Exotic sights, sounds, and aromas pervade North America’s third-largest Chinatown. In this evocative area, you’ll find families bargaining over durian fruit in a flurry of Cantonese; shops redolent of sweet-and-sour fish; and street vendors selling silk, jade, and Hello Kitty footstools. The steamy-windowed wonton restaurants, butchers with splayed barbecued pigs, and ubiquitous firecracker-red awnings will make you think for a moment that you’re in Hong Kong.
Start your trek at Millennium Gate, the official entry into Chinatown. Head under the gate, and spend some time strolling the tranquil pools, intriguing limestone formations, and gnarly pine trees that fill Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. After strolling the garden, nip next door to the Chinese Cultural Centre Museum & Archives. Across the street, on Carrall Street stands the Sam Kee Building, the world’s thinnest office building.
Over at the intersection of Pender and Main streets, the bustling heart of Chinatown unfolds. Check out the dragon-covered lampposts and red phones booths, peruse the ancient apothecaries and trinket stores, have tea at the famous Ten Lee Hong Enterprises, and the stop for tasty dim sum.
Chinatown predominantly occupies the East Vancouver thoroughfares around Main, Pender, and Keefer streets. Its nearby downtown neighborhoods include Gastown and Yaletown. You can easily get to Chinatown via the Stadium and Main Street-Science World SkyTrain as well as buses and taxis. To get the best Chinatown experience, allow 4 hours.