After doing both a blog post and video on moving to Vancouver, BC, we received a lot of questions regarding “where is the best place to live in Vancouver?”. Since moving to Vancouver in 2008, I have lived in a few different apartments, shopped around a lot and now we’ll be breaking down the neighbourhoods in Vancouver BC and the best places to live in Vancouver.
Mount Pleasant is one of the most colourful and interesting neighbourhoods to live in Vancouver. First, a little geography lesson: Main Street is the divide between East Vancouver and West Vancouver. Right at Main and Broadway lives an energetic intersection with lots of different, super cool, hip, and local shops.
Around and beyond this intersection has a name, and this name is Mount Pleasant. Let’s paint a picture: coffee shops, breweries, bookstores, vintage clothing stores. If you’re looking to pick up some concert tickets, you’ll likely be hopping off at the Main Street bus stop. This area has a trendy and creative energy, which draws people (predominantly young professionals and first time homeowners) from all over Vancouver and beyond to hang out.
Another great part about the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood in Vancouver is that there is a stop for the 99 B-Line, which is a speedy bus with limited stops – and anyone from Vancouver would tell you – If there’s a 99 B-Line stop near your house, that’s a huge advantage.
Another perk about Mount Pleasant? All of the great parks! There is a nice little skate spot called the Mount Pleasant Skate Park, there are community gardens, and this area is also home to Vancouver’s classic Dude Chilling Park – where we also park our converted ambulance when visiting the city.
If we were to move to Vancouver all over again, we would definitely consider moving to the neighbourhood of South Granville.
If you’ve done some research on Vancouver, you’ve probably heard of Granville Street, because Granville Street is a main street that runs North-South all the way through the centre of Vancouver, passing through a whole whack of different areas. North Granville Street would technically be Downtown, but you’ll never hear a local calling it that – instead, just “Granville Street” or “Downtown”. So if you hear someone talking about going to the club and getting late night poutine, they’re likely talking about the North End of Granville.
However, just over the Granville Street Bridge is Granville Island and then this area called South Granville, which is home to a wide variety of cute local shops. Here, you’ll find cute cafes, street art, florists, fashion boutiques and other local gems. The further South you go, it gets a little more calm and residential.
But the aesthetic isn’t the only thing drawing us to this neighbourhood. If you pop down to Broadway and Granville – voila, another 99 B-Line stop! And surprisingly, this area can be oddly affordable to live in if you wait it out for the right apartment.
Downtown West End
The Downtown West End is a lovely neighbourhood in Vancouver’s Downtown right next to Stanley Park and on Vancouver’s iconic seawall.
Like many other cities, Vancouver’s Downtown has different pockets. The pocket that we’d look at when considering neighbourhoods to move to in Vancouver is this little slice of paradise near English Bay, Vancouver’s main Downtown beach. Oddly enough, hanging out around English Bay brings us back to our time living in Australia at Bondi Beach – palm trees, beachfront shops, fresh tacos, pizza by the slice, a little bit of clubbing. English Bay is also home to Vancouver’s Celebration of Light (fireworks festival) and the annual LGBTQ+ pride parade.
One of the best parts about the Downtown West End is that it’s surprisingly affordable when you consider the views and lifestyle you get living right downtown. It really is lush!
This is a neighbourhood in Vancouver worth mentioning, especially now as it grows. Plenty of newcomers and Vancouverites alike are flocking to the Hastings-Sunrise area to take advantage of the affordability and authentic energy. Here, you’ll find some of East Vancouver’s most affordable happy hours and funky restaurants.
Now, for another geography lesson: Hastings-Sunrise is in Vancouver’s northeast corner, right near the PNE. So moving here means you’re not going to be near Broadway or a Canada Line Station – i.e. if you’re going to UBC, we do not recommend living here. That said, if you’re studying or working downtown but you’re looking for something a little easier on the wallet, this is the place to be. Hastings-Sunrise is one short bus ride away from Vancouver’s bustling downtown core.
It is packed with Asian markets, funky bars, diverse cuisines and some of Vancouver’s best kept secrets.
Ahh – Commercial Drive, one of Vancouver’s most iconic neighbourhoods – and yes, it’s making our list for one of the top neighbourhoods to live in Vancouver.
If you’ve been researching Vancouver, you’ve probably heard of it. If you’ve never heard of it – here’s the gist. The Drive has an undeniable bohemian-new-age-hippie kind of vibe, so if you’re going to go buy your crystals and incense, then this is your place to do it. In addition and more seriously, this is another beautifully diverse area with loads of restaurants, clothing stores, hookah bars, tattoo shops and everything in between. Commercial Drive or “The Drive” has also been named Vancouver’s “Little Italy” because it is the home to Vancouver’s Italian community and culture.
On the Northside of Commercial Drive, you’ll find Grandview Park, where there’s never a dull moment, and as you cruise up the Drive toward Broadway, you’ll be amazed by all of the local businesses lining the street. Once you get to Commercial Broadway, you’ll also find a Skytrain station which is a major bonus.
Lots of businesses means lots of jobs, so if you’re hoping for a job in the service industry and you’re looking for a good vibe, the Drive is the place to be.
Hopefully this gave you a little bit of a snapshot into what areas are best to live in Vancouver. If you have any more questions about Vancouver’s top neighbourhoods, or anything else, please let us know!