Small boutiques with unique items, department stores, local artisans and high-end haute couture make up the diversity of the Vancouver shopping experience. Whether you’re looking to splurge or save money by window shopping, each neighborhood has something special to offer. Granville Island is one of Vancouver’s most popular shopping areas for locals and visitors. The market has pretty much everything you could want: fresh fragrant flowers, artisan cheeses, gourmet meals, a kids market, art, jewelry and just about everything on Granville Island.
One of Vancouver’s most anticipated stores has opened and the locals are thrilled. The popular department store, Nordstrom, has built a house in the city for you and it is safe to say that they cover you. From premium labels to three different dining options, it’s easy to spend an afternoon here. For designer products at a fraction of the cost, go to McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Vancouver Airport. Here you will find high-end brands known as Coach, Cole Haan, Hugo Boss and Armani, to name a few, at discounted prices. Don’t have a car? No sweating. The Canada Line station is a stone’s throw from the outlet so you can leave the car at home.
1. Gas Town
One of Vancouver’s oldest districts was the original downtown. The area is named after “Gassy” Jack Deighton, who was a sailor from the United Kingdom. “Gassy Jack”, as the locals know, came to the city in 1887 and founded the first salon. Today, locals and visitors alike can wander the cobbled streets that pave the way for restaurants, pubs, cafes, shops and galleries. Vancouver has many talented artists and fashion designers, and Gastown is a magnet for these talents. Enter one of the galleries or boutiques to catch a piece of local style and unique pieces.
2. Nord Storm
With 230,000 square feet of retail space, Nordstrom’s flagship store in Vancouver covers everyone. Customers can expect to find everything from perfumes and beauty items to shoes, handbags, clothing and more for men, women and children. It’s not just clothing and the like that you’ll find at Nordstrom, they have covered your appetite by offering three different dining options. For something quick and casual, stop by Ebar for a coffee, pastry, smoothie, sandwich, or salad. When you want to kick back and relax, check out Habitant. This casual lounge offers alcoholic drinks (including handcrafted cocktails) that you can enjoy with a light meal or an aperitif. Bistro Verde is their full-service restaurant and bar that serves entrees, salads, entrees and desserts made with local ingredients. Wash it off with a glass of wine, a pint of beer or one of their specialty cocktails.
3. The Hudson’s Bay Company
The Hudson’s Bay Company can be dated The Hudson’s Bay Company can be dated 1670, and it has evolved over time to meet the needs of their customers. This location in downtown Vancouver on Granville St. and West Georgia St. is huge! They have just about everything you need for the home, your wardrobe, shoe collection, accessories, beauty products and more. They also offer affordable and high-end items, so whatever your budget, you will find something here. In this department store is also the second largest TopShop, a fashionable clothing chain from the United Kingdom. The department store is attached to the Pacific Center and is accessible from the street or inside the mall.
4. Mcarthurglen Designer Outlet
In partnership with London developer McArthurGlen Group, the Vancouver Airport Authority has developed the luxury designer boutique center on the grounds of Vancouver International Airport (YVR). The McArthurGlen Group is no stranger to designer stores and they are known as the first owner, developer and manager of designer stores in Europe. The European-style open-air shopping center includes luxury piazzas, tree-lined streets, pedestrian walkways, unique architecture and works of public art. Buyers can expect to find a mix of luxury brands and North American and European designers, and will enjoy savings of up to 70% throughout the year. The Canada Line is right next to the exit, so you don’t need a car to get there and back.
5. Pacific Centre
The Pacific Center covers three blocks and offers an indoor shopping experience that is useful on those notoriously wet days in Vancouver. With well-known brands like The Gap, Guess, Hollister, Coach, Michael Kors and Sunglass Hut, mixed with Canadian companies like The Hudson Bay Company department store, there’s no shortage of choices.
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Are you hungry? There is a food court with lots of choices which will certainly limit all cravings. From salads to sushi to pizzas and Vietnamese, they are there for you. The accessibility of this shopping center is perfectly located in the heart of Vancouver and within walking distance of many hotels, buses and public transportation.
6. Holt Renfrew
What started as a small hat store in Quebec in 1837 has turned into a national empire that is the dream of a fashionista. Holt Renfrew of Vancouver is attached to the Pacific Center and includes three levels of high-end designer clothing, accessories, makeup, shoes and jewelry. With brands like Gucci, Christian Dior, D&G, Jimmy Choo, Christian Louboutin, you have to have serious work to spend. However, there are more mainstream brands like Marc by Marc Jacobs and popular denim name brands that are not as expensive. It might not be a place where you can afford to shop all the time, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to walk around and get inspired for your next wardrobe purchase.
7. Granville Island
Formerly the industrial manufacturing area of Vancouver, Granville Island is now home to many local artists, restaurants and other services. Granville Island has something for everyone; a space for children, jewelry stores, art shops, a brewery, boat rental offices and unique clothing stores.
Once you are away from the shops, go to the public market. There, you can spoil your taste buds with local smoked salmon, artisan cheeses, local products and fresh fudge. Make sure you don’t miss the food hall; you can grab a bite from one of the many food vendors and sit inside to enjoy your treat, or head outside to watch some of the city’s best street performers. Located in False Creek, an adventure to Granville Island is just a boat or bus ride from the city center. Granville Island is the dream of an artisan and a gourmet!
8. Main Street
Main Street is the place to go when you’re looking for a unique, well-maintained vintage piece to add to your ever-evolving collection. F As in Frank, the clothes are probably the best in Vancouver when it comes to a vintage clothing store only. They find all the gems so you don’t have to. Front & Co. is another must visit along Main Street and you will find great accessories, new dresses and a used section of the store to choose from. You can feel a little hollow after a long day of shopping and there are plenty of decadent cafes to buy an Americano and something sweet to help you keep going. Main Street is also home to a growing number of breweries that are worth visiting.
9. Robson Street
Robson Street is the most popular shopping street in downtown Vancouver. Spanning downtown in the West End of the city, Robson has a wide range of stores. Familiar faces like The Gap, Zara, Forever 21, lululemon, BCBG and Club Monaco are essentials in the street for men’s and women’s clothing.
You will also find shoe stores, sunglasses, souvenirs and jewelry stores along Robson. After all these purchases, take a charge in one of the many restaurants and enjoy a delicious meal. From gourmet restaurants to fast, affordable takeout, you certainly won’t be hungry. Robson Street is close to the city’s main transportation hubs, so it’s easy to get there.
10. South Granville
South Granville is a bit of an eclectic shopping district with high-end clothing stores, expensive antiques, and art galleries, mixed with banks, restaurants, cafes, and popular stores like Chapters, Williams and Sonoma, Anthropologie and Pottery Barn. It is a lively shopping district that caters to the needs of virtually everyone with its various shopping options. If your wallet is not deep enough to bring expensive items home, do not refrain from entering art galleries. Scott Landon Antiques has beautiful antique furniture that is difficult to remove, but worth seeing, even if it is just adoration.