Where to shop in Vancouver? Depends on what kind of retail therapy you’re wanting.
Here’s where to point your compass when you’re looking for:
- Tourist kitsch: When you simply must find that perfect fridge magnet, keychain or shot glass, head for the tchotchke shops along Water Street in Gastown, or Robson Street between Howe and Bute.
- Locally made handcrafts and/or souvenirs with style: Make sure there’s room on your credit card for an afternoon of browsing the artisans of Granville Island. You’ll also find stylish stuff in the Vancouver Art Gallery gift shop; at the Crafthouse Craft Council of BC shop in the domestic terminal at Vancouver International Airport; at Provide Home Decor on Beatty Street; and at the monthly Portobello West fashion and art market.
- Haute designers: If you’re in a hurry, duck into the rare air of Holt Renfrew in Pacific Centre mall to find all the big-name designers conveniently located under one roof. (Men may prefer the selection next door at Harry Rosen.) Otherwise, stroll Robson Street or South Granville Street between Broadway and 15th.
- Unique fashion: Local fashionistas prowl the boutiques on South Main Street, on Granville Island, in Gastown and Kitsilano, and along 10th Avenue near the University of British Columbia for the most interesting home-grown fashions.
- West Coast fashion: Look to Lululemon Athletica and Mountain Equipment Co-op to buy your Left Coast camouflage: yoga pants, Gore-Tex raincoats and other Vancouver fashion essentials.
- Canadiana: The Bay at Georgia and Granville and Roots on Robson sell high-quality Canada-branded clothes, bags, blankets, toques and yes, even maple syrup. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation gift shop at Georgia and Hamilton sells a terrific collection of CBC and Hockey Night in Canada souvenirs, as well as only-in-Canada movies and music. (See here for more gift ideas for the Canada fan.)
- Old reliables: When you need standard-issue staples–Gap jeans and new Fruit of the Looms, let’s say–look no further than one of the Big 3 malls: Pacific Centre in downtown Vancouver, Metrotown in Burnaby, and Richmond Centre in Richmond. (All are easily accessible by public transit.)
- World wonders: For out-of-the-ordinary food, dining and trinkets, look to Commercial Drive, Little India, Chinatown, or Aberdeen Centre in Richmond.
- Second-hand steals: Deluxe Junk in Gastown is a fave haunt for vintage hounds, but nothing beats the Value Village on Victoria Drive and the Salvation Army thrift store on West Broadway in Kitsilano for a true thrill-of-the-hunt shopping experience.