Unique and famous for different reasons, some of these roads are lined with shops, others with restaurants and some with various kinds of night life.
This article contains information about the following streets:
Vancouver’s Most Interesting Streets
Vancouver’s two most vibrant and popular streets are arguably Granville and Robson, but others are favourites for different people. Honorable mentions include Georgia Street with all its skyscrapers, Hamilton and Mainland in Yaletown with their restaurants, or slightly controversial Hornby Street (which is only special for cyclists as it has a dedicated bike lane that conveniently, for them, cuts through the centre of downtown).
Below (in alphabetical order) are some of the top most interesting streets and avenues in Metro Vancouver. It’s not a complete list; rather, it’s a work in progress. More streets will be added over time.
Commercial Drive (Vancouver)
Commercial Drive is a colourful street lined with cafes, restaurants and eclectic shops. “The Drive” is cosmopolitan with its history of attracting immigrant communities including those of Italian, Asian, East Indian, Latin American and African descent.
Car Free Day and Italian Day on the Drive are major street party events that take place on Commercial Drive in the summer and so are especially interesting times to visit the area. Both of these events take place between Venables and Grandview which even on a regular day is one of the most interesting sections of Commercial Drive.
Davie Street (in Vancouver’s West End)
Davie Street might not be Vancouver’s most fashionable, historically-significant or beautiful street, but you could say it’s the most colourful – the crosswalk paint on the roads and banners on poles are frequently rainbow-coloured.
Passing through Yaletown and Granville Street at one end and then connecting with Denman Street at English Bay at the other, Davie Street is known for its gay subculture and is home to a number of good restaurants and interesting stores.
The Vancouver Pride Parade doesn’t go down Davie Street in August, but other events during the week-long Vancouver Pride Festival do including the Davie Street Party (at least in years when it takes place).
Denman Street (Vancouver)
If you’re at English Bay and you’re hungry for a meal or want an ice cream, or if you loved Robson Street and just want to keep strolling down a road, then Denman is a good one, and an especially busy and vibrant place in the summer.
Georgia Street (Vancouver)
West Georgia is Vancouver’s real “main street” and arguably the city’s most important downtown thoroughfare. It’s lined with some of Vancouver’s tallest skyscrapers including the 62-storey Shangri-La Hotel and 63-storey Trump Tower (which has closed indefinitely as of August 27th, 2020). Georgia Street also connects the city with the North Shore via the Lions Gate Bridge and Stanley Park.
In addition to all its skyscrapers, Georgia Street deserves to be in the list of Vancouver’s most interesting streets because it’s home to numerous landmarks.
At the opposite end of the road from Stanley Park, along the 10 or so blocks between the Georgia Street Viaduct and Burrard Street intersection, there is BC Place Stadium, Rogers Arena, the Vancouver Public Library, Hudson’s Bay department store, Vancouver Art Gallery, Fairmont Hotel Vancouver and Christ Church Cathedral. Nowhere else are there so many landmarks and historically-significant and architecturally-interesting buildings so close together in Vancouver.
Granville Street (Vancouver)
Granville Street is one of Vancouver’s most famous streets, and definitely its most entertaining (although in parts it is showing its age).
Near the start, Granville Street is full of fashionable boutiques, cafes and restaurants. From about Georgia Street until Davie before False Creek and the Granville Street Bridge, the sidewalks are lined with restaurants, shops, bars, theatres and night clubs.
If you are looking for neon lights and the city’s entertainment district, then Granville Street is the place to come.
Further along, under the Granville Street Bridge on the south side, is world famous Granville Island. Continue on south a few more blocks from there and Granville Street once again becomes a vibrant boulevard with the Stanley Theatre and more restaurants, coffee shops, and boutiques starting at Broadway and continuing for a number of blocks, until about 15th.
Lonsdale Avenue (North Van)
Lonsdale Avenue is the commercial heart and most interesting street in North Vancouver on the North Shore.
The most interesting parts of Lonsdale Avenue are from Lonsdale Quay to 3rd Street, and again from 13th to about 21st.
At the foot of Lonsdale Avenue, just steps from Lonsdale Quay, are a number of great restaurants. Also, behind the Tap & Barrel restaurant, is Shipbuilders’ Square which is home to the Shipyards Night Market on Friday evenings in the summer.
This four lane avenue is steep as it starts at the base of the North Shore mountains and it’s home to shops and restaurants. Looking for some exercise? Then try walking the 30 or so blocks from Lonsdale Quay to the top of the Avenue.
Main Street (Vancouver)
Main Street is a long street and notable in a couple of sections.
Main connects with West Pender and Keefer downtown and together the three streets form the heart of historic Chinatown.
Further south, Main Street again becomes interesting from East Broadway to 16th, and then again from around 25th to 30th. Along these two latter sections Main is a lot like Commercial Drive, with numerous little shops and restaurants.
Car Free Day is celebrated on Father’s Day in June and celebrated on Main Street from Broadway to 30th Avenue. Another big event along Main street is the Vancouver Mural Festival’s Mount Pleasant Street Party in August.)
Marine Drive (West Vancouver)
Marine Drive is the main commercial street in West Vancouver. (Note: there is also a Marine Drive in the City of Vancouver, but it’s different.)
Like Lonsdale Avenue in North Vancouver, West Vancouver’s Marine Drive isn’t a destination in itself, especially if shopping is your goal. If you plan to spend some time at the beach or strolling the seawall at beautiful Ambleside, however, Marine Drive is just a couple of blocks away and a great place to find something to eat, or a store or two to browse in.
The main shopping sections along Marine Drive in West Vancouver include Park Royal mall and then from around 14th Street (near the entrance to Ambleside Park) until 19th, and then again by Dundarave Village, which comprises just a couple of blocks from around 24th Street to 25th.
Marine Drive continues on west for a long ways after Dundarave and becomes a very pleasant, rural and scenic road to drive along. In the opposite direction it becomes one of the main streets in North Vancouver.
Pender Street (Vancouver)
Pender Street from around 100 West Pender to 200 East Pender cuts through the heart Chinatown and has a variety of interesting Chinese stores and restaurants in the area. It’s not an amazing street, but is home to Chinatown’s Millennium Gate and a number of Asian-looking and other heritage buildings.
To see what Pender Street looks like, check out our article about Vancouver’s Chinatown. In that article is a video of the road between 200 East Pender and around 100 West Pender. It goes through the heart of Chinatown from Gore Street to the Millennium Gate.
Robson Street (Vancouver)
Robson Street is definitely Vancouver’s most fashionable street for shopping.
If you’re looking for a great place to window shop, or want to buy something at one of Vancouver’s finest designer clothing stores, Robson Street is where to go. Lululemon, the GAP, Armani, Roots, Guess, and tons of other stores and restaurants are everywhere, from where Robson Street meets Granville Street (and even further) to where Robson meets Denman in the other direction.
Water Street (Vancouver)
Water Street is the main and most well-known commercial street in historic Gastown. It’s where you’ll find the famous Gastown steam clock, some of Vancouver’s finest souvenir shops, lots of attractive old brick buildings, and a number of good restaurants.
Water Street is especially interesting around Christmas time when it’s all lit up, and then again in the late spring, throughout the summer, and then into the middle of fall. In most of the winter though, things can be slow (and not infrequently some of the stores close and new ones don’t reopen until the tourist season returns).
If you’re at Waterfront Station and have a few minutes before catching the SkyTrain or SeaBus, Water Street can be a pleasant short street to stroll down.
West Broadway (Vancouver)
West Broadway is a major road that passes briefly through Granville Street at a lively corner and then returns to being just a major traffic artery with a mixture of shops and office buildings in both directions. It transforms into an especially interesting boulevard though as it runs through trendy Kitsilano (but in an area not close to the beach).
From MacDonald to Alma Street, West Broadway is an exceptional street lined with shops, restaurants and fruit and vegetable stores.
Greek Day on Broadway is a massive street party that takes place along West Broadway in late June from MacDonald to Blenheim. During that event the place is particularly fun and lively.
West 4th Avenue (Vancouver)
West 4th Avenue is a fairly major street in Kitsilano. It runs parallel to West Broadway and isn’t far from Kitsilano Beach. It’s not a fancy area and the buildings aren’t particularly old or unique. Between Burrard and around Vine Street however the road is line with interesting shops and restaurants.
West 4th is at its busiest during the Khatsahlano Street Party in July when the road is full of people, live music and vendors for almost a dozen blocks from Burrard Street to MacDonald.
West 41st Avenue (Vancouver)
41st Avenue between Larch and Maple is a great little street in the Kerrisdale area of Vancouver. It’s an affluent neighbourhood with interesting shops. It’s not long or huge or completely amazing, but still a nice little street.
Other pages on our website that you might be interested in include the following:
- Vancouver’s Best Places for Shopping
- Vancouver’s Top 24 Attractions
- Vancouver’s Top 100 Places
- Lower Mainland Festivals and Events