Posted: 10/29/2023 | October 29th, 2023
Spend a few days here, and you’ll see why it’s consistently ranked as one of the most livable cities in the world.
Vancouver is the third largest in Canada. As a traveler, there aren’t a ton of areas you are going to stay in as you’ll want to be fairly centrally located but Vancouver is still big enough that you can spend a lot of time commuting if you aren’t careful.
To help you figure out where to stay in Vancouver, I’ve created this detailed list. It includes a brief description of each area, why I like it, and my favorite accommodations in that neighborhood so you know exactly what to expect.
Here’s everything you need to know about where to stay in Vancouver:
Where to Stay in Vancouver for First-Time Visitors: Yaletown
This upscale neighborhood just south of downtown is perfect for families, couples, and first-time visitors. There are half a dozen parks to enjoy when the weather is nice and you’re right along the water, which means views of nearby Granville Island. It’s also one of the trendier neighborhoods, with lots of chic shops, cocktail bars, healthy restaurants, and likely the odd celebrity if you look carefully. There aren’t many hotels here so it has a more residential feel than other parts of the city. The major soccer, hockey, and football arenas are all here too.
Best places to stay in Yaletown:
- MIDRANGE: Rosedale on Robson Suite Hotel – This three-star hotel features rooms with kitchenettes that have microwaves, stovetops, and a fridge. There’s also a continental breakfast with fresh waffles. The rooms, while dated, are large, have good light, and have comfortable beds. There’s a TV and desk in each room too and the hotel has an indoor pool. I think it’s the best value hotel in the area.
- LUXURY: OPUS Vancouver – This upscale, five-star hotel has large, contemporary rooms painted in bright, vivid colors that feature Nespresso machines, super comfy beds, desks, and flat-screen TVs. The bathrooms are large, with heated floors, decent shower pressure, and plush bathrobes. There’s a stylish cocktail bar downstairs as well as a fitness center too.
Where to Stay in Vancouver for Foodies: Gastown & Chinatown
Gastown is one of the most iconic areas of Vancouver. With its Victorian-era buildings and cobblestone streets, it’s one of the most photographed areas of town. It’s also one of the oldest. There are loads of bars here too, so it’s a good choice if you want to experience the city’s nightlife.
Since Gastown isn’t huge, it often gets lumped together with Chinatown, which is just to the south. This buzzing district is the biggest Chinatown in the country, owing to the fact that immigrants from Asia historically arrived in Vancouver. Don’t miss the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden while you’re here. It’s gorgeous!
Best places to stay in Gastown & Chinatown:
- BUDGET: Cambie Hostel – Gastown – Housed in a building dating back to the late 1800s, this party hostel has a super lively bar that draws in crowds of locals. It can get incredibly loud (bring earplugs!), but that makes it super easy to meet people. The dorm beds are comfy, though they don’t have curtains or outlets, and there are lockers for storage. The breakfast, while not included, is excellent (you can get eggs, bacon, and hash browns and veg options).
- MIDRANGE: Skwachàys Lodge – This three-star boutique hotel features gorgeous Indigenous art throughout the property (there’s even a gallery in the lobby too). The rooms are spacious and colorful, with unique art and decorations. Each room has a kitchenette (in case you want to cook) as well as a desk and a very comfortable bed. The included breakfast is delicious and has lots of variety.
Where to Stay in Vancouver for Luxury: Coal Harbour
Located between Gastown and the West End, this waterfront district is one of the more upscale parts of town (there’s no budget accommodation here). There are lots of luxury apartments and, during the day, it’s pretty laid-back. It’s right near the massive Stanley Park too, where you’ll find beaches, a seawall path, forest paths, the aquarium, and much more. There’s also a nice trail along the waterfront (the Seawall Water Walk) where you can go for a stroll to take in the views. If you’re heading out on a cruise from Vancouver, this is the best area to stay in since, you’re close to the harbor.
Best places to stay in the Coal Harbour:
Where to Stay in Vancouver for Families: West End
Also bordering Stanley Park, the West End is a mostly quiet district away from the hustle and bustle, which is confined to its main commercial streets. It’s where you’ll find some of the best beaches (specifically English Bay and Sunset Beach) and the best place in town to get outdoors. If you want to cycle and explore or go kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding, this is the place. It’s probably the best area to stay in if you’re visiting in the summer.
Best places to stay in the West End:
- BUDGET: HI Vancouver Downtown – Tucked into a quieter part of the West End, this hostel recently reopened after being renovated. The dorm beds don’t have curtains, but the mattresses are thick and incredibly comfy. There’s also a relaxing rooftop terrace with views over the city, a game room with pool, a library, a co-working space, a fully equipped kitchen, and a TV room. It’s not a super lively hostel, but it’s still pretty easy to meet people.
- MIDRANGE: Blue Horizon Hotel – This contemporary four-star hotel offers a lot of value. There’s an indoor pool, gym, sauna, and steam room, and an on-site restaurant where you can get breakfast. The rooms are large, with desks, coffee/tea makers, and flat-screen TVs, and the beds are super comfortable. The bathrooms aren’t huge, but the showers have good pressure (a big plus for me).
- LUXURY: Shangri-La Vancouver – This luxe five-star hotel features large, bright rooms with huge beds, floor-to-ceiling windows, a Nespresso machine, a desk, and spacious bathrooms with great showers and plush bathrobes. The lobby is massive and elegant; there’s also an outdoor pool, a spa, and a gym where you can take private yoga and Pilates lessons. This is one of the most luxurious hotels in the city. If you want opulent, stay here!
Where to Stay in Vancouver for Sightseeing: Granville Island
Granville Island is one of the most popular destinations in Canada. Technically a peninsula, it is located just across False Creek from Yaletown and is home to the massively popular Public Market, a huge indoor market with restaurants, fresh produce, crafts, and more. There are also numerous galleries and a large amphitheater. It’s the perfect place to wander, window shop, eat, and enjoy the summer weather. Be sure to grab a drink at the Granville Island Brewing Co, one of the first cottage breweries in the entire province!
Best places to stay in Granville:
- MIDRANGE: Granville Island Hotel – This is the only hotel on Granville Island. A three-star property, it has everything you need for a relaxing and affordable stay. There’s a spa, sauna, and gym, and bikes are available for rent if you want to explore the area. The stylish rooms have large beds, desks, coffee/tea makers, and plenty of light. The bathrooms aren’t huge, but everything is modern and clean, and the showers have good pressure. The breakfast is delicious and has lots of options.
Vancouver has it all: amazing food, lots of museums and galleries, and plentiful green space. With the both ocean and mountains right at your doorstep, it’s a fun city to visit year-round. Just make sure to stick to the neighborhoods above. Do that, and you’ll get to see the best Vancouver has to offer, no matter your travel style or budget.
Book Your Trip to Vancouver: Logistical Tips and Tricks
Book Your Flight
Use Skyscanner or Momondo to find a cheap flight. They are my two favorite search engines because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is left unturned. Start with Skyscanner first though because they have the biggest reach!
Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld as they have the biggest inventory and best deals. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels.
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:
- Safety Wing (best for everyone)
- Insure My Trip (for those over 70)
- Medjet (for additional evacuation coverage)
Looking for the Best Companies to Save Money With?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use to save money when I’m on the road. They will save you money when you travel too.
Want More Information on Vancouver?
Be sure to visit our robust destination guide on Vancouver for even more planning tips!
The post Where to Stay in Vancouver: The Best Neighborhoods for Your Visit appeared first on Nomadic Matt’s Travel Site.