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7 Best Things to Do in Gastown, Vancouver

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7 Best Things to Do in Gastown, Vancouver

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

Gastown is a historical neighbourhood known for its cute cafes, 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 to explore in Vancouver!

It’s actually the oldest neighbourhood in Vancouver, and it was named after a seaman named “Gassy” Jack, 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”.

It’s actually one of my fave areas to explore whenever I’m visiting Vancouver, and I love stopping by to shop and eat.

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

If you’re looking for even more fun activities and things to do in Vancouver, be sure to check out some local tours!

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

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Where to stay in Vancouver


If you’re looking to book your flights and hotels for Vancouver, I’d recommend booking on Expedia, so you can collect points towards free rewards and discounts!

Hotels can be pretty pricy in Vancouver, but they’re great if you plan on only staying downtown and walking around without a car – Downtown Vancouver is very walkable!

Here are some of the best hotels to stay at in Vancouver:

Hilton Vancouver Downtown, British Columbia
Inside the chic Hilton Vancouver Downtown.

I also love staying in Airbnbs when I visit Vancouver, though I usually stay in Burnaby as it’s a little more budget-friendly.

If you’re interested in staying in Airbnbs, I have a separate blog post all about how to find the best Airbnbs!


The 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 and unique local cafés.

If you’re feeling up to it, you can maybe even do a little café hop at a few of the best cafés in Vancouver.

Start your day off with some fresh brews at Milano, Timbertrain, or Revolver.

If you’re more of a tea person, pay a visit to The Birds & The Beets instead!

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 west coast atmosphere.

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Gastown, Vancouver is a stunning historical neighbourhood

2. Do a photo walk around the historic neighbourhood

With all of its amazing historical architecture and waterfront views, Gastown is one of the most Instagram-worthy spots in Vancouver.

They even have their own flatiron building in the neighbourhood, and it’s definitely Instagrammable.

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 and explore, 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

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

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

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

It takes a lot to impress me with plant-based food, and Meet in Gastown is pretty damn great!

I’d definitely grab one of their burgers – they’re absolutely incredible.

If you’re a big foodie, you might also enjoy doing this 2.5 hour Gastown food tour, or this guided 3-hour food and history tour that partly takes part in Gastown!

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.

Whether you’re just window shopping or actually shopping, Gastown is full of adorable little shops to explore!

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

My sister and I did this together a few years ago, and we had such a fun time shopping our way through the neighbourhood!

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, and Old Faithful Shop is a super cute home goods store.


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 in Gastown, which isn’t really anything too crazy, but is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Vancouver.

It’s actually one of the only few steam clocks left in the world, which is pretty cool!

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.

Find it right at the corner of Cambie and Water Street!

LOCATION: 305 Water St, Vancouver, BC | Website


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

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

Why not try a walking 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!

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Don’t forget to bring cash on-hand to tip your tour guide.


Enjoy ice cream at Soft Peaks in Gastown

7. Eat ice cream at Soft Peaks

Craving a sweet treat while wandering around Gastown?

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

Soft Peaks uses 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


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.

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.


Best things to do in Gastown:

  1. Sip on some coffee at a cute Gastown café
  2. Do a photo walk around the historic neighbourhood
  3. Enjoy plant-based lunch at Meet in Gastown
  4. Go window shopping
  5. Visit the Gastown Steam Clock
  6. Do the Lost Souls of Gastown tour with Forbidden Vancouver
  7. Eat ice cream at Soft Peaks

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 Gastown neighbourhood!

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If you’re looking for even more fun activities and things to do in Vancouver, be sure to check out some local tours!

Have you explored Gastown before? What are your favourite things to do in this historical Vancouver neighbourhood? Let me know on Twitter or Instagram!

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 InstagramTwitter, Facebook, and Pinterest if you aren’t already!

Feel free to subscribe to my weekly newsletter to get my blog posts delivered straight to your inbox.

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!
Why is Gastown called Gastown?

Gastown 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”.

Milano Coffee Roasters in Vancouver, British Columbia
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