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“Lost its atmosphere” 3 of 5 bubbles
Review of Gastown

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Full Day Best of Vancouver Private City Tour and Wine Tasting
Ranked #21 of 345 things to do in Vancouver
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Fee: No
Recommended length of visit: <1 hour
Owner description: The oldest commercial district in Vancouver, best known for its beautiful Victorian-style architecture.
Level Contributor
68 reviews
50 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“Lost its atmosphere”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 9, 2012

I remember Gastown in the '70s when it was home to eclectic shops, small owner operated stores and a few chains, like Pier One and The Olde Spaghetti Factory. Only the Spaghetti Factory remains, it is now another street of tourist stores with overpriced Canadian souveingers (unfortunately most made in China) and very little relavence to our city.

Visited August 2012
Thank Maid1950
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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3,277 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Hebrew first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Korean first
  • Norwegian first
  • Polish first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Thai first
  • Turkish first
  • Any
English first
Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
18 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 80 helpful votes
“Gastown's great for bar-hopping & dining, but there are better places for general sightseeing”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 27, 2012

Gastown is more interesting as a cocktail/pub-hopping and dining destination than a daytime sightseeing destination, in my opinion. The atmosphere is definitely vintage for Vancouver, keeping in mind that Vancouver was founded in 1886 and most of its original buildings no longer exist, with exception to most of the buildings in Gastown and Chinatown.

There are certainly some interesting small-scale boutiques mixed in with the touristy souvenir shops, as well as the occasional high end modern home decor shop (and some artsy/hipster coffee shops). But the restaurant lounges/cocktail bars/pubs are the most interesting, although most start to open by 5-5:30pm.

The most charming part of Gastown (for tourists) is Water Street. It takes all of 10 minutes to walk its length. The famed Steamclock was built in 1977 as a tourist attraction and despite its appearance, no longer runs on steam but electricity. The real history here is in the architecture.

Once you start exploring the side streets, you may unintentionally do what many visitors do - stumble upon the infamous Downtown Eastside, a community stricken by poverty, mental illness, homelessness, and drug addiction. It's not violent nor are you unsafe, although you may feel uncomfortable. Be prepared for people asking for spare change on Water Street.

My favourite places to eat/drink in Gastown:

The Diamond (for cocktails, romantic atmosphere)
The Alibi Room (for fabulous craft beer selection/casual dining)
Pourhouse (for cocktails, cozy atmosphere)
Guilt & Co (hipster pub/live music in a cellar-like atmosphere)
Nelson The Seagull (funky hip coffee shop with excellent baked goods)
Nicli Antica Pizzeria (for authentic Neapolitan pizza)
The Irish Heather (for Irish pub food, Irish/English beer and Scotch)
Chill Winston (for a glass of wine/cocktails)
L'Abattoir (for craft cocktails/gourmet)
Peckinpah (for bourbon)
Calabash (for Caribbean food/rum)
Six Acres (for Belgian beer/cozy atmosphere)
Cork & Fin (for quality casual dining/seafood)
Salt Tasting Room (for wine/charcuterie)
The Revel Room (for cocktails/casual food)
Jules Bistro (for classy French bistro food)
Kitanoya Guu with Otokomae (for Japanese izakaya/tapas-style dining)

I'm probably forgetting a few, but this will give you a good start!

Visited November 2012
6 Thank BC_Robyn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
20 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Interesting and Entertaining”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 20, 2012

Love strolling through gastown on a cool, refreshing fall day - light rains falling - popping into an eatery for a quick bite and then on to shopping. Happy hour at one of the trendy restaurant bars is a must-do.

Visited April 2012
Thank J G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
25 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“The Human Comedy”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 12, 2012

Packed with tourists & cruiseline pax. And the homeless and hammered, too. Good cafes, some skidroad hotels and lots of souvenir places. Worth a look but daytime only.

Visited October 2012
Thank majordud
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver, B.C.
Level Contributor
348 reviews
155 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 169 helpful votes
“Quite touristy”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 8, 2012

One of the original settlements in Vancouver. Some interesting architecture here. A good place to come for souvenirs as there are lots of souvenir shops selling many of the same items. There are also a few interesting independent shops. The biggest attraction is the steam clock, which is made to look old, but was actually built in 1977.

Visited September 2012
Thank TPT_Traveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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