The West End
The downtown core of the City of Vancouver is located on a peninsula. To the north is Stanley Park, to the west is English Bay, to the south is False Creek and to the east are Yaletown and Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Districts within the peninsula include Coal Harbour, Gastown, Yaletown, the West End and the city’s main financial district.
Vancouver’s West End is primarily the area of the city that’s south of Georgia Street and west of Burrard. Other prominent roadways within the neighbourhood include Denman Street, Alberni Street and the northwestern ends of both Robson and Davie. It’s a district full of high-density high-rises, condos, apartments, shopping opportunities and streets lined with trees.
REALLY GAY WALKING TOURS
The area around Davie Street, in the south part of Vancouver’s West End, is where you’ll find the heart of Vancouver’s LGBTQ community. Here you’ll see more rainbow-coloured crosswalks, signs and banners than anywhere else in the Lower Mainland. It’s also one of several parts of town where you’ll find people having an enjoyable and informative time with Forbidden Vancouver Walking Tours.
Vancouver is arguably a pretty welcoming city for people of all backgrounds and orientations, and especially so in this neighbourhood. But that hasn’t always been the case. A great way to explore Vancouver’s West End and learn about the city’s LGBTQ community and history is to take a “Really Gay Walking Tour” with Forbidden Vancouver. During your stroll their guide will tell you about police raids, prejudice and discrimination, but also about the community’s successes.
Forbidden Vancouver offers a number of tours in different parts of the city – including one in Stanley Park, a couple around Gastown and one that involves visits to area chocolatiers. Their “Really Gay Walking Tour” is the one where you can learn about city’s LGBTQ history.
Places of Interest in the West End
The West End is home to a number of the City of Vancouver’s most famous landmarks and places of interest including the following:
- Davie Village – the area of shops, bars and restaurants along Davie Street in the West End where Vancouver’s gay subculture is most prominent.
- False Creek – the body of water that stretches from Sunset Beach and the Burrard Street Bridge in the West End to Science World. (Also located along False Creek are Yaletown, the Olympic Village and Granville Island.)
- English Bay – the large body of water off the coast of Vancouver as well as the name of Vancouver’s world-famous beach that’s located near the corner of Denman Street and Davie.
- Lost Lagoon – a small lake in Stanley Park at the edge of the West End.
- Roedde House Museum – a heritage building and museum at 1415 Barclay Street.
- Stanley Park – Vancouver’s famous urban park that’s home to a large forest, miniature train, totem poles, the Vancouver Aquarium, stunning 360-degree views and a seawall that goes all around the perimeter of park.
- Sunset Beach – a long sandy beach near the entrance to False Creek by the Burrard Street Bridge and across the water from Vanier Park (where a number of Vancouver’s main museums are located).
- West End Farmers Market – a weekly market on Comox Street where local farmers and artisans sell fresh produce, crafts and home-baked goods on Saturdays from late May until October.
Interesting Streets in Vancouver’s West End
In addition to the above attractions and places of interest, the West End is also home to a number of especially interesting roads including the following:
- Alberni Street – a road that starts at Burrard Street and where some of Vancouver’s fanciest restaurants and high-end clothing and jewellery stores are located.
- Davie Street – a street where, in the West End, you’ll find rainbow-coloured sidewalks, Davie Village and the heart of Vancouver’s LGBTQ community.
- Denman Street – a road lined with restaurants that runs from Georgia Street near Coal Harbour and Stanley Park to Davie Street and English Bay Beach.
- Robson Street – Vancouver’s most famous street for shopping. The busiest and most fashionable part of it goes through the West End between Burrard and around Cardero Street.
West End Festivals & Events
A number of festivals take place in the West End each year, mostly around English Bay and Sunset Beach. Major annual events include the following:
- English Bay Polar Bear Swim – an event where hundreds of Vancouver folk swim in the icy waters at English Bay Beach on January 1st.
- 420 Vancouver – a cannabis-themed event with live music and vendors selling all things related to marijuana at Sunset Beach on April 20th.
- Cherry Jam Concert – live entertainment outside the Burrard Street SkyTrain Station as part of the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival in April.
- West End Car Free Day – a pedestrian-only street festival on Denman Street in June.
- World Naked Bike Ride – an annual protest against car culture and the petroleum industry where participants ride their bicycles around Vancouver in the nude. The event starts at Sunset Beach on a weekend afternoon in July.
- Symphony at Sunset Beach – a free concert with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra at Sunset Beach in July.
- Celebration of Light – three evenings between the end of July and beginning of August where hundreds of thousands of people gather to watch fireworks displays just off English Bay Beach.
- Vancouver Pride Parade & Festival – an LGBTTQ-themed festival with a parade and other festival activities in celebration of Vancouver’s gay community in late July and early August.
- Bike the Night – an event where hundreds of Vancouverites cycle through the streets of downtown Vancouver on an evening in September.
- Lumiere Vancouver – a small event with Christmas illuminations and entertainment around Davie Street in November.
- Lights of Hope Celebration – an evening fundraising event with fireworks, Christmas lights and live entertainment at St. Paul’s Hospital in mid to late November.
West End Hotels
A number of hotels are located in or at the edge of Vancouver’s West End. They include the following:
- Listel Hotel – a 3.5/4-star boutique hotel at 1300 Robson Street.
- Sandman Suites on Davie – a fair-sized 3-star hotel at 1160 Davie Street.
- Sylvia Hotel – an older but beautiful 3-star hotel at 1154 Gilford Street.
- Best Western Plus Sands – a smaller 3-star hotel at 1755 Davie Street.
Hotels on either Burrard Street or West Georgia that are on the edge of Vancouver’s West End include the following:
- Shangri-La Hotel – a large modern 5-star hotel at 1128 West Georgia Street.
- The Burrard – a smaller 3-star budget hotel at 1100 Burrard Street.
- Sheraton Wall Centre – a large modern 4-star hotel at 1088 Burrard Street.
- Sutton Place – a fairly large 4.5-star hotel at 855 Burrard Street.
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- Vancouver’s Festivals & Events Calendar
- Vancouver’s Top 100 Places
- Downtown Vancouver Hotels
- Vancouver Bars & Restaurants
- The City of Vancouver
- Metro Vancouver