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Downtown Vancouver Visitor Guide

Attractions, Hotels, Bars, and Restaurants in the City Center

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Most visitors will start a Vancouver trip in the city center. It's a major hub, especially for public transportation and large hotel chains. But you'll also find lots to see and do, as well as places to eat and drink. If you want to be introduced to the best and busiest Vancouver has to offer, check into Downtown.

1. Where is Downtown Vancouver

© Chloë Ernst

Downtown Vancouver is the city center and business district. It extends from the waterfront at the Vancouver Convention Centre and Canada Place, down along Burrard and Granville streets. Travelers looking for major hotels, cultural attractions, and nightlife will spend most of their time Downtown.

It's easy to get around to other city neighborhoods and attractions with bus routes, SkyTrain lines, and SeaBus service across Burrard Inlet.

The Vancouver Visitor Centre is a helpful resource for travelers with tourist brochures, printed guides, and event tickets. They are located Downtown:
Address: 200 Burrard St.
Phone: 604-683-2000
Hours: Open daily, hours vary by season

2. What to Do in Downtown Vancouver

© Chloë Ernst

Removed from the corporate office towers, Canada Place is the starting point for most city visitors. It's where cruise ships dock and where hop-on, hop-off buses depart for city tours.

Downtown Vancouver is also the cultural heart of the city with major art galleries and performance venues. The Vancouver Art Gallery and the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art are two large Downtown galleries. And there are regular theater, dance, and music performances at Downtown venues like the Queen Elizabeth Theatre and The Orpheum.

3. Shopping Downtown on Robson Street

© Chloë Ernst
Lined with international brand-name shops like Bebe, Levi's, Armani, and Banana Republic, Robson Street means shopping in Vancouver. Most of the storefront section of Robson runs through the West End, but the Downtown stretch of Robson is studded with large stores like Winner's, Future Shop, and Chapters.

4. Where to Eat in Downtown Vancouver

© Chloë Ernst
Being a business district, cheap and quick lunch options abound. Downtown food carts are growing in popularity, and serve everything from venison and pulled pork to Asian-style tacos and fresh seafood. More upscale restaurants -- like Le Crocodile and Hawksworth at the Rosewood Hotel Georgia -- cater to high-profile business lunches, but become more romantic dinner destinations come evening.

5. Where to Stay in Downtown Vancouver

© Chloë Ernst

Majors hotel chains dominate the accommodation options in Downtown Vancouver. Close to the waterfront and Vancouver Convention Centre, you'll find hotels suited for cruisers departing from Canada Place. Business hotels tend to be close to Burrard and West Georgia streets, including the iconic Fairmont Hotel Vancouver.

For budget Downtown hotels, you'll need to head south along Granville Street to a slightly more rundown side of the city center. Keep in mind that at this end of the city you'll also be in the city's busiest nightlife district.

6. Downtown Vancouver Nightlife

© Chloë Ernst

With live music bars, dance clubs, and cocktail lounges, Downtown Vancouver is a huge draw for partiers seeking out a fun and varied nightlife. You'll find a concentration of bars on Granville Street, which is dubbed as the city's entertainment district. The scene can be rowdy and young -- especially on Friday and Saturday nights. Pubs and music venues tend to be more relaxed.

Hotel lounges are a favorite option for an older crowd, including Uva wine bar at the Moda Hotel and Bacchus Restaurant & Lounge at the Wedgewood Hotel and Spa. But most major hotels will have a bar serving nightcaps.

Being Downtown, you'll also be well placed to catch cultural performances like the Vancouver Symphony at The Orpheum or Ballet BC at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. And throughout the year, events and festivals add to the long list of things to do.

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