Moving to Vancouver? Here's What You Need to Know!

Vancouver, Canada, a bustling coastal city in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland region. As the most populous city in British Columbia, Vancouver is home about 631,486 people and is known as one of Canada’s most ethnically and linguistically diverse communities. This seaport city has a ton of character, and if you’ve ever considered or are in the process of moving to Vancouver, here’s everything that you should be aware of.

Vancouver’s climate can be best described as mild. Summers in this city are typically the driest in all of British Columbia, while the winter months experience plenty of rain. Climate trends generally point to November as the wettest month of the year, with rainfall averaging approximately 200 mm. Temperatures during the summer months average around 18°C (64°F), while winter months average 4°C (38°F).

Where to live?
There are a plethora of places to settle down in Vancouver, and some may offer you more benefits than others. Luckily, we’ve managed to compile a list of some of Vancouver’s best neighborhoods. And, if you’re looking for more options, check out this list.

Granville Island 
A vibrant collection of shops, cafes, restaurants, galleries and music venues, Granville Island is the destination for those looking for a neighborhood with a colorful vibe. Though Granville Island is a hot spot for many tourists, locals still enjoy the neighborhood for its plethora of local businesses and lively atmosphere. And, the fact that it’s home to Vancouver’s largest public market certainly doesn’t hurt its reputation either.

This upscale neighborhood is only a hop, skip, and jump away from the heart of Downtown. Formerly known as Vancouver’s warehouse district, Yaletown’s transformation can be dated back to 1986. Today, Yaletown is one of Vancouver’s swankiest neighborhoods, and is home to a large community of unique shops, chic residential lofts, a large variety of restaurants, and plenty of green spaces for visitors and residents alike to admire. Though a bit heftier in price, Yaletown offers residents a unique experience that can’t be accessed anywhere else.

If you’re looking for a taste of the city life, then look no further than here. Life downtown leaves you right smack dab in the middle of everything you could ever need. Here, you have easy accessibility to public transportation, food spots, city views, and the vibrant Vancouver nightlife. Down is a popular spot for young singles either trying to start their careers or just looking for a fun time with friends.

Fairview Olympic Village 
Once a warehouse and industrial district, the Fairview Olympic Village underwent a massive transformation in preparation for the 2010 Winter Olympics. Today, it’s one of Vancouver’s most popular neighborhoods. People who live in Fairview, but work Downtown will have easy access, whether you’re commuting by car, bus, or bike. Additionally, two major Canada Line stations are located in Fairview: Olympic Village Station and Broadway--City Hall Station, so public transportation shouldn’t be an issue.  

Mount Pleasant
Although Mount Pleasant is less expensive to live in than Yaletown, Mount Pleasant is still a rather popular neighborhood to live in. Residents here can find access to Downtown, Canada Line and SkyTrain, in addition to the different restaurants, pubs, and bars that are crammed along Main Street. Mount Pleasant is also witnessing a surge of craft breweries, with micro-breweries/tasting rooms encouraging a very lively, social atmosphere.

West End
A neighborhood that is well-known for its diverse population, West End is a family-oriented, tree-lined beach town. Home to one of Vancouver’s best beach, West End serves as Downtown Vancouver’s access point to Stanley Park. West End is also your ticket to Robson Street, which is famous for its shops and boutiques.  

Things to do/Popular destinations
There’s tons to do in Vancouver! We’ll help you get started here, but if you’re looking for something more specific, here are a few examples:
  • Take a hike up Grouse Mountain
  • Sunbathe or go for a swim at Kitsilano Beach
  • Admire the stunning greenery at the VanDusen Botanical Garden
  • Witness nature’s beauty firsthand at Stanley Park, Vancouver’s first and largest urban park
  • Walk among the 11,000 masterpieces at the Vancouver Art Gallery in downtown Vancouver
  • If you’re interested in an educational experience, make sure to check out Science World at Telus World of Science
  • Queen Elizabeth Park is a popular destination for horticulture enthusiasts
  • Take in the sights of the city from Vancouver Lookout
  • Rediscover Vancouver from new heights while crossing the Capilano Suspension Bridge
  • Take a trip to Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre

Shopping centers
Whether you’re a shopaholic or you’re just looking for a little pick me up, Vancouver and surrounding areas have plenty of shopping centers to satisfy your needs. Take a look at the list we’ve compiled below: 
  • Pacific Centre Shopping Mall: This shopping center is downtown Vancouver’s largest mall. With over 100 stores, shopping at the Pacific Centre Mall is made an easy and comfortable experience. The mall is also one block away from Robson Street, which is famous for its shops.
  • Lonsdale Quay Market: Here, shoppers have access to a variety of different shops, local produce, and food stalls. Lonsdale Quay also serves the community as a public transit, so commuting to and from the market is easy and convenient. Nearby attractions include the Shipyard Square where people can often enjoy live bands and bands on Friday nights.
  • Metropolis at Metrotown: British Columbia’s largest mall with over 450 stores in addition to restaurants, movie theaters, and other special events. Metropolis at Metrotown is a mere 20 minutes from downtown via SkyTrain and offers free underground parking for drivers.
  • Park Royal Shopping Centre: If you ever need to find a place where you can grocery shop, buy some new threads, on top of grabbing some lunch and maybe a cup of coffee, then look no further than here.
Vancouver hosts a cornucopia of different restaurants. Regardless of what you’re craving, there is always a restaurant in Vancouver that will satisfy your needs. Here’s a list of some places you should definitely become acquainted with if you come to Vancouver. After you’ve finished perusing our list, head on over here to see more options. 
  • Vij’s: The epitome of Indian-style fine dining, Vij’s is a popular spot where high-profile figures such as ex-Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and Harrison Ford have frequented. Diners at this establishment insist that the lamb popsicles and curries are simply to die for.
  • The Acorn: If you’re vegetarian, then we have good news for you. The Acorn is a vegetarian-friendly establishment that rests in the middle of Vancouver’s Main Street neighborhood. With an ever-changing menu and vegan cooking techniques, the Acorn is every vegetarian’s dream come true.
  • Savio Volpe: This restaurant is perfect for pasta-lovers. Savio Volpe is known for dishing out flavorful Italian cuisine with a North American twist. From the pasta that is made in-house to the beautiful cuts of meat roasting over the apple wood fire grills, this Italian spot is sure to make anyone’s mouth water.
  • BETA5: Anybody with an intense sweet tooth is welcome here. BETA5 is responsible for creating some of the best chocolate and pastries in Canada. Some favorites include their cream puffs and the Fisherman’s Friend lozenge-infused truffle, a Gold Medal winner at the International Chocolate Awards. BETA5 also holds weekly ice cream socials during the summer months if you’re ever in the mood for unique flavors.
  • Chambar Restaurant: Located in Gastown, Chambar Restaurant is one of the area’s best fine dining options. Known for its divine Belgian cuisine and sustainable seafood, Chambar also offers guests an impressive wine list and hundreds of Belgian beers.
  • CRAFT Beer Market: If you like beer, this place is a must-go! The CRAFT beer market offers a huge selection of local and international beer on tap.  
  • Medina Cafe: This cafe in downtown Vancouver offers a phenomenal brunch, with some of the best belgian waffles you will ever eat.  
  • Kissa Tanto: Located in Chinatown, Kissa Tanto is a fusion restaurant unlike anything you’ve ever heard. Traditional Japanese and Italian cuisine are engaged in a harmonious marriage in which diners can enjoy unconventional flavor combinations such as kombu dashi and pecorino cheese.
  • Bao Bei: A few steps away from Kissa Tanto is Bao Bei. Here, visitors can enjoy crowd favorites like Bao Bei’s famous potstickers and dumplings and its Kick Ass House-Fried Rice.
Thanks to our guest author Matt Lawler, a lifestyle blogger in Arizona where he attended Arizona State University. Whenever he can step away from the computer, Matt enjoys looking for things to do in Phoenix such as playing sports, traveling and exploring the great outdoors