest urban oasis in Vancouver, Stanley Park is full of outdoor recreational activities for the whole family. Stanley Park is an urban gem in the city and located just outside of downtown Vancouver.
Stanley Park is bordered by the Burrard Inlet and English Bay. Its proximity to the water offers visitors beautiful views. Within Stanley Park, visitors can explore different trails, relax on the beach, and even wander through a rainforest.
There are plenty of fun options for any type of traveler in Stanley Park. You can visit the aquarium, enjoy lunch or dinner at one of the park’s waterfront restaurants, or just simply relax in Vancouver’s most beloved urban backyard.
Visit one of the oldest Chinatowns in Canada for an authentic cultural experience. Vancouver’s Chinatown has been around for over 100 years. It is an important part of the city’s history and a delicious neighborhood to explore through food.
Visit Chinatown for authentic dim sum and Chinese bakeries. Explore the area by foot, sampling some of the neighborhood’s best eats. It’s the perfect way to experience this vibrant part of Vancouver and its Asian culture.
For a quieter spot in the neighborhood, stop by the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. Wander through the garden’s paths and spend time unwinding in the middle of the city.
Recommended Experience: A Wok Around Chinatown: A Culinary & Cultural Tour
Located in Stanley Park, visit a vast array of marine wildlife at the Vancouver Aquarium. The aquarium is home to over 50,000 animals. Children and adults can learn about seals, walruses, and tropical fish, among many other species.
The Vancouver Aquarium is known for its conservation efforts. A visit to the aquarium is an educational experience for the whole family.
Granville Island Public Market
Over 50 vendors of food and local products fill this indoor market. Walk through the food stalls to try some bites of artisanal cheeses, meats, and pastries. Have a cup of freshly brewed coffee or a scoop of gelato as you decide what to sample next.
Aside from food, the Granville Island Public Market has art galleries, toy stores, and local clothing stores. Spend part of a day in Vancouver browsing through the local merchandise to get a feel for what kind of food and products are loved by locals.
Recommended Experience: Granville Island Market Tour
Locals and dog lovers enjoy this beach for its tranquility, and designated areas for dogs to run free. The Spanish Banks is divided into three sections: east, west, and extension. The beaches here are some of the favorites among residents.
Visitors are allowed to barbecue along the Spanish Banks, as well as take advantage of the beach’s volleyball courts, located along the Seawall. The Spanish Banks extension allows dogs to be off their leash and enjoy the outdoors.
Capilano Suspension Bridge
Walk across all 450 feet of this suspension bridge and get rewarded with stunning views. The Capilano Suspension Bridge is only 15 minutes from downtown Vancouver and one of the top attractions of the city.
The Capilano Suspension Bridge crosses over the Capilano River and it’s actually an attraction within a larger park. There is a fee to enter the park, which comes in a little pricey at $53.95 for an adult ticket. People who visit the bridge usually spend a few hours walking around the park to make the cost of admission worth it.
False Creek is a small body of water that divides downtown Vancouver with the rest of the city. It is in the heart of Vancouver and makes it an easy waterfront destination to get to. Take a stroll through one of three waterfront walkways, including North, South, and Olympic Village.
Boating is a popular activity in False Creek. Visitors are also able to canoe and kayak through the area. Public ferries run through False Creek and have multiple stops along the way.
VanDusen Botanical Garden
Learn about the 7,500 different plant species that call this 55-acre botanical garden home. The garden is located in the Shaughnessy neighborhood. It is one of the most beautiful and tranquil spots in all of Vancouver.
Explore the botanical garden exhibits and learn about local plants and flowers. There’s plenty of educational opportunities for children and adults at the VanDusen Botanical Garden.
Come to Grouse Mountain for the views. Dubbed the “Peak of Vancouver”, Grouse Mountain offers sensational panoramic mountain and city views. Outdoor activities are taken to the next level at Grouse Mountain. Unique options include doing a mountain ropes adventure course, watching a lumberjack show, or taking in the views high atop in a cable car.
Want to eat breakfast with the bears? At Grouse Mountain, learn about grizzly bears while enjoying breakfast. Year round outdoor activities keep visitors coming to Grouse Mountain on a regular basis. Even in colder months, activities such as snowshoeing are available.
English Bay Beach
English Bay Beach is an area in Vancouver known for its beautiful beach. Located just outside of downtown Vancouver, it is easily accessible to both locals and tourists. It is one of the most popular beaches in the city.
Sure, you can go to the beach and relax on the sand or in the water. But at English Bay Beach, there are tons of other recreational activities to do as well. Visitors can choose to kayak, play volleyball, walk along the Seawall, or even go scuba diving.
Recommended Experience: Vancouver City and Seals Scenic Boat Tour
Other Recommended Experiences to Have in Vancouver
Top 3 Day Trips from Vancouver
Only two hours north of Vancouver, Whistler makes for a popular weekend trip from Vancouver year round. The winter months offer plenty of winter activities, including skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing. It was home to the 2010 winter Olympics and people can still access the ski jumping area in Olympic Park.
In fact, Whistler is one of the most popular ski destinations in Canada. The Whistler Blackcomb is located here, which is one of the biggest ski resorts in North America, making it a top destination for experienced skiers. You can find an array of shops, restaurants, and cafes in the ski resort town.
Recommended Experience: Whistler Small Group Trip from Vancouver
Visit British Columbia’s capital city by taking a one hour and forty five minute ferry from Vancouver. Victoria loves taking advantage of its waterfront location and outdoor activities. Check out popular attractions like the famous Butchart Gardens and Fisherman’s Wharf.
This Pacific Northwest area showcases its British colonial history with Victorian style houses throughout the city. Victoria has the second largest population in British Columbia. It is also known as the City of Gardens, so make sure to check out the flowers in bloom during the spring and summer.
Recommended Experience: Vancouver to Victoria & Butchart Gardens Tour
Located just a 20 minute ferry ride from Vancouver, this artistic community if full of local shops and restaurants. There’s plenty of outdoor activities too. For example, try hiking or going to the beach.
Although Bowen Island is part of the Vancouver Metropolitan area, it may feel like a quieter world away. Visiting Bowen Island is a great escape from the buzzing life of the city. Enjoy sea kayaking, cycling, or hiking Mount Gardner.
Recommended Experience: Bowen Island Full-Day Tour
PRACTICAL INFO FOR VANCOUVER
Book a vacation rental on AirBnB (and get $40 off your first booking).
Buy your Vancouver Guide here.
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