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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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
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.
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:
- The most Instagrammable spots in Vancouver
- The top 10 best things to do in Vancouver
- How to spend 48 hours in Vancouver
- The best Vancouver restaurants
- A visit to Ladurée Vancouver
- What to do in Vancouver during the winter
- How to spend a weekend in Whistler