Art galleries, ethnic markets, gourmet-food shops, and high-fashion boutiques abound in Vancouver. Shopping here is more interesting and varied than in many other North American cities because of the prevalence of Asian and First Nations influences in crafts, home furnishings, and foods.

Downtown Vancouver has many of the same chain stores that you can find across North America but there is also an exciting community of budding local fashion designers whose creative clothes and accessories fill the smaller boutiques. If you're looking for interesting local shops, head beyond Downtown, especially to the Gastown and Main Street neighborhoods, and to the Portobello West Market. Keep in mind, too, that the word "mall" here can mean more than just generic shopping, particularly in suburban Richmond, where malls tend to cater to an upscale Asian community. It's almost like shopping in Hong Kong, Beijing, or Tokyo.

In the art scene, look for First Nations and other aboriginal art, from souvenir trinkets to stellar contemporary art; many galleries showcasing First Nations artists are in Gastown. Area artisans also create a variety of fine crafts, exhibiting and selling their wares at Granville Island galleries. Some local favorites are included in the listings, and has a complete listing of island galleries and studios.

Food—especially local seafood (available smoked and packed to travel), cheeses from British Columbia and across Canada, and even locally made chocolates, jams, and other goodies—makes tasty souvenirs (or delicious snacking or picnic fare). British Columbia also has a rapidly maturing wine industry, and local shops give advice about the region's offerings (and tastings, too). Remember the restrictions about taking alcohol back into your home country before you stock up.

Outdoor-oriented Vancouver is also a great place to pick up camping and hiking gear. There's a cluster of outdoor-equipment shops on West Broadway between Yukon and Manitoba streets just west of Main Street, and you’ll find several cycling, snowboarding, and skiing outlets on West 4th Avenue, just east of Burrard Street in Kitsilano.

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  • 1. Aberdeen Centre

    First-rate Asian restaurants, food vendors selling everything from kimchi to cream puffs, clothing stores stocking the latest styles, and Daiso—a Japanese bargain-hunters' paradise —make this...Read More

  • 2. Circle Craft

    Granville Island

    This artist co-op sells finely crafted textiles, wood pieces, jewelry, ceramics, and glass works. Chosen by juried selection, the artists are all local to British...Read More

  • 3. Crafthouse

    Granville Island | Crafts

    Run by the Craft Council of British Columbia, this tiny structure contains a veritable smorgasbord of works by local artisans. The artworks...Read More

  • 4. Edible Canada

    Granville Island

    Tucked behind the Edible Canada bistro, this little shop sells jams, sauces, chocolates, and dozens of other edible items from around the country. It's a...Read More

  • 5. Granville Island Public Market

    Granville Island

    Locals and visitors alike crowd this indoor market that's part farm stand, part gourmet grocery, and part upscale food court. The stalls are packed with...Read More

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  • 6. Hill's Native Art

    Mt. Pleasant

    This highly respected store has Vancouver's largest selection of First Nations art. The place is crammed with souvenirs, keepsakes, and high-quality pieces, including carvings, masks,...Read More

  • 7. Holt Renfrew


    This is Canada's ritziest department store, a swanky showcase for international high fashion and accessories for men and women. Think Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, and...Read More

  • 8. John Fluevog


    You might have seen John Fluevog shops in New York and Los Angeles, but did you know that these funky shoes were created by a...Read More

  • 9. Kidsbooks


    The helpful staff at this cheery shop is happy to make recommendations about books appropriate for young people ranging from toddlers to teens. Choose from...Read More

  • 10. Les Amis du Fromage


    If you love cheese, don't miss the mind-boggling array of selections from BC, the rest of Canada, and elsewhere at this family-run shop of delicacies....Read More

  • 11. lululemon athletica


    Power-yoga devotees, soccer moms, and anyone who likes casual, comfy clothes covets the fashionable, well-constructed workout wear with the stylized "A" insignia from this Vancouver-based...Read More

  • 12. MEC (Mountain Equipment Co-op)

    Mt. Pleasant

    Vancouver's go-to outdoor store since the 1970s, MEC stocks a good selection of high-performance clothing and equipment for hiking, cycling, climbing, and kayaking, and for...Read More

  • 13. Nordstrom


    Nordstrom Vancouver, the chain's flagship store in Canada, sizzles with fashion buzz alongside the well-known Nordstrom-style service. Three elegantly designed floors showcase label boutiques (think...Read More

  • 14. Roots

    West End

    For outdoorsy clothes that double as souvenirs (many sport maple-leaf logos), check out these Canadian-made sweatshirts, leather jackets, and other comfy casuals for men, women...Read More

  • 15. T&T Supermarket


    Check out this chain of Asian supermarkets for exotic produce, baked goods, and prepared foods. You can assemble an inexpensive lunch-to-go from the extensive hot...Read More

  • 16. Artisan Sake Maker

    Granville Island

    You can learn all about sake (Japanese rice wine), and sample the locally made product, at Vancouver's own sake brewery....Read More

  • 17. Ayoub's Dried Fruits and Nuts

    West End

    The freshly roasted almonds, pistachios, and cashews from this pretty Persian-style shop make excellent snacks; try them with the signature lime-saffron seasoning. Boxes of nuts...Read More

  • 18. Barefoot Contessa


    This cute shop has a creative take on '40s-style glamour and boho chic. Look for frilly feminine clothing (dresses, dresses, and more dresses), jewelry, and...Read More

  • 19. Birks


    Vancouver's link in this Canada-wide chain of high-end jewelers—a national institution since 1879—is in a neoclassical former bank building....Read More

  • 20. Boboli

    South Granville

    Named for the Boboli Gardens, this lavish space, complete with an atrium-like shoe department, focuses on high-end Italian labels for men and women, such as...Read More

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