Established in the 1890s by migrant workers, this Vancouver neighborhood is now among the biggest and most vibrant Chinatowns in North America. It’s packed with Asian grocers, Chinese herbalists, dim sum restaurants, trinket stores, and meat shops filled with tempting displays of hanging char siu and roast ducks.
Vancouver Chinatown is one of Vancouver’s most distinctive and fascinating neighborhoods, one that’s a rewarding place to eat, shop, and wander. Explore as part of food tours, which not only show off key landmarks such as the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, but also include tastings of barbecue meats, dim sum, tea, and other Chinese delicacies. Many walking tours and bike tours pass through Chinatown and neighboring Gastown; hop-on hop-off buses and sightseeing coach tours also make stops here.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Vancouver Chinatown is a must for foodies and history buffs.
- Arrive hungry; there are myriad excellent bakeries, restaurants, and cafés in Chinatown.
- Some attractions, such as the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Gardens, are wheelchair accessible.
How to Get There
Chinatown is situated in East Vancouver, next to the downtown neighborhoods of Gastown and Yaletown. The main thoroughfares are Main, Pender, and Keefer. To get there using public transport, ride the SkyTrain to the Main Street–Science World station.
When to Get There
Vancouver Chinatown is at its most atmospheric during the annual Chinese New Year celebrations, which typically fall between late January and late February. Celebrations usually include a parade complete with lion dancers and marching bands.
Chinatown’s Must-See Sights
Probably the most photographed landmark in Vancouver’s Chinatown is the Chinatown Millennium Gate, a lion-guarded gate that marks the entrance to the district. And although it’s small, the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden and adjacent park, which includes a pagoda and koi pond, serves as a peaceful sanctum—the perfect hideaway from the busy streets.