Don’t confuse Vancouver’s West End with the West Side (across False Creek) or West Vancouver (a different city altogether); you’ll find this trendy neighbourhood on the city’s downtown peninsula, just south of Coal Harbour. Once a quiet enclave for the elite, the West End is now boisterous. Davie Village serves as home base for the city’s LGBTQ+ community (be sure to pop into the historic Little Sister’s Book & Art Emporium for some queer lit) and you’ll find bars serving all types of folks along Davie Street. For restaurants and retail, you can’t beat Denman and Robson Streets. Robson skews high-end, while Denman is the place for hole-in-the-wall eats. But the real colour here is provided by mother nature in the form of 405-hectare Stanley Park and the aptly named Sunset Beach.
The perfect day Wake up at The Burrard, a ’50s motel converted into a hip boutique pad with a palm-filled courtyard. Grab a cruiser bike and head for the seawall, pausing at Tartine Bread and Pies for pastries. Ride all the way around Stanley Park, then make your way to Kingyo on Denman Street for fabulous Japanese small plates before dancing the night away at Celebrities: Vancouver’s biggest gay nightclub.
Plan your trip Don’t miss Vancouver’s annual Pride Festival, one of North America’s largest. Weeks of parties and events culminate in a Pride Parade that draws upwards of 100,000 people to the West End. As if that wasn’t enough, Pride overlaps with the Celebration of Light, the world’s longest-running offshore fireworks competition, held at the end of July at English Bay.
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