Where to Stay in Vancouver, B.C.: Guide for First Timers

Wondering where to stay in Vancouver, B.C.? You’re in the right place! We live in Portland, and have been to Vancouver multiple times in the past year. We’re here to use our own experiences exploring the city to help you plan an amazing trip, starting with finding the best place to stay for your particular travel style and budget.

We love Vancouver for a lot of the same reasons we love other cities in the Pacific Northwest like Seattle (where Matt grew up and spent the first part of his adult life) and Portland (where we live now).

In fact, to us, Vancouver feels like a mashup of those two cities. It has the location on the water with mountains backing the skyline that Seattle is known for, and it has the thriving food and drink scene and compactness that we think makes Portland special. 

Before we settled down in Portland in 2022, we had been to Vancouver for a few different 2-3 day trips (all in the winter, oddly). Since moving to Portland, we’ve already been up to Vancouver multiple times in the first year, with plans for more. 

Over those trips, we’ve gained a deeper perspective on the city and what makes it special – especially the parts of the city outside of Vancouver’s Downtown core. 

In this guide, we’re going to go through our perspective on the best places to stay in Vancouver, British Columbia. 

We’ll focus on six great neighborhoods that we think would make an excellent home base for exploring the city based on our fairly regular trips up the west coast to Vancouver over the past few years. 

For each neighborhood, we’ll give you an overview of the place, our view on the pros and cons of staying there, a few highlights that we enjoyed and think you shouldn’t miss, and some places to stay that stand out to us for one reason or another. 

By the end of this guide, our goal is to arm you with the information you need to choose the right place for you given your particular style, budget, and what you’re looking for out of a trip to Vancouver. 

Sound good to you? Let’s get into it.  

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post, like hotel links, are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, we make a little bit of money if you click through and book. That being said, we would never recommend something to you that we don’t stand behind 100%.

Where to Stay in Vancouver, B.C.: The 6 Best Places to Stay for First Timers

Our philosophy when it comes to deciding on a place to stay is to first choose the neighborhood, then move on to finding a great hotel, hostel, or apartment in that area. 

Vancouver is a relatively compact city, at least when we’re talking about the neighborhoods where it makes sense for tourists to stay, though which area you choose still matters because each has a distinct vibe. 

For example, If you like a concrete jungle with people in suits hustling and bustling, stay Downtown. If you prefer a more laid back, residential vibe, stay in Kitsilano.

Where you stay is going to have a pretty big impact on how your trip feels. 

We put together this guide to give you the information you need – based on our own experiences exploring Vancouver – to figure out the best area for your particular style and budget. 

And, because it’s Vancouver, it’s worth taking a second to chat about budget for a second. 

There’s no getting around it – Vancouver is an EXPENSIVE city for both living and visiting. Not quite San Francisco expensive, more along the lines of Seattle or San Diego. 

And that is doubly true in the summertime, when you’ll find prices climbing thanks to the incredible long, warm days of summer. 

You might be tempted to cut costs by staying relatively far out and, essentially, commuting in.

We understand the impulse, but we would strongly encourage you to consider spending the extra money to stay closer to Downtown ESPECIALLY if you have limited time (2-3 days, for example). 

Now, we’re well aware that a few of you are currently ready to throw your left shoe at the screen, saying “I don’t have time to read all of that, JUST TELL ME THE BEST PLACE TO STAY!” 

Well, here’s a quick summary of this guide if you’re short on time (though we’d recommend reading the section of the place you end up staying for tips and places to add to your list!). 

  • If it’s your first time in Vancouver and you only have a couple of days, stay in Downtown Vancouver. Between the unbeatable transit connections (including to the airport) and walkability to Gastown, Yaletown, and the West End, it’s hard to argue against Downtown as the most convenient place to stay in Vancouver. However, the thing to know is that to see, eat, and drink the best that Vancouver has to offer, you’re going to have to leave Downtown. It’s full of businesspeople and tall office buildings, and the businesses here cater to that crowd and are largely chains. It does, however, have BY FAR the best selection of hotels in Vancouver, including nearly every global hotel brand you could possibly want. We like the northern end of the neighborhood, and we’d look at one of the hotels up towards Vancouver Harbour like the Metropolitan Hotel or the Auberge Vancouver

  • If you want to be in a hip neighborhood in the middle of all of Vancouver’s best food and drinks, stay in Gastown. Gastown is all cobblestone streets and old brick warehouses that have been transformed into industrial-chic loft apartments over the past decade or two. It also happens to be a great place to eat, drink, and shop, with most of our favorite coffee shops in Vancouver, a few of our favorite restaurants (Ask for Luigi and Nuba!), and some good places to shop. There aren’t too many places to stay here, but we’d go with either the Skwachàys Lodge, a cool midrange hotel with decor inspired by the Indigenous people that call this area home, the Delta by Marriott for a more modern upscale vibe, or the Victorian Hotel if you’re looking for a more affordable option.  

  • If you want to be between Vancouver’s best green space – Stanley Park – and Downtown, stay in the West End. The West End is both the most low key and residential AND most affordable part of Vancouver’s Downtown core. It’s also right on the border of Stanley Park, giving you easy access to the best green space in the city. If we were you, we’d stay at either the Times Square Suites (for the location right on the edge of the park and the apartments with more space) or the Carmana Suites (for the modern amenities and spacious apartments). 

Here’s a map to help you visualize what we’re talking about, with the neighborhoods we’re going to talk about in this guide along with some key landmarks (the yellow stars) to help you understand the geography of the city. 

Downtown Vancouver: The Best Area to Stay for First Timers in Vancouver (+ Short Trips)

Having grown up in Seattle, I (Matt) have spent a bit more time in Vancouver than Alysha.

And every single time I had been to Vancouver before our last three trips together, I had stayed Downtown. Right smack dab in the middle of all the action. 

There are certainly pros and cons to that approach. It’s right in the middle of everything, so you’ll be able to either walk or take a bus/the SkyTrain to just about everything (including the airport).

But that central location means you’ll be sharing sidewalks with business people in suits and the occasional tourists, because nobody who lives in Vancouver really lives Downtown. 

However, its central location and the fact that it is effectively also the city’s Financial District (or Central Business District, take your pick) means that it does have the best selection of hotels in the city. 

Like we said, pros and cons. 

It makes the most sense for your first trip AND a short trip (24-48 hours or so). In that scenario, you’re going to want to be as central as possible to maximize your time, and you don’t really have time to do much exploring outside of the Downtown area (including Stanley Park and Gastown) anyway. 

Pros and Cons of Staying in Downtown Vancouver

Here are the pros and cons of staying in Downtown Vancouver as we see them.

Pros of Staying in Downtown Vancouver 

  • There are a ton of places to stay. This is the highest concentration of places to stay, with hundreds of hotels within the relatively small Downtown corridor. Plus, there are options for a range of budgets – it’s not all fancy, high end hotels. 

  • It’s as central as it gets. It shouldn’t be much of a surprise that Downtown Vancouver is central. You’ll be able to walk to Gastown, Yaletown, West End, and even Granville Island.

  • There are great transit connections. Between the SkyTrain and stops for just about every bus route in Vancouver, you’re really well connected to the rest of the city if you choose Downtown as your home base. It’s easy to get around town, and to get to and from the airport. 

Cons of Staying in Downtown Vancouver 

  • It’s not charming. This is a concrete jungle, and while there are a couple of green spaces (we really like Robson Square), it feels very urban.

  • Our favorite places to eat and drink are elsewhere. The bars and restaurants here cater to businesspeople, which means they’re not going to be as diverse and interesting as some of the places on Main / Cambie or in Kitsilano. Plan on eating and drinking elsewhere if you stay here. 

The Best Places to Stay in Downtown Vancouver

Like we mentioned a couple of times, there are a nearly unlimited number of places to stay in Downtown Vancouver across a range of different budgets. 

Here are a few that stand out to us, though you could also go with the hotel chain you’re most familiar with – they likely have a location here. 

The Burrard: A Hip, Affordable Option

Housed in a former motor inn, this hip hotel on the southwest corner of the Downtown area is a great option if you’re looking for a central option that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. 

It’s two blocks away from Robson Square, and a short walk out to Sunset Beach and the start of Stanley Park. 

When you see the layout of the hotel, you’ll immediately understand what we mean when we say it’s a former motor inn. The rooms are situated around the outside perimeter of a leafy courtyard, which has spaces to hang out – perfect for summer in Vancouver. 

Rooms are compact, but have Nespresso machines and modern decor. Choose from a king, queen, or two queen beds. Some rooms face the interior garden, some face the exterior street (the first is going to be quieter, we think). 

They have pet-friendly rooms if you’re traveling to Vancouver with a furry friend, and they have secure onsite parking (for an extra fee, of course). 

The Loden: A Stylish Boutique Hotel in a Good Location

The Loden Hotel is on the border between three different areas – West End, Coal Harbor, and Downtown. It’s definitely a little more upscale than the Burrard, but the comfort, style, and amenities (a nice gym, free three-hour bike rentals, etc) are also a step above. 

They have a couple of different room layouts and tiers to choose from. 

In terms of layouts, it’s essentially just one king bed or two double beds. 

By tiers, we mean rooms that have views of Stanley Park and the water, corner rooms, and rooms that don’t have much of a view. Basically, you’ll pay a little more for the view. They also have rooms on the second floor with a garden terrace, which we think is a nice touch (especially in the summer). 

It’s also pet-friendly, with no limit on size/weight. There is a $50 pet fee per pet, per stay, with a maximum of two pets per room (and no leaving them in the room unattended, which is standard for bringing pets with you to hotels). 

Gastown: A Hip, Charming Area with Great Food and Drinks

After a few stints staying Downtown, we eventually moved on to staying in Gastown, which is just east of the Downtown core up along the waterfront.

With its cobblestone streets and more industrial feeling (especially as you head east towards railtown), it’s definitely a different vibe from the concrete jungle that is Downtown Vancouver. 

However, similar to Downtown, staying in Gastown definitely has its pros and cons and probably isn’t for everyone (particularly, we’d say, families with kids). 

On the plus side, it’s very charming and has some great places to eat and drink (including at least three of our favorite coffee shops in Vancouver within two blocks).

It’s also walkable to Downtown, Yaletown, and the waterfront (including the water taxi up to North Vancouver). 

On the other hand, there are some things about Gastown – namely the visible homeless population – that might make visitors who aren’t used to seeing it uncomfortable. 

We have lived in Seattle, San Francisco, and Portland, so we are very familiar with the convergent housing / mental health crises affecting most of the big cities on the west coast, and Vancouver isn’t much different in that regard (even though it’s a different country). 

There is a visible homeless population in this part of town, and you’ll occasionally see open air drug use. 

However, if you head east of Carrall Street, the situation gets a lot more intense FAST. We know because we walked straight through it from Chinatown to Railtown on the way to lunch one day, crossing E Hastings St at Main St. 

Whether you stay here or not, we’d strongly recommend avoiding going east of Carrall Street on E. Hastings if you can avoid it. Once you get a block or two north or south of E Hastings, it gets a little better. 

For example, we walked from Ask for Luigi through Gastown up on Alexander St (~3 blocks north of E Hastings) and it was totally fine. 

Pros and Cons of Staying in Gastown

Here are the pros and cons of staying in Gaston as we see them.

Pros of Staying in Gastown 

  • Good food and drinks, both alcohol and coffee. Between the three coffee shops we loved (more on them in the next section), two of our absolute favorite restaurants in Vancouver (also more on them in a second), and the best beer / cider bar in the city, Gastown has a lot going for it in terms of food and drinks. 

  • Central and walkable. Staying here means you’ll be able to walk to most places. For everything else, there’s a bus!

  • Easy airport connection. The Canada Line runs from Waterfront Station (which is on the western border of Gastown) straight to the airport, so you don’t have to deal with traffic or connections. It’s easy!

Cons of Staying in Gastown

  • Proximity to the Downtown Eastside. Look, we’re usually the ones downplaying the “cities are dying” narrative that people (specifically who don’t actually live in the city) are always throwing out there. And, usually, it’s not that bad. However, the stretch of E Hastings St east of Carrall was unsettling, even for us. We’d avoid walking east from Gastown, especially at night, and would also advise families with children to consider staying in a different area. 

The Best Places to Stay in Gastown

Unlike Downtown, there aren’t that many places to stay in Gastown. Here are the three main options. 

Delta Hotel by Marriott: A Solid Option on the Border of the Neighborhood

We’re cheating just a little bit by including this luxury hotel in the Gastown section because it’s on the border of Downtown and Gastown. However, it’s two blocks away from the Steam Clock, so we’re including it here!

This is a suite hotel, and it skews to the luxury end of the spectrum. “Suite” just means that the rooms here have a bedroom and a sitting area. Bedrooms come in a couple of configurations – one queen, one king, and two queens. If you care about having a view from your room, some rooms on high floors that face north have views of the water, while most other rooms have city views. 

Some of their suites come with what they’re calling an urban kitchen, which means a microwave and mini fridge. There’s also a small fitness center at the hotel. 

The hotel is pet-friendly, with two pets per room up to 50lbs (23kg) and a pet fee of $55 CAD per pet, per stay. They also have parking onsite for $43 CAD per day.

Honestly, if you have a car, we probably wouldn’t recommend staying Downtown. 

Skwachàys Lodge: A Cool Boutique Hotel Featuring Indigenous Art

This cool hotel in the heart of Gastown is one of the most unique places to stay in Vancouver.

It’s part boutique hotel, part social enterprise that is supporting local Indigenous communities by giving them a platform to share and sell their art and, arguably more importantly, a place to live while they make their art. There’s an onsite art gallery where you can find their work. 

Each of the 18 rooms here are unique, and they feature work from Indigenous artists around a theme. Since they’re all unique, the layouts are slightly different, but you’ll choose between a king bed, a queen bed, or two double beds. 

They also have two “suite” rooms that have more space, a mini fridge, and a microwave. 

The lodge has limited onsite parking, available on a first-come, first-served basis for $30 CAD a night, but we’d say that you probably shouldn’t stay in this area with a car. If you do have a car, take EVERYTHING out of it when you leave. 

No pets allowed here!

Victorian Hotel: An Affordable Option in Central Vancouver

The Victorian Hotel is a boutique hotel on the border between Gastown and Downtown, within a few blocks of both our favorite spots in Gastown (like Nemesis Coffee and Revolver Coffee), and also places like the Vancouver Art Gallery, which is five to six blocks away. 

Rooms here are an eclectic mashup between the old skeleton of the historic building it’s in and the updated modern decor of a boutique hotel. The result is exposed brick walls, and bright white walls and sheets.

One of the things we like about this particular hotel is that, despite skewing towards the “boutique” end of the spectrum, they have “Euro-style” rooms with shared, single occupancy bathrooms that are probably the best value in Vancouver. 

Fear not – they have eight of these rooms on each floor, and three bathrooms shared between the rooms on each floor, so you shouldn’t have to wait to use them. And, again, they’re single-occupancy and lockable, so it’s not like it’s a bunch of stalls in one bathroom you’re sharing. 

Then, they also have normal hotel-style rooms with ensuite bathrooms if you have the budget. 

No pets allowed here, and they have limited onsite secure parking. Parking is not reservable, and it costs $20 CAD a night. 

Note: They do NOT have an elevator, so if you or someone you’re traveling with have mobility issues, this might not be the best place to stay.  

The West End: Low Key, More Affordable, and Right on Stanley Park

Vancouver’s West End spans the entire western part of the Peninsula from Burrard out to the park, with its crown jewel – Stanley Park – jutting out into the water. 

It’s very much a part of the Downtown core, and staying here is going to put you within a hop, skip, and a jump (or short bus ride) of just about everything you’re going to want to see on your Vancouver itinerary

Of the Downtown-ish neighborhoods, the West End is the least concrete-jungly (for lack of a better word). It’s quieter, more residential, and, perhaps most importantly, more affordable (on average) than Downtown, Gastown, and Yaletown. 

You’re trading hip industrial-chic lofts and brick buildings (Gastown), high rise luxury apartments with yoga studios on the ground floor (Yaletown), and business people in their best dress strolling about (Downtown) for slightly out-of-date apartment buildings, low key restaurants and bars, and great views of the water. 

There are two main streets running from Downtown out to the park (which, for the directionally challenged like myself, runs NW to SE); Davie and Robson. That’s where you’ll find the vast majority of both hotels and places to eat and drink. 

Our favorite part is the access to Stanley Park. The best way to explore the park, we think, is riding a bike (or walking) the entire perimeter of the seawall. 

Mobi – Vancouver’s bike share program – is a good way to do it, and there are stations throughout both the park and the West End. If you’d rather rent a bike from a shop, there are a handful of bike shops at the northern corner of the West End (here on Google Maps).

Pros and Cons of Staying in the West End

Here are the pros and cons of staying in Vancouver’s West End as we see them.

Pros of Staying in the West End 

  • It’s more affordable. The hotel options here, on average, are going to be a little more affordable than similar properties in Downtown and Yaletown. Obviously, the types of hotels in each place influence the price (and the mix of budget and luxury varies greatly between those three neighborhoods), but we think the West End offers the best value of any of the areas in the Downtown core. 

  • It’s right on Stanley Park. We like the West End for the same reasons that we like staying (and living) in neighborhoods close to a city’s main park. Matt lived on the edge of Golden Gate Park and Green Lake when he lived in San Francisco and Seattle, and there’s something special about an early morning or late afternoon walk in the park to touch some grass after a hectic day. The West End puts you in the best position to do that out of any area in Vancouver. 

Cons of Staying in the West End 

  • It’s harder to get to from the airport than other Downtown neighborhoods. There’s no SkyTrain stop, which means at least one transfer (or an expensive ride) between landing and your hotel. Which doesn’t matter as much if you’re driving or taking the train, obviously, but is worth considering if you’re flying to Vancouver. 

  • It’s kind of boring from a food and drink perspective. Now, we don’t mean to say that there aren’t any good places to eat or drink here, because there certainly are. However, what we will say is that it doesn’t crack our top three neighborhoods in terms of food, drinks, and shopping. The food and drink scene mirrors the housing situation, which feels a little outdated and relatively undeveloped compared to, say, Yaletown. More homey, less luxury. Which is exactly how we feel about food and drinks here. More neighborhood coffee shops, less of the best cocktail or wine bars in the city. Though, it should be noted that there is some really good Asian food, especially near the park. 

The Best Places to Stay in Vancouver’s West End

Here are a few places to stay in Vancouver’s West End that we think are worth a look. 

Sonder at Revival: Modern Apartments Two Blocks from Stanley Park 

We’ve stayed at Sonder properties before, and I (Matt) actually had a stay booked at this particular property on our last trip that I had to cancel because our travel plans changed. 

If you aren’t familiar with Sonder, we think of them as a cross between hotels and Airbnb.

It’s like an Airbnb in that you get your own space (usually apartments, though they’ve started offering hotel-style rooms at some properties), but it’s like a hotel in that Sonder actually owns the property (versus a random person). 

As you might imagine, there are pros and cons here too. 

The biggest thing to know is that at many of their locations, there are very limited staff onsite – everything is managed virtually (check-in codes, room cleaning requests, etc). 

This has a few implications, namely that if something comes up, you can’t just walk down to the front desk. And you can’t ask the people at the front desk for recommendations on nearby bars, how to take the bus to Kitsilano, or whatever other practical questions you have. 

However, if you’re looking for a nice place to stay that has modern amenities and comfortable rooms that, crucially, has a kitchen, this place would be a great home base in Vancouver. 

West End Guest House: A Charming Guesthouse in a Historic Victorian

If you’re looking for a guesthouse that has taken a historic Victorian and turned it into one of the top rated bed & breakfasts in Vancouver, this is the place! 

The West End Guesthouse is housed in a historic Victorian that was built in 1906, just after the gold rush turned Vancouver (and Seattle) on the path to becoming a real city. 

It’s in a quieter area in the West End, roughly equidistant to both Downtown and the edge of the park (12-15 minutes away, on foot). 

The first thing to know is that this place is “adult-oriented” so it’s not a good spot for families with kids. It’s very much oriented to couples and solo travelers – all rooms feature a single bed, king or queen depending on the room. 

The second thing to know is that it’s a bed and breakfast in the truest sense of the name – a full, hot breakfast is included every day. They also have complimentary refreshments and treats in the evening, if you’re around. Even the off-street parking is included in the room rate!

In terms of rooms, no two are exactly the same (as you might imagine would be the case in a building that’s 100+ years old). You get either a king or queen bed, and the rooms aren’t huge – though you can lounge in the guesthouse’s common areas if you need more space. 

No pets allowed, and parking is included in the price of the room. 

Carmana Hotel & Suites: Modern Suites Near Downtown Vancouver

This mid-range aparthotel – which is just a hotel where the rooms are apartments (they call them suites here) – is on the border of Downtown Vancouver and the West End, which is a location that has pros and cons. 

On the pro side, it’s close to Downtown, Gastown, and by extension, the rest of the city. It’s also close to the SkyTrain stop (10 minute walk to the Vancouver City Centre stop), which makes it easy to get to from the airport. 

The flip side is that it’s much more urban, concrete jungle than the part of the West End that’s closer to the park. While it’s technically in the West End, it’s very much a more downtown feeling. 

In terms of aesthetics, this place also feels closer to Downtown or Yaletown than the West End, with a metallic high rise exterior and more modern furniture and art inside (though the touches of West End come through in the outdated stove). 

The suites come in one bedroom and two bedroom varieties, and they all come with a full kitchen. They have an onsite fitness center with a couple of peloton bikes and some other equipment along with onsite laundry (though it’s not free). 

One thing we do love is the big floor-to-ceiling windows in each unit with nice views. 

No pets allowed here. 

They do have onsite parking, BUT the height limit is 6’, which means anything other than a sedan is probably too tall. It costs $38 a day, including taxes. 

Times Square Suites Hotel: The Best Place to Stay near Stanley Park

If your reason for staying here is to be close to Stanley Park, this low-key suite hotel is probably your best bet. 

It’s roughly two blocks away from the park, and a block from the aforementioned bike rental shops. Plus, it’s on Denman Street, which is one of the more exciting stretches in the neighborhood. 

Now, the tradeoff here is that it’s not the most modern or swanky outfit. In fact, it reminds us a little of places we’ve stayed in towns like Banff or Jasper, where it’s constantly at capacity and probably needs to take a few months off for a renovation. 

That being said, it’s very homey and comfortable AND has full kitchens in every unit, something we always look for when we travel because Matt has Celiac Disease and often needs to be able to cook for himself. 

It would also be a nice place to stay for a longer term stay because of that extra space. We often find ourselves working while we travel, and it’s hard to do in a tiny hotel room (frankly, living in a tiny hotel room gets tiring after a couple of days). 

The suites range in size and configuration from studios up to two bedroom suites, and they’re all unique in layout.

They do have pet-friendly suites, BUT ONLY DURING LOW SEASON FROM OCTOBER TO APRIL. That means it’s a no-go for summer trips with a furry friend. There is a $45 pet fee per pet, per stay. 

Parking is available (their garage has a 6’4” height limit) and costs $25 a day. 

Yaletown: An Upscale and Modern Neighborhood on False Creek 

Yaletown is where you’ll find the highest concentration of workout class providers (there’s even a Barry’s Bootcamp, so you know it’s bougie) and high rise apartment buildings that all kind of look the same (though we love the density).

Yaletown is the neighborhood occupying the southeastern corner of the Downtown core, right along False Creek (that’s the little inlet that Granville Island is on). 

The cornerstone of the area is B.C. Place, which is home to both the local soccer team (the Vancouver Whitecaps, who play in the MLS) and the biggest names in music that come to Vancouver (Taylor Swift is playing there). 

When we say concrete jungle, Yaletown is probably the best example. It’s DENSE.

However, we also think they’ve done a pretty good job at building shared green spaces into the neighborhood, particularly along the water where there’s a lovely walking path that skirts the southern edge of the neighborhood. 

In terms of staying here, we actually really like the location because you’ll have easy access to Downtown, Gastown, and the Main/Cambie corridor (it’s a short walk across the Cambie Street Bridge). 

Plus, the water taxi service gives you access to other parts of the city and is our favorite way to get around Vancouver. False Creek Ferries is your best bet because it includes a stop at both Granville Island and Kitsilano.

The biggest downside is that it’s going to be expensive, and you’re not going to get as much for your money as you might in, say, the West End, because the hotels here skew towards the luxury end of the spectrum. If you’re on a budget, stay elsewhere. 

Pros and Cons of Staying in Yaletown

Here are the pros and cons of staying in Yaletown as we see them.

Pros of Staying in Yaletown 

  • It’s walkable. Staying in Yaletown means you’ll be able to walk to Gastown, Downtown, and Granville Island.

  • It has good food and drink options. The streets – particularly on the southeastern end of the neighborhood towards B.C. Place – are lined with great places to eat and drink. 

  • It’s easy to get around. Yaletown is walkable to the SkyTrain, and has nice bus connections. It also has the ferry system, which will take you to Granville Island, Kitsilano, and Stanley Park. It’s easy to get to the airport, it’s easy to get to places like Mount Pleasant and Kitsilano, and it’s a good hub for exploring Vancouver for that reason. 

Cons of Staying in Yaletown

  • It lacks charm. While Yaletown is nicer and more charming than Downtown, which is full of businesspeople in suits with a smattering of tourists, it lacks the charm that you get from people going about their daily lives like you get in Kitsilano or the West End. It’s all tall glass buildings, which makes for a nice skyline, but not such a nice place to live. 

  • It’s expensive. As a general rule that applies internationally, if there’s a Barry’s Bootcamp in the neighborhood, you can be sure that it’s going to be pricey. Yaletown is no different. The hotels here skew to the expensive end of the spectrum. 

The Best Places to Stay in Yaletown

Here are a few places to stay in Yaletown that caught our eye. 

Hotel BLU: A Solid Mid-Range Hotel Right on Robson

This mid-range hotel is right on Robson Street, one of the main connectors from Yaletown to Downtown and beyond. It’s about a block and a half away from B.C. Place, a concert and soccer venue on the water. 

To be completely honest, we don’t have a ton to say about the hotel itself. The thing that stands out to us more than any piece of style or unique offering is the value for the great location. 

Rooms are pretty run-of-the-mill hotel rooms, coming in configurations with either one king or two queens. Some rooms have balconies, and they also have suites (some of which are split level) which have a larger seating area (but no kitchen amenities outside microwaves and mini fridges, sadly). 

The coolest amenity is the full size indoor pool (plus jacuzzi), and there’s also a small fitness center. 

The hotel is pet-friendly, but you need to book a room with a balcony and pay $30 a day in extra fees (a cleaning fee, they call it). Probably not the best option if you’re traveling with your dog. 

Onsite parking is available, and costs $30 a day. 

Georgian Court Hotel: A Good Value Near B.C. Place

The Georgian Court Hotel is located in the complex of hotels right across the street from B.C. Place, which is both the home of the Vancouver Whitecaps (Vancouver’s MLS team) and the premier concert venue in the city (it’s where Taylor Swift performs when she comes to town). 

They market themselves as a luxury hotel, but I think it’s in that weird gray area between mid-range and luxury where you’re getting a few luxury amenities – like, say, a hot tub and infrared sauna – at a more reasonable price than true luxury hotels like the Four Seasons. 

Which, when you consider that their slogan is “luxury within reach,” sort of makes sense. 

Rooms here are pretty large as far as hotel rooms go, and they come in a wide variety of different configurations. The most common room configurations are one king and two queens, with a few other layouts available (e.g. penthouse and suites). 

The hotel is also pet-friendly, with a pet fee of $20 a day (maxing out at $100 per week). 

Parking is also available onsite for $30 a day. 

Kitsilano: Our Personal Favorite Place to Stay in Vancouver

There are two things we want to say about Kitsilano, and they’re at least a little bit conflicting. 

First, it’s our favorite part of the city, with its cross between a smaller beach community and a suburb that is more residential than the Downtown area. 

Second, it might not make the most sense to stay here because there are no hotels here and strict Airbnb regulations mean that your options are severely limited. 

Still, we’ve found ourselves drawn to this part of the city on our past few visits after spending most of our previous trips in the Downtown core.

Some of our favorite bars and restaurants (and the best tea shop we’ve EVER been to) are here, especially along the stretch of West 4th Ave between Burrard and Steven (ish). 

We also had no idea until our last few trips that there is a string of beaches from Kits beach out to the west, most of which have great views of the city’s skyline and surrounding (dramatic) landscapes. Staying here gives you easy access to spending a sunset at one of those beaches. 

Pros and Cons of Staying in Kitsilano

Here are the pros and cons of staying in Kitsilano as we see them after two straight trips staying here.

Pros of Staying in Kitsilano 

  • Charming. Lots of trees, a mix of locals and tourists out and about, and, of course, the beach and skyline views make this one of our favorite places to stay in Vancouver. Even in the winter months. 

  • Great strips of shopping/eating/drinking. The strips along W 4th Avenue and W Broadway are two of our favorite strips in the entire city, and rival Cambie and Main in Mount Pleasant for their selection of places to eat and drink (which you’ll find in the highlights section below). 

  • Quieter and more residential. Compared to the businesslike hustle and bustle of Downtown Vancouver, Kitsilano is significantly more laid back. Rather than people in suits running to get coffee between meetings, it’s people on a leisurely stroll with their dog in between meetings. There are no huge skyscrapers in Kitsilano, it’s mostly single family homes and smaller apartment buildings. 

  • Close to the beaches. Who knew Vancouver was a beach town? Not us before visiting a couple of times! Most people stay within the Downtown core over the course of their trip, but there is a lovely string of beaches from Kitsilano out to the west towards UBC. 

Cons of Staying in Kitsilano

  • No hotels to speak of. Unfortunately, there are no hotels here. None. That means Airbnb is your best bet. Try to stay in a place where the owner lives onsite – that’s going to be the best way to use Airbnb, at least in our experience. 

  • Not as easy to get Downtown. If you have a short trip, then this might not be the best option for you. There are buses (most of them run along W 4th) that will take you Downtown in 15-20 minutes, and a water taxi that will take you across the water to Sunset Beach and Stanley Park. No SkyTrain, though. 

The Best Places to Stay in Kitsilano

Unfortunately, there are exactly zero hotels in Kitsilano, which is a major disadvantage.

Especially when you consider that, technically speaking, any Airbnb that is not the owner’s principal residence is illegal. Which REALLY limits your options here. 

Your best bet is to find a vacation rental in the eastern end, close to the beach, which will make it easier to get to and from the rest of the city. 

Mount Pleasant: A Close Runner Up for Our Favorite Area

As you might have already gathered if you’ve read the section above on Kitsilano, while we’re city people, our favorite neighborhood in any given city is likely not the downtown area or financial district. 

Instead, it’s usually a more residential area with strips of commerce like Capitol Hill (Seattle), the Mission or Richmond (San Francisco), and Trastevere (Rome). 

Vancouver is no different – while we like Gastown and West End, what we’re really into is the outer ring of neighborhoods south of the city center. They’re more low key, quieter, and residential, which means you get to experience more of what living in Vancouver is actually like. 

In Mount Pleasant, which is south of Yaletown across False Creek, you’ll transition from an industrial area filled with breweries to single family homes and great strips of bars, restaurants, and shopping along Main and Cambie respectively. 

We really like this area – many of our favorite restaurants in Vancouver happen to be somewhere around here – but it has a similar problem that Kitsilano faces: there just aren’t very many places to stay. 

However, if you’re up for staying at one of the guesthouses here, we think it’d be a good home base for exploring the city. You’ll have access to the Downtown core either by walking or by taking a bus or the SkyTrain, and you’ll also be walkable to both Main and Cambie, two of our favorite strips in the city. 

Pros and Cons of Staying in Mount Pleasant

Here are the pros and cons of staying in charming and residential Mount Pleasant as we see them.

Pros of Staying in Mount Pleasant 

  • Charm charm charm. Tree-lined streets lined with historic homes – this is the part of the city we would probably most like to live in ourselves (though we would likely never be able to afford it). 

  • Main and Cambie. Two parallel streets running north/south through Mount Pleasant, these are two of our favorite stretches in the entire city. Great food, some good places to drink (beer, coffee, or tea – take your pick!), and fun shops to poke your head into and grab a souvenir or two. 

Cons of Staying in Mount Pleasant 

  • Limited places to stay. Similar to Kitsilano, there just aren’t very many places to stay in Mount Pleasant. There are a few guesthouses and a handful of Airbnb listings, but that’s about it. 

The Best Places to Stay in Mount Pleasant

Like we’ve mentioned already (multiple times, really), the big knock on Mount Pleasant is that there’s basically nowhere to stay. 

Which, in some ways, is a good thing, because the housing here should probably be allocated to permanent residents of Vancouver. But on the other hand, it’s a bummer for tourists who want something other than a concrete jungle. 

The few places to stay here that aren’t on Airbnb are actually operated by the same group. They’re charming little guesthouses in historic homes (read: Victorians and Four Squares) where you’ll have a comfortable room, breakfast included in the rate, and parking. 

They are: 

  • Windsor Guest House: Located a block off of Cambie (and roughly five blocks away from Main), the rooms here range from doubles to a two bedroom suite (perfect for families). 

  • Cambie Lodge: This one is also just a block off Cambie, but a little bit further south than the Windsor. They have double rooms and a two bedroom suite on the lower floor, if you’re traveling with family. 

  • Douglas Guest House: Also a block off Cambie, this location has a broader range of rooms (doubles, with or without a private bathroom, penthouse suite, and family suite). 

Where NOT to Stay in Vancouver

There are a couple of places we wanted to call out here as places NOT to stay in Vancouver. 

Chinatown / East of Gastown

We already kind of covered this above, but the Downtown Eastside – specifically the stretch of E Hastings St east of Carrall – was not good. And this is coming from two city lovers who live in Portland, Oregon. 

We walked from Chinatown heading north and walked right through it, and it was not pleasant. Don’t stay here (not that there are really any options). 

It is, however, worth visiting Chinatown. Though there’s really nowhere to stay, so it doesn’t make a great home base. 

North Vancouver

North Vancouver is another area that’s super fun to explore, with its waterfront area, hiking trails, and growing selection of breweries sprouting up in the formerly industrial area. 

But it would be a bad place to stay, especially for a short trip, because you’re a long bus or ferry ride (or both) away from just about everything in Vancouver’s Downtown area, Granville Island, and Kitsilano. 

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