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. Crafthouse

    Granville Island | Crafts

    Run by the Craft Council of British Columbia, this tiny structure contains a veritable smorgasbord of works by local artisans. The artworks...Read More

  • 2. Circle Craft

    Granville Island | Crafts

    This artist co-op sells finely crafted textiles, wood pieces, jewelry, ceramics, and glass works. Chosen by juried selection, the artists are...Read More

  • 3. Coastal Peoples Fine Arts Gallery

    Gastown | Crafts

    The collection of First Nations jewelry, ceremonial masks, prints, and carvings at this gallery is impressive. Check out the gorgeous books...Read More

  • 4. Doctor Vigari Gallery

    Crafts

    In keeping with its offbeat environs on "the Drive," this gallery is home to a wildly eclectic assortment of jewelry, crafts, paintings, and...Read More

  • 5. Gallery of BC Ceramics

    Granville Island | Crafts

    An impressive display of functional and decorative ceramics by local artists is for sale here. Several times a year, the gallery also hosts...Read More

  • 6. Inuit Gallery of Vancouver

    Gastown | Crafts

    In addition to quality Inuit art like the signature carvings in soapstone and antler, there's also an excellent collection of Northwest Coast...Read More

  • 7. Khot-la-Cha Art Gallery & Gift Shop

    Crafts

    On the Capilano First Nations Reserve in North Vancouver, this longhouse-style gallery showcases items crafted by members of the Squamish Nation...Read More

  • 8. Lattimer Gallery

    Granville Island | Crafts

    Stocking native arts and crafts in all price ranges, this shop, which is designed to resemble a Pacific Northwest longhouse, is a short stroll...Read More

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