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. Aberdeen Centre

    Shopping Centers/Malls

    First-rate Asian restaurants, vendors hawking everything from kimchi to cream puffs, clothing stores stocking the latest Hong Kong styles, and...Read More

  • 2. Barbara-Jo's Books to Cooks

    Kitsilano | Books/Stationery

    Local-chef-turned-entrepreneur Barbara-Jo McIntosh spreads the good-food word with scores of cookbooks, including many by Vancouver- and BC...Read More

  • 3. 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

  • 4. Granville Island Public Market

    Granville Island | Food/Candy

    Locals and visitors alike crowd this indoor market that's part farm stand, part gourmet grocery, and part upscale food court. The stalls are...Read More

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  • 5. Hill's Native Art

    Mt. Pleasant | Art Galleries

    This highly respected store has Vancouver's largest selection of First Nations art. The place is crammed with souvenirs, keepsakes, and high...Read More

  • 6. 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

  • 7. John Fluevog

    Gastown | Shoes/Luggage/Leather Goods

    You might have seen John Fluevog shops in New York and Los Angeles, but did you know that these funky shoes were created by a Vancouverite?...Read More

  • 8. Kidsbooks

    Kitsilano | Books/Stationery

    The helpful staff at this cheery shop is happy to make recommendations about books appropriate for young people ranging from toddlers to teens...Read More

  • 9. Les Amis du Fromage

    Kitsilano | Food/Candy

    If you love cheese, don't miss the mind-boggling array of selections from BC, the rest of Canada, and elsewhere at this family-run shop of delicacies...Read More

  • 10. 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

  • 11. MEC (Mountain Equipment Co-op)

    Mt. Pleasant | Sporting Goods

    Vancouver's go-to outdoor store since the 1970s, MEC stocks a good selection of high-performance clothing and equipment for hiking, cycling...Read More

  • 12. Nordstrom

    Downtown | Department Store

    Vancouver's lavish new Nordstrom flagship, opened in 2015 in Pacific Centre, has brought even more fashion buzz, plus Nordstrom-style service...Read More

  • 13. 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

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