Because of its rich history and attractive architecture, Gastown is a big draw for visitors to Vancouver. The neighborhood is explored on many walking tours—often alongside neighboring Chinatown—during which guides explain its Wild West origins and point out key sights, such as the Dominion Building, Vancouver’s first high-rise, and the Gassy Jack Statue.
The district’s historic buildings and neon signs also make it a go-to on photography tours of Vancouver, while its thriving restaurant scene ensures it’s a popular food tour stop. You can also explore Gastown on ghost or prohibition-themed outings.
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Things to Know Before You Go
Gastown is a must-visit for history buffs, foodies, and shoppers.
Wear comfortable shoes; you can expect to do lots of walking in Gastown.
Water, Hastings, and Carrall streets are the main thoroughfares in the neighborhood, which is best explored on foot.
Though there are some mild inclines and uneven surfaces, Gastown is mostly wheelchair and stroller accessible.
How to Get There
Gastown is located on the northeast edge of Downtown Vancouver, just southeast of Canada Place. The nearest transit station is Waterfront, which is served by the SkyTrain (Expo and Canada lines), the SeaBus passenger ferry, and the West Coast Express commuter rail service. Alternatively, arrive as part of a tour that includes transportation.
When to Get There
Gastown is a busy downtown district and is most crowded in the evenings and on weekends. If you want to experience Gastown at its calmest, try coming mid-morning on a weekday or in the early morning on the weekend. One of the best times to visit is at night, when the district’s many craft beer bars and cocktail dens come alive.
What to See in Gastown
Gastown’s must-see sights are historic in nature. At Water Street, see Byrnes Block, a former luxury hotel. One of Vancouver’s oldest brick buildings, it was constructed in the late 19th century shortly after the 1886 Great Fire destroyed much of the city. At the corner of Water and Powell streets is another former hotel, the 6-story flatiron-style Hotel Europe. Also on Water Street is Gastown’s frequently photographed steam clock, which chimes every 15 minutes.
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