Where to Stay in Vancouver: Advice from a local travel blogger about the best areas to stay in Vancouver!
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Where to Stay in Vancouver: Start Here For A Quick Look At Vancouver’s Coolest Neighborhoods
If you’re looking for quick answer about the best area to stay in Vancouver, you’ve come to the right place.
We’ve outlined all the best places to stay in Vancouver in some detail below, but I also wanted to provide an at-a-glance summary to help you choose where to stay in Vancouver. So you can start out by checking out this summary of Vancouver’s best neighborhoods, and then click on the neighborhood names in blue to go straight to that section. If scroll just past this table of contents, you’ll see a map view, with all the hotels plotted on the map for a quick glance of the best places to stay in Vancouver.
- Top Hotel Picks in Downtown: If you want to be in the middle of the action, and want to stay in one of Vancouver’s best boutique or luxury hotels, start with this list of our favorite hotels in Vancouver. They are all highly-recommended and in great locations for business or pleasure!
- Gastown/Railtown & Chinatown: Stay in Gastown, Railtown or Chinatown if you want a young professional scene that has a cool, and slightly independent-gritty vibe in the midst of some serious gentrification.
- Yaletown: Yaletown has an always happening restaurant scene, is right near the water, and has some of downtown’s most sought-after residential buildings. Think young professionals with money to burn and boutique hotspots mixed in with higher-end chain restaurants. Yaletown has an ‘already gentrified’ vibe. Very convenient location and upscale.
- The Financial District, Waterfront and Coal Harbour: Quieter than other areas but beautiful, offering views of the harbour and the north shore mountains. Still very convenient, especially for business, with easy access to transit and within walking distance of attractions.
- Granville Entertainment District: Slightly rough around the edges, but full of life and truly in the centre of the action. Good spot for budget hotels, and easy access to Yaletown, Gastown, Davie Village/Westend and Waterfront.
- English Bay, the Westend and Davie Village. This area has a definite neighborhood feel to it. It’s in a quieter end of the downtown core, with lots of low-rise rentals filled with students and people in their 20s and 30s. Nice cafes, uber-gay-friendly, and close to the beach.
- North Vancouver: Lovely suburb just across the harbour and served by a public transit ferry, the lower area of Lonsdale (around Lonsdale Quay) is developing quickly into an up-and-coming, but quieter, restaurant and pub hotspot. Great place to stay if you want a quieter, more local vibe while still being near downtown (a 15-minute ride on the sea bus).
- Olympic Village and Granville Island: Similar to North Van, you’ll get a quieter and more local vibe over here. Granville Island hotel is in a truly lovely spot – nice for romance, families, and chilling out.
Also Check Out
- Our Vancouver Map: We’ve put together a map that shows where all of our recommended hotels are in each neighborhood as well as food and drinks.
- Vancouver Deals and Discounts: Tips for saving money on your trip to Vancouver
- Top Vancouver Guide Books: A selection of the top rated Vancouver city & area guide books. Available in both Kindle and paperback.
- Top Vancouver Tours: Top rated Vancouver city tours.
- More Where to Stay Guides: Check out more of our Where to Stay City Guides for other popular destinations from Vancouver to help you plan.
Consider a Private Transfer from the Airport to your hotel or holiday apartment.
Having grown up in Vancouver, and spending at least 20 years living in the city, I’ve never really thought about how difficult it must be to find the best areas to stay in Vancouver as a visitor to the city: as with any city, there are A LOT of options, and the sheer quantity of choices about where to stay in Vancouver can be overwhelming.
Being a native Vancouverite, I’ve always known the best places to stay in Vancouver and have been able to recommend the coolest neighborhoods to friends and acquaintances traveling to the city…simply because I know the city well from living here for so long. However, I’ve never taken the time to write that knowledge down.
When a friend recently announced they were planning on visiting Vancouver for a short trip, but weren’t sure where to stay, I figured it was as good a time as any to create a Where to Stay in Vancouver guide, with the best places to stay in Vancouver, no matter what your travel style, needs, and preferences.
Top Hotel Picks for Downtown Vancouver
Most visitors to Vancouver stay downtown, and with good reason. It’s where all the action is, most of the attractions are, has loads of transit options, and is suitable for a visit that’s for fun or for business.
Vancouver’s downtown can be broken up into a few different areas: Yaletown, the Financial District, Gastown, the West End, and Granville Entertainment District. However, the borders of each neighborhood are murky — they’re really just guidelines, and there’s no hard end to any one neighborhood, where the next one begins.
Later on in this post, I’ve outlined all the different neighborhoods (downtown and otherwise) you might consider staying in Vancouver.
If you’re just looking for a quick recommendation on where to stay in Vancouver, take a look at our Top hotel recommendations. All of these hotels are downtown, super central (whether you’re in Vancouver for fun or a meeting) and transit accessible, and within walking distance of some of Vancouver’s best cafés, bars and restaurants. Best hotels in the best location :)
(Note: if you’re in Vancouver for a cruise, consider staying at The Pinnacle Harbourfront, Fairmont Pacific Rim, or Fairmont Waterfront, as they are all conveniently located for the Vancouver cruise ship terminal!)
- Opus Hotel Yaletown — Yaletown’s speciality is trendy, boutique-style hotels and experiences, and on this Opus seems to deliver, getting superb ratings from guests for pretty much everything. Booking.com / Hotels.com
- Pinnacle Hotel Harbourfront — A 4-star, this is in a great spot if you’re in Vancouver for a cruise, for fun, or for business. Clean, comfy and modern, some of the rooms have spectacular views, and it gets an all-round great review from past guests. Booking.com / Hotels.com
- L’Hermitage Hotel – A top seller in Vancouver, L’Hermitage is beautiful, and gets consistently fantastic reviews from past guests. It’s in a great location for shopping, dining, catching a show or doing business. Booking.com / Hotels.com
- Wedgewood Hotel & Spa – One of Vancouver’s best hotels, offering old-world service and style for your stay. Beautiful rooms and common space, with a top-rated restaurant on-site (Bacchus). Booking.com / Hotels.com
- Rosewood Hotel Georgia — True 5-star details, service and comfort, and is in a fantastic location right across from the Art Gallery. It gets consistently spectacular reviews from past guest – hard to go wrong staying here. Booking.com / Hotels.com
- Hotel Le Soleil — Luxurious, traditional furnishing and decor, and a steam room + fitness centre. It gets fantastic reviews and is in a great location, close to Canada Place. Booking.com / Hotels.com
Where to Stay in Vancouver: Vancouver’s Downtown Core & Coolest Neighborhoods
The first thing you need to know is Metro Vancouver is actually a massive area containing many smaller cities, such as North Vancouver, West Vancouver, Burnaby, Surrey, Richmond…the list goes on.
This Where to Stay in Vancouver guide assumes you’re coming to Vancouver on vacation and want to be in a convenient area for visiting the best of the city – the attractions, bars, restaurants and cafés, and events that make people actually want to come here! I’ve written this guide with the assumption you don’t want to spend an hour on public transit just to visit a museum or restaurant, and have ruled out areas that aren’t convenient for reaching the downtown core.
Consider Staying Near a Skytrain Station, or Close to Public Transit
Public transport in Vancouver is quite good. There’s the Skytrain (which is like the subway, or metro), the Seabus (a 15-minute public transit ferry that crosses between North Vancouver and downtown Vancouver), and the bus. There are also commuter-specific transit options that won’t apply if you’re a visitor staying in or near downtown.
The Skytrain is relatively small and easy to navigate compared to many big cities. There are only 3 lines: the Expo Line, the Millenium Line, and the Canada Line.
In terms of choosing a convenient place to stay in Vancouver, you ideally don’t want to stay too far out on any of the Skytrain lines. If you’re looking at a place online and wondering if it’s in a good area or not, the following stops are conveniently located with easy access to downtown:
Expo Line: Waterfront, Burrard, Granville, Stadium, Main, Broadway, and Nanaimo. Beyond Nanaimo, you’re starting to get a bit far away from downtown.
Millenium Line: The Millenium Line runs in a loop. It follows the same route as the Expo line from Waterfront until Broadway, and then it diverges and splits into a loop. Honestly, I’d say the same stops that are convenient on the Expo line (Waterfront, Burrard, Granville, Stadium, Main, Broadway, and Nanaimo) are what you want to stick to for the Millenium Line, too.
Canada Line: The Canada Line is the Skytrain line that goes from the airport into downtown, so it will probably be your first experience with public transit in Vancouver. Waterfront, City Centre, Yaletown and Olympic Village stops cover some of the best neighborhoods in Vancouver. I’d recommend you don’t stray beyond that when choosing where to stay in Vancouver.
Where to Stay in Vancouver: Downtown Vancouver & Its Best Neighbourhoods
Most tourists stay in downtown Vancouver, and with pretty good reason: it’s where many of the best attractions, restaurants, events, and shopping are, and once you’re downtown, you can get almost everywhere by walking, or taking a short taxi, Car2Go, or public transit ride.
The nice thing about Vancouver is people actually live downtown, and the various downtown neighborhoods are mostly lively and safe, with lots of choice for cafés, bars, restaurants and shops. With the exception of the Financial District, if you stay in downtown Vancouver, you’ll be staying in an area where many locals live, and will get a true feel for what life in Vancouver is all about.
Gastown has always been one of the most popular areas to stay in Vancouver, but over the past decade or so, it’s also become popular with young, professional Vancouverites. Besides the steam clock, which is the biggest tourist attraction, there are A LOT of bars and clubs, and some of Vancouver’s best and coolest restaurants.
Gastown/Railtown are among the oldest and best-preserved areas in Vancouver, meaning it’s filled with low-rise brick buildings from the early twentieth century, and has a pretty, quaint feeling to it. Just a few days ago, we were walking through Gastown and commented how the pubs and shops had a look similar to London! Beyond its looks, you’re only 15 minutes’ walk from Granville Street, have easy access to Waterfront station (for Skytrain and SeaBus), and there’s a ton to eat! Shopping has also come a long way in Gastown over the years, and the tacky tourist shops are now mixed in with really unique boutiques.
The downside of staying in Gastown/Railtown is it borders the Downtown Eastside, which is infamous for its drugs and prostitution problems. The crime rate is low in Vancouver, and I feel very safe walking around Gastown until about midnight (earlier in Railtown, which isn’t as busy), or after midnight if I’m in a group. However, if you’re intimidated by coming face-to-face with this kind of thing, Gastown/Railtown probably isn’t the best are to stay in Vancouver for you.
Everything I just wrote about Gastown/Railtown, also holds true for Chinatown, although it’s still slightly rougher around the edges, as compared to Gastown/Railtown. It’s still very convenient but it has an ‘up-and-coming’ feel to it.
Victorian Hotel Vancouver — A 3-star boutique-ish hotel 5 blocks from the Steam Clock, this hotel is a converted Victorian guesthouse with good reviews that focus on the comfortable rooms. The pictures make it look stylish and modern, and like a great base from which to explore Vancouver.
Delta Hotel & Suites Vancouver — This is in a pretty good location, on the border of what I’d call downtown and Gastown. It’s easy to walk to Waterfront Station, anywhere in Gastown, and anywhere in downtown, really. The downside is in’t not really in a neighbourhood, proper, although none of the Gastown recommendations really are. It gets fantastic reviews from previous guests.
Boutique & Socially Conscious (My Pick!)
Skwachays Healing Lodge — Owned and operated by the Vancouver Native Housing Society, this First Nations-run boutique hotel combines luxury with social responsibility, offering 24 shelter-rate rooms for First Nations people at risk of homelessness, 18 luxury boutique hotel suites, an Urban Aboriginal Fair Trade Gallery, and a sweat lodge and smudge room. Vancouver’s culture and heritage can’t be understood without understanding the impact of the First Nations groups in the region. This hotel was named by the hereditary chief of the Squamish First Nations, whose territory the hotel is built on.
If I had to find somewhere to stay in Vancouver, this would be my pick for this neighbourhood. It looks awesome!
The Cambie Hostel Seymour and The Cambie Hostel Gastown — “The Cambie” as it’s known to locals, is a bit of a legend in Vancouver. The attached bar to the Downtown location is a popular spot for students and a youngish crowd to meet-up for cheap beer in the evenings and on weekends, and mingle with the travelers staying in the hostel. It definitely leans more toward the “raucous” side of things, so if you’re looking for peace & quiet, this isn’t the place for you. However, if you want something cheap in the heart of downtown, this might be the perfect spot. The two hotels are only a few blocks from each other.
Yaletown is another popular area with young professionals, with a more upscale feel to it than Gastown. Prices are higher than in some areas of Vancouver, but it’s close to a gorgeous piece of ocean and seawall, a large park, and some great restaurants and bars. Plus, it’s right by a Skytrain station and is conveniently located if you’re in Vancouver to see a concert at Roger’s Arena, and for taking the Aquabus across to Granville Island. If you’re looking for a boutique feel for your stay in Vancouver, Yaletown is definitely worth considering!
Hampton Inn & Suites Downtown Vancouver — Similar to Hotel Blu, this isn’t in Yaletown proper, but right on the edge, providing convenient walking access to Yaletown, and pretty much everywhere else in Vancouver! This is a more affordable option, right in the heart of Vancouver, as compared to some of the more boutique-style hotels, and it gets fabulous reviews from past guests.
Opus Hotel Yaletown — Yaletown’s speciality is trendy, boutique-style hotels and experiences, and on this Opus seems to deliver, getting superb ratings from guests for pretty much everything. It’s also in a fantastic location right by the Yaletown-Roundhouse Skytrain station, and within walking distance from a beautiful stretch of ocean!
Hotel Blu Vancouver — Located at the east end of Robson street near the public library, and on the border of Yaletown, this place is about equal distance between the Yaletown-Roundhouse and City Centre Skytrain stations. In other words, it’s very convenient. This is also a quieter and more liveable end of Robson, as compared to the west and central bits. This particular hotel gets superb reviews on pretty much everything, and seems like a solid choice in this area.
A view of Yaletown, a “City of Glass,” from the Cambie Street Bridge
To the east of Waterfront Station, you’ll find Gastown/Railtown, and Chinatown. To the west, you’ll find a renovated waterfront area, which contains the convention centre, Olympic cauldron, and a luxury hotel; the financial district, which runs more or less up Burrard street; and Coal Harbour, which runs all the way to Stanley Park, a massive park in downtown Vancouver. Waterfront Area: In the lead-up to the 2010 Olympics, Vancouver sunk a huge amount of cash into the new Convention centre and surrounding waterfront area, and it shows: it’s really, really nice. The views of the harbour, and of North Vancouver and the North Shore Mountains on a clear day are hard to beat. Add to that, you’re right at Waterfront skytrain station, and within walking distance of Gastown (7 minutes), Granville Entertainment District (15 minutes) and Yaletown (20 minutes). That’s a lot of pluses! The downside of staying at Waterfront is, besides the views, it’s a tad boring. Don’t get me wrong, there are a decent number of restaurants and pubs to choose from, but it’s certainly not vibrant at night, and caters mostly to tourists. Many tourists choose to stay in this area, and there are lots of higher-end hotels to choose from, as well as a few mid-range ones. These aren’t bad areas to stay in at all, but they are kind of boring, except for the views. Vancouver has far cooler areas than this stretch. Burrard Street & The Financial District: Many of Vancouver’s corporate offices are somewhere along Burrard Street, or in the general area. The area is bustling with workers during office hours, and for the after-work cocktail crowd, but turns into a bit of a ghost-town after 8. If you’re a light sleeper, that could be a good thing, and there are a few very nice hotels in the area. However, there are also far cooler areas to stay in, if you’re looking for more of a true Vancouver vibe! Coal Harbour: Coal Harbour is at the north-west end of downtown, bordering Stanley park until the financial district, running along West Georgia street and in the area. Coal Harbour has a lot of promise, and it’s main attractions are its natural beauty and views, and its proximity to Stanley Park. The challenge with Coal Harbour is, again, it’s not particularly lively in the evenings. Many of the apartment buildings are owned, but unoccupied, meaning it doesn’t have the same liveliness as a true neighbourhood. Luckily, you can console yourself by taking a sunset stroll along the water!
Coal Harbour (Mid-Range)
Lord Stanley Suites on the Park — A 3-star hotel a short walk from Stanley Park and Coal Harbour, this places gets rave reviews from guests for the views. From the exterior, the glass building looks like a typical apartment building for the neighborhood, and that makes sense as the rooms have an apartment-style feel to them, with a dishwasher, fridge, and dining area. Looks like a great option for families!
Financial District (Mid-Range)
The Hyatt Regency Downtown Vancouver — This place gets great reviews, seems like a great value, and the rooms look really nice. Again though, this is a bit of a boring area – it’s convenient, and you’ll be able to quickly get everywhere you need to go, it’s just not that exciting! If you’re coming to Vancouver for a conference at the convention centre, this is only a 5 minute walk away.
Coal Harbour (Mid-Range to High-End)
The Westin Bayshore — I can imagine the main draw to this place is the location, with what I’d guess to be absolutely stunning views (the reviews of past guests confirm this!). Right in Coal Harbour, this would be a nice spot for tranquil evenings, and is close enough that you can walk to the Art Gallery (which is right in the centre of downtown) in 10 to 15 minutes.
Financial District (Mid to High-End)
Sutton Place Hotel Vancouver — For a long time, I remember this hotel as being the luxury hotel in Vancouver (along with the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver). These days, there are a lot more options, and it seems the Sutton Place has adapted, offering more mid-range pricing. The benefits of this spot are it’s very central! The downside is the neighbourhood, while fine, isn’t particularly charming (We used to live 5 minutes’ walk from here!).
4-Star Amazing Views
Pinnacle Hotel Harbourfront— I’m a fan of the Pinnacle hotels (there’s one in North Vancouver, too, which I recommend if you want a quieter base while in Vancouver). A 4-star, this is in a great spot if you’re in Vancouver for a cruise, for fun, or for business. Clean, comfy and modern, some of the rooms have spectacular views, and it gets an all-round great review from past guests.
Financial District (Budget)
Century Plaza Hotel and Spa — This is about as budget as it gets in this area of Vancouver! Again, this is in a really central area, but kind of boring neighbourhood. That said, this is where we told out-of-town family members to stay when they visited us a few years ago, and it was perfect! If I recall, they have family-style suites with sofas, etc., which may give you more room to spread out, especially if travelling with kidlets!
Popular High-end Hotel
L’Hermitage Hotel – A top seller in Vancouver, L’Hermitage is beautiful, and gets consistently fantastic reviews from past guests. It’s in a great location for shopping, dining, catching a show or doing business. Top-end features include an outdoor, saltwater pool and jacuzzi tub, luxury bathrobes, garden patio, and 24-hour gym.
Wedgewood Hotel & Spa – A bit of a Vancouver institution, the Wedgewood is one of Vancouver’s best hotels, offering old-world service and style for your stay. Beautiful rooms and common space, with a top-rated restaurant on-site (Bacchus). Regardless whether or not you stay here, try to stop by Bacchus at least once during your stay in Vancouver, even if it’s just for a glass of wine or cocktail.
Rosewood Hotel Georgia Vancouver – Another Vancouver institution, I’m pretty sure my grandparents stayed here 70 years ago! The hotel offers a downtown courtesy car, a salt water pool and an outdoor lounge. The Rosewood is situated across from the Vancouver Art Gallery and easy to explore all of downtown rom here.
Hotel Le Soleil — Sumptuous is the word that comes to mind with this Le Soleil: a bed as comfortable as a cloud; luxury, traditional furnishing and decor, and a steam room + fitness centre. It gets fantastic reviews and is in a great location, close to Canada Place.
Waterfront/Financial District (High-End/Luxury)
The Fairmont Waterfront & Fairmont Pacific Rim — The two Fairmont properties are very popular with visitors to Vancouver, with the Waterfront being the less expensive, older of the two (it’s a 4-star), and the Pacific Rim being the more upscale luxury edition (a 5-star). Both get great reviews and offer nice views of the city! The Fairmont also has a third property nearby — the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. This is the oldest of the three, but it’s a classic building that will take you back to the Vancouver of the 1920s! Also compare on Hotels.com.
Check Availability & Prices:
Coal Harbour viewed from Stanley Park in the morning.
Top hotel recommendation in the Granville Entertainment District: Best Western Plus Chateau Granville (mid-range)
Granville Street is massive, running from Waterfront almost all the way to the airport. However, there is a downtown stretch, running from Dunsmuir in the north to Drake in the south (before it turns into South Granville, on the other side of the Granville Street Bridge), where there are a decent amount of hotels, etc.
Granville Street is a bit of a party area, and it’s right downtown. So it’s lively, but it can also be loud. Geoff and I lived for almost 3 years one block off Granville Street at Nelson, and we loved it because we could walk to Yaletown in about 5 minutes, Gastown in about 20 minutes, and the Westend in about 20, as well. It wasn’t the most picturesque, and it doesn’t have a neighborhood feel to it, but it is really convenient!
Howard Johnson Hotel Vancouver — A 3-star, this place looks okay if you’re mostly looking for a bed to crash in, and plan to spend most of your time out exploring. It’s really conveniently located to Yaletown, about 5 minutes’ walk away, and is on Granville Street, a major public transit thoroughfare. You’d also be able to walk across the Granville Street Bridge from here, to get to Granville Island, or across the Cambie Street Bridge, which offers great views of the City of Glass! It doesn’t look like a bad option for the price, but the reviews are rather lackluster.
Best Western Plus Chateau Granville — We’ve had visiting family stay here too, and it ended up being a really good option. The main downside to staying in this location is the noise. In exchange, you are right in the heart of downtown Vancouver, and can walk anywhere, including down to the Yaletown seawall in less than 10 minutes! It can get a bit gritty on weekend evenings. It feels safe and there are lots of Police out to discourage tom-foolery, but because it’s in the entertainment district, there can be a lot of drunkenness. This hotel gets the best guest reviews of my three suggestions for this area.
Budget / Mid-Range
Comfort Inn Downtown Vancouver — With an address that is technically one block off Granville Street, there’s a chance this might be slightly quieter than the other two options listed in this area, and it gets reasonable reviews. However, some of the rooms do face onto Granville. My main hesitation about this hotel, is it has an always-busy Irish Pub in the basement. So it really just depends on what you’re looking for. If you want to have fun, this could be a great budget place. If you want tranquility, I’d keep looking!
Granville Street at night as viewed from the corner of Nelson Street and Granville Street
Top hotel recommendation in the West End: The Sylvia (iconic; mid-range), Best Western Plus Sands Hotel (mid-range)
The Westend is one of the most sought-after areas to live in for young Vancouverites renting apartments. The great thing about the Westend is it feels like a neighborhood: 4 to 5-storey buildings, tree-lined streets, and little cafés and shops hidden here and there.
For a visitor to Vancouver, Denmen Street, which runs from just beyond Stanley Park until Beach Avenue in the South, has lots of cafés, restaurants and shops. English Bay is also in the West End, and is one of the most beautiful beaches in Vancouver. In the summer, it’s filled with locals on the beach or park, or running along the seawall walkway that runs parallel to the ocean.
Davie Village is at the east end of Davie Street, from Burrard onward, and became popular as the most gay-friendly area of Vancouver (all of Vancouver is gay-friendly…Davie Village even more so). There are people of all orientations that live in Davie Village, and it’s a great base that close to the beat, restaurants and Denman street.
West-End/English Bay (Mid-Range)
The Sylvia — The Sylvia is one of Vancouver’s most classic buildings: beautiful old stone, covered in ivy, with a location right on Beach Avenue in the Westend, with an impressive view of the beach and English Bay. It’s been nicely updated with modern rooms, and would be a nice pick for friends visiting Vancouver, or a couple. Whenever I visit English Bay and this area of Vancouver, I’m reminded of why I love this city!
Best Western Plus Sands Hotel — Located right at the west-end of Davie Street, this hotel is minutes from the beach, and is located in one of the nicest areas to stay in Vancouver. What I love about the West End/English Bay area of Vancouver, is it is full of locals, so you won’t have the typical tourist experience. This Best Western gets very good reviews from past guests, and is reasonably priced considering how close you are to the beach.
Davie Village (Mid-Range)
Sandman Suites Vancouver on Davie — Right in the midst of Davie Village, this place gets good (but not fantastic) reviews, and is in a great location, less than 10 minutes from the water, and walkable to the Art Gallery, Yaletown, and the Granville Entertainment area. You could easily walk across the Burrard Street bridge from this location to explore Kitsilano, across the Bay, and could take a longer walk down to Gastown. From here, it’s about a 10 to 15-minute walk from a Skytrain.
English Bay at Sunset as viewed from the Beach
If you want to stay outside of the downtown core, Vancouver still has a lot of great options.
North Vancouver is one of Vancouver’s Best Neighborhoods
I grew up in North Vancouver, and it’s come a long way in the past decade in terms of what it offers to younger travellers, both solo, couples and young families!
While North Vancouver is large, I’d probably suggest you only consider staying on Lower Lonsdale, near Lonsdale Quay and the Shipyards, from Keith Road to the water. There are a few hotels to choose from in the area, and lots of restaurants. North Vancouver is a lot quieter than downtown, so if you’re looking for some peace and quiet, a low-key but cool neighborhood feel this could be a great bet. There are some good restaurants, and in the summer the Shipyards is a really vibrant area, with events such as food truck festivals happening on regular evenings.
The best thing about North Vancouver is it’s still very convenient to get downtown by taking the 15-minute Seabus ferry ride across the harbour. But note, if you’re coming to Vancouver to party, this probably isn’t a great option, as the Seabus stops running between midnight and 1am, depending on which night of the week it is. If you miss the last Seabus from downtown to North Van, a taxi will cost you around $50.
You’re also conveniently located to visit the North Shore mountains (Grouse and Cypress are the most popular) and Deep Cove, a beautiful little village with great hiking and kayaking.
The Pinnacle Hotel at the Pier — This would probably be my top choice if I needed a hotel in the area. It’s a nice hotel (with great brunches that we have enjoyed many times, and a nice hotel bar) in a great area at the bottom of lower Lonsdale. It is insanely convenient, less than 5 minutes from the Sea Bus (to get downtown) and a Bus hub, where you can catch buses to Grouse Mountain and the Capilano Suspension Bridge. And there’s a decent number of restaurants, cafés and lounge/pub-style bars to choose from. Plus, I would guess it has great views of both the mountains and the ocean, depending on which way your room faces.
Lonsdale Quay Hotel — This is really the only other hotel I’d recommend for North Vancouver, and it’s a stone’s throw from the Pinnacle, but slightly more expensive. The cool thing about this hotel is it’s on top of Lonsdale Quay market, which combines shops and food stalls, a small microbrewery, and has a relaxed atmosphere to it, especially in the summer, when street performers come out to the waterfront. Again, this hotel would offer spectacular water views, depending on which way you’re facing!
The view of downtown Vancouver, from Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver
Olympic Village & Granville Island
Olympic Village is an up-and-comer in terms of being one of the best areas to stay in Vancouver. As the name implies, it housed athletes during the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Once the Olympics were finished, things didn’t look awesome for Olympic Village, as it struggled with low occupancy, and was a bit of a wasteland.
In the past 3 or so years, however, Olympic Village has started to come into its own as cool place to live in Vancouver. Shops, restaurants, and pubs have moved in, and all of a sudden it has a vibrant village within a city feel.
The benefits to staying in Olympic Village: it’s about a 5 block walk to a Skytrain, but you can also take the Aquabus. Aquabuses are privately-run, but very affordable, little water taxi boats that will take you across the harbour. From Olympic Village, it’s only about a 5-minute ride across False Creek to Yaletown.
The problem: there aren’t any hotels in this area – it’s apartments only, which means it’d be worth checking out Airbnb (if you’ve never used Airbnb, and you use this link to sign up, you’ll get a $25 Canadian credit for your first stay!).
Granville Island is another option. It’s in a beautiful area, underneath the Granville Street Bridge on False Creek. The centrepiece of Granville Island is the food market, where people come to buy fresh fruit, veggies and meat, as well as gourmet options like artisan and flavoured olive oil. Granville Island also has a theatre, and quite a few bars and restaurants to choose from!
Granville Island Hotel
Granville Island Hotel — Granville Island only has one hotel, and this is it! While it seems a bit expensive given its 3-star rating, you’re really paying for the location if you choose to stay here: it’s unique, beautiful, and very Vancouver! It also gets very good reviews from past guests as a romantic, boutique option with fantastic views.
Where to Stay in Vancouver Map
To make it a little easier for you while you’re searching for the best area to stay in Vancouver, I’ve created a Google Map with different hotels and areas. Each neighbourhood is color-coded, and the (affiliate) link to the hotel is in the description, which will take you straight to Booking.com to check availability and prices. Click on the icon to the left of the map title to see the legend, which breaks recommendations down by neighbourhood!
I’ve also added in some restaurant recommendations, including pubs, restaurants, chains, indie spots, etc.
Hopefully this is helpful – I’ll continue to update it when I find the time :)
Other Places to Stay in Vancouver
While Vancouver has other cool areas, the hotel options are slim. If you’re open to staying in an Airbnb, the other area I’d recommend you check out is Mount Pleasant / Main Street, which has a very young, local vibe to it, and is filled with great restaurants, cafés and very unique shops.
Vancouver Discounts and Deals
If you buy a (digital) Entertainment.com membership for $19.99 per year, I expect you could fairly easily recoup the cost of the membership during a trip to Vancouver, as there are quite a few dining and things to do discounts around the city. If you’re combining your trip to Vancouver with a trip to either Victoria or Seattle, note that both of those cities ALSO have Entertainment.com discounts, adding further value for your trip. The activities discounts alone (see below) could make it worthwhile, not to mention dining discounts, and hotel chain discounts. Once your vacation is over, you can change your location to move the savings over to cities across the US and Canada.
Example Entertainment.com Discounts in Vancouver:
- Buy One Admission, Get One 50% Off at Vancouver Art Gallery (Est. Savings of $13)
- 50% Off a Regular Ticket with Cruise Cabs Pedicab Tours Savings of up to $100)
- Buy One Admission, Get One Free at Dr. Sun Yat Sen Chinese Classical Gardens (Est. Savings of $5)
- Buy One, Get One Ferry Day Pass with False Creek Ferries (great for getting around parts of the city — Est. Savings of $15)
- Buy One, Get One One-Day Ski Equipment Rental with Destination Ski (Est. Savings of $30)
We’d also suggest you check Groupon in the months leading up to your trip and while you’re there.
Lonely Planet Vancouver from arguably the most trusted travel resource on the market. Your guide to one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world provides full color maps, suggested itineraries, and insight into all of Vancouver’s attractions. Also includes day trips and suggestions for travelling with children.
Fodor’s Vancouver & Victoriacovers the city but also a wider range as it also includes Whistler, Vancouver Island and the Okanagen Valley. Lots of great itineraries included here, some off-the-beaten-path suggestions as well, maps, restaurant suggestions and hikes. Reviewers indicate this is a book designed for new visitors on holiday.
DK Top 10 Vancouver & Victoria is, as the title suggests, all about top 10 lists. It includes a pull out map in addition to the lists which not only include the major attractions, but also things to avoid and top ten festivals. Reviewers say that t’s easy to use and has lot’s of pictures but not loaded with history and other information, just the main points.
Vancouver City Tour & Capilano Suspension Bridge – Spend a half-day touring Vancouver’s best attractions in mix of both walking and in a comfortable coach including Stanley Park, GasTown, Granville Island and the Capilano Suspension Bridge for your hair-raising Cliffwalk. The guided tour includes hotel pick up and drop off.
Whale Watching Tour – During this thrilling half-day trip, you’ll be searching for Killer Whales, seals, eagles and other marine life with a professional naturalist guide. You’ll also be treated to spectacular views of the city and the San Juan Islands. The tour includes water and snacks as well as pick up from your hotel. The company boasts a 90% success rate.
Whistler Small Group Day Trip – A full day trip that takes you up the breath-taking Sea to Sky Highway with spectacular views of the Gulf Islands. Explore the alpine village of Whistler and the stunning 1000ft Shannon Falls. There are plenty of optional add-ons to this tour as well. Hotel pick up and drop off included.
Vancouver to Victoria by Seaplane and Ferry – An unforgettable sea plane flight from downtown Vancouver to downtown Victoria. Fly over the Lions Gate Bridge and the beautiful Gulf Islands. Land on the water in Victoria and enjoy free time in the capital. Then board the ferry for more breathtaking scenery on the return trip to Vancouver.