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. 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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  • 2. 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

  • 3. Ayoub's Dried Fruits and Nuts

    West End | Food/Candy

    The freshly roasted almonds, pistachios, and cashews from this pretty Persian-style shop make excellent snacks; try them with the signature...Read More

  • 4. Chocolate Arts

    Kitsilano | Food/Candy

    Looking for a present for a chocolate lover? Check out the chocolates in First Nations motifs, specially designed by Robert Davidson, one of...Read More

  • 5. Edible Canada

    Granville Island | Food/Candy

    Tucked behind the Edible Canada bistro, this little shop sells jams, sauces, chocolates, and dozens of other edible items from around the country...Read More

  • 6. Ganache Patisserie

    Yaletown | Food/Candy

    In true Parisian style, every delicious and decadent item here is a work of art. You can buy whole cakes—perhaps a chocolate-banana cake or...Read More

  • 7. Lonsdale Quay Market

    Food/Candy

    At this two-level indoor market—less frenzied than its Granville Island counterpart—vendors sell prepared foods, just-caught seafood, and fresh...Read More

  • 8. Purdy's Chocolates

    Downtown | Food/Candy

    A chocolatier since 1907, Purdy's once made a liqueur-filled line, which was hawked to Americans during Prohibition. These days, Purdy's purple...Read More

  • 9. T&T Supermarket

    Chinatown | Food/Candy

    Check out this chain of Asian supermarkets for exotic produce, baked goods, and prepared foods. You can assemble an inexpensive lunch-to-go...Read More

  • 10. Urban Fare

    Downtown | Food/Candy

    If you're a fan of Whole Foods, check out Vancouver's most stylish supermarket. The mouthwatering food displays come from all corners of the...Read More

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