It may come as a surprise that Vancouver, British Columbia has been ranked by travel experts as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, alongside knockouts like Sydney, Kyoto, and Rome. But with an unrivaled setting of endless mountains and copious amounts of swimmable waters — from the Pacific ocean to local lakes and rivers — it takes the cake as the most stunning, calming metropolitan area we know. Vancouver’s accessibility to nature lets you start your day in the mountains, head to the beach for the afternoon, and end in the heart of a bustling downtown. Not to mention, the air is seriously fresh anywhere you go — like, smell the glacier waters and pine trees fresh. Plus, it also happens to be the home to Garmentory’s Canadian HQ.
As a tourist hotspot, you can no doubt find 100 city guides on Vancouver, but we’ve got one unlike any other thanks to our community of local creatives. (Shop the boutiques and designers right here on Garmentory!). Scroll on to discover the best places to eat, drink, and people watch straight from the city’s boutique owners, designers, and style influencers.
WHERE TO EAT
“Ask For Luigi is one of my favourite restaurants in the city,” says Kleah Graham, co-owner of boutique Charlie & Lee. “Honest, simple, high-quality Italian food in a charming little building,” she explains.“My top list is about 30 restaurants long, though, and I can never decide on an absolute number one! [There’s] an abundance of excellent food in this city.”
Saager Dilawri and Karyna Schultz, owners of Neighbour, a boutique in the historic neighborhood Gastown, also can’t just pick one favorite restaurant. “Too many to name,” says Saager, “but for starters: Ask for Luigi, Savio Volpe, Bao Bei, Carp, The Birds and The Beets and Pazzo Chow.”
Ask For Luigi, 305 Alexander Street
Savio Volpe, 615 Kingsway
Bao Bei, 163 Keefer Street
Carp, 2516 Prince Edward Street
The Birds and The Beets, 55 Powell Street
Pazzo Chow, 620 Quebec Street
For brunch, designer Erin Templeton likes Alibi Room, a beautiful restaurant in a historic building with over 50 taps of local and imported craft beer, plus delicious, local food. Michaela Smeaton, the designer behind Folk Fortune suggests Teahouse in Stanley Park for brunch.“I’m a vegetarian,” she says, “so I prefer places where I have more than a veggie burger to choose from. Heirloom, East is East, Flying Pig, Meet, and Pizzeria Farina all have good options.” Marie Foxall, the designer behind jewelry line Wasted Effort, offers even more veg-friendly options. “It is a really easy place to be vegan,” she says of Vancouver, “especially with restaurants like The Arbor. It’s like the low-key little sister of The Acorn (which is also amazing), and their deep-fried oyster mushrooms are the stuff of dreams.”
Alibi Room, 157 Alexander Street
Teahouse, 7501 Stanley Park Drive
Heirloom Vegetarian, 1509 W 12th Avenue
East is East, 4433 Main Street
The Flying Pig, 127 W 2nd Avenue
MeeT on Main, 4288 Main Street
Pizzeria Farina, 915 Main Street
The Arbor, 3941 Main Street
The Acorn, 3995 Main Street
WHERE TO DRINK
“I love the bar at L’Abattoir,” says Sarah Savoy, who owns the Main Street boutique Much & Little. “Bao Bei never disappoints for a delicious, inventive cocktail,” she adds. Amy Renee York and Noah MacNayr-Heath, the super cute couple behind boutique Nouvelle Nouvelle are emphatic about Boxcar. Located between a pizza shop and popular concert venue, it’s kind of the best place to grab a drink, see a show, then get some midnight ‘za.
Style influencer Kirstyn König has a favorite spot nice and close to her home. “My favourite little neighbourhood gem is Grapes and Soda,” she says, “a natural wine bar that also has an incredible cocktail and dinner menu. It’s a small, intimate space with a speakeasy vibe and is tucked away next door to another must-try restaurant, The Farmer’s Apprentice.”
“Best cocktail stumbling distance from my house is Nomad, with some of the best bartenders in Vancouver,” reveals Alex Chichak of Still Life boutique. “Otherwise, I’d spend every spare summer moment sipping a paloma at El Camino’s.”
Lauren Clark and Lyndsey Chow, the ladies behind vintage clothing and lifestyle boutique Hey Jude, have a very special place to drink. “We’re probably biased but on Fridays we’ll hang and have happy hour at our shop (all are welcome!).” They also suggest, “for a favourite local spot we head to 33 Acres for craft beer and cider. If you’re lucky you’ll hit a night with live music.”
L’Abattoir, 217 Carrall Street
Boxcar, 923 Main Street
Grapes and Soda, 1541 W 6th Avenue
The Farmer’s Apprentice, 1535 W 6th Avenue
Nomad, 3950 Main Street
El Caminos, 3250 Main Street
33 Acres, 15 W 8th Avenue
WHERE TO PEOPLE WATCH
“Coffee shops are ideal places to people watch. I’m lucky to have great ones really close to both my house and my shop: Prado on Commercial Drive and Kafka’s on Main Street,” Sarah says. Amy and Noah like Revolver, a coffee shop in Gastown, for people watching. Grab a seat on one of the benches out front and scope out the local scene (then hit the new Nouvelle Nouvelle location, right around the corner).
Kirstyn heads to the outdoor patio at the Gallery Cafe. “It’s nestled away on the second level of the Vancouver Art Gallery, overlooking Robson Square,” she explains. “Grabbing a glass of wine and basking in the sun after perusing the gallery is one of my favourite weekend activities.” Vancouverite and travel blogger Nicole Wong loves to people watch when she goes to concerts (try the Biltmore to catch emerging acts). “It’s really interesting to check out the crowd and just observe the people who like the same music as I do,” she says.
Marie, of Wasted Effort, has great people watching in her workspace. “From the window of my studio on Columbia Street in Chinatown [I can see] a strange microcosm of humanity, incorporating every element of stereotypical Vancouver life… and it’s endlessly entertaining.”
Prado, 1938 Commercial Drive
Kafka’s Coffee and Tea, 2525 Main Street
Gallery Café, 750 Hornby Street
Biltmore Cabaret, 2755 Prince Edward Street
Revolver, 325 Cambie Street
If you can’t get yourself to Vancouver any time soon, don’t freight. We’ve got all the best boutiques and designers right here on Garmentory. Shop the city’s finest from the comfort of your couch.