Vancouver/City Centre

The City Centre is the heart of Vancouver's downtown and contain the city's Financial District, the Granville Entertainment district, and many of its hotels, clubs and historical buildings. For the visitor, it's a good place to make a base to explore Vancouver because of its easy access to public transit, shops and restaurants. And if you want to sample Vancouver's cuisine or nightlife, or take in the mountains and harbour, it's a great place to be.

Get in

The City Centre is the destination for most transit users, so it's not much of a stretch to say all roads, buses and trains lead here. Waterfront Station is the main hub (Cordova, at the foot of Granville St), with the Skytrain, Seabus and many bus routes terminating there. A large number of buses also pickup outside Burrard Station (corner of Burrard & Dunsmuir Sts).

Driving into and around downtown isn't usually a problem outside of rush hour, but it can be a nuisance (particularly parking), so your best bet is to leave your car outside of the city centre and use SkyTrain (from the east or south) or SeaBus (from the North Shore). If you drive, Georgia Street is the main street through the CBD. It continues on through Stanley Park and the West End and across the Lions Gate Bridge to the North Shore. Access from the south is by bridge over False Creek (the Burrard, Granville and Cambie bridges). All of them will lead downtown so just take the one closest to you.

Parking downtown is as you would expect for a city centre: expensive and, at times, hard to find. Expect to pay between $12-25/day for parking in a parkade. On-street parking meters are in effect from 9AM-10PM, 7 days a week. Many of the streets become no parking zones during rush hour.

See

Canada Place - cruise ship terminal, convention centre, Imax theatre and Vancouver landmark

Architecture

While Vancouver may not be famous for its architecture, the City Centre is home to some unique buildings both new and old.

Do

Skating at the rink at Robson Square

Events & Festivals

Buy

Robson Street downtown is the main shopping district. The intersecting Burrard & Alberni street houses some of the most high-end shops in the region.

Stores

Eat

The different parts of the City Centre have diverse characteristics. The central business district has, as you would expect, a high number of coffee shops and lunch places, the West End has a wide variety of restaurants, Yaletown has a number of high end restaurants and Chinatown has many Chinese restaurants. Some of the best Japanese food outside of Japan is in Vancouver and its Cantonese and Korean offerings are also reputable.

Budget

A large helping of poutine from Fritz

Mid-range

Splurge

Drink

Granville Street Entertainment District

Many of Vancouver's nightclubs are located in the Entertainment District along Granville Street from Robson to the Granville Street Bridge.

Sleep

This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
Budget under $100
Mid-range $101 - 199
Splurge $200 and over

The city center has a wide range of accommodation options to suit every traveller's budget and style, but it's definitely tilted towards the higher end. Independent, boutique and chain hotels are all there so shop around and you will probably find something that suits your needs. The most expensive hotels tend to be in the main business district between Georgia and the waterfront with the priciest overlooking the harbour and mountains. Cheaper options tend to be more to the edge of the city center, closer to False Creek and Yaletown. Hostels are located near the nightspots: along Granville Street or near Gastown.

Prices noted below are generally for the summer season when rates are most expensive.

Budget

If you are planning to stay in a hostel downtown, it is probably better to ensure it is located west of Main Street and caters mainly to backpackers (tourists on a budget). Staying downtown keeps much of the frequently visited spots in walking distance. If you were planning to find a cheap (significantly less than $90) hotel downtown, you should know that it is likely to be located in the "East Side", infamous for its prostitution and drug problems.

Mid-range

Splurge

The landmark Hotel Vancouver
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