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Best Vancouver Shopping: Neighborhoods, Markets, and Malls

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Whether it's hunting through vintage shops on Main Street, walking through Canada's first mall in West Vancouver, or scoping fashion on Robson Street, a Vancouver shopping experience is as varied as the clothes, accessories, housewares, and cosmetics for sale.

1. Best Shopping Streets

© Chloë Ernst
The best shopping neighborhoods tend to have a great street as their axis. Kitsilano wouldn't be a haven for shoppers without West Fourth Avenue, just as downtown centers on Robson Street.
  • Robson Street: International brands cram the downtown street, making it one of the busiest shopping destinations in Canada.
  • West Fourth: Dozens of independent boutiques create a relaxed feel in Kitsilano.
  • Granville Island: Many artisans make their retail home in the tiny pocket of land under the Granville Street Bridge.
  • South Granville: High-end fashions and upscale housewares draw the wealthy to South Granville. For an alternative, browse the artwork along Gallery Row.
  • Main Street: Designers and trendsetters have set up shop in Mount Pleasant.

2. Shopping at Markets

photo Chloë Ernst
Vancouver's varied shopping markets draw crowds and tend to be busy and eclectic. Being a port city on the Pacific Rim, Vancouver has an overwhelming selection of goods at the night markets in Chinatown and Richmond. For something local, head to the farmers' and public markets.
  • Asian night markets: The Chinatown market is the smallest and most convenient for visitors to explore, but there are two much larger night markets in Richmond. The night markets are summer-only events, generally running Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays.
  • Public markets: The Granville Island Public Market is a mainstay on the travel and foodie circuit, but the Lonsdale Quay Public Market makes a nice alternative. To reach Lonsdale, cross over to North Vancouver on the SeaBus.
  • Farmers' markets: For everything local, stroll through a neighborhood farmers’ market. Most Vancouver areas have their own, including the West End, Kitsilano, Granville Island, Commercial Drive, and Ambleside on the North Shore.
  • Craft and holiday-season markets: Craft and holiday markets tend to take place in the spring and just before Christmas.

3. Top Vancouver Malls

© Chloë Ernst
Malls are a more staid experience than shopping along a street or through a market, but the options for goods often can't be beat.
  • Downtown Vancouver malls: The main downtown mall is Pacific Centre, which runs through an underground bunker. A few smaller malls have more limited offerings.
  • Out-of-downtown Malls: To expand the selection, head out-of-downtown to Oakridge Shopping Centre close to Kerrisdale, or Park Royal Shopping Centre in North Vancouver -- which was Canada’s first mall when it opened in 1950.
  • Metrotown: This is Vancouver's largest mall, and it's actually located in the neighboring city of Burnaby. It's easy to reach by SkyTrain.
  • Richmond malls: The Canada Line heads out to Richmond, where Hong Kong-style malls provide fun and diverse shopping options. Some of the largest are Aberdeen Centre, Yaohan Centre, and Richmond Centre. The malls are also a fantastic spot to catch Chinese New Year celebrations.
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