Vancouver is a busy port city and a melting pot of different cultures and influences. Unlike most Canadian cities, it offers a temperate climate and a wide range of cuisines and attractions. These features help make it one of the best travel spots in Canada.
Unfortunately, the size and diversity make it difficult to choose where to stay in Vancouver. It’s a dense landscape and modern metropolis.
The vibrant downtown is full of culture with its large assortment of art galleries, theatres, and music venues. It’s also home to a variety of interesting attractions such as the vintage structures in Gastown and the craft breweries on Granville Island. You’ll also find endless dining options with cuisine from every corner of the globe.
Not sure where to find the right spot? Start your search for accommodations with this guide to the best places to stay in Vancouver…
Where to stay in Vancouver: A complete guide to the best neighbourhoods and areas for travellers
From the urban centre to the scenic spots outside the city, Vancouver has something for everyone. If you’re only in the city for one or two days, you’ll likely want to stay within travelling distance of the main attractions. The neighbourhoods surrounding the downtown area are top choices.
Located around the waterfront, each area has its own features from converted warehouse districts to family-friendly residential neighbourhoods.
When planning a longer trip, you could check out the areas north and south of the waterfront, such as North Vancouver or Granville Island. Those areas tend to have fewer tourists. They also place you further from downtown.
No matter where you stay, it’s a good idea to compare hotels and check out the locations of the nearest landmarks.
A few of the best areas to stay in Vancouver for travellers include:
- Downtown Vancouver
- West End
✔ Best area to stay in Vancouver for first-time visitors and convenient access to the city
Some of the best areas for travellers are found around the downtown area. While the surrounding suburbs and neighbourhoods also have plenty to offer, they don’t have a lot of hotels.
Staying in and around the centre of the city provides more options and convenience as you’ll find yourself within walking distance of the top attractions in Vancouver, including the city’s most popular galleries and theatres.
The downtown area is also the main business district. It’s the busiest part of the city, full of people going to and from work along with throngs of tourists checking out the skyscrapers.
You’ll also have lots of opportunities to eat or shop as you travel from site to site. There is no shortage of coffee shops, restaurants, and shops squeezed into the ground floors of the towering buildings.
Downtown is within walking distance of the waterfront to the north and south. You’re just a few blocks away from the seafood restaurants lining Vancouver Harbour and the warehouse districts in Yaletown.
If you get tired of downtown, you can also quickly reach the sprawling parks in the West End or take a trip across the bay to reach the sandy beaches in Kitsilano.
Recommended hotels in Downtown Vancouver
The downtown area has some of the best hotels in Vancouver as it’s where most first-time visitors and business travellers choose to stay. This area also has the widest selection, ranging from budget chains to five-star hotels.
- Blue Horizon Hotel: Located on Robson Street in the heart of downtown Vancouver, this mid-range hotel has corner guest rooms with full balconies and views of the city. After a long day, unwind in the indoor pool, sauna, or fitness centre.
- Hotel BLU: As a four-star hotel with spacious rooms and every amenity imaginable, this place helps guests relax in comfort. It’s a short walk from Yaletown and located near several shopping centres and theatres.
- L’Hermitage Hotel: Another four-star hotel with a great location, staying here places you near the Vancouver Art Gallery and BC Place Stadium. It’s also a short stroll from dozens of restaurants. To relax, you can enjoy the solitude of the hotel’s garden patio and courtyard.
- Moda Hotel: This highly rated boutique hotel offers affordable rooms and on-site dining. It has two restaurants and two bars along with a 24-hour front desk. Fill your stomach with Italian cuisine at one of the restaurants or taste local craft beers at the bar.
✔ Most popular area to stay in Vancouver for nightlife and budget travellers
Just west of downtown, you’ll find the West End. It’s a mostly residential neighbourhood with a relaxed atmosphere and dozens of take-out food restaurants. Budget travellers tend to prefer this area, thanks to its affordable dining options and accommodations.
Families that want to stay close to the beaches and parks should love this area. As you walk the tree-lined residential streets of the West End, you’ll pass many public parks and gardens. It’s the greenest part of the city and has its own waterfront with several kilometres of sandy beaches.
Along with great prices and green spaces, the West End is known for its vibrant nightlife. While it’s quiet during the day, the neighbourhood buzzes with activity at night.
If you’re looking for nighttime entertainment, dining, or drinks, walk to Robson or Denman Streets. These areas are among the busiest in the evening, containing dozens of restaurants, bars, and cafes.
It’s also a short trip from downtown Vancouver, taking about 10 minutes on foot. The only drawback is the lack of public parking. Skip the rental car and explore the area on foot or familiarise yourself with the bus routes.
Recommended hotels in West End
Accommodations in the West End include a mixture of budget mid-range hotels, hostels, and apartments. Overall, the hotel options are a little limited compared to downtown Vancouver but there is still something for everyone.
- The Sylvia Hotel: This boutique hotel overlooks the English Bay and is just a two-minute walk from the sprawling Stanley Park. The on-site restaurant and lounge serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner with tables located indoors and out on a bistro patio
- Best Western Plus Sands: This chain hotel offers great value, thanks to its affordable rooms and location. The on-site lounge has views of English Bay and occasional live music while the on-site restaurant has a wide selection of seafood dishes.
- The Westin Bayshore Vancouver: A four-star hotel located on the harbour, this place stands out for its views of the waterfront and convenient location. You can quickly walk to almost any spot in the West End, Coal Harbour, or downtown Vancouver.
- The Listel Hotel Vancouver: Located on Robson Street, this mid-range hotel is closer to the centre of Vancouver and the eastern edge of the West End. It’s right on the busiest shopping street in the city. If you don’t feel like going out, enjoy a meal at the on-site restaurant.
✔ Top-rated place to stay in Vancouver for a vintage atmosphere and seafood
The historic neighbourhood of Gastown contains many examples of early 20th-century architecture. The old cobblestone streets, boutique shops, and small restaurants add to the vintage charm.
This old neighbourhood sits just north of downtown Vancouver and east of the West End with Vancouver Harbour to the north. Near the waterfront, you’ll see numerous colourful brick buildings housing various cocktail bars and micro-breweries along with a few corner bars.
If you don’t stay in Gastown, you still need to add it to your Vancouver itinerary. It has several interesting attractions including the whistling Steam Clock and various art galleries located inside Victorian buildings.
The selection of restaurants is also diverse. Pizza parlours, ice cream shops, sandwich shacks, and seafood restaurants are found throughout Gastown, especially on Water Street.
Water Street is the main tourist hub in this neighbourhood. The cobblestone street is lined with vintage lamp posts and many more bars and gift shops.
After a day of shopping, you can get a panoramic view of the city from the Vancouver Lookout, standing 167 metres above the city. While it’s not the largest neighbourhood in Vancouver, it’s the most unique.
Recommended hotels in Gastown
Gastown doesn’t have the largest selection of hotels with most options located a block or two from the centre of the district. However, if you only have one day in Vancouver, these hotels provide a convenient place to stay. You’ll have access to the harbour, downtown, and the rest of the city.
- Fairmont Waterfront: Located on the waterfront, this luxurious resort has unbeatable views of the mountains and the harbour. It’s a few minutes away from the centre of Gastown and surrounded by high-end commercial establishments.
- Victorian Hotel: Built in 1898, this historic hotel has industrial-style rooms with exposed bricks and period antiques. It’s technically just south of Gastown, a few blocks from the Steam Clock and the waterfront. It’s also one of the more affordable three-star hotels in the area.
- Skwachays Lodge: This boutique three-star hotel has comfortable rooms and provides multiple work studios for an Aboriginal artist-in-residence program. Staying here helps support Aboriginal artists.
- Delta Hotels by Marriott Vancouver Downtown Suites: This four-star hotel is in the centre of Gastown. While the rooms are relatively small, the floor-to-ceiling windows provide sweeping views of the harbour area and help make the rooms appear a little larger.
✔ Most recommended area to stay in Vancouver for families and boutique shopping
Yaletown has become one of the trendiest neighbourhoods in Vancouver. Formerly a warehouse district and home to the city’s skid row, it’s gone through a major revitalisation in the past couple of decades.
Part of the revitalisation included the redevelopment of the waterfront at False Creek North. While Gastown and the West End have their own stretches of the waterfront, Yaletown’s waterfront features more attractions, including seafood markets and boat tours.
It’s also a family-friendly neighbourhood with a youthful vibe. The residential parts of the district include a mixture of young professionals and young families.
Thanks to the younger population, Yaletown has a lot of chic establishments. You’ll come across dozens of boutiques and small cafes located off the cobbled streets near the waterfront.
It’s a little more active compared to the relaxed atmosphere in the West End but often has fewer tourists. Foodies should also appreciate the diverse range of restaurants and bars, including several craft breweries.
As with the other choices, it’s also within walking distance of the attractions in the downtown area. It’s just south of central Vancouver and a little further from the West End and Gastown.
Recommended hotels in Yaletown
Yaletown doesn’t have a lot of hotels. Most of the options are found on the outskirts of the neighbourhood, bordering downtown or Granville. You’ll still find something to suit any budget or personal taste.
- Best Western Plus Chateau Granville Hotel: This massive four-star hotel has a wide variety of rooms as it caters to business travellers and tourists. It’s connected to a large conference centre and has an on-site restaurant and lounge. Some of the rooms also feature views of the city.
- JW Marriott Parq Vancouver: This luxurious hotel is just east of Yaletown, located right next to BC Place Stadium. It’s a spacious hotel with modern architecture and design elements that create a futuristic atmosphere. It’s near the waterfront and still within walking distance of downtown Vancouver.
- Opus Hotel: Located in the centre of Yaletown, this quirky boutique hotel has vibrant furnishings and décor. You can also enjoy views of Yaletown and dine on site at the hotel’s restaurant. In the evening, relax with cocktails and music at the hotel’s bar.