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What to Do in Gastown, Vancouver

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What to Do in Gastown, Vancouver

If you’re looking for what to do in Gastown, you’ll be happy to hear there are plenty of fun things to do and see in this tiny neighbourhood.

Gastown is known for its hip restaurants and trendy boutiques housed in stunning Victorian architecture.

From the old brick buildings to the cobblestone streets, Gastown is such a charming and beautiful little neighbourhood!

It’s one of my fave areas to explore whenever I’m visiting Vancouver.

Here are some of the best things to do in Gastown, including what to do, where to eat, and where to shop.

Why is Gastown called Gastown?

Gastown is a historical neighbourhood in Vancouver.

It was named after “Gassy” Jack, a seaman who opened the first saloon here in 1867.

He was called “gassy” because he talked a lot!

As people started moving into the area, they called it “Gassy’s Town”, which eventually became shortened to just “Gastown”.

Gastown today is known for being one of the more hip neighbourhoods in Vancouver, with plenty of trendy coffee shops and boutiques!

Best things to do in Gastown

Milano Coffee Roasters is a trendy café located in Gastown, Vancouver

1. Sip on some coffee at a cute Gastown café

One of the best things to do in the Gastown neighbourhood is to hit up all the cool cafés. If you’re feeling up to it, maybe even do a little café hop.

Start your day off with some coffee at Milano, Timbertrain, or Revolver. If you’re more of a tea person, pay a visit to The Birds & The Beets!

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The entirety of Gastown is an Instagrammer’s dream, so it’s no surprise that all the cafés are as well.

Drink some coffee, do some people watching, and soak up the atmosphere.

Gastown, Vancouver is a stunning historical neighbourhood

2. Do a photo walk around the historic neighbourhood

With all of its cool historical architecture, Gastown is one of the most Instagram-worthy spots in Vancouver.

You’re going to want to bring along a camera (or your smartphone) for the ride!

Gastown is a pleasant area to walk around in, but avoid walking too far east as it ain’t really nice down that way.

Gastown offers plenty of delicious restaurants and food spots

3. Enjoy plant-based lunch at Meet in Gastown

It takes a lot to impress me with plant-based food, and Meet in Gastown is pretty damn great, even as a non-vegan.

Gastown is home to some of Vancouver’s best restaurants, and you can find tons of great eats here.

I also have a blog post all about the best restaurants in Vancouver, many of which are in Gastown as well!

LOCATION: 12 Water St, Vancouver, BC | Website

Gastown, Vancouver, British Columbia

4. Go window shopping

There are so many cute little shops and boutiques in the Gastown neighbourhood, especially along West Cordova and Water Street.

You can spend at least a few hours exploring and browsing the different shops and boutiques in the area.

You’ll find everything from local goods, to home decor, to clothing boutiques, and there’s a ton of good stuff.

Artemisia and The Latest Scoop are both great clothing boutiques if you’re into trendy women’s clothing.

The Gastown Steam Clock is one of the only few steam clocks left in the world

5. Visit the Gastown Steam Clock

Pay a visit to the famous steam clock, which isn’t really anything crazy, but it’s one of the only few steam clocks left in the world.

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Unless you visit during less busy hours or wait around until all the tourists are gone, this high angle is the best crowd-less shot you’ll be able to get.

Meet in Gastown, Vancouver, British Columbia

6. Have dinner at Meet in Gastown

Meet in Gastown is one of the best vegan Vancouver restaurants, and it’s located right in the heart of Gastown.

For my omnivore friends, the food doesn’t “taste” vegan, so it’s a great spot for eaters of all diets.

LOCATION: 12 Water St, Vancouver, BC | Website

There's plenty to see and do in Gastown, Vancouver

7. Do the Lost Souls of Gastown tour with Forbidden Vancouver

I’d never done any walking tours before Lost Souls of Gastown, and it’s now something I would highly recommend to anyone with a taste in history.

We learned all about the history of Gastown, including why it’s actually called Gastown (spoiler: a dude named Gassy Jack opened up the first saloon here).

The fact that it’s an evening/night tour makes it all the more eerie and fun!

Enjoy ice cream at Soft Peaks in Gastown

8. Eat ice cream at Soft Peaks

Craving something sweet while wandering around Gastown?

Have some sweet, sweet dessert at this all-natural, organic soft serve ice cream shop.

They use organic milk for their soft serve and local ingredients for their toppings, which is pretty amazing!

I love the Honeycomb Peak, which comes with a topping of local honeycomb.

LOCATION: 25 Alexander St, Vancouver, BC | Website

Gastown, Vancouver, British Columbia

Vancouver flights & accommodations

Looking to book your flights and accommodations for Vancouver?

I love booking my flights and hotels on Expedia and collecting points towards free rewards.

Hotels are pretty pricy in Vancouver, but they’re great if you plan on only staying downtown and walking around without a car.

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Downtown Vancouver’s very walkable!

I usually stay in Airbnbs when I visit Vancouver, and I have a separate blog post all about how to find the best Airbnbs.

Gastown is one of my absolute favourite spots to explore in Vancouver – I just love how much history is behind this adorable area.

It’s a beautiful neighbourhood to visit, and is definitely worth a stop if you find yourself in Vancouver.

Whether you’re a local or a tourist, there are plenty of fun things to do and see in the neighbourhood!

Have you explored Gastown before? What are your favourite things to do in Gastown? I’d love to know in the comments!

If you’re planning a trip to Vancouver, here are some other posts to help you plan your perfect trip:

Be sure to keep up with me on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest if you aren’t already!

Jessica Lam | Toronto lifestyle, fashion, beauty, and travel blogger | Diary of a Toronto Girl, a Canadian lifestyle blog

All the best things to see and do in the historical neighbourhood of Gastown in Vancouver, British Columbia!
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Monday 5th of June 2017

Lovely Images, which camera are you using? Thanks for the nice guide.


mckenna bleu

Wednesday 31st of May 2017

I would love to visit Vancouver! your pictures are beautiful there and the steam clocks looks so cool I would love to check it out!


Wednesday 10th of May 2017

Omg your photos look amazing <3 <3 <3 I'm so excited to be going back haha :) It sucks you didn't see it when it was dark though :( it's also gorgeous in the dark <3

Jessica Lam

Friday 12th of May 2017

Oooh maybe next time I'll check it out at nighttime! Hope you enjoy Vancouver girl!! :)

Nicole Booz

Sunday 7th of May 2017

Oooh I've never heard of this place. I got up to Vancouver every now and then so I will be sure to check this out next time I'm up there :)

Jessica Lam

Sunday 7th of May 2017

Jealous! I'd love to visit Vancouver more often!

Gille Wade

Sunday 7th of May 2017

I've heard of Gastown! So glad to see a guide on it. I can't wait to visit.

Jessica Lam

Sunday 7th of May 2017

It's definitely worth a visit!