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Gastown

No trip to Vancouver is complete without spending some time exploring Gastown on foot. This bustling neighborhood grew from a single tavern founded in 1867 by the steamboat captain ‘Gassy’ Jack Deighton, who the area is named after. Today, Gastown is a National Historic Site and is famous for its trendy food and drink scene, independent galleries and fashion boutiques. It’s a hipster’s haven, where Victorian-era buildings and cobbled streets meet cosmopolitan cool.

Gastown is home to some of the city’s favourite foodie hotspots. From farm-to-table fare to Pan-Asian cuisine, and from fine-dining restaurants to low-key bistros, there’s certainly no shortage of choice. For after-dinner drinks, you’ll find plenty of lively pubs and chic cocktail bars where you can chat to the locals and soak up the vibrant atmosphere.

If you’re looking to pick up a souvenir from your trip to Vancouver, Gastown is the place to go. You’ll find everything from fashion boutiques, to interior design stores, to unique gift shops, not to mention the one-of-a-kind keepsakes on offer at the art galleries. It’s almost impossible to walk past these intriguing shop windows without having a peek inside.

Whether you come for culture, the food or the shopping, you won’t be able to resist falling in love with Gastown. You can easily spend a morning or afternoon soaking up the sights and sounds of the neighbourhood, and you’ll soon understand why it’s one of Vancouver’s most popular hangouts.

Why add Gastown to your itinerary

The best way to explore Gastown is by taking a leisurely stroll around its historic streets. Start at Water Street to see the picturesque buildings, quirky souvenir shops and iconic Steam Clock. At the end of the street you’ll come across Maple Tree Square, home to the famous statue of ‘Gassy’ Jack Deighton. If you’re a history or architecture buff and want to delve deeper into the neighbourhood’s past, walking tours are readily available. Alternatively, you can enjoy a bird’s eye view of the neighbourhood and city from the observation deck at Vancouver Lookout.

When it comes to dining, there’s an eclectic selection of cuisine on offer. In fact, Gastown is home to many of the city’s most sought-after restaurants and has a great selection of cafés offering Instagram-worthy brunches. If you can’t make up your mind and want to try a little bit of everything, food and drink tours allow you to sample some of the best culinary delights the city has to offer. Don’t miss poutine (Canada’s favourite chips, gravy and cheese dish) and the locally-brewed craft beer and wine.

Every year, Gastown hosts several crowd-drawing festivals, including the cycling tournament Gastown Grand Prix and the internationally-renowned Vancouver Jazz Festival.  There’s a growing arts and music scene to - check out an improv show or listen to live music. The Inuit Gallery of Vancouver and Coastal Peoples Fine Art Gallery are also well worth checking out if you’ve got a spare couple of hours. If you’re in need of some retail therapy, the shops along Water Street are ideal for picking up a quirky souvenir.

Eager to visit Gastown during your Canada adventure? Vancouver is automatically included as part of our Canada Western Self Drive base itinerary, so you’ll have plenty of time to explore this historic neighbourhood. Head over to our itinerary builder now to start creating your dream trip.

Gastown Essential Information

Where

Gastown is located in the northeast side of Downtown Vancouver, next to Downtown Eastside.

Opening times

You can visit Gastown 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Browse the shops and historic sights during the day or visit at night when the bars and nightclubs come alive - the choice is yours.

Getting in

You can get to Gastown via the Skytrain (Waterfront Station is right next to it), or on the Seabus from North Vancouver.

Dress code

As one of Vancouver’s most stylish neighbourhoods, Gastown is a place where you can really dress to impress (though most restaurants and bars have a casual dress code).

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