I’m a Vancouver local and I know that one of the first steps to making your trip to the city unforgettable is deciding where to stay in Vancouver.
Vancouver has tons of great hotels and neighbourhoods to suit all tastes and budgets. Some will put you close to the best Vancouver attractions. Others are hidden gems that are great for history, culture, nightlife, or excellent food.
Choosing where to stay can be daunting if it’s your first visit to the city. But don’t worry, I’ll give you a thorough breakdown of the best places to stay in Vancouver.
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Best Places to Stay in Vancouver
Just looking for a quick answer on the best places to stay in Vancouver? Here are my top picks:
- 🏆 Best Overall Hotel – Fairmont Pacific Rim
- 📍 Best Location – Fairmont Hotel Vancouver
- 💎 Best Luxury Hotel – Rosewood Hotel Georgia
- 👪 Best for Families – Rosedale on Robson
- 💻 Best for Business – Metropolitan Hotel
- 🔔 Best Boutique – Opus Hotel
- 🥰 Best for a Romantic Getaway – Wedgewood Hotel & Spa
- 🌳 Best Near Stanley Park – The Westin Bayshore
- 🏨 Best Historic – The Sylvia Hotel
- 🛏️ Best Budget Hotel – The YWCA Hotel
Ok, let’s do a deep dive of the best areas and neighbourhoods in Vancouver:
13 Best Neighbourhoods & Areas to Stay in Vancouver
It’s a good idea to get familiar with Vancouver’s neighbourhoods before deciding where to stay in Vancouver.
Vancouver’s city centre is located on a peninsula. English Bay is the western border, and False Creek hugs the south. Burrard Inlet is to the north.
Vancouver’s city centre is very small and compact. It is comprised of several districts but feels like it blends into one. Gastown, Chinatown, and Strathcona are neighbourhoods to the east.
The city centre is the best area to stay on your visit to Vancouver, but don’t discount the bordering suburbs. Richmond, North Vancouver, and Burnaby are nearby and also have lots to see and many accommodation options.
So, let’s get into it! These are the 13 best places to stay in Vancouver on a visit to the city.
Vancouver is famous for its natural surroundings, and Coal Harbour is where the mountains and the sea meet. Grab a coffee and savor the scenery around you. Or head out on a beautiful early morning run along the seawall.
The Fairmont Pacific Rim gets my vote for the best hotel in Coal Harbour. Its pristine rooms, heated outdoor pool, and elegant spa scream luxury. The hotel’s Botanist Restaurant is also one of the best restaurants in Vancouver for high-end dining.
Coal Harbour is perfect if you want easy access to Stanley Park. A moderate walk or short bus ride will get you to the Vancouver Aquarium, Malkin Bowl, and the famous totem poles. Be sure to admire the interesting art along the seawall.
Coal Harbour is a quieter part of town. But there are many restaurants and lounges to enjoy at night.
Pros of Staying in Coal Harbour:
- Stunning water and mountain views
- The Vancouver Seawall is nearby for walking or cycling
- Within walking distance to Downtown, Gastown, and Stanley Park
- High-end hotels and restaurants
- A safe area of the city
Cons of Staying in Coal Harbour:
- Hotels and restaurants are expensive
- Parking can be challenging
- Beautiful, but not much character
📚 Coal Harbour Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Luxury Getaways
🏠 Apartments – Browse Top Rentals in Coal Harbour
The Vancouver Waterfront is where to stay in Vancouver if you’re heading to town on a cruise.
Vancouver’s Canada Place is one of the most photographed locations in the city. It is also home to the city’s bustling cruise ship terminal. Every year, over a million passengers dock here, ready to explore Vancouver (and walk off some of those buffets).
I love the Pan Pacific Hotel for its easy access to the cruise terminal. Just take the elevator downstairs and you’re there! The rooms and outdoor pool have amazing views. But my favourite part of a visit to the Pan Pacific is treating myself to a pedicure at Spa Utopia.
Fly Over Canada, the Convention Centre and Canada Place are top attractions at the Vancouver Waterfront. Gastown, Chinatown, and Coal Harbour are a short walk away.
A 15-minute ride on the SeaBus will take you over to lively North Vancouver if you haven’t had enough cruising. Catch the boat at Waterfront Station.
🧳 Pro Tip: The Pan Pacific Hotel offers luggage storage to all cruise ship passengers. You don’t have to be a hotel guest. It’s $10 per day (or $5 if you pick it up by 3 PM). Stop by the hotel concierge to inquire about this service.
Pros of Staying at the Vancouver Waterfront:
- Sweeping views of the North Shore Mountains and Burrard Inlet
- Near Downtown, Coal Harbour, Gastown, and Chinatown
- Short walk to the SeaBus for a visit to North Vancouver
- The cruise ship terminal is nearby
Cons of Staying at the Vancouver Waterfront:
- Hotels can be expensive
- Lots of cruise ship traffic
📚 Vancouver Waterfront Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Cruise Ship Passengers
🏠 Apartments – Browse Top Rentals at the Vancouver Waterfront
Wondering where to stay in Vancouver for a first-time visit? Nothing beats staying in the heart of Downtown Vancouver. The best the city has to offer is just minutes away.
The Vancouver Art Gallery and Bill Reid Gallery are must-sees for art lovers. Robson Street, Alberni Street, and Pacific Centre Mall will give your credit card a good workout. Granville Street will entertain with talented buskers and unique shops. Nearby theaters and nightclubs make this the place to be when the sun sets.
The iconic Fairmont Hotel Vancouver is the perfect place to stay in the city center. The hotel was opened in 1939 by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. Under its green roof, you’ll find well-appointed rooms, an indoor pool, and Absolute Spa. Don’t miss an elegant Afternoon Tea at Notch8.
Staying Downtown means you have great access to transportation. And it’s a short walk to Yaletown, the West End, and Gastown.
Pros of Staying in Downtown Vancouver:
- All of the action happens here
- Best shopping streets in the city
- Quick bus or taxi ride to Stanley Park
- Lots of restaurants, bars, and nightclubs
Cons of Staying in Downtown Vancouver:
- Can be noisy at night
- Parking is expensive and hard to find
- Hotels can be pricey
📚 Downtown Vancouver Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for First-time Visitors
🏠 Apartments – Browse Top Rentals in Downtown Vancouver
Granville Entertainment District
The Granville Entertainment District is where to stay in Vancouver if you’re looking to party! This area is a 7-block stretch along Granville Street. It is full of nightclubs, bars, and concert venues where you can sing, dance, and drink the night away.
The Orpheum Theatre, The Vogue, and The Commodore Ballroom are amazing live music venues. They host the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and famous bands. The Roxy Cabaret, Studio, and Cabana Lounge are some of the many popular nightclubs.
The Hotel Belmont Vancouver MGallery is my top hotel choice in Granville Entertainment District. This stylish and cozy hotel has a cool, mid-century vibe.
The Granville Entertainment District is busy and vibrant. But Vancouver’s social challenges are visible in and around Granville Street. On occasion, groups who have had a bit too much to drink fight outside of the nightclubs. Make sure you’re aware of your surroundings to stay safe in this area.
Pros of Staying in the Granville Entertainment District:
- Bars and nightclubs line the street
- The Orpheum, The Vogue, and Commodore Ballroom are top concert venues
- Lots of cheap, late-night eats
- Near Vancouver’s main attractions
Cons of Staying in the Granville Entertainment District:
- Very noisy at night
- Vancouver’s social challenges are visible on Granville Street
- There can be fights outside the nightclubs
- Parking is expensive and hard to find
📚 Granville Street Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Young Partygoers
🏠 Apartments – Browse Top Rentals in the Granville Entertainment District
Yaletown is a former warehouse district and it’s one of the coolest places to stay in Vancouver. The cobblestone streets are full of character. The historic warehouses are now charming shops and trendy bars and restaurants.
A quick walk down Robson Street will land you in Yaletown. You won’t find the big attractions here, but it’s a gorgeous part of the city to relax in. Have brunch along the waterfront and enjoy the views. Marvel at the yachts moored in the marina, and enjoy a ride on one of the tiny ferries that meander up and down False Creek.
The OPUS Hotel is one of my favourites. Its stylish decor and colorful design give it a contemporary feel. It’s near the happening nightlife and the quiet seawall meaning it’s got the best of both worlds.
Yaletown is on the southeastern edge of the city center. Gastown, Chinatown, and Downtown are all within a 10-minute walk.
Pros of Staying in Yaletown:
- Trendy restaurants and bars
- Close to the False Creek seawall and marina
- A short walk to Downtown, Chinatown, Gastown, and the stadiums
- Vibrant and safe
Cons of Staying in Yaletown:
- Noisy on weekend nights
- Can be expensive
- Lots of event traffic from the nearby stadiums
📚 Yaletown Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Hip Bars & Restaurants
🏠 Apartments – Browse Top Rentals in Yaletown
You’ll be visiting one of Vancouver’s big arenas if you’ve got tickets to watch a Canucks game or attend a concert by a big name like Coldplay. Stay in the Stadium District to be close by.
The Stadium District is located at the eastern end of Robson Street, and this area is all about sports. BC Place and Rogers Arena are home to Vancouver’s major sports teams. You’ll also catch big-name music artists playing here.
There are plenty of bars and restaurants to enjoy before, during, and after the game. Every sports fan will love a visit to the BC Sports Hall of Fame. And for a bit of fun, try to win back the cost of that expensive ticket at the Parq Casino Resort.
The JW Marriott Parq is the most sophisticated of Vancouver’s luxury hotels, and it’s a stone’s throw from the stadiums. With its modern rooms, great views, and cool restaurants and lounges, you might not ever want to leave.
Pros of Staying in the Stadium District:
- Easy access to BC Place and Rogers Arena
- Great bars and restaurants to pre-game
- Close to Yaletown, Gastown, Chinatown, and Downtown
Cons of Staying in the Stadium District:
- Can be noisy with stadium traffic
- The downtown core is further away
📚 Stadium District Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Sports Fans
🏠 Apartments – Browse Top Rentals in the Stadium District
Gastown is the oldest neighbourhood in Vancouver, dating back to 1886. This is a great area for budget-conscious visitors.
Shop and eat at the boutiques and restaurants that line the cobblestone streets. Visit some of Vancouver’s most interesting museums. Watch the famous steam clock as it whistles, and see everything from above at the Vancouver Lookout.
There aren’t many hotels in Gastown. But Downtown, the waterfront, and Coal Harbour are a short walk away.
The EXchange Hotel is a cool option on the edge of Gastown. I love this hotel because it was the former Stock Exchange building. It’s undergone a modern facelift but still retains some of the features from its glory days.
For a truly unique experience, a stay at Skwachàys Lodge is a must. This hotel is part of a larger social project by Vancouver’s Indigenous community. It is a boutique hotel with an on-site gallery, housing, and studios for 24 First Nations artists.
Pros of Staying in Gastown:
- Packed with history
- Close to Downtown Vancouver, Chinatown, and the waterfront
- Great restaurants and an energetic vibe
- Many interesting museums
Cons of Staying in Gastown:
- Certain streets might not be safe, especially at night
- Vancouver’s social challenges are visible in and around Gastown
- Hotel options are limited
📚 Gastown Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Budget Travelers
🏠 Apartments – Browse Top Rentals in Gastown
The West End
The West End is Vancouver’s most colorful neighbourhood. It has been the beating heart of Vancouver’s LGBT community for decades.
Funky bars, restaurants, and nightlife line Davie and Denman Streets. The marvelous Roedde House Museum offers a peek into the neighbourhood’s history.
The tree-lined residential streets make the West End a reprieve from the city center. Robson Street, English Bay, and Stanley Park are the area’s most famous attractions.
I have loved The Sylvia Hotel my whole life because it’s one of the nicest places to stay in Vancouver. The hotel was built in 1912, and it’s one of Vancouver’s most treasured buildings. Boston Ivy covers the exterior, adding to its charm.
Sylvia’s Cocktail Bar was the first of its kind in Vancouver. Savor a delicious drink and great live music here.
Pros of Staying in the West End:
- Close to English Bay Beach, Davie Village, and Robson Street
- Stanley Park is the neighbourhood’s backyard.
- Lots of diverse restaurants for every budget
- Eat juicy fried chicken and drink soju in Little Korea
- Vibrant and lively at night
Cons of Staying in the West End:
- Can be noisy at night
- Safe, but some petty crime on the main streets
📚 West End Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for LGBT Travelers
🏠 Apartments – Browse Top Rentals in the West End
Base yourself in Mount Pleasant if you love authentic local areas. Although this neighbourhood is outside the city center, it’s still a great option for where to stay in Vancouver.
Mount Pleasant has an artsy vibe. Main Street is home to independent shops, cool cafes, and amazing restaurants. It’s a fun place to just come and hang out in.
Science World is the most popular nearby attraction. Olympic Village and its waterfront seawall are perfect for long walks and cold craft beer.
The Vancouver Mural Festival is one of the city’s most beloved summer events. Street parties, DJs, and food trucks celebrate the work of Vancouver’s talented artists. The murals remain up all year.
Mount Pleasant is a residential neighbourhood, which means there are few hotels. But book a room at the Windsor Guest House or Douglas Guest House for a unique experience. It’s the perfect opportunity to stay in one of Vancouver’s lovely heritage homes.
Pros of Staying in Mount Pleasant:
- Has a cool, artsy vibe
- Amazing cafes, restaurants, and breweries
- Lots of independent shops
- A quiet, local neighbourhood
Cons of Staying in Mount Pleasant:
- Limited hotel options
- Not much nightlife
- Transit or a car is needed to get to Vancouver’s main attractions
📚 Mount Pleasant Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Art Lovers
🏠 Apartments – Browse Top Rentals in Mount Pleasant
Kitsilano is home to the best beaches in Vancouver. Rent a kayak at Jericho Beach, windsurf at Spanish Banks, or sit on the sand and people watch at “Kits” Beach. There’s something for everyone.
Nearby Granville Island is one of Vancouver’s top attractions. Be sure to visit the Public Market and artisan workshops.
Spend your money at the restaurants and boutiques that line West 4th Avenue. And learn new things at the Museum of Vancouver, Maritime Museum, H.R. MacMillan Space Centre, and the Museum of Anthropology.
Kitsilano is one of Vancouver’s most beautiful residential neighbourhoods. This means that there are few hotels in the area.
However, The Granville Island Hotel is a top option in Kitsilano. It’s a joy to stay on Granville Island and experience this lovely place during the day and night. The breathtaking city and False Creek views make this a favourite.
Pros of Staying in Kitsilano:
- Home of Vancouver’s most popular beaches
- Tons of great bars and restaurants
- Casual and laid-back vibe
- Granville Island is a top Vancouver attraction
Cons of Staying in Kitsilano:
- Further from Vancouver’s Downtown core
- Quiet at night
- Limited hotel options
📚 Kitsilano Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Beach Bums
🏠 Apartments – Browse Top Rentals in Kitsilano
🎟️ Top Attractions – Granville Island, Kitsilano Beach, Jericho Beach, Spanish Banks, Vancouver Maritime Museum, Museum of Vancouver, H.R. MacMillan Space Centre, Museum of Anthropology, Bard on the Beach
You’ll land in Richmond (well, technically Sea Island) when you fly into Vancouver International Airport. Richmond is on the outskirts of Vancouver. But it’s my top pick for where to stay in Vancouver if you only have a day or two between flights.
There are many places to stay near the airport. I am a fan of the beautiful AMTD Versante Hotel, which has great decor. And you can’t beat the River Rock Casino Hotel for a fun night of slot machines, live music, and an indulgent buffet.
Richmond is quiet and doesn’t have Vancouver’s top attractions and nightlife. Those are a quick 20-minute ride away on the Canada Line SkyTrain.
But there is still lots to see and do in Richmond. Visit Steveston Village, which is one of Vancouver’s top day trips. The Richmond Night Market is a popular summer activity, and the Chinese food here is second to none.
Pros of Staying in Richmond:
- Close to Vancouver International Airport
- Downtown Vancouver is 20 minutes away on the Canada Line SkyTrain
- Historic Steveston Village is a nearby highlight
- Away from the city noise
Cons of Staying in Richmond:
- Quiet and not much to do at night
- Top Vancouver attractions are not within walking distance
📚 Richmond Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Layovers
🏠 Apartments – Browse Top Rentals in Richmond
Want to hit the slopes, hike, or mountain bike? North Vancouver is the place to stay!
A 15-minute ride on the SeaBus from Waterfront Station will get you to North Vancouver. It is the home of two of Vancouver’s most famous attractions: Grouse Mountain and the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park.
Lower Lonsdale is my favourite area of North Vancouver. It’s the perfect blend of vibrant city life and spectacular nature. Book a stay at the Seaside Hotel, which has stylish rooms, and incredible views.
Explore North Vancouver’s culture at the Polygon Gallery and MONOVA. Have a delicious meal at one of the area’s fine restaurants, and spend some money at the boutique shops. Refresh with a craft beer at one of the many local breweries.
North Vancouver is outside of Vancouver’s city centre. But it’s perfect for a quiet holiday immersed in nature.
Pros of Staying in North Vancouver:
- Close to the North Shore Mountains for skiing and hiking
- The Capilano Suspension Bridge Park and Grouse Mountain are nearby
- Lots of restaurants, breweries, and museums
- 15 minutes by SeaBus from Downtown Vancouver
- Quiet at night
Cons of Staying in North Vancouver:
- Traffic can be bad around the bridges
- Not much nightlife after 11 PM
📚 North Vancouver Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Nature Lovers
🏠 Apartments – Browse Top Rentals in North Vancouver
🎟️ Top Attractions – Grouse Mountain, Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, The Shipyards District, The Polygon Gallery, MONOVA, Lonsdale Quay Public Market, Lynn Canyon Park, Deep Cove, North Shore Spirit Trail
Burnaby is a popular option for those doing business in both the city centre and Vancouver’s eastern suburbs. It’s a quick 25-minute ride on the SkyTrain to get to Downtown Vancouver.
Burnaby is a suburban area with an urban feel. It’s home to Metrotown, the largest mall in British Columbia. The area around the mall is bustling with great shopping and dining. Burnaby’s diverse community means endless options for great food at good prices.
Deer Lake Park is a popular place to go for a nice walk and to relax. It’s also the cultural center of the city.
Staying near Metrotown is the easiest for transportation and dining. Element Vancouver Metrotown is a fine choice. This sleek and modern hotel is steps from the SkyTrain and near Burnaby’s best attractions.
Pros of Staying in Burnaby:
- The SkyTrain gets you to Downtown Vancouver in 25 minutes
- Great shopping at Metrotown and Brentwood Malls
- Deer Lake Park is a great place to unwind
- Diverse and affordable restaurants
Cons of Staying in Burnaby:
- Traffic can be bad if you’re driving
- Vancouver’s main attractions are further away
- Not much nightlife
📚 Burnaby Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Business Travelers
🏠 Apartments – Browse Top Rentals in Burnaby
Tips for Staying in Vancouver
Book Accommodation in Advance
It’s no secret that Vancouver is expensive and accommodation will eat up most of your budget. But all hope is not lost.
Get the cheapest rates by booking well in advance. Choose accommodation with flexible cancellation policies. That way, you’ll lock in a better rate, but won’t lose any money if your plans change.
Tipping is Expected
Tipping is not mandatory, but it is an expectation in Vancouver. My rule of thumb is to tip 15% – 18% in restaurants and 10% for taxis and ride shares. Tip $2-$5 for concierge, bellhop, and housekeeping services at hotels.
Most Vancouver coffee shops will also have tip jars at the counter. Leave some small change if you wish. Restaurants and coffee shops will always have a tip option on credit card machines.
Visit in the Shoulder and Off Seasons
Summer is busy and even more expensive in Vancouver. Save money by visiting in the shoulder seasons or off-season.
Spring and Fall are warm and full of colorful flowers and foliage. Winter offers great skiing and snowboarding on the North Shore Mountains. There are fun things to do all year round in Vancouver!
Use Public Transportation
Vancouver’s public transportation is a great option for visitors. The city is small. You’ll find buses, the SeaBus, and the SkyTrain can get you anywhere you want to go.
The system is well-marked and easy to use. Cut costs with an all-zone day pass if you plan to see a lot in one day.
Don’t Leave Anything in a Vehicle
Vancouver is a safe city, but property crime is a big problem, and vehicles are the #1 target. I speak from experience when I say never leave anything in your car. Even if it seems like an insignificant item, it can result in a break-in.
Pack for Every Type of Weather
It rains, on average, 169 days per year in “Raincouver.” So, bring an umbrella, even in the summer.
Vancouver is also known for having four seasons in one day. Pack layers, a waterproof jacket, and appropriate shoes. And bring your swimsuit! Vancouver has amazing beaches and a Polar Bear swim every January 1st.
FAQs About Where to Stay in Vancouver
What are the best areas to stay in Vancouver for first-timers?
The best areas to stay in Vancouver for first-timers are Downtown Vancouver, Yaletown, and the Vancouver Waterfront. These areas are within walking distance of the heart of the city and its major attractions. These areas are also safe, vibrant, and easy to get around by foot or public transportation.
What are safe areas to stay in Vancouver?
Are there any areas to avoid staying in Vancouver?
Avoid staying in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver. The neighbourhood is plagued with homelessness and drug addiction. Although you’re unlikely to be harmed, the area can be unsettling, especially at night.
Where is the most popular area to stay in Vancouver?
Downtown Vancouver is the most popular area to stay in Vancouver. There are plenty of hotels, transportation is fantastic, and the shopping is amazing. Downtown is also near many of the city’s best neighbourhoods. Yaletown, Coal Harbour, Gastown, Chinatown, and the West End are all a short walk away.
What are the best areas to stay in Vancouver without a car?
The best areas to stay in Vancouver without a car are Downtown and the Vancouver Waterfront. These neighbourhoods are walkable with amazing access to public transportation. There are buses, the SkyTrain, and the SeaBus within short walking distances. Taxis and rideshares are abundant due to the large number of hotels.
I hope this guide has given you some great ideas and tips about where to stay in Vancouver! Visiting Vancouver will be a great experience once you find the right place to stay.
Are you looking to escape the city and explore more of the province? An epic British Columbia road trip is the way to go!
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