A Guide to Things To Do in Gastown
Gastown is one of Vancouver’s oldest and most vibrant neighborhoods. Located just east of downtown, it was formerly a seedy industrial area but has been transformed in recent years into one of the city’s most popular tourist destinations. From the cobblestone streets to the historic architecture, Gastown offers a unique experience that can’t be found anywhere else in the city. Whether you’re after a shopping spree, a bite to eat, or a night out on the town, Gastown has something for everyone. In this guide, we’ll explore some of the best things to do in Gastown for first-time visitors.
An Introduction to Gastown
Named after “Gassy” Jack Deighton, a colorful bar owner from England who arrived in 1867, Gastown is a historic district located directly east of Vancouver’s downtown core. It’s a popular tourist destination that’s home to many cafes, restaurants, boutiques, and galleries. The area is also known for its colorful street art and beautiful brickwork.
Gastown has a long and interesting history. The area was once home to First Nations people and is now known for its unique mix of old-world charm and modern vibrancy. In 1970, the area was designated as the city’s first historic district and it has since become one of Vancouver’s most iconic neighborhoods.
Things to Do in Gastown
Whether you’re looking to shop, explore, or just take in the sights, there’s plenty to do in Gastown. Here are some of our top picks:
Explore Historic Buildings
Gastown is home to some of Vancouver’s most iconic buildings, including the steam-powered clock located at its heart. Make sure to take some time to explore these historic buildings and admire the stunning architecture. The area is also home to the renowned Waterfront Station, which was opened in 1914 and is still used today.
Take a Tour
If you’re looking for a more immersive experience, consider taking one of the various tours available in Gastown. From walking tours to boat cruises, there are plenty of ways to explore this unique neighborhood. You can also learn about the area’s history and culture by taking part in one of the many interactive storytelling tours offered by local tour companies.
Gastown is home to many independent boutiques and art galleries that are well worth exploring. Whether you’re looking for unique souvenirs or just browsing for fun, you’ll find plenty of interesting items here. From vintage clothing to handcrafted jewelry, there’s something for everyone here.
Sample Local Cuisine
Gastown’s vibrant restaurant scene offers a wide variety of cuisines from around the world. From fine dining restaurants to casual cafes, there’s something to please all palates here. Whether you’re after a quick bite or a gourmet meal, you’ll find plenty of options in Gastown.
Popular Tours in Gastown
If you’re looking for an immersive experience, consider taking one of the popular tours offered in Gastown. Here are two of our top picks:
Steam Clock Tour
The Steam Clock Tour is one of the most popular tours in Gastown. This walking tour takes you through the area’s cobblestone streets and alleyways as your guide shares stories about the area’s history and culture. You’ll get to visit the famous Steam Clock and learn about its history, as well as explore the area’s vibrant street art scene. Plus, you’ll get to enjoy some delicious food and drinks along the way! Book a Steam Clock Tour here.
Gastown Food Tour
For a truly unique experience, try the Gastown Food Tour. This three-hour guided tour takes you through some of the city’s best restaurants, where you’ll get to sample some of the local cuisine. You’ll get an insider’s look at Gastown’s vibrant food scene as your guide shares stories about the restaurants and their dishes. Plus, you’ll get to enjoy some local drinks along the way! Book a Gastown Food Tour here.
Gastown is one of Vancouver’s most vibrant and unique neighborhoods. From exploring its iconic buildings to sampling its delicious food, there’s no shortage of things to do in this historic district. Whether you’re after shopping or sightseeing, Gastown has something for everyone. So take some time to explore this vibrant corner of Vancouver – you won’t regret it!
An Insider’s Guide to Gastown: Exploring Vancouver’s Most Historic Neighborhood
If you’re looking for a neighborhood that blends history, culture, and entertainment, look no further than Gastown. Tucked away in the heart of Vancouver, this historic district is a must-visit for any traveler looking to experience the city’s unique charm. As an insider, here’s an off-the-beaten-path guide to exploring Gastown.
Local Attractions: Discovering Hidden Gems
While everyone knows about the famous steam clock and trendy boutiques, there are plenty of hidden gems in Gastown worth discovering. Start your journey by exploring Blood Alley, a historic cobblestone street lined with fantastic restaurants and galleries. Continue to the Gaoler’s Mews, tucked away in a quiet corner, to discover a hidden gem of Victorian architecture that provides a glimpse into Vancouver’s past.
For something a bit more whimsical, head to the Secret Garden at the Le Magasin building, a charming rooftop garden filled with plants and sculptures. Finally, wrap up your day with a visit to the Gastown Murals, an outdoor gallery that showcases some of the city’s best street art.
Dining Spots: Experiencing Local Cuisine
Gastown offers a range of dining experiences to suit any palate, from farm-to-table restaurants to trendy cocktail bars. Start with a visit to L’Abattoir, a popular Gastown spot that marries French and West Coast cuisine. For a more laid-back atmosphere, Nicli Antica Pizzeria offers authentic pizza with locally sourced ingredients.
No visit to Gastown is complete without a visit to the Old Spaghetti Factory, a historic restaurant in a renovated Gastown building that serves classic Italian dishes at reasonable prices. Don’t forget to save some room for dessert and treats from local favorites like Soft Peaks Ice Cream and Purebread bakery.
Cultural Experiences: Immerse Yourself in Vancouver’s Culture
Gastown is the perfect place to immerse yourself in Vancouver’s arts and culture scene. Start by checking out the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and Ballet Company, both renowned for their world-class performances. For something a bit more interactive, head to the Vancouver Lookout and the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art.
As the neighborhood that started it all, Gastown also has a rich history of innovation and entrepreneurship. Head to the Vancouver Biennale at Crab Park to explore colorful and though-provoking contemporary art installations.
Local History: Uncovering Gastown’s Past
Gastown has a rich and diverse history that is worth uncovering. Start with a visit to the Gastown Museum, housed in the oldest building in Vancouver, to explore the city’s history through interactive exhibits and artifacts. Next, head to the Powell Street Steam Clock, a unique piece of public art that has become a symbol of Gastown’s eclectic identity.
Finally, step back in time with a visit to the Diamond, a bar with a long and rich history that dates back to 1898 when it was a hotel.
Off-the-Beaten-Path Suggestions: Unexpected Adventures
Finally, wrap up your day with some unexpected adventures in Gastown. For an adrenaline rush, take a ride on the FlyOver Canada simulator, which takes you on a thrilling virtual flight over Vancouver’s most scenic landscapes.
If you’re looking to unwind, head to the O Wines Tasting Room to sample their limited-edition wines and enjoy a relaxing evening. Finally, wrap up your day with a visit to the Guilt & Company, a hidden gem located in the basement of the Alexander building that offers live music, comedy, and burlesque shows.
Exploring Gastown is an unforgettable experience that offers a mix of history, culture, and entertainment. With this insider’s guide, you’ll be able to explore the hidden gems of this historic neighborhood, sample its unique cuisine, and immerse yourself in the vibrant arts and culture scene. Whether you’re a first-time visitor to Vancouver or a long-time resident, Gastown has something for everyone.
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