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Vancouver, British Columbia Travel Guide

Vancouver Summary


  • Great shopping: department stores, shopping malls, and eclectic designer boutiques like Twigg & Hottie
  • Active nightlife scene, especially in the historic Gastown area
  • LGBT-friendly
  • Relatively mild weather, averaging low 70s in summer and low 40s in winter
  • Culturally diverse city -- even has its own Chinatown
  • Reliable public transportation: bus service; Sky Train; downtown street car; SeaBus; West Coast Express commuter train
  • Beautiful environment of snow-capped mountains, clean beaches, fresh gardens, and green parklands
  • A short drive away from complete wilderness, but still very cosmopolitan
  • Dry, reasonably warm summers
  • Environmentally friendly and very clean -- ranked 10th cleanest city in the world by Forbes


  • Drug problems and some gang violence on the Downtown Eastside
  • Panhandling
  • Expensive
  • Overcast, rainy winters

What It's Like

Vancouver features one of the most appealing environmental juxtapositions a city can offer: that of the mountains and the sea. Continually ranked as one of the world's most "livable cities," this coastal metropolis has urban perks, like cultural diversity and international cuisine, without the litter and smog of many other big cities.

Outdoor enthusiasts will likely appreciate Vancouver's parks, gardens, beaches, and mountains, and those who prefer a classic cosmopolitan experience should check out the trendy boutiques and luxury dining on Robson Street. While Downtown houses most of Vancouver's commercial and office space, the West End is home to lush gardens and stunning beaches along English Bay, which gets lively when the sun comes out.

Although winters are misty and cool, during May to mid-October temperatures are comfortable and rainfall is at its lowest, making it Vancouver's busiest time of year.

Where To Stay

Many high-end hotels are located in Downtown Vancouver, the neighborhood most popular with tourists, but almost any hotel in the city will be close to the main attractions. Business travelers might want to consider hotels downtown between Burrard and Seymour streets -- the financial and commercial hub of the city. Visitors looking for a romantic setting may want to look for hotels in Gastown, Vancouver's historic, Victorian heart.

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