Canada Place - cruise ship terminal, convention centre, Imax theatre and Vancouver landmark
The Central Business District and Yaletown are the heart of Vancouver's downtown and contain the city's Financial District, two entertainment districts, trendy condos and many of its hotels, clubs and historical buildings. For the visitor, it's a good place to make a base to explore Vancouver because of its easy access to public transit, shops and restaurants. And if you want to sample Vancouver's cuisine or nightlife, or take in the mountains and harbour, it's a great place to be.
The Central Business District is the destination for most transit users, so it's not much of a stretch to say all roads, buses and trains lead here. Waterfront Station is the main hub (Cordova, at the foot of Granville St), with the Skytrain, Seabus and many bus routes terminating there. A large number of buses also pickup outside Burrard Station (corner of Burrard & Dunsmuir Sts).
Driving into and around downtown isn't usually a problem outside of rush hour, but it can be a nuisance (particularly parking), so your best bet is to leave your car outside of the city centre and use SkyTrain (from the east or south) or SeaBus (from the North Shore). If you drive, Georgia Street is the main street through the CBD. It continues on through Stanley Park and the West End and across the Lions Gate Bridge to the North Shore. Access from the south is by bridge over False Creek (the Burrard, Granville and Cambie bridges). All of them will lead downtown so just take the one closest to you.
Parking downtown is as you would expect for a city centre: expensive and, at times, hard to find. Expect to pay between $12-25/day for parking in a parkade. On-street parking meters are in effect from 9AM-10PM, 7 days a week. Many of the streets become no parking zones during rush hour.
Map of Vancouver's central business district
- BC Place, 777 Pacific Blvd (off the Georgia St Viaduct at Pacific Blvd near the shore of False Creek), ☎ +1 604 669-2300, . The home of the BC Lions CFL football team and, in 2011, BC Place will also become the home of Vancouver Whitecaps FC, the second Major League Soccer team in Canada. The building is also home to many conventions, tradeshows and concerts. The original roof, which had the distinction of being the largest air supported dome in the world, is being replaced by a cable-supported retractable roof (also claimed to be the largest of its type in the world). The BC Sports Hall of Fame and Museum  is located within BC Place. The museum includes permanent galleries devoted to Terry Fox and Rick Hansen as well as displays of BC sports history from the early 1800s to present. Due to renovations, BC Place and the BC Sports Hall of Fame and Museum are currently closed. The BC Sports Hall of Fame anticipates reopening Nov 2011.
- Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art, 639 Hornby St (W side of Hornby between W Georgia & Dunsmuir), ☎ 604-682-3455, . Wed to Sun; 11AM to 5PM. The Gallery showcases the permanent collection of acclaimed Haida artist Bill Reid (1920–1998) and changing exhibitions of contemporary Northwest Coast Art. Gallery Highlights include over 40 pieces of Bill Reid’s gold and silver jewelry, Reid’s bronze masterpiece Mythic Messengers, several of Reid’s works that are featured on the Canadian $20 bill and a full-scale totem pole, carved by James Hart of Haida Gwaii. $5- $10. (49.283838,123.118517)
- Jack Poole Plaza, Canada Place & Thurlow St (at the foot of Thurlow St on the west side of the new convention center). Brick-paved plaza with good views of the North Shore mountains, Stanley Park and Coal Harbour. It is also the home of the Olympic Cauldron.
- Library Square & Vancouver Public Library, 350 W Georgia St, ☎ +1 604 331-3603, . M-Th 10AM-9PM, F-Sa 10AM-6PM, Su Noon-5PM. The modern and attractive central branch of the City of Vancouver's Public Library is located in an architecturally interesting building, designed by Moshe Safdie. Constructed as a 'square within a circle', this building is reminiscent of a modern Roman Colosseum. Its design was chosen in a public competition. There are large public spaces around the building and a nice atrium space in the lobby. Guest internet access is available at VPL and visitors can also obtain guest wireless privileges from the library. If you prefer not to obtain a guest login, there are a few terminals that allow access to selected resources (bus schedules, government pages, etc) without logging in.
- Robson Square, 800 Block Robson St (Robson & Howe St). Both an office building and public space designed by Vancouver architect Arthur Erikson, it houses the Provincial Courts and a satellite UBC campus. The building, which was built to represent a skyscraper on its side, is noted for its use of water and greenery and is mostly underground. The public space features a skating rink underneath Robson Street, which is the only outdoor rink in Vancouver. Skating is available during winter and is free, skate rentals are $3.
- Rogers Arena (formerly GM Place), 800 Griffiths Way (across the street from the Stadium Skytrain station), ☎ +1 604 899-7400, . Home of the Vancouver Canucks, the local NHL hockey team, the building also hosts many of the big name concerts that come to Vancouver.
- Vancouver Art Gallery, 750 Hornby St, ☎ +1 604 662-4719, . You can see and learn a lot about Emily Carr in the permanent collection, but the rest of the gallery varies in quality depending on what they have been able to attract as special exhibits. Take advantage of admission by donation on Tuesday (5PM-9PM) and sample what is there before paying the full admission. $22.50 admission ($17 students).
- Vancouver Lookout, 555 W Hastings St (top floor of Harbour Centre), ☎ +1 604 689-0421, . 9AM-9PM daily (winter), 8:30AM-10:30PM daily (summer). Located on the top floor of the Harbour Centre, the Lookout offers a full 360-degree panoramic view of the city from 130m up. You'll see the downtown area, Stanley Park, the North Shore mountains and even the skyline of nearby Burnaby. The ticket is good for two trips during the day, so you can see it in the daytime and return for the sunset view. $15, discounts for children, seniors and students available; best prices if bought at Tourism Vancouver office.
- Yaletown and the Vancouver Marina. A beautiful micro-community in the heart of downtown. Take a walk through this area, check out the yuppie side of Vancouver. Hamilton & Mainland Streets are in actuality lanes (or back-alleys) with old loading docks, but have been converted into European-style high-curb streets.
While Vancouver may not be famous for its architecture, the City Centre is home to some unique buildings both new and old.
- Canada Place, 999 Canada Place. Built for Expo 86 as Canada's exhibit, today the building serves as a cruise ship terminal and convention centre, and is also the site of an IMAX theatre and the luxurious Pan Pacific Hotel. Walk around the unique sailed structure and take in views of the building itself, Coal Harbour, and the North Shore. It uses white colour with a roof of funky "sails" or "waves", which is a curved triangular shape, that has made it a modern gem.
- Christ Church Cathedral, 690 Burrard St. Vancouver's oldest surviving church was completed in 1889. Often in the shadow of its neighbour, the 23 story Cathedral Place, you should visit in the afternoon to see the sun shining through the stained glass windows.
- Dominion Building, 207 W Hastings St (Hastings & Cambie St, across from Victory Square). A distinctive red and mustard coloured building completed in 1910. It was the first steel-framed high-rise built in Vancouver and briefly was the tallest commercial building in the British Empire.
- Marine Building, 355 Burrard St. This 22 story Art Deco office tower was completed in 1930. Because of the great depression, only four floors were occupied for the first several years. Note the attention to detail on both the exterior, and in the lobby.
- Harbour Centre. This is a beautiful Brutalist building that uses tinted concrete in a boxy format. It is minimal and uses punched windows and atop is a retro observation deck that is, well, "well rounded" with a space theme akin to Space Needle.
- Hotel Vancouver, 900 W Georgia St. The third such hotel in this spot, the Hotel Vancouver was built over 11 years and completed in 1939. As with all Canadian Pacific hotels in Canada, the chateau style is truly impressive. The hotel's first guests were King George and Queen Elizabeth. Bring binoculars for a close up view of the building's many gargoyles.
- One Wall Centre (Sheraton Wall Centre), 1088 Burrard St, . Voted the world's best new skyscraper in 2001 by Emporis.
- Sun Tower, 100 W Pender St (corner of Beatty & Pender St). A high-rise building built in the Beaux-Arts style. It was completed in 1912 and was the tallest building in the British Empire at the time. The tower is noted for its dome (painted to look like copper cladding) and its exterior was used in the TV series, Smallville.
Skating at the rink at Robson Square
- Vancouver Opera, 835 Cambie St, ☎ +1 604 683-0222, . Offers world-class performances from some of the world's best composers.
- Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, ☎ +1 604 876-3434, . A great night out at reasonable prices. Students can purchase $10 tickets with the VSO Access Pass.
- Pro Sports. Vancouver Canucks  hockey team season runs from October into the spring. The games are played at GM place, it will be difficult and expensive to get tickets since all games sell out. BC Lions play in Canada's most elite football league, the CFL. The Whitecaps make their debut in MLS in 2011; while the league is clearly improving, it is not yet on the par of the biggest leagues of Europe or Latin America. Vancouver also has several minor league teams such as the Giants of the WHL and the Canadians of single A baseball.
- City Salsa Vibe (Empire Landmark Hotel), 1400 Robson St, ☎ +1 778 TO-DANCE (863-2623), . F doors open 8:30PM, free lesson 9PM, party 10PM-1:30AM. Free salsa lessons, followed by a salsa party with expert performers and a sophisticated crowd. Fully licensed bar. Street and Hotel parking. Dress Code: upscale casual or better, no torn jeans, no tennis shoes, collared shirts preferred for men. $12 cover for party.
- Vancouver Five in One, . A convenient admissions pass to combine with a Hop-on, Hop-off tour of the city. The card gives entry to Capilano Suspension Bridge, Vancouver Aquarium, Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Garden, IMAX at Canada Place, and the Vancouver Lookout. $80, $50 for children.
Events & Festivals
- 4:20. On April 20th people congregate at the Vancouver Art Gallery to smoke marijuana and celebrate this unofficial holiday, a reflection of B.C.'s relaxed attitudes towards cannabis.
- Canada Day at Canada Place, 999 Canada Place (On a pier stretching north from Canada Place (a street) between Burrard and Howe Sts), (email@example.com), . 1 Jul only, 10AM–7PM. A large, engaging, though somewhat corporate celebration of Canada's national holiday. The citizenship ceremony can be moving. There are usually several bands, fun activities for the kids, and exhibits of Canadian Forces and other bits of Canadiana. Free.
- Canada Day Fireworks, ☎ +1 604 925-1912 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . 1 Jul only, 10:30PM-11PM. Restarting an old tradition, there is a fireworks display after dark on Canada Day. In 2008, this was a coordinated two-barge show, one barge off Canada Place and the other off West Vancouver. Free viewing from streets, premium Canada Place seating for a fee.
- Vancouver Zombie Walk. Usually either in the summer or near Halloween, anyone can choose to dress up and act as the living dead during this parade through Downtown. Although this has only been in Vancouver for about 2 years, thousands of people have already participated, and at least 500 people each year join in on this zombie walk. It is free, and mostly for plain fun, and is also an unofficial event. Each year, there is a set meeting spot. Everyone then walks throughout Downtown and up streets and parks all in one large group.
- Public Dreams Illuminares Lantern Festival, Coal Harbour Seawall outside Canada Place, . Annually near the end of July. This popular annual festival, previously held at Trout Lake in East Van, is a feast for the eyes thanks to the procession of beautiful and remarkably creative handmade lanterns that light up the dark. Public Dreams holds lantern-making workshops in the weeks leading up to the festival so keep an eye on their website in early July for details. Free.
- Robson Street downtown is the main shopping district. The intersecting Burrard & Alberni street houses some of the most high-end shops in the region.
- Yaletown is the newest Urban Residential area of Vancouver. Rather yuppie, you will find many beauty shops and self-improvement facilities (such as cosmetic dentistry and plastic surgery). Start your tour at Davie & Hamilton, walk along Mainland St, Pacific, Homer and finish at the spectacular Marinaside Crescent. This was formerly a warehouse district that is now a high end residential area with many upscale and mid-range stores. As an illustration of the neighbourhood's character, one cosmetic surgery office has valet parking in front.
- Book-off, 636 Hornby Street (between W Georgia and Dunsmuir Sts), ☎ +1 604 605-8887, . 10AM–8PM daily. A Japanese language bookstore plunked down in Vancouver. Buys and sells books, CDs, and DVDs from Japan and in the Japanese language. Also has some English-language and foreign-language books.
- H-Mart, 590 Robson St (at Seymour St), . 9AM–10PM daily. Hidden on the second floor is a large grocery store featuring a wide range of high-quality, primarily Korean groceries. Part of a North American chain of Korean stores. The food court offers a number of good lunch choices, too.
- BCMP Bookstore (BCMP), 307 W Hastings St, ☎ +1 604 682-1172 (Marc@cannabisculture.com), . usually to 9pm. The BCMP "Bookstore" is arguably the centre of the marijuana subculture of Vancouver. It is the party headquarters for the provincial marijuana party as well as a store and lounge. Proceeds from the BCMP go towards the party and the legal battle against the extradition of the party leader who faces life in prison in the USA. The front half of the store is taken up by display shelves of bongs, pipes, rolling papers and pretty much anything you could imagine. The lounge costs $5 to go into but it has a very relaxing atmosphere and you're able to use the Volcano Vaporizers. $5 per hour (lounge only).
- New Amsterdam Cafe (The Amsterdam), 301 Hastings St W, ☎ +1 604 682-8955, . The New Amsterdam Cafe is a cafe that permits the smoking of Marijuana, and is directly next door to the BCMP Bookstore. The Amsterdam offers a friendly environment to meet new people and to exercise some of the more unique freedoms that Vancouver offers. While it is not, however, generally permitted to buy or sell marijuana on or near the premises, it is not policed or enforced, so long as it in the spirit of sharing, within reason. They also sell a smaller number (but more impressive) selection of pipes, bongs, busters, rolling papers, and other marijuana-related items, including clothing. Of note are the array of specialist pipes, bongs, and busters, with the unusual titanium Space-Case also on sale.
- Roots, 1001 Robson St (at Burrard St), ☎ +1 604-683-4305. Their fashionable designs with motifs of beavers, maple leaves, and canoes gave rise to what has been called "Roots nationalism", a kind of branded Canadian pride. There are several stores for this brand of clothing, bags and shoes in Vancouver, but if you're looking for a Canadian souvenir that is less obviously touristy, or are from the part of the world where the word "roots" with a picture of a beaver is a double entendre, this outlet store will probably be your best bet.
The different parts of the City Centre have diverse characteristics. The central business district has, as you would expect, a high number of coffee shops and lunch places, the West End has a wide variety of restaurants, Yaletown has a number of high end restaurants and Chinatown has many Chinese restaurants. Some of the best Japanese food outside of Japan is in Vancouver and its Cantonese and Korean offerings are also reputable.
- Babylon Cafe, 716 Robson St, ☎ +1 604 677-3522. 10AM-8PM daily. Small take-aways place known for its long lunch lineup. Serves a small menu of middle eastern food, but the chicken shawarmas are what draw the crowds. Under $10.
- Caffè Artigiano, 1101 West Pender Street, ☎ 604-685-5333 (email@example.com, fax: 604-685-3366), . Mo-Fr 6AM–6PM, Sa-Su 6:30AM–5PM. Excellent coffee shop featuring "latte art," but it's still great. IntelligentsiA coffee available. Great espresso. This small chain has a total of four locations in this district, plus other locations in the Lower Mainland and Calgary.
A large helping of poutine from Fritz
- Fritz Frie House, 718 Davie St (near Granville), ☎ +1 604 684-0811. This restaurant boasts what is arguably the best poutine in town. The curds are imported from Quebec. The garlic lover's mayo is fantastic too. Cleverly located next to the local Fitness World. $5 for a medium. Open until the wee hours in the morning, frequented by night clubbers. Regularly wins local awards for fries.
- Fuse Pan-Asian Express (合), 1078 Mainland St (entrance off Helmecken St parking lot of Yaletown Galleria), ☎ +1-604-687-3873 (info@FuseExpress.com), . Coffee & self serve 9AM onward daily; Full menu M-F 11AM-8PM; Sa Su Hols noon-6PM. A fusion of several Asian cuisines, and a fusion of the virtues of prompt service and good food. Except for the grab-and-go items, everything is made to order with house-made sauces. There is a respectable vegetarian selection. Free parking, and an easy walk from Yaletown offices or the Roundhouse. Phone in advanced orders. Tapas, salads $3-7, stir-fried to order $8, Grilled items $6-12.
- Japadog, 530 Robson St, (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Open daily from noon. A Vancouver street food icon with a few carts around downtown (particularly on Burrard St). The hot dogs come with Japanese flavours and toppings like seaweed, miso glaze, Japanese chili and teriyaki sauce. The dog can be pork, turkey, bratwurst or kobe beef. $4-8.
- Mink, A Chocolate Cafe, 863 W Hastings St (on the park across from Hornby St), ☎ +1 604 633-2451, . M-F 7:30AM-6PM, Sa Su 10AM-6PM (closed holidays). Cafe where the coffee is strong, the hot chocolate is rich and the chocolate is plentiful. It also does waffles and fruit parfaits. The chocolate fondue with pound cake and seasonal fruit for dipping is excellent (just make sure there's at least two of you to share!). $5-10.
- Moonpennies, 1102 W Pender St (at Thurlow), ☎ +1 604 669-6092, . 7AM-5PM daily. Simple food and great coffee in a friendly atmosphere. Serves a selection of soups, salads and sandwiches. $4-10.
- Pita Wrap Cafe, 565 Dunsmuir St, ☎ +1 604 681-7634. M-F 8AM-4PM. The usual falafels, souvlakis, shawermas and Greek plates, but very well executed. $5-8.
- Tree's Organic Coffee & Roasting House, 450 Granville St, ☎ +1 604 684-5060 (email@example.com, fax: +1 604 684-5026), . M-W 6AM-8PM, Th F 6AM-10PM, weekends and holidays 8AM-7:30PM. A coffeehouse featuring carefully selected, 100% certified organic, coffee. Justifiably proud of its reaaaally good cheesecake. This is the flagship of a small local chain; there are other locations in Yaletown, Gastown and Richmond.
- Art Gallery Cafe, 750 Hornby St, ☎ +1 604 688-2233, . M W-F 9AM-6PM, Tu 9AM-9PM, Sa Su 10AM-6PM. A convenient place for grabbing a glass of wine or quick bite to eat before wandering through the Vancouver Art Gallery or doing other activities downtown. Cafeteria style. Large outdoor patio; great for watching the activity around Robson Square. $6-13.
- Dix BBQ and Brewery, 871 Beatty St, ☎ +1 604 682-2739, . M-F 11:30AM-Midnight, Sa 3PM-Midnight, Su 4PM-Midnight. Offers monthly cask nights and southern (U.S.) BBQ food.
- Elbow Room, 560 Davie St (at Seymour St), ☎ +1 604 685-3628, . A restaurant that is famous for abusing its customers--in a good way. Expect to line up to get in on weekends. Open for breakfast and lunch.
- European Breads, 1262 Burrard Street (at Drake), ☎ +1-604-569-0708 (info@EuropeanBreads.com), . Mo—Fr 10am–9pm, Sa 11am–9pm, Su 11am–8pm. An organic crêpes café, which also sells various freshly-baked breads of organic wheat, rye, spelt, and other grains. Well set up for a light breakfast, lunch, or snack. Free wifi. Crepes $6.95-9.95, Sandwiches $6.95.
- The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of Vancouver, 609 Granville Street (The Canaccord Tower - Pacific Centre), ☎ +1 604 639-2055, . Mon–Fri 11:30AM–1:30PM. A restaurant where culinary arts students make and serve the food. The menu aims for the high-end of Pacific Northwest cuisine, but prices are quite reasonable, reflecting that the staff are still in training. lunch $10-14.
- Italian Kitchen, 1037 Alberni St, ☎ +1 604 687-2858 (fax: +1 604-687-2859), . Lunch M-F 11:30AM-on; Dinner 4:30PM-on daily. Corporate sibling of Yaletown's Glowbal. Valet parking most hours the restaurant is open. Reservations recommended. Lunch $11-16, Dinner $18-28.
- Kalypso Restaurant & Ouzeria, 1025 Robson St (near Burrard St, on second floor), ☎ +1 604 689-5550. 11AM-1:30AM. This restaurant has a very pleasant second-floor patio above busy Robson St, which is a treat on a warm day. Well-done Greek food with a respectable vegetarian selection. Mains $15, Dinner $25/person including drinks & tips.
- Kamei Royal, 1030 W Georgia St, ☎ +1 604 687-8588 (fax: +1 604-687-8488). This is the Japanese restaurant to which you can bring your homesick Japanese business partners. Excellently prepared, professional-grade sushi, rice dishes, kushiyaki, and cooked-at-the-table sukiyaki. An authentic Japanese atmosphere, from the irasshaimase greeting to the pretty pictures in the bilingual menus to the serene decor. Tucked above a Tiffany's store on the second floor, you look out over the crowds on Georgia and Burrard, or inside at the chefs in the glass-walled kitchen. Another branch is on W Broadway in Kits. dinner $20.
- Okada Sushi (おかだ寿司), 688 Nelson St #M101 (at Hornby, on 3rd floor above courtyard), ☎ +1 604-899-3266 (fax: +1 604 899-3277), . Lunch M-F 11:30AM–2:15PM; Dinner M–Sa 5PM–10PM. A fine sushi restaurant. Given the ambience and the Japanese heard among chefs, servers, and diners alike, you'll imagine yourself in Tokyo. An extensive list of specials, plus a range of sashimi, sushi, maki rolls, and small dishes. Sit at the 10-person counter for a dazzling view of the chefs in action. $20 and up/person for dinner.
- Plus Alpha, 1099 Richards St (Richards at Helmecken), ☎ +1 604 633-0355, . Tu-Sa 5PM-1AM; Su 5PM-Midnight; M closed. "Plus Alpha" is a Japanese term meaning "a little extra", and this compact fusion of polished Japanese with trendy Yaletown provides a little extra interest, a little extra style, a little extra fun. New interpretations of contemporary Japanese standards such as Pumpkin Croquette and "Pimp My Tofu". Lychee martinis in a futuristic glass. A good place to get a dinner with that "plus alpha". dinner $20/person.
- Sanafir, 1026 Granville St, ☎ +1 604 678-1049 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +1 604-602-7523), . Daily from 5PM. Morocco meets Granville St and serves tapas. Draws from North African, Asian, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean. and Indian. Corporate sibling of Yaletown's Glowbal. Valet parking Thursday-Saturday nights. Tapas $14.
- Shabusen Yakiniku House, 202 - 755 Burrard St, ☎ +1 604 669-3883. Lunch and dinner daily. A Japanese and Korean BBQ House specializing in a large all-you-can-eat menu. Fun part of eating here is that you can order raw meat and cook it yourself on the grill installed at the table. There is another location in South Granville.
- Thai House Restaurant, 1116 Robson St, ☎ +1 604 683-3383, . 11AM-10:30PM daily. Thai and Thai fusion food. Has received awards for Best Thai and Best Asian. A local chain with locations Downtown Robson, Kitsilano and Richmond. Dine in, take out, or free delivery. $15-30.
- Yaletown Brewing Company, 1111 Mainland St (Mainland & Helmecken), ☎ +1 604 681-2739, . Su-W 11:30AM-Midnight, Th 11:30AM-1AM, F Sa 11:30AM-3AM. Popular brewpub in the heart of Yaletown. Starters $6-16, Mains $12-23.
- Aqua Riva, 200 Granville St (entrance off of Howe St, near Canada Place), ☎ +1 604 683-5599, . 5PM-10PM daily, lunch M-F 11:30AM-2:30PM. Varied menu with an emphasis on seafood and local wines. The pizzas from the wood oven are also popular. Try to get a window table to take in the great views of Canada Place and the North Shore. Starters $8-16, Mains $28-40.
- Chambar, 562 Beatty St, ☎ +1 604 879-7119, . 5:30PM-Midnight daily. Belgian restaurant with mussels and a variety of meat dishes on the menu. The beer list includes over 25 beers from Belgium. Starters $11-17, Mains $22-29.
- Coast, 1054 Alberni St, ☎ +1 604 685-5010 (fax: +1 604-629-5014), . M-Th 11:30AM-1AM, F 11:30AM-2AM, Sa 4:30PM-2AM, Su 4:30PM-1AM. Fresh seafood from coastal regions throughout the world. Try the Chef' s Community Table, where the chef prepares the food for up to 14 diners right at the table. Dinner $30-60/person plus wine.
- Glowbal grill & satay bar, 1079 Mainland St, ☎ +1 604 602-0835, . afternoon menu 3PM-5PM daily, dinner 5PM-Midnight daily; M-F lunch 11:30AM-3PM; Sa Su brunch 10:30AM-3PM. Glowbal is a trendy hit in the heart of the Yaletown restaurant row. Brunches are famous, but dinners are also outstanding. Don't be surprised if the chef stops by to offer some custom-made treat if the menu doesn't suffice, and expect the flavours to be marvelous. Attentive, friendly, and uniformly black-clad service. A top-notch operation in every way. Valet parking Thursday-Saturday nights. Brunch $10-16, Dinner $18-35.
- Hy's Encore, 637 Hornby St, ☎ +1 604 683-7671, . dinner daily, lunch M-F. The most amazing service in Vancouver. Classy steak house that has been serving Vancouver for some fifty years. Charcoal steaks are the house specialty, but the menu also includes local cuisine like Pacific Salmon and Ahi Tuna. The servers do an incredible job and the food is excellent. Starters $6-16, Mains $28-52.
- Joe Forte's Seafood & Chop House, 777 Thurlow St, ☎ +1 604 669-1940, . Open daily for lunch and dinner; reservations strongly recommended. Usually mentioned amongst the top 5 restaurants in Vancouver, here you will find great food and great service. In the lavishly decorated open space, you may even catch a glimpse of a celebrity as you savour the oysters that are a specialty here. With glamour comes a price; expect to spend about $70/person for a complete dinner.
- Miku, 1050 W Hastings St, ☎ +1 604 568-3900, . M-F 11:30AM-10PM, Sa Su Noon-10PM. Japanese restaurant that specializes in aburi (seared on the outside while raw inside). There's also a small bar at the entrance. Sushi $5-20, Mains $20-50.
- Samba Brazilian Steakhouse, 1122 Alberni St (On the south side of Alberni St, near Thurlow St.), ☎ +1 604 696-9888, . Mon–Fri 11:30am–3:00pm, 5:30pm–10:00pm; Sat–Sun 12:00pm–3:00pm, 5:50pm–10:00pm. A great place for lovers of flesh and of Brazilian exuberance. The main attraction is the Rodizio, an all-you-can succession of grilled beef, ostrich, buffalo, and other meats brought impaled on swords to your table by "Pasadores" cowboys, together with a broad (though pedestrian) salad bar and buffet. The à la carte menu includes enough fish and vegetarian options to mollify the non-carnivores. Live Latin music, and samba dancers in small but lavish Carneval costumes, spice up the ambience. Suits boisterous groups well. $14-16 lunch; $29-32 dinner (rodizio), $22-29 (menu).
Many of Vancouver's nightclubs are located in the Entertainment District along Granville Street from Robson to the Granville Street Bridge.
- Caprice Night Club and Lounge, 967 Granville St, ☎ +1 604 681-2114, . One of the more exclusive clubs in Vancouver. Features R&B and hip-hop.
- The Cellar/Doolins, 654 Nelson St, +1 604 605-4343. Doolins is a very popular Irish pub with a night club called the Cellar below.
- Commodore Ballroom, 870 Granville St, +1 604 683-9413. This is a large venue frequent location for live concerts. Has a large famous 'sprung' dance floor. Capacity is 900 people. On most nights, tickets are required to get in.
- Opus Bar, 350 Davie St, +1 604 642-0557, . Painfully ‘hip’ bar/lounge inside the much-hyped Opus Hotel in Yaletown. Beyond the fashionable clientele and contemporary décor there’s tapas, cocktails and an extensive list of imported and domestic wines and spirits. Signature small plates include 'O' Dim Sum, merguez corn dog and shish kebob, and Yuzu-spiced garlic wings.
- The Railway Club, 579 Dunsmuir St (Dunsmuir & Seymour), ☎ +1 604 681-1625, . More bar than dance club, it also features live small independent music performers.
- The Roxy, 932 Granville St, ☎ +1 604 331-7999, . Long-time Vancouver club which features top 40 rock. The house band, Dr. Strangelove, covers some of the best of the recent 'classic rock' and dance music.
Downtown Vancouver is home to Canada's finest hotels, a list that keeps growing. Downtown is the most densely populated part of Canada and as a result real estate is very expensive and thus so are most hotel rates.
If you are planning to stay in a hostel downtown, it is probably better to ensure it is located west of Main Street and caters mainly to backpackers (tourists on a budget). Staying downtown keeps much of the frequently visited spots in walking distance. If you were planning to find a cheap (significantly less than $90) hotel downtown, you should know that it is likely to be located in the "East Side", infamous for its prostitution and drug problems.
- American Backpackers Hostel, 347 W Pender St, ☎ +1 604 688-0112, . The rooms are average but the dorms are to be considered by only the poorest of travelers. There are benefits like free beer on summer Saturdays. Book on their website and get a $5 discount on the first night. Minimum age 17, maximum age 35. Dorm bed $10, Single $20, Double $35.
- Cambie Hostel - Seymour, 515 Seymour St (between W Pender and Dunsmuir), ☎ +1 604 684-7757 (toll free: +1 866 623-8496), . checkout: 10AM. Dorms start at $27, or $24 with Cambie Card.
- HI-Vancouver Central, 1025 Granville St, ☎ +1 604 685-5335, . checkin: Noon; checkout: 11AM. Free wireless internet, free breakfast, lockers, and luggage storage. Dorms start at $27 for members and $31 for non-members.
- SameSun Vancouver, 1018 Granville St, ☎ +1 604 682-8226, . Recently renovated with modern amenities and decorated by bright splashes of colours on the wall. Dorms start at $25, private rooms at $70.
- Best Western Chateau Granville, 1100 Granville St (downtown), ☎ +1 604 669-7070, . Featuring many large one-bedroom suites From $89.
- Bosman's Hotel, 1060 Howe St, ☎ +1 604 682-3171 (toll free: +1 888 267-6267), . Two blocks from Robson Street's shopping and one block from Granville's nightlife. Outside pool patio and on-site bar. $69-89.
- Burrard Inn, 1100 Burrard Street, ☎ +1 604 681-2331, . Recently renovated hotel. Some rooms have kitchenettes. Guest parking is $13. $75-130.
- Comfort Inn Downtown, 654 Nelson St, ☎ +1 604-605-4333 (toll free: +1 888 605-5333), . A reasonably-priced, well-situated hotel with some decent package deals as well. The smallest room in winter will cost you $89.
- Granville Grand Hotel, 1212 Granville St, ☎ +1 604 687-8293, . checkin: 2PM; checkout: 11AM. A boutique-style hotel that offers clean and comfortable accommodation. Washrooms are shared but private upon entry. $49-90. (49 16,123 7)
- Hampton Inn & Suites, 111 Robson St, ☎ +1 604 602-1008 (fax: +1 604-602-1008), . Near BC Place stadium. From $129.
- Days Inn Vancouver Hotel, 921 W Pender St, ☎ +1 604 681-4335, . 85 rooms, free wireless Internet. From $110.
- Kingston Hotel, 757 Richards St, ☎ +1 604 684-9024 (toll free: +1 888 713-3304), . Single, twin and double rooms with shared washrooms. The continental breakfast is free. $55-170.
- Ramada Inn & Suites, 1221 Granville St (downtown), ☎ +1 604-685-1111, . Newly renovated; on-site bar & lounge. From $99.
- Ramada Vancouver, 757 Richards St, ☎ +1 604 685-1111 (toll free: +1 888 835-0078), . Great location in the heart of Vancouver's Entertainment District. Newly renovated (2010) rooms featuring free high-speed wi-fi $89 and up.
- The Metropolitan, 645 Howe St, ☎ +1 604 687-1122, . Luxury hotel featuring marble washrooms and soaker tubs. $245 and up in summer.
- Victorian Hotel, 514 Homer St, ☎ +1 604 681-6369 (toll free: +1 877 681-6369), . A historic hotel that has recently been renovated. Close walk to most attractions, but note that it is near a rough area of town. Some rooms have shared bathrooms. Prices range from $79-139 in the summer.
- YWCA Hotel, 733 Beatty St, ☎ +1 800 663-1424 (toll free: +1 604 895-5830), . A modern hotel (12 years old) with a range of room sizes and prices. Close walk to most attractions and near BC Place Stadium. All rooms are private but some have shared bathrooms. Prices range from $64-155 in the summer.
- Shangri-La Hotel, Vancouver, 1128 W Georgia St, +1 604 689-1120 . A downtown luxury hotel located in the tallest building in Vancouver with 119 guest rooms, executive suites and space for meetings and events. The hotel also offers MARKET by Jean-Georges, Jean-Georges Vongerichten's Canadian debut, and access to the Chi spa.
- Vancouver Marriott Pinnacle Downtown Hotel (downtown, steps from Coal harbour)  1128 W Hastings St, +1 604 684-1128 or toll-free +1 800 207-4150. A good weddings and meetings hotel steps away from the harbour and cruise ship terminal. Fitness centre, indoor lap pool and whirlpool. Rates from $159.
- Renaissance Vancouver Hotel Harbourside (newly renovated guestrooms on the waterfront in downtown Vancouver)  1133 W Hastings St, +1 604 689-9211 or toll-free +1 800 905-8582. Located on the waterfront. Rates from $159.
- Best Western Downtown Vancouver, 718 Drake St, ☎ +1 604 669-9888, . From $170.
- Rosewood Hotel Georgia, 801 W Georgia St, +1 604 682-5566 . Across from the Vancouver Art Gallery. From $300 although it can be as low as low as $110 for advance purchases and off-season.
- Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, 900 W Georgia St, +1 604 684-3131 . Vancouver's grand old hotel. Beautifully decorated and a firmly established part of Vancouver's history. From $250-400.
- The Fairmont Waterfront, 900 Canada Place Way, +1 604 691-1999 . A 5-star hotel with a stunning view wherever there's a window. Across from Canada Place. From $300-500.
- Four Seasons Vancouver, 791 W Georgia St, ☎ +1 604 689-9333 (fax: +1 604-684-4555), . Luxury hotel decorated in classic style but with modern amenities. Pool, gym and the excellent restaurant and bar "YEW". From $270.
- Hotel Le Soleil, 567 Hornby St, ☎ +1 877 632-3030 (toll free: +1 604 632-3000), . A 119-room downtown hotel. Rated "One of the Top 100 Hotels in the World" - by Resorts & Great Hotels Magazine. $215-270 in summer.
- Landis Vancouver Hotel & Suites, 1200 Hornby St, ☎ +1 604 681-3555, . All two-bedroom suites. From $180.
- Opus Hotel, 322 Davie St, ☎ +1 604 642-6787, . Stylish hotel in Yaletown that has made it to Conde Nast's gold list four years running. Reviewers like the modern decor and friendly staff but don't recommend it for families. From $300.
- Pan Pacific, 300-999 Canada Place, +1 604 662-8111 . A harbour location just steps away from Stanley Park. If you are staying here, consider paying extra for a view of the coast mountains. At these prices, it would be a shame to miss out on the view. $300-500.
- Sutton Place Hotel, 845 Burrard St, ☎ +1 866 378-8866 (toll free: +1 604 682-5511), . Classic-styled luxury hotel with spa, gym, concierge and the usual room amenities. Reviewers like the ambiance, the friendly staff and the location, but find the WiFi signal weak and thought some of the furnishings looked a bit dated. $320-500 standard rate in peak season.
- Terminal City Tower, 837 Hastings St, . 60-room luxury hotel in downtown.
- Wedgewood Hotel and Spa, 845 Hornby St, ☎ +1 800 663-0666 (toll free: +1 604 689-7777), . European-style boutique hotel listed on Conde Nast's gold list. The decor isn't modern but reviewers like the elegance and class of the hotel and found the rooms well appointed and comfortable. Amenities include a spa and fitness centre and business centre for internet access (no wifi in rooms). $300-425 for a room/suite in peak season.
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