Some of the best shopping opportunities in all of Vancouver are at the boutiques, artisan shops and Public Market vendor stalls at Granville Island.
THE DISTRICT AT CHRISTMAS
Granville Island is the perfect place to find Christmas gifts (plus cool things for yourself). From November 12th, 2020, to January 3rd, 2021, the neighbourhood is decorated with amazing holiday lights. If you’re there in the late afternoon or early evening, be sure to wander around and check them out. For details click Christmas & Holiday Lights on Granville Island.
If you’re looking for local art, handmade artisan products and one-of-a-kind gifts that you won’t find almost anywhere else, Granville Island is the place to go!
To learn about the area in general, see our main article about Granville Island. For information about the world-famous indoor market full of vendors selling fresh produce and other food products, click Granville Island Public Market.
To learn about all the amazing shopping opportunities in the area, continue reading. Included in this article are three videos. Two are of individual stores and another features a couple of shoppers exploring the neighbourhood. After reading the article and watching the videos, you’ll have a pretty good idea of what to expect on a shopping trip to the area. It’s a pretty amazing place!
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Stores and Shops at Granville Island
The most famous place for shopping at Granville Island is the Public Market. The entire neighbourhood though is full of unique speciality shops selling all kinds of wonderful things.
In addition to the market there is the Net Loft, which is home to stores selling everything from hats to beads to BC-made art. At the Kids Market there are stores that sell magic, kites, puppets and everything a child could imagine. There are also shops specializing in everything from chocolates to dragons, wines and art in various other buildings and side streets in the area.
The Public Market
The Granville Island Public Market is often the first place that comes to mind when people think about unique and interesting shopping opportunities in Vancouver. The place is famous around the world. It’s also arguably Granville Island’s main year-round attraction.
The Granville Island Public Market is where you’ll find fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as fish, meats, flowers, gourmet cheeses, chocolates, pastries and hot things to eat. You’ll also find flowers, gourmet coffee, delicatessens, and lots of interesting people and things to see. The focus of the Public Market is definitely on food (although there are lots of other things too). People visit for the shopping, but also for the experience.
The produce in the market always looks exceptional. It’s known for its quality. There are all kinds of specialty food shops, and great places to get a snack or find ingredients for a picnic.
The market’s food court is also an especially good one in case you’re in the area around a mealtime, or if you’re just hungry and wanting a treat. You won’t find a McDonald’s here. Instead you can enjoy take-out Chinese, Thai, Mexican, Japanese, salads, pizza, bubble teas, fresh-squeezed juices or fish & chips.
TIPS: There are so many great vendors in the market. Lee’s Donuts though is an especially popular place and there is often a lineup at their store. The macarons at the Bon Macaron Patisserie are the best ones we’ve ever tasted (and they aren’t paying us to say that).
Another good thing to know, whether eating a donut or some other food item outdoors, is to watch out for the seagulls! They love it when people turn their backs or step away momentarily from their food! The birds will agree that the donuts and macarons are delicious, although their favourite is probably the fish and chips.
The Net Loft
There is a lot more to Granville Island than just the Public Market. There are specialty stores all over the place, including at the Net Loft.
Whereas the market is known for its food products, the Net Loft is where you’ll find handmade pottery, art gift cards, a shop full of fancy hats, Indigenous art products, and a store that sells millions of beads and jewellery-making supplies, among other interesting boutiques.
The focus of retailers at the Net Loft is on art, artisan products and one-of-a-kind gift items. Much of what you’ll see in the building is handmade by BC-based artists.
The Net Loft is located at 1666 Johnston Street (which is pretty much across the street from the Granville Island Public Market). We absolutely love the stores you’ll find inside.
The Net Loft is kind of like a mini shopping mall. Inside are over a dozen of the most amazing stores. There is a hat shop that sells nothing but hats, a Japanese-style specialty paper store that sells all kinds of paper, and a postcard shop that’s full of boutique cards.
A couple of crafty members of the Vancouver’s Best Places team fell in love with the Beadworks store in the Net Loft the last time we visited. They also thought Gigi B was an especially cool place for unique gifts. Wine lovers will like Liberty Wine Merchants, and art lovers will enjoy Circle Craft as well as a number of the other shops.
In the Net Loft, there are boutiques catering to all kinds of specialty interests. Another one of them is the Wickaninnish Gallery which is an Indigenous-owned store that sells a wide range of First Nations art and other items, from moccasins to water bottles to jewelry. Its store window is the one featured at the top of this article.
Circle Craft is another especially interesting place. It’s a cooperative that’s owned and operated by its artist members. In the store you’ll find hundreds of pieces of art made by over 100 BC-based artists, all of whom are members of the cooperative. The shop is full of pottery, sculptures, paintings, glass work and all kinds of art.
Interestingly, the Circle Craft Co-op is the same organization behind the Circle Craft Market which, arguably, is the most amazing and high-end Christmas artisan market in Vancouver. The Circle Craft Market normally happens at the Vancouver Convention Centre around the Remembrance Day weekend in November each year (although not in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic).
Circle Craft Co-op Video
To give you an idea of what to expect in a Net Loft store, the following video is of the Circle Craft store. As you’ll see, it features all kinds of beautiful handmade art.
For the official Granville Island website visit granvilleisland.com.
Granville Island for Children
Of interest to young children is the Kids Market which is the building near the entrance to Granville Island at 1496 Cartwright Street. It’s home to dozens of stores catering solely to the wants and needs of young little people. The Kids Market is also close to the great (and free) outdoor water park, which is located just a block or so away and has a small water slide running in the summer (although not in 2020).
The Kids Market is kind of like a mini shopping mall that’s full of child-focussed specialty stores on two floors. Inside is the Granville Island Toy Store, a magic shop and a place that sells the most amazing puppets and kites. There is also a clothing store selling everything from ballet slippers to princess dresses, and a candy store that sells all kinds of sweets.
Also at the Kids Market is The Adventure Zone – a little kids play area with a multi-level climbing structure. It’s a great indoor place for young children to burn off energy. The Adventure Zone also has a wide range of arcade games where children can win tickets which they can redeem for prizes. It’s kind of like a Chuck E. Cheese venue, but without the pizza.
If you ever go to Granville Island, and you have young kids of your own, or young nieces, nephews or grandchildren, you’ll definitely want to check out the Kids Market. It’s amazing. And if you’re a child yourself, you’ll love the place even more!
Other Shops and Places of Interest
There are artisan studios, boutiques and speciality shops all over Granville Island. Some are in other buildings near the Public Market, Net Loft and Kids Market. Others are along various side streets and in Railspur Alley.
In addition to what we’ve already described above, there are a number of other especially interesting places that, for us, stand out. Railspur Alley is located around the middle of Granville Island and it has a number of interesting shops. It’s also where you’ll find the Liberty Distillery which makes its own organic gin, vodka and whiskey. The place also has a cocktail lounge and does tours and tastings.
Another great place for drinks and food is the Dockside Restaurant which is located at 1253 Johnston Street beside the Granville Island Hotel. They have a really nice outdoor patio right by the water.
Not far from Vancouver TheatreSports’ Improv Centre and the Kids Market, there are a couple of especially interesting art galleries. The Eagle Spirit Gallery is located in Maritime Mews and features high-end authentic Indigenous art. Across the lane is the Ukama Gallery which showcases Zimbabwean sculptures and paintings by BC artists.
There are also other art galleries in the area. The above two though are especially interesting. They are both like small fine art museums with free admission.
The Inukshuk Gallery is another great place. Located at 1551 Johnston Street in the Creekside building, it’s more of a gift store with souvenirs, but also has a nice selection of authentic First Nations art. It’s next door to Dragonspace, which isn’t a gallery or art store, but also a cool place (especially for dragon, Lord of the Rings and Dungeons & Dragons fans).
Ukama Gallery Video
To give you an idea of what one of the fancier art galleries at Granville Island looks like, check out the following video. It’s of the Ukama Gallery at 1802 Maritime Mews. As you’ll see in the video, the art here is impressive! It’s a really nice art gallery!
Shopping at Granville Island Video
To give you even more of an idea of what the shopping opportunities are like at Granville Island, check out the following video.
This next video begins in the Net Loft where you’ll see a number of stores including the Wickaninnish Gallery, Beadworks, Gigi B, the Postcard Place, Granville Island Hat Shop and Circle Craft Co-op. The video also shows what it’s like inside Rhinoceros Accessories and the Inukshuk Gallery. There are scenes outside Rogers’ Chocolates as well as inside Dragonspace and MAKE Vancouver.
Also in this video you’ll see the Kids Market where you’ll find stores like Kites & Puppets, the Granville Island Toy Store and the Clownin’ Around Magic shop. After the Kids Market you’ll see the outside of Granville Island Brewing, and then vendor stalls in the Granville Island Public Market.
This video was taken in the fall of 2020, which explains why there were fewer people around than usual and why folk you’ll see are wearing face masks. As you’ll see in the video, the shopping opportunities here are amazing! It’s no wonder the district is so popular and world-famous!
The above are just a few of the many shops you’ll find at Granville Island. There are far more than what we’ve mentioned, including many that are equally interesting and impressive. No matter what your tastes and interests, you’re almost guaranteed to find at least one store you’ll fall in love with.
To learn more about the neighbourhood and shopping opportunities in the area, visit the official Granville Island website.
Other articles we have about the district that might be of interest include the following:
- Vancouver’s Granville Island
- The Granville Island Public Market
- Vancouver TheatreSports’ Improv Centre
- The Arts Club’s Granville Island Stage
- Shopping on Granville Island