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Vancouver’s Granville Island

Granville Island

Granville Island is a trendy district with restaurants, theatres, art studios and a Public Market on the south side of False Creek in downtown Vancouver.


This article contains information about the following topics:

Getting There | Things to See | Entertainment | Where to Eat and Drink | Market Food Vendors Video | Events | Other Information



Improv Centre


The District of Granville Island

Granville Island has an interesting setup. The place includes industrial activities (like a cement plant) and streets of parking combined with boutiques, art studios, places to eat and theatres scattered around. It’s an eclectic neighbourhood and one of the Lower Mainland’s most popular tourist destinations.

If you like shopping, especially for unique gifts and handmade artisan products, you’ll love Granville Island. It’s also an exceptional place for restaurants, live theatre and waterfront views of the Vancouver skyline.

Lots of events happen at Granville Island including the Vancouver International Boat Show, PuSh Festival shows, Vancouver International Flamenco Festival and Vancouver Fringe Festival. Granville Island is also home to theatre companies like The Improv Centre.


Granville Island at Night


Getting to Granville Island

Granville Island is located in False Creek on the edge of downtown Vancouver under the Granville Street Bridge. The address for the Public Market is 1680 Johnston Street. The area is most easily accessible by car, but there is also fairly decent public bus transit.

You have to pay for parking in the area between 11:00 am and 6:00 pm. The cost is $3 per hour on weekdays and a dollar extra on weekends and on public holidays. This is in effect until September 30th. After that, and until the end of April, the winter rate of $2 per hour applies on weekdays and $3 on weekends and public holidays. Before 11:00 am and after 6:00 pm, though, year-round, parking is free.


Enjoying a Treat at Granville Island
Enjoying a Treat in the Public Market


Granville Island Things to See & Do

Granville Island is a popular place year round. In the summer the place is especially vibrant and there is often live entertainment outside. Around Christmas there are festive lights, and throughout the year there are plays to watch, events to enjoy and restaurants to eat at. The views of the city across the water are spectacular 365 days of the year.

At Granville Island there is an indoor Public Market with vendors selling everything from fresh fruit and fish, to cheese, pastries and maple syrup. There are also boutiques selling beautiful and unique artisan products in the Net Loft, in Railspur Alley and all around the area. Granville Island is also home to a wide variety of art studios, galleries, restaurants and theatres.

To learn more about the shopping opportunities, and to see a couple of videos about some of the area’s most interesting stores, see our article about Shopping on Granville Island.


Vancouver Maritime Museum


False Creek from Granville Island at Night
City Views from Granville Island


Granville Island Entertainment

Granville Island is full of places for entertainment. In addition to the bars and restaurants, and the buskers in the summer, there are a number of theatres on the island. There’s the Arts Club’s Granville Island Stage, the Waterfront Theatre, and The Improv Centre.

The Arts Club Theatre Company hosts high quality live shows. The Improv Centre is also a fun place featuring comedy improv.

Other performing arts venues include The Nest, Revue Stage and Performance Works. The Vancouver Fringe Festival is a popular live theatre festival that takes place on Granville Island in the fall.

To learn more about live theatre in the area, see our articles about the Arts Club and The Improv Centre.




Granville Island Stage Theatre at Night
Granville Island Stage at Night


Where to Eat and Drink

Granville Island is full of great places to eat and drink, from fine dining restaurants to unique take-out places in the Public Market‘s food court area. Below are a few places that stand out for us.

  • Tap & Barrel Bridges – a pub-style restaurant with an outdoor patio by the waterfront.
  • Dockside Restaurant – a popular casual yet upscale restaurant at the Granville Island Hotel at 1253 Johnston Street. The restaurant has a really nice patio at the back in the summer.
  • Granville Island Brewing – a brew pub located across the street from the Kids Market at 1441 Cartwright Street.
  • Liberty Distillery – located at 1494 Old Bridge Street at the entrance to Railspur Alley, this is a great place to enjoy locally-made organic craft spirits. The brewery also give tours of its distillery.
  • Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts (Blue Hat Bistro) – a restaurant that’s also one of the city’s finest culinary schools. It’s near the entrance to Granville Island at 101-1505 West 2nd Avenue.
  • Tony’s Fish and Oyster Café – at 1511 Anderson Street near the entrance to Granville Island, it’s a good place to get fish and chips, clam chowder and oysters in the half shell.
  • Vancouver Fish Co. – next door to Tony’s, this is a popular and fancier place for fish and seafood.

The above are just a few of the many restaurants in the area. There are lots of other great places in the Public Market too. For a more comprehensive list of places to eat and drink, see our article about Granville Island Restaurants.


Dockside Restaurant Outdoor Patio
Dockside Restaurant Patio


Market Food Vendors Video

To give you an idea of what to expect with respect to food vendors at the Public Market, check out the following video. It features many of the places where you can find things to eat right away, either in the market or outside by the waterfront, or take with you for a picnic somewhere else.

The focus of the following video is on the food vendors who are selling ready-made items. As you’ll see there are stalls selling everything from pizza to Chinese, fresh-squeezed juices, salads, Mexican and bubble tea. To see a video about other types of vendors in the area, check out the video in our article about the Granville Island Public Market.



Granville Island Events

Granville Island hosts a number of special events during the year including the following:


Arts-Related Events


Winter Solstice Crowds at Granville Island
Winter Solstice Lantern Festival


Other Events on Granville Island

  • Vancouver Boat Show – marine equipment and vessels at both BC Place Stadium and Granville Island in February.
  • Vancouver International Children’s Festival – a multi-day event featuring kid-friendly shows and activities in late May.
  • Latin American Heritage Month – a series of events celebrating Hispanic culture in October and the beginning of November. Most, but not all, of its events happen on Granville Island.
  • Day of the Dead Market – a market with live entertainment that’s part of Latin American Heritage Month on the last weekend in October.
  • Spot Prawn Festival – a seafood-related event at Fishermen’s Wharf in May. (It doesn’t take place at Granville Island itself. It’s just a short walk away, though.)
  • Christmas & Holiday Lights – from mid-November until the beginning of January the neighbourhood gets decorated with festive lights and illuminations.
  • Winter Solstice Lantern Festival – lantern-making workshops, fire-spinning performances and a procession of people around Granville Island as well as at a couple of other Vancouver locations on December 21st each year.

The above are some of the largest and most well-known events that take place in the area. To see what’s coming up soon see the Granville Island Events Website.


Pacific Arts Market


Other Information

For more information about Granville Island, see the Granville Island website.

If you like art, another place you might want to check out is the Pacific Arts Market. It’s a large art gift store and gallery at 1448 West Broadway (which is just a 20-minute walk south of Granville Island).

Other articles that might be of interest include the following: