The Best Shopping in Vancouver

Vancouver boasts its fair share of big name brands and department stores along Robson Street, but the city also has popular shopping areas loaded with independent stores, clothing boutiques, and art galleries, especially around Gastown, Main Street, and West 4th.

350 W Cordova St, Vancouver, BC V6B 1E8, Canada
Jennifer MacKay’s clothing boutique is the go-to store for fashionable locals, who know they’ll find pieces exclusively in her shop. I have a weakness for the shoes. (604) 685-8885. As told to Rhonda May. This appeared in the September, 2012 issue.
65 Water St, Vancouver, BC V6B 1A1, Canada
Playful shoe designer John Fluevog’s flagship store is right in Gastown on Water Street in a gorgeous two-storey glass-fronted building that houses the design team upstairs and you’ll find his eccentrically elegant designs on the ground floor. I love his designs, and there’s always a cute message on the soles so make sure you flip them over to look when you visit.
511 Carrall St, Vancouver, BC V6B 2J8, Canada
Style goddess Erin Templeton’s Storefront/Studio is in Vancouver‘s historic Chinatown and a must-visit for lovers of her one of a kind, new and recycled leather bags and accessories. I’ve picked up a few of Erin’s beautiful pieces in the sales before, so it’s worth popping in and seeing whether you can find your new favorite purse at a price that fits your pocket!
3715 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5V 3N8, Canada
I adore this little boutique on Main Street that’s simply stuffed with gorgeously girly styles and flirty retro clothes. You can find plenty of Canadian designers here too, and there’s an especially good selection in the jewelry section. While you’re there, browse their organic toiletries, lust over their must-have shoes and start plotting how you need your bedroom to basically be an offshoot of this store...
320 W Cordova St, Vancouver, BC V6B 1E8, Canada
It’s hard to visit Old Faithful and not immediately start planning how you’ll manage to afford absolutely everything in this wildly desirable modern day general store, from elegant pencils from Public Supply and Tuthilltown Bourbon barrel maple syrup from Québec to hand-sewn Horween leather iPhone sleeves and scented candles in copper votive cases. I can never visit without buying something, even if it’s just a gorgeous design magazine full of even more things to drool over!
8341-8351 River Road
From mid-May through early October, an Asian-inspired street market springs up in the Lower Mainland on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights—and holiday Mondays, too. Just steps from the Canada Line’s Bridgeport station, the market also offers more than 1,000 free parking spots. Adventurous eaters can graze from 100-plus food stalls, serving everything from poutine and spiral-cut “potato tornado” on a stick to creamy octopus takoyaki (a circular-shaped Japanese snack). Finish with Mango Yummy’s shaved ice desserts or a box of Dragon Beard candy—similar to floss halva and spun sugar—to take home. Then, shop over 200 retail stalls or hit the carnival rides and live entertainment.
1155 Comox St
This laid-back event takes over Vancouver’s bustling West End on Saturdays from late May to late October. Expect the usual array of crafts, artisanal delicacies, sustainable seafood, and local seasonal products like summer’s sweet, fat blueberries. Hungry shoppers should swing by Nidhi’s Cuisine for meat-free samosas and flatbreads, or the Chouchou food truck for authentic Brittany crêpes. Also worth a stop are BC Wine Studio and French Made Baking for macarons. Overlooking Nelson Park and the community gardens, the market takes place on Comox Street between Bute and Thurlow from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Parking is quite limited, but the market is an easy walk from most downtown hotels.
4151 Hazelbridge Way, Richmond, BC V6X 4J7, Canada
More than 160 stores pack this Asian mall, which is anchored by a Daiso (a ubiquitous Japanese dollar store). Shoppers can stock up on trendy Korean skin-care products at Aritaum, Tony Moly, and Nature Republic, or browse everything from herbal remedies to wash-and-dry toilets to Kigurumi animal onesies elsewhere in the complex. The Aberdeen Centre also has eight full-service restaurants and an 800-seat food court on the top floor. In 2016, the mall even gained a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for displaying the largest ever PEZ dispenser sculpture—a seven-foot-tall, accurately scaled replica of London’s Big Ben. Note: Most of its vendors only accept cash.
Public Market, 1689 Johnston St, Vancouver, BC V6H 3R9, Canada
This former industrial site is a one-stop shopping spot for last-minute souvenirs. Weave in and out of the countless alleys and stalls; among the art galleries, toy shops, crafts stores, farmers market and waterfront restaurants, you’re likely to find something tasty to sample or so unique that you have to bring it home.
1155 Robson St, Vancouver, BC V6E 1B5, Canada
Known for its international flair and heart-of-downtown location, Robson Street is nicknamed Vancouver’s Rodeo Drive for its big-name luxury boutiques concentrated around the intersection at Alberni Street. A short walk from its core is the Pacific Centre shopping mall, where there’s a Holt Renfrew, Canada’s equivalent of Saks Fifth Avenue. After a day of hustle and bustle, grab a bowl of ramen or a plate of sushi at one of the izakayas closer to Stanley Park.
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