There are many reasons why Vancouver has consistently ranked amongst the top cities in the world by Condé Nast Traveler magazine and was selected as host city for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
The lush, green city landscape, surrounded by the mountains and the ocean provides outdoor enthusiasts with endless opportunity for activities and adventure. Multiple beaches within the city provide the perfect setting for a relaxing afternoon soaking in the sunshine during the summer months. Three local mountains just a short drive out to North or West Vancouver offer skiing and snowboarding for those looking to get active during the winter months. World-class shopping, restaurants, sporting events and theatre provide excellent indoor entertainment on rainy days.
Vancouver also has an abundant supply of lodging available throughout the city and surrounding areas, ranging from bed and breakfasts, to vacation rental condos/homes to five star hotels. Whatever you choose to do while on vacation in Vancouver, there will be a perfectly-corresponding place to rest your head, as near as you’d like to be to your favourite sights and activities.
This article explores the various Vancouver lodging areas and neighbourhoods and should help you determine the most suitable choice for your next vacation.
Bright Lights, Big City – Staying Downtown
If you love to be in the middle of the action and enjoy the nightlife than staying downtown should be your first choice. Most nightclubs and theatres will be found in this area. Downtown is also where you’ll find the famous stretch of top-notch shops along Robson Street.
Many large hotels will be found in the centre of the downtown action with a large selection of vacation rental lodging in the Yaletown and Coal Harbour neighbourhoods. These neighbourhoods are slightly less busy and noisy and have plenty of green space. Many Coal Harbour condominium complexes border Burrard Inlet near the convention centre and cruise ship terminal and provide easy access to the float plane docks with service to Vancouver Island. Most Yaletown condos can be found alongside False Creek and are just a two minute ferry ride to Granville Island for the markets. Most lodging in this areas is newer and more modern as well.
Extending just a little northwest from the core downtown area you’ll find the West End neighbourhood. Lodging in this area will be nearby many shops and restaurants and so long as you’ve got a comfortable pair of shoes, is walkable to the downtown area. The biggest perk of staying in the West End is that you’re in one of the closest areas to Stanley Park which is a must-visit attraction and includes the Vancouver Aquarium, famous totem poles, spectacular beaches and picturesque hiking and biking trails.
On the Edge of the Action – Mount Pleasant, Riley Park, and South Cambie
If you prefer a more peaceful night’s rest and don’t want to drive or ride a bus for long to the action of downtown than the areas of Mount Pleasant, Riley Park and South Cambie would be a wise lodging choice. These areas extend south from the downtown area and centre around the trendy Main Street corridor with great coffee shops and independent retailers selling vintage clothing, antiques, records or other interesting brick-a-brack.
The south end of this area of Vancouver also boasts Queen Elizabeth Park – the highest point in Vancouver with amazing views over the city, and a great fountain for snapping some interesting pics.
There are a few hotels in these areas but you’re more likely to find a nice vacation rental home or condo in a smaller complex as opposed to the many high-rises you’ll find downtown.
Laid Back Vancouver Westside – Fairview, Kitsilano and West Point Grey
If you love a peaceful stroll along the water, stopping off for a killer cuppa joe and a browse around some fun shops then the Vancouver Westside areas of Fairview, Kitsilano and West Point Grey are where you’ll enjoy staying most.
These are all beautifully kept and landscaped areas. The north edge of these areas borders English Bay and has some expansive beaches to enjoy in the summertime. The west edge borders the UBC Endowment Lands which are great for hiking or biking.
Both Broadway and West 4th Avenue are great streets to wander up and down for some retail therapy. Aside from these streets though, these areas are mostly residential and very quiet. There is no skytrain service to the west side of Vancouver so getting around or heading downtown is best done by car but could be done with a bus journey as well.
Like most areas outside of downtown, the majority of lodging in the Vancouver Westside area consists of bed and breakfasts and vacation rental homes or condos.
Superb South Vancouver – Dunbar and Kerrisdale
The southwest end of Vancouver is beautiful, but a little out of the way for tourists. There are some great upscale shops and restaurants to enjoy in the area though and if you’ve got a car it’s not too far of a drive to see the sights. The Dunbar neighbourhood also borders the UBC Endowment Lands that consist of a vast forested area with excellent trails for hiking and biking and gorgeous ocean views.
The south end of Vancouver is also very convenient to the airport and closer to the ferry terminal in Tsawwassen if you decide to make a journey to the capital of BC, Victoria.
When it comes to lodging, you’re likely to find a good selection of larger vacation rental homes in this area.