Vancouver is the hub of the Lower Mainland. It has the location, the lifestyle and excitement of a big city. It’s surrounded on 3 sides by ocean and forests, along with parks throughout and a decent bike path network, along with good transit options and exciting neighbourhoods.
In terms of real estate classification, Vancouver is separated in Vancouver West and Vancouver East.
Every neighbourhood has their benefits and options, depending on your price point and lifestyle requirements. You’ll be able to find homes in quiet residential areas, vibrant neighbourhoods, low rise buildings, tall high rises, boutique Strata’s, duplexes, townhouses and single family homes.
Have a look below at some of my thoughts and advice on each area, and don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions!
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Vancouver West Neighbourhoods
Mount Pleasant West, Cambie, False Creek and Olympic Village, Fairview, Shaughnessy, Kitsilano, Yaletown, West End, Downtown, Coal Harbour, Point Grey, Kerrisdale, Quilchena/Arbutus/Mackenzie Heights, Dunbar, UBC, SW Marine, Marpole, Oakridge
Vancouver East Neighbourhoods
Mount Pleasant East, Strathcona, Downtown East & Gastown, Main, Fraser, Hastings, Hastings East, Grandview-Commercial Drive, Victoria, Knight, Collingwood, Renfrew/Renfrew Heights, Fraserview/Killarney/Champlain Heights, South Vancouver
Cities Near Vancouver
For information about Burnaby, New West, Port Moody, North Van or Squamish, check out my Cities Near Vancouver page.
Vancouver West Neighbourhoods
Kitsilano’s boundaries are Burrard to the east, Alma to the West and West 16th north to the Beach.
Kitsilano, or more affectionately known as “Kits”, is quite possibly the epitome of the Vancouver lifestyle. Known for it’s fantastic beach with a very large, public salt water outdoor pool, this is one area where people flock to in the Summer. Real Estate here covers many price ranges as the area features lots of old but still good condos (not all are good, and that’s where I can help), townhomes, duplexes and detached homes. The streets have big beautiful trees, and there are lots of parks scattered around the neighbourhood. Living North of 4th is ideal and more expensive, as you’re only blocks to the beach and ore likely to have a view, though there are many good options otherwise. Kitsilano features two main streets running east to west – West 4th and West Broadway – where you can enjoy the local shopping, great restaurants and people watching. Kits is home to the Jericho sailing club and tennis club, along with a plethora of boat docks. We will likely see a Skytrain Station at Arbutus and Broadway with the extension of the Millennium line, and there has been chatter of a light rail line along the train tracks cutting through Kits, though I imagine that’s still a pipe dream at this point! Kitsilano is home to Khatsalano Days, Greek Day and a Car Free Day festival during the summer, along with a handful of marathons.
- My favourite restaurants: Au Comptoir (best casual french in the city), The Eatery (a fun place to try random sushi rolls with friends), Aphrodites Cafe (they’re just good at everything), The Naam (a classic, it has a line for a reason).
- Hidden gems: Thomas Haas isn’t a hidden gem, but it’s worth the drive! Also, when was the last time you were at the Space Centre and Observatory?
- Best Chocolate Chip Cookie: Aphrodites.. they know their baked goods and have gluten free options 🙂 .. and while I’m at it, the sparkle cookies at Thomas Haas are to die for!!
False Creek & Olympic Village
False Creek’s boundaries include the inlet to the North, Granville Bridge to the West and Cambie to the East and West 2nd to the South. Vancouver’s Olympic Village is found just east of False Creek along the water. Though these neighbourhoods share an area on MLS, they are very different! False Creek (the area closer to the Granville Bridge) consists mainly of City of Vancouver Leasehold and Co-op buildings, which is a different structure of ownership that can be tough to get into, though there are some great freehold buildings as well. If the price of an older building close to the water in False Creek seems too good to be true, it’s likely a Leasehold or Co-op property.
Olympic Village (closer to Main St) consists of new condo buildings, generally built since about 2010 and more recent. You’ll find some luxury units on the waterfront and some typical new condo units as you pull away from the Seawall. The area features new amenities like the Creekside Community Centre, new restaurants like Tap & Barrel and CRAFT, the Seawall and a buzzing atmosphere of residents who are looking to build community in a new area of town.
The area is served by the Canada Line via the Olympic Village Station, but has easy access to downtown via the bridges or Seawall.
- My Favourite Restaurants: Tap and Barrel (for the great people watching patio), Railtown Cafe (for their great salads) and Glory Juice (for their Acai bowls)
- Hidden Gems: The Wicklow Pub is one of the sunniest patios around otherwise grabbing beers from Legacy Liquor Store (one of the best in the city) and heading to Beer Island is always fun.
- Best Chocolate Chip Cookies: Terra Breads (this location is licensed too)
Mount Pleasant West
Mount Pleasant West is a small area when it comes to Real Estate neighbourhoods, but it ranks high on the proximity scale. It’s boundaries are Cambie to the West, Ontario to the East, W 2nd to the North and W 16th to the South.
With the Canada Line station in the ‘hood and lots of stores where you can find everything you need (Home Depot, Canadian Tire, Best Buy, Winners, Whole Foods, Super Valu, etc.), this area of Mount Pleasant has a lot going for it. It’s also home to City Hall and has the Vancouver General Hospital nearby, with the Seawall only a short walk away. In terms of Real Estate, Mount Pleasant West is a great mix of tall towers, low rise condos, lofts, heritage houses and boutique 3-5 unit strata complexes. The streets feature big trees and you can easily walk to West Broadway, Cambie St or Main St, which offer more amenities and restaurants.
- My Favourite Restaurants: Whole Foods (for their delicious and healthy options), Solly’s Bagelry (for their eggels!!) and the new Yolk’s location (for their hollandaise sauce).
- Hidden Gems: Caffe Cittadella, they give you a creamy piece of chocolate with every coffee 🙂
- Best Chocolate Chip Cookies: Allegro Coffee in Whole Foods is always good for a quick meeting and snack
Cambie Village is south of W 16th to W 41st from Oak to Ontario.
The area is residential with primarily detached houses though you’ll see condos and rental buildings along the major streets. Many of the condo buildings have been built in the last few years after some big land assembly sales along Cambie and King Ed. There is a Canada Line station (at both W Broadway and King Ed) and lots of stores along Cambie. Queen Elizabeth Park is found south of the neighbourhood, so take advantage of the proximity to Queen Elizabeth Park to enjoy the amazing community centre and gardens. Head to the north end of Cambie St (technically coming into Mount Pleasant) to find the big box stores (Homesense, Winners, Home Depot, Canadian Tire, Best Buy, etc) and head south to get to the more walkable area where you can find more local shops, restaurants and cafes. Enjoy walking through the neighbourhood to take in the big trees and character houses and duplexes (with some great modern houses thrown in the mix).
- My Favourite Restaurants: Las Tortas (for their top notch Mexican sandwiches), Biercraft (for the fun nights) and Vijs (for the amazing food and quality service, the patio is a great spot to spend an evening too!).
- Hidden Gems: The Federal Store, for great coffee and lunch, interesting plants and other unique items.
- Best Chocolate Chip Cookies: Lemonade Gluten Free Bakery, as someone with a good sensitivity it’s always great to run into a shop specializing in options that work!
Fairview’s boundaries are Burrard to the west, Cambie to the East and North of West 16th.
Fairview is an important commercial centre in the city, with lots of business straddling West Broadway in the area, including the Vancouver General Hospital. In the Westernmost part of this area is celebrated Granville Island – a wonderful destination for food and fun and north of the neighbourhood is the Seawall which is always nice to enjoy. Fairview has many older condos taking advantage of the unobstructed views of the City and Mountains, thanks to the hill running up from False Creek to West Broadway. Many of the condos offer unique floor plans with large rooms and more square footage than you’ll find in newer condo buildings. Enjoy the proximity to all the Bridges, yet very little traffic noise. Fairview is a great option for families thanks to a high number of 2 and 3 bedroom condos at a more reasonable price than some other areas of town, though you’ll also find some newer buildings with great views thanks for the high number of low rise buildings in front. Along with W Broadway, head to Cambie St or Granville foe restaurants, shopping and amenities. This area is serviced by the Cambie Canada Line Station and will benefit from the Millennium Line Skytrain Extension, eventually going west on W Broadway.
- My Favourite Restaurants: Suika (for the tasty Japanese food), Paul’s Omlettery (for their classic diner feel with interesting items, get the Zimmer!) and Corduroy Pie Co (for creative and delicious pizzas, get the lamb sausage with grapes).
- Hidden Gems: Max’s Deli for the tasty counter service meals, specially the egg wrap that comes with decadent sour cream
- Best Chocolate Chip Cookies: The PB cookie from Beaucoup Bakery, so decadent and delicious!
Shaughnessy is a gem of a neighbourhood, located between W 16th and W 41st, Arbutus to Oak St.
Shaughnessy has some of the biggest lots and biggest houses in the city, with gorgeous trees and winding streets. Historically (and still now), this was where the richest folks lived which is why the houses are more like heritage mansions. In the last few years many of these houses have been torn down to rebuild new house but the city of cracking down on this activity in order to preserve what’s left of the area’s history. The area is almost strictly large detached houses but there are a couple condo buildings as well. The area is home to a couple private schools (York House and Little Flower Academy) along with Shaughnessy Golf Course and Van Dusen Garden as well. The area is fairly quiet overall, with Granville St being the best destination for restaurants, shops (including lots of home stores and interesting clothing shops) and amenities.
- My Favourite Restaurants: Heirloom Vegetarian (since caters to unique food sensitivities, and does it really well!), Shaughnessy Restaurant at Van Dusen Gardens (for a great meal in a tranquil setting), and Small Victory Bakery (for a great coffee in a beautiful space).
- Hidden Gems: Shaughnessy is one of my favourite areas of Vancouver to go for a bike ride to take in the beautiful heritage houses and unique area.
- Best Chocolate Chip Cookies: Bump n Grind Cafe has some amazing cookies (the PB is decadent)!
Yaletown is an area of Downtown Vancouver approximately bordered by False Creek, Robson, and Homer Street.
Formerly a heavy industrial area dominated by warehouses and rail yards, it has been transformed into one of the most densely populated neighbourhoods downtown over the last 30 years. Thanks to the high density of the neighbourhood, there are great restaurants, local shopping and amenities, generous sized parks and lots of waterfront access along the famous Vancouver Seawall. In terms of real estate, you’ll find only townhomes and condos, ranging from studio suites to penthouses, with a few restored warehouse lofts in the mix. The buildings along the water offer sunny southern views over False Creek. The Yaletown waterfront is home to Elsie Roy Elementary School and Emery Barnes Park, a fenced off leash dog park and kids playground. This is a very central, walkable, energetic part of town. You can find most of the amenities and restaurants along Mainland St and Hamilton St including a ton of great patios, high quality restaurants and bars and lots of beauty salons. The area is also serviced by the Canada Line via the Yaletown-Roundhouse station.
- My Favourite Restaurants: La Pentola (amazing Italian food served family style), Minami (for the city’s best sushi) and Homer St Cafe and Bar (for the great space and tasty meals).
- Hidden Gems: Urban Fare for their prepared food section and specifically, their muesli! Seriously, it’s always a solid option for a simple but good meal.
- Best Chocolate Chip Cookies: The huge cookies at Caffe Artigiano!
The West End
The West end is bordered by Burrard to the East, the Water to West and South and West Georgia to the North.
The West End is another older area of the city, where most condos (both freehold and leasehold) were built in and around the 1970’s, in addition to the co-op’s from the 1950’s and the heritage houses from the early 1900’s. Due diligence is required to ensure you buy in a well managed building, but there are many good finds in this area of town. Homes with a top floor west facing view, or those along the Beach are that much more desired. The main streets in this neighbourhood are Davie St (which is also recognized as the Gay village), Denman St and Robson St where you can find restaurants, shops and amenities. Residents love being so close to the Burrard Inlet and English Bay, which is a hub of activity in the warmer months thanks to the beach, the Seawall, and the many city events like the annual fireworks fest, Pride weekend, marathons and more. The best part about the West End is the community feeling that you get amongst the smaller buildings, all the while being short journey anywhere downtown. The area is currently serviced by St Paul’s Hospital (which will be moving to Strathcona within 10 years) and the Expo Skytrain line via Burrard Station. The West End has two elementary schools: Lord Roberts and Lord Roberts Annex, and one high school: King George Secondary.
- My Favourite Restaurants: Espana (delicious Spanish restaurant with a great wine list), Damso (amazing Korean food), and Forage on Robson (really impressive West Coast cuisine)
- Hidden Gems: The Sunsets.. it’s hardly a hidden gem but they’re too good not to mention.
- Best Chocolate Chip Cookies: Greenhorn Cafe, along with everything else they do!
Downtown Vancouver is bordered by Yaletown to the South, the West End to the West, Coal Harbour to the North and Strathcona/Hastings to the East.
The area consists solely of high rises and townhouses, offering everything from studio suites to 3 bedroom units, built primarily from the 1990’s and more recent, but you will find a few older buildings scattered around downtown. Proximity is key here, being so close to Gastown, Yaletown and the West End – you can walk everywhere and have access to transit if needed: Granville Station sits in the middle of downtown which includes by the Expo and Canada Line. You’ll also find the two sports stadiums and Casino at the edge of Downtown, the Seawall within a short walk, Pacific Centre mall, the Public Library and a plethora of restaurants and amenities. Downtown has a lot of events occurring throughout the year, so there is always something going on to liven up your days and nights!
- My Favourite Restaurants: Jinya (for their ramen bowls), Jam Cafe (for their insane breakfast) and Joe Fortes (for the sunny patio)!
- Hidden Gems: The Vancouver Art Gallery Cafe & patio since it’s a bit of a sanctuary in the city.
- Best Chocolate Chip Cookies: The Salted Chocolate Chip from Bel Cafe at the Hotel Georgia!
Coal Harbour is bounded by West Georgia to the South, the water to the North and West and Burrard Street to the East.
Close to the Financial District, Gastown and City Centre, this area was redeveloped into upscale high rise condos and hotels in the 1990’s, with towers still being added to the skyline today. Expect expensive units, many with fantastic views and high class amenities, coming in as some of the most expensive units in the city (location, location, location). The area can be a bit sleepy, but if you’re looking fo a high quality building and unbeatable mountain views, you’ll find it here.
- My Favourite Restaurants: Botanist (for the incredible cocktail program), Meat and Bread (for the sandwiches) and Tractor (for the fresh salads).
- Hidden Gems: The Seawall in Coal Harbour is forgotten if you don’t live there, but it’s a hit of activity with seaplanes, cruise ships, houseboats, the 9 o’clock gun and an incredible view of the mountains.
- Best Chocolate Chip Cookies: Giovane in the Fairmont Pacific Rim!!
Point Grey is an affluent neighbourhood on the Westside, located between Alma St and Blanca St (between Kitsilano and UBC), with the Ocean to the North and W 16th to the South.
Point Grey is a quiet residential neighbourhood of mostly expensive detached houses with some condos along the major arteries. It’s a fairly quiet neighbourhood, you’ll find lots of people who work (or used to work) at UBC along with an older generation of residents and a younger generation of residents taking advantage of the proximity to UBC and West Point Grey private school. Point Grey has the benefit of being home to Spanish Banks and Jericho Beach, two big beautiful beaches great for beaching, swimming, sailing, windsurfing and paddle boarding. The main artery is West 10th Ave, home to restaurants, shops and amenities, along with Alma St and W Broadway and W 4th as you enter Kits.
- My Favourite Restaurants: Baru Latino (for a great night out), Yuji’s from Japan (for legit, amazing Japanese food), and The Diner (for a taste of Britain)
- Hidden Gems: Pacific Spirit Park, a lush and large forest with trails, perfect to get some exercise, for yourself or with your dog.
- Best Chocolate Chip Cookies: We’re going with cinnamon buns in this neighbourhood, head to Grounds for Coffee for the most decadent and tasty in the city!
Kerrisdale is the area from about W 33rd to W 57th, Arbutus to Blenheim.
Kerrisdale is a great area of town. It’s known for both an older population who are long term owners of some of the beautiful character houses, and a young population of new families thanks to the elementary school, high school and private schools (Crofton House) in the area. For real estate, you’ll find a mix: 1970’s condos and townhouses, high rise condos with amazing views of the city (many of which are age restricted to 55+ owners), old character houses, new houses and some rental properties. Kerrisdale has wide streets with big ol’ trees. There are two main streets, Arbutus and W 41st, where you can find all the restaurants, shops and amenities. There are a lot of great coffee shops and lunch spots, with some great new dinner spots that opened in the last few years.
- My Favourite Restaurants: Bufala (for the delicious pizzas and great wine list), Jinya (for the veg ramens!), Faubourg (for breakfast sandwiches on buttery croissants).
- Hidden Gems: The Arbutus Greenway, a fairly new (yet still expected to improve) bike and walking path winding its way from Kits through to Kerrisdale, with some really unique views of the neighbourhood on the way!
- Best Chocolate Chip Cookies: Moore’s Bakery, it’s one of those places where you know there’s a lot of thought and love going into their products!
UBC is its own unique corner of Vancouver, located on the westernmost tip from Blanca heading west, between Marine Dr and W 16th.
The area is home to the University of British Columbia, so you’ll find a lot of students, teachers and researchers who live nearby. In terms of real estate, there are condos and townhouses, and large, expensive detached houses (both old and new). Many of the condos and townhouses are on long term pre-paid leasehold lots, which means the land is owned by the UBC Properties Trust. These properties were built in the 1990’s and onwards with 99-year leases (typically) so there are still decades left on the leases. These leasehold properties are viewed as quite safe from a mortgage perspective, compared to a typical leasehold property, since the land will always be owned by the UBC Properties Trust, which is in place to ensure that property is accessible to students and teachers. Owners also need to know about the yearly UBC Levy that they need to pay (typically a few hundred dollars per year) which is in place to ensure property owners on UBC land pay the same taxes that other owners in Vancouver pay for a similar property. UBC is a lively area next to a lot of nature – both Wreck Beach and Pacific Spirit Park are a short walk from the campus and allow residents to ensure the forests and beaches. You’ll also find a lot of restaurants and all of your typical amenities, including great sports complexes, grocery stores, salons, fitness and more.
- My Favourite Restaurants: The Corner Kitchen (for the flavourful Korean), Seedlings (for the creative and fresh vegetarian), Virtuous Pie (for the unique vegan pizzas!) and Jamjar Canteen (for the always incredible Lebanese)
- Hidden Gems: There’s a spot along Marine Dr (which I often stop at when going for a spin on my road bike) where you can watch the planes come in to the Airport. They come down pretty close so it’s a good spot to go to if you’re a travel fanatic like myself.
- Not a hidden gem by any means, but Wreck Beach! It’s the best beach experience in the city thanks to the uniqueness and fact that friendly people sell beers and food when you’re down there so you can be drinking cold ones while you soak up the sun.
- Best Chocolate Chip Cookies: Doughgirls Bakeshop knows what they’re doing with baked goods (you can order warm, fresh baked cookies with 30 mins notice), and they make a great breakfast and lunch too
SW Marine is located south of SW Marine Drive around Cambie St.
The area, known as “Marine Gateway” is a newer condo community with a number of high rise towers, commercial spaces, restaurants, shops and other amenities. The community was developed by the PCI Group with LEED Gold Standards and a focus on creating public spaces and easy access to daily needs. You’ll find Shoppers Drug Mart, T&T Supermarket, Starbucks, Pink Elephant Thai, Neptune Palace Seafood, a liquor store, Dublin Crossing Irish Pub, and a Cineplex Cinema! There is also a Steve Nash Fitness World if you want more than the condo gym. Marpole isn’t far as is the Designer Outlets near the Airport (with their own Canada Line Stop as well).
The area is serviced by a Translink Bus Terminal and it sits along the Canada Line Station with an easy accessible stop connecting residents to downtown Vancouver (in 15 mins) and Richmond (in 10 mins).
Homes in the area are all high rise condos built after 2012, and range from studio units to 3 bedroom condos. You’ll have incredible views of the Fraser River and southern mountains, and if you’re high enough, and lots of sun.
There are more condos going up across Marine Dr (and further down Marine off Fraser) so expect to see more residents and amenities in the next few years.
- My Favourite Restaurants: Pink Elephant Thai (get the deep fried banana for dessert!) and Dublin Crossing (for its two level decadent interior, and live music).
- Hidden Gems: The Cinema! I always enjoy a classic movie night.
Vancouver East Neighbourhoods
This neighbourhood is one of the oldest in the city with homes from as far back as the late 1800’s, mixed with multi-unit boutique homes, detached townhouses, artist studios, traditional corner stores, low income housing and a fine mix of native East Vancouverites and Young Families. The area offers great access to both downtown and Commercial Drive, and is a stones throw to Chinatown. It’s a neighbourhood in this city with a lot of resident pride and community events. Check out this Residents Association website for more information on Strathcona and it’s history: http://strathcona-residents.org/
The gentrification of Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhoods continues, with Chinatown and Strathcona seeing new stores and restaurants opening constantly, lots of heritage conversions, as well as some new condos. As expected, Chinatown is home to a large population of Chinese residents. The residents association has fought back against rezoning to prevent more towers from popping up in Chinatown in an effort to keep the historical roots of the area. Strathcona also has some of the strictest zoning and design requirements for new houses in order to maintain its history.
Strathcona is one of my favourite neighbourhoods in Vancouver.. it was the first area that I lived and I still love it after living in a few other ‘hoods.
- My Favourite Restaurants: Kokomo (for the fresh, healthy vegetarian meals), Phnom Penh (for everything, just go with a big group of friends so you can try as much as possible, just be ready to stand in line!) and Wilder Snail Cafe (for the panini wraps
- Hidden Gems: Harvest Community Foods for the great selection of pantry items and the salted caramels,
- Best Chocolate Chip Cookies: Benny Foods on Union St because when I lived in Strathcona I would be lucky enough to go in there just as they were pulling fresh cookies from the oven – it doesn’t get better than that! Since that isn’t a very reliable option, second best is Finch’s Market.
Gastown is located in the Downtown East neighbourhood of Vancouver, between about Richards St and Main St, north of Dunsmuir towards the water. It’s one of the hippest areas of Vancouver, in no small part thanks to the beautiful old buildings, semi cobble stone streets and prolific numbers of restaurants, coffee shops and shops. You’ll find local shopping, great restaurants and a lively nightlife in Gastown. This is the area of town closest to the Downtown Eastside, which is where low income residents with mental health and addiction issues live thanks to the Government owned housing and services in place to help them, so the area has a certain grittiness to it. In terms of real estate, you’ll find lofts (big and small), Live/Work units, heritage conversions (i.e. old buildings turned into residential units) and the huge Woodward’s condo development. Keep in mind that a lot of units in Gastown don’t come with parking, so to have a dedicated spot in one of the parkades in the neighbourhood could be a walk away from your apartment and a few hundred dollars per month. The area is generally pretty loud late into the night so you have to be okay with the noise!
- My Favourite Restaurants: Bestie (for their comforting German, and because I donated to their crowdfunding campaign to get off the ground), Lost + Found (for their tasty sandwich buns and big, art filled room), Tacofino (for the long bar and nachos) and Meet in Gastown (for their healthy and unhealthy veg options!).
- Hidden Gems: Some great restaurants in the alley’s, including Gringo and Salt! Crab Park is also a great place to get some sun.
- Best Chocolate Chip Cookies: Nelson the Seagull always has amazing baked goods and their avocado toast is the best
Mount Pleasant East
Mount Pleasant East is a large neighbourhood located to the Southeast of Downtown Vancouver. The boundaries of Mount Pleasant are the Hastings St. to the north, E 22nd Ave. to the south, Ontario St. to the west, and Clark Dr. to the east.
Mount Pleasant East is a great neighbourhood, and home to yours truly! The area is sandwiched between Main St and Fraser, so residents can enjoy the restaurants, local shops multiple parks and amenities in both areas. Main St in particular ha a lot going on from Chinatown up to E 30th so there is a lot to check out and enjoy. The area is home to a wide range of people thanks to the wide range of housing options! You’ll find condos built from the 1970s to now, including rental buildings, duplexes, townhouses and houses – both heritage and modern. There are lots of younger families that took up residence since prices here have always been a bit cheaper than the Westside. Many of the condos are built north of E Broadway on a hill, so a lot of residents can enjoy great views. The area is also home to a ton of local breweries where you can go for some interesting brews and a growler re-fill to a handful of spots a few minutes from each other. Mount Pleasant is home to the Mural Fest every year, along with a Car Free Day Festival.
The area of Mount Pleasant East west of Main St and south of W 2nd is home to a number of companies including Stilhavn, Hootsuite, Oak + Fort, Native, and more.
There will soon be a Skytrain line – extension of the Millennium Line – cutting through Mount Pleasant with a station off Great Northern Way and another at Kingsway and E Broadway on the new Independent Building. Expect more development to keep occurring in Mount Pleasant along with a future re-development of Kingsgate Mall.
- My Favourite Restaurants: Tojos Sushi (the lines develop every day for a reason), Anh and Chi (for their modern Vietnamese and beautiful room) and Tacofino Ocho (for their cocktails and next door location to my office at Stilhavn!)
- Hidden Gems: The Nuba on E 3rd just West of Main is tucked away to the point that not many people know about it. In fact, this commercial area of Mount Pleasant has a number of great restaurants and food stops.
- Best Chocolate Chip Cookies: Kafka’s Coffee, both the first location on Main and the new location my Emily Carr off Great Northern Way. Gene Coffee Bar had an amazing Pumpkin Chocolate Chip cookie last fall too!
The boundaries of Main are E 22nd Ave. to the north, W49th Ave. to the south, Ontario St. to the west, and Prince Edward St. to the east. The northern portion of this area is also called Riley Park.
This area of Main (South of 16th and East of Ontario St.) offers a rare mix of the best coffee shops in the city, independent cafes, eclectic antique stores, shops showcasing local designers, other labels or no label “gently used” clothes, and some great restaurant choices ranging from classic diners to a nice night out. The Main area has seen a surge of more young professionals in the last few years as real estate in this area is a little more affordable than its west counterparts. People are clamouring to buy the detached houses in this area – many of which are ripe for a renovation. You’ll also find some older and newer low rise condos, townhouses and duplexes.
- My Favourite Restaurants: The Acorn (for their creative and local vegetarian dishes), Chickpea (for the sauces! There are so many flavours to enjoy), and Trafiq (for the desserts!!)
- Hidden Gems: The shopping! There is great local shopping for clothing and a really good selection of home and antique stores south of E 16th, so the hidden gem is that cool thing you find while browsing!
- Best Chocolate Chip Cookies: Aperture (both regular and GF options), home of the most charming jazz inspired, plant filled coffee shop around.
Fraser is the area between E 16th and E 49th, from Prince Ed St to Glen Dr.
As you can imagine, the main draw here is Fraser St, which has a few key areas where you can find the restaurants and shops. The Fraserhood, the intersection at Fraser and Kingsway, has turned into a hot spot int he city recently thanks to some amazing restaurants: Sal y Limon, Savio Volpe, Les Faux Bourgeois, Bells & Whistles, Matchstick, Los Cuervos, and more. Head further south on Fraser until you get to King Ed, and you’ll find the next little area with shops, amenities and restaurants and then head further south to E 41st to hit the final group of restaurants and amenities! As for Real Estate, Fraser is what I would call an up and coming neighbourhood since it’s a bit cheaper than Main St but is only a few blocks away. The neighbourhood is mostly detached houses and duplexes, but you’ll find both old and new condos lining the main streets. One thing you have to watch out for in the Fraser area is the boggy land which could lead to sinking foundations. You’ll know it’s boggy when the sidewalk and roads are wonky. Houses built appropriately for the neighbourhood will remain straight on the ground thanks to the foundation piles keeping the house in place.
- My Favourite Restaurants: Sal y Limon (for the best causal Mexican in the City), Savio Volpe (for the best Italian in the City, in a gorgeous, mid century inspired room) and Jethro’s (for making my breakfast dreams come true).
- Hidden Gems: Le Marche St George, a great little cafe with great coffee, quiches and crepes.
- Best Chocolate Chip Cookies: Matchstick Coffee at Fraser and Kingsway, for the first chocolate chip cookie I loved in the city. Bonus! This location used to be a bank vault and still has the original vault door!
Grandview / Commercial Drive
Grandview / Commercial Drive is a neighbourhood located to the East of downtown Vancouver. The boundaries of Grandview / Commercial Drive are Venables to the north, E 22nd Ave to the south, Clark Dr. to the west, and Nanaimo St. to the east.
Tasty eats (healthy, unhealthy, vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, modern, they have it all!), vintage clothing boutiques, and lots of coffee shops: The Drive is a quirky, vibrant hood composed of a mix of demographics, something you’ll notice right away walking down the street. The area has a great community feel, and is home to “Italian Day” during the summer, a nod to its history, along with a Car Free Day. The area is dotted with parks, big trees, and sunny, west facing restaurant patios. In terms of real estate, the area is a mix of options, including co-ops, older 1970’s condos, new condos, townhouses, duplexes and detached houses! This area is continuing to see a lot of interest from developers building homes for families so you’ll find two and three bedroom residences in boutique complexes and heritage restorations. Given the location of the Drive, you might get some great views of the city of mountains from the area. The Skytrain Station at Commercial and E Broadway offers access to both the Millennium and Expo line. Expect to see more development in Commercial Drive, specifically at the Safeway site near the Skytrain as it’s slated to be a big condo community.
- My Favourite Restaurants though there are too many to name, but here goes: La Grotta del Formaggio (for their incredible, design your own sandwiches), Cafe Deux Soleils (for their breakfast options!), Jamjar (for the flavourful Lebanese), Fets Whiskey Kitchen (they are pros at both food and whiskey), Havana (for the patio), and Bandidas Taqueria (for the veggie Mexican)
- Hidden Gems: Hardly a hidden gem, but Trout Lake is such a good spot to go to for a run, a walk with your dog or a day by the lake.
Best Chocolate Chip Cookies: Fratelli’s Italian Bakery.. the name should explain it but they’re pros!
Victoria is the area south of Grandview/Commercial Drive and north of E 41st, east of Knight and west of Collingwood.
The area is residential aside from Kingsway and the a few shops on Commercial Street, Victoria Dr and E 41st. In terms of real estate, the area consists mostly of detached houses, though Commercial St is a unique little enclave that features low rise condo buildings, and family sized townhouse developments. Commercial St also features a handful of great cafes and shops. Head to Kingsway for all your standard amenities and a ton of restaurants, with lots of great Asian and Indian options. You’ll also find the random but fun Vancouver Alpen Club (a German restaurant and event space in a alpine style building) so there’s something for everyone! Victoria is close to the south end of Trout Lake (and the amazing Trout Lake Community Centre) and Nanaimo Skytrain Station as well.
- My Favourite Restaurants: Vegan Pizza House (for the edge to edge toppings), Green Lettuce (for the amazing Indian) and Chau Veggie Express (for the really well done vegetarian Vietnamese). The area does have a lot of non-vegetarian places (Vancouver Alpen Club is will satisfy any meat cravings), but I’m always drawn to the veggie options!
- Hidden Gems: Second Nature Home Boutique for some of the loveliest, cutest, most useful products out there so you can feel good about supporting local.
- Best Chocolate Chip Cookies: A welcome addition to the neighbourhood, Flourist takes the cake for best cookies! How could they not, they specialize in flours and good ingredients and serve it as a slice!
Hastings is a large neighbourhood located on the northern part of Vancouver. The boundaries of Hastings are the Burrard inlet to the north, Hastings St. to the south, Venables St. to the west, and Nanaimo St. to the east.
East of downtown, Hastings is an older family neighbourhood known for its old-fashioned delis and bakeries though downtown life is slowly making its way further east, with new restaurants and shops opening up as younger people continue to populate this area. Real Estate is still picking up in this area, with a mix of newer condos along Hastings St, 1970’s condos tucked into the neighbourhood, some heritage style detached houses and a few townhouses and loft buildings as well. Expect new condo buildings to pop up along Hastings (specifically at the main intersections) in the next few years thanks to the new Grandview Community Plan allowing more height. This area unfortunately doesn’t have close access to a Skytrain line, but it does have a great bike path through to downtown, along with a regular bus system. You have easy access to both Burnaby and North Van for commuters.
- My Favourite Restaurants: Mr Red Cafe (for their legit Vietnamese cuisine), Jackalope’s Neighbourhood Dive (for the nachos), Tacofino Commissary (for the casual setting and tacos) and Bistro Wagon Rouge (for the classic but casual french with a good wine list)
- Hidden Gems: The Breweries! This is another area of town where you can walk/bike to quite a few great breweries all within a few blocks. You’ll find Parallel 49, Storm, Andina, to name a few!
- Best Chocolate Chip Cookies: Pallet, along with their design your own breakfast sandwiches
Hastings East is a large neighbourhood located on the northeastern corner of the city of Vancouver. The boundaries of Hastings East are the Burrard inlet to the north, Hastings St. to the south, Nanaimo St. to the west, and Boundary Rd. to the east.
Hastings is quite the up and coming neighbourhood, with primarily 1950’s and newer detached houses, though there are a few condo buildings along Hastings. Many of the detached houses are sitting on larger than normal lots (typically longer than the standard 122′). You have all of the shops and restaurants along Hastings, with some family friendly parks and lots of great people (seriously everyone I know who lives in this area is a solid human being). This is one of those areas that not many people initially consider, but everyone loves once they live there! There is lots of family entertainment nearby too: in winter, it’s home to the Vancouver Giants; in summer, the PNE, Playland and New Brighton Pool keep things fun. This neighbourhood puts you close to Highway 1 offering easy access to North Van, Burnaby and the burbs.
- My Favourite Restaurants: Tamam Palestinian (for the entire menu!), the Roundel Cafe (for the corn pancakes) and the East Cafe (for the simple but tasty wraps).
- Hidden Gems: Pandora Park and Burrard View Park, great parks to enjoy the neighbourhood and views
- Best Chocolate Chip Cookies: Laughing Bean Coffee, though they also carry Grounds for Coffee Cinnamon Buns so you can’t fail with your sweet selection!
Collingwood is an area at the easternmost edge of Vancouver. The boundaries of Collingwood are E 29th to the north, E 41st to the south, Nanaimo St. to the west, and Boundary Rd. to the east.
Collingwood is both a large condo community and a neighbourhood of detached houses. The condo community is centred around the Joyce-Collingwood Skytrain Station (along the Expo line) given the easy access for residents to get downtown or further out to Burnaby. There are number of high rise condos, built anywhere from the early 1990’s to now in this area. Many of these condos have great views of the mountains since the surrounding area is low rise development, but if you’re facing north you’re likely also getting more noise from the Skytrain line. You’ll also find townhouses and a lot of green space and parks in this neighbourhood. Outside of the condo community are detached houses and duplexes. Parts of Collingwood are zoned differently than much of Vancouver to allow for small suites in duplex and townhouse units, so you’ll find those options in newer builds. Kingsway is the biggest artery in the neighbourhood, both for travel and for amenities. There’s a large Safeway and BCLC at Kingsway and Tyne St, along with restaurants, banks, and other amenities lining the street. You’ll also find some quick restaurants along Joyce near the Skytrain entrance. Metrotown and Central Park (which has tennis courts, pitch and putt, playgrounds, an outdoor pool, etc) is only a 30 minute walk or a 7 minute Skytrain ride.
- My Favourite Restaurants: Off the Grid Waffles (for the delectable waffles), Peaceful Restaurants (for the noodles!), Chosun Korean BBQ (for the good BBQ) and finally Panaderia Latin Bakery (for the sandwiches! You’ll also be able to pick up some grocery items and baked goods)
- Hidden Gems: The easy access! It’s nice being in a residential area with Commercial Drive, Chinatown and downtown a short train ride West, and Metrotown Mall and Movie Theatre a short train ride east.
- Best Chocolate Chip Cookies: Purdy’s Chocolatier which doesn’t quite offer your typical cookies, but you’ll definitely be able to satisfy your sweet tooth!
Fraserview (and Killarney and Champlain Heights)
Fraserview is the area in the SE corner of Vancouver, east of Elliot St and south of Marine Dr along the River.
Fraserview was always a fairly small area of the city tucked into the bottom corner along the river but thanks to a new Community Plan and a lot of development, the area is becoming a bit more populated with more amenities for the residents.
The area has a number of City of Vancouver leasehold buildings (with 100year leases starting in the 1990’s, typically) and some co-op properties, along with a handful of freehold, low rise condo and townhouse complexes for much better prices than you’ll see anywhere else in Vancouver. The residents have always been able to enjoy a quiet lifestyle with the river walkway and access to some trails nearby (every time I’m down there I see residents saying hello to each other as they walk their dogs). The last few years has seen a significant amount of development of new freehold high rise condo buildings with a number of amenities and shops on the ground floor, dubbed “The River District”. You’ll find the River District Community Centre, new sports fields and leagues, community gardens, a weekly farmers market, kids play areas, along with amenities like Save On Foods, Starbucks, Everything Wine and a number of restaurants, banks, etc. Champlain Square (up Kerr St) has a few more amenities, and Market Crossing Shopping complex and Metrotown are also nearby (via a short drive or bus) with a lot more restaurants and shops to service the needs of the area.
The Developers who are building the new condos in the area (primarily Wesgroup and Polygon) have put a lot of effort in creating a community with events, though the area is new enough that it will take awhile to really develop, but it’s certainly on its way. There are enough shops open now that your basic daily needs can be met with more coming in the next 5 years.
Your transit options in this area are the bus system and an easy drive to Burnaby, New West and Richmond.
Champlain Heights is north of Fraserview, between Champlain St and Boundary Ave, and is home to a lot of older leasehold townhouses (so if you see a 3 or 4 bedroom unit in the area for an unbelievable price, it’s because it’s leasehold) and Killarney is the larger suburban area north of Fraserview and west of Champlain Heights, home to a mix of detached houses and townhouses. You’ll find a community Centre, golf course and more.
- My Favourite Restaurants: The Romer’s Burgers has been here for awhile, so it’s a staple of the area.
- Hidden Gems: Everett Crowley Park is a nice place to go for a walk with the dog!
- Best Chocolate Chip Cookies: Bonnie’s Bread in Champlain Square.. it always smells good and the make new items throughout the day!