Places to Visit in Vancouver – Chinatown

One of Vancouver’s most “walkable” neighbourhoods is the bustling Chinatown area east of downtown.  Originally built in the 1890’s around two narrow streets (Shanghai Alley and Canton Alley), the area now boasts Vancouver’s most eclectic collection of heritage buildings, many still awaiting renovation.  Visitors to Chinatown might want to start their tour of the area at the famous entrance gates on West Pender Street near Abbott Street.  Although it looks original to the area, the China Gate was erected for the Vancouver Expo in 1986!

You will know when you've reached Chinatown!

You will know when you’ve reached Chinatown!

Get your cameras out when you spot the Jack Chow Insurance company.  It is housed in the Sam Kee Building which holds a Ripley’s Believe it or Not distinction for being the world’s narrowest building!  Note: The Sam Kee Building just underwent a complete restoration, and should be photo-ready for the 2016 cruise season.  The heart of Chinatown is the world-famous Dr. Sun Yat Sen Gardens, which is definitely worth the admission fee.  Crossing Main Street gets you into the retail district, which is full of Chinese tea merchants, herb and produce shops, and apothecaries.

Pungent and potent - stock up on ginseng here!

Pungent and potent – stock up on ginseng here!

You will find a great selection of value-priced restaurants sprinkled throughout Chinatown, including the always busy Phnom Penh (244 East Georgia Street) whose chicken wings are legendary.  Check out the funky interior (and amazing food) at Bao Bei (163 Keefer Street), or slurp down house-made noodles at the impressive Ramen Butcher (223 East Georgia Street).  Best of all, Chinatown is literally next-door to downtown Vancouver.  A cab from any city-center hotel is less than $10, or take the Millenium and King George Skytrains to Stadium/Chinatown Station (one stop from Granville Station).

Heritage Building in Chinatown

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