Vancouver

Art galleries, ethnic markets, gourmet-food shops, and high-fashion boutiques abound in Vancouver. Shopping here is more interesting and varied than in many other North American cities because of the prevalence of Asian and First Nations influences in crafts, home furnishings, and foods.

Downtown Vancouver has many of the same chain stores that you can find across North America but there is also an exciting community of budding local fashion designers whose creative clothes and accessories fill the smaller boutiques. If you're looking for interesting local shops, head beyond Downtown, especially to the Gastown and Main Street neighborhoods, and to the Portobello West Market. Keep in mind, too, that the word "mall" here can mean more than just generic shopping, particularly in suburban Richmond, where malls tend to cater to an upscale Asian community. It's almost like shopping in Hong Kong, Beijing, or Tokyo.

In the art scene, look for First Nations and other aboriginal art, from souvenir trinkets to stellar contemporary art; many galleries showcasing First Nations artists are in Gastown. Area artisans also create a variety of fine crafts, exhibiting and selling their wares at Granville Island galleries. Some local favorites are included in the listings, and Granvilleisland.com has a complete listing of island galleries and studios.

Food—especially local seafood (available smoked and packed to travel), cheeses from British Columbia and across Canada, and even locally made chocolates, jams, and other goodies—makes tasty souvenirs (or delicious snacking or picnic fare). British Columbia also has a rapidly maturing wine industry, and local shops give advice about the region's offerings (and tastings, too). Remember the restrictions about taking alcohol back into your home country before you stock up.

Outdoor-oriented Vancouver is also a great place to pick up camping and hiking gear. There's a cluster of outdoor-equipment shops on West Broadway between Yukon and Manitoba streets just west of Main Street, and you’ll find several cycling, snowboarding, and skiing outlets on West 4th Avenue, just east of Burrard Street in Kitsilano.

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  • 1. Holt Renfrew

    Downtown | Clothing

    This is Canada's ritziest department store name, a swanky showcase for international high fashion and accessories for men and women. Think Prada...Read More

  • 2. lululemon athletica

    Downtown | Clothing

    Power-yoga devotees, soccer moms, and anyone who likes casual, comfy clothes covets the fashionable, well-constructed workout wear with the...Read More

  • 3. Roots

    West End | Clothing

    For outdoorsy clothes that double as souvenirs (many sport maple-leaf logos), check out these Canadian-made sweatshirts, leather jackets, and...Read More

  • 4. Barefoot Contessa

    Mt. Pleasant | Clothing

    This cute shop has a creative take on '40s-style glamour and boho chic. Look for frilly feminine clothing (dresses, dresses, and more dresses...Read More

  • 5. Boboli

    South Granville | Clothing

    Named for the Boboli Gardens, this lavish space, complete with an atrium-like shoe department, focuses on high-end Italian labels for men and...Read More

  • 6. Dream Apparel and Articles for People

    Granville Island | Clothing

    This tiny shop showcases a variety of wares by up-and-coming local designers. The creative selections target the hip twentysomething crowd. ...Read More

  • 7. Fine Finds Boutique

    Yaletown | Clothing

    It's hard to predict what you'll find in this pretty little shop—it's a fun spot to browse for cute women's clothing, jewelry, and accessories. ...Read More

  • 8. Front and Company

    Mt. Pleasant | Clothing

    Value-conscious fashionistas eagerly browse the consignment and vintage clothing in this smart shop. There's a small section of designer samples...Read More

  • 9. Granville Island Hat Shop

    Granville Island | Clothing

    You name the hat and somewhere on the walls, rafters, or shelves you'll find it. There are fedoras, cloches, toques, sun hats, rain hats, straw...Read More

  • 10. Kit and Ace

    Gastown | Clothing

    More evidence of Vancouver style making its mark on the world hangs at the Gastown flaship of this homegrown international chain. Billed as...Read More

  • 11. Leone

    Downtown | Clothing

    Marble alcoves in an elegantly palatial store set the scene for men's and women's fashions by Versace, Alexander McQueen, Moschino, Dior, Miu...Read More

  • 12. lululemon lab

    Gastown | Clothing

    One of only two lululemon labs (the other is in New York) this test site for Vancouver's iconic yoga wear brand is the place to pick up the...Read More

  • 13. Mintage

    East Side | Clothing

    Vancouver's biggest vintage shop is a 3,000-square-foot treasure trove of style from decades past. Collections of wedding dresses, cowboy boots...Read More

  • 14. Oak + Fort

    Gastown | Clothing

    Based in Vancouver, with locations elsewhere in Canada, Oak + Fort sells simple but stylish locally designed women's clothing and accessories...Read More

  • 15. One of a Few

    Gastown | Clothing

    The clothing and accessories here, from local and international makers, may not be one of a kind, but as the name of this funky little shop...Read More

  • 16. Secret Location

    Gastown | Clothing

    Design students and celebrities alike flock to this airy, white gallery of highly curated clothing, accessories, jewelry, and art books. The...Read More

  • 17. Shop Cocoon

    Cambie | Clothing

    This is a great showcase for independent designers, who can rent a rack, shelf, or wall space to showcase their work trade show–style in this...Read More

  • 18. Tilley Endurables

    South Granville | Clothing

    Globe-trotters search out this practical, hard-wearing line of Canadian-made travel clothing. The Tilley Hat is an icon of seasoned travelers...Read More

  • 19. Turnabout

    South Granville | Clothing

    The quality of the previously owned clothing here is so good that "used" is almost a misnomer at this long-established vintage-clothing store...Read More

  • 20. Twigg & Hottie

    Mt. Pleasant | Clothing

    Local and national designers stock this outlet with wearable creations in quality, sustainable fabrics. Look for the in-house We3 label. ...Read More

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