If you are looking for things to do in Gastown, you’ll be happy to know that you have a lot of options in this cute Vancouver neighborhood. Known for its Victorian architecture, cobbled streets, cute cafes, and hip restaurants, Gastown is a charming place to explore in Vancouver. Planning a trip to Gastown as one of your things to do in Vancouver? Here are some ideas to enjoy your time in this unique part of Vancouver!
Top Things to do in Gastown
Watch the Steam Clock in Action
The steam clock is an iconic landmark and should be on everyone’s list of things to see in Gastown on your first visit to Vancouver. It’s one of the few steam clocks left in the world, making it one of the most popular Gastown tourist destinations. Built in 1977, this electric antique-style whistles every 15 minutes to tell the clock. That isn’t all; the clock also blows off steam from its five whistles every hour. The famous steam clock is at Water Street, and it is said that 12 pm is the best time to watch the clock in action.
Walk the Cobble Streets
One of the best things to do in Gastown is to walk and admire the cobbled streets. Gastown’s cobbled streets are amongst the things that make this cute Vancouver neighborhood stand out. The streets are beautiful and lined with art galleries, gastro pubs, boutiques, and other impressive Gastown tourist attractions you can stop by.
Eat at Tacofino’s Vancouver Location
It’s impossible to speak of restaurants in Gastown or even Vancouver without Tacofino. Made famous by its original Tofino food truck location, locals and visitors come to reminisce about their time on Vancouver Island’s West Coast. Tacofino has arguably one of the best tacos in Vancouver, with the fish tacos being a favourite. The atmosphere is also quite appealing for anyone who hasn’t visited. Its Gastown location has cute decor, great ambiance, and friendly staff.
Hours: Saturdays – Sunday: 11:30 – 12:00 am Mondays: 4 pm – 12 am
Address: 15 W, Cordova Street, Vancouver, BC V6B 1C8
Enjoy a Cocktail (or a whole meal) at Pourhouse
Located southeast of the famous steam clock in Gastown, Porthouse is an excellent destination for creative cocktails and comforting meals. Grab a seat on one of the 25 vintage seats and enjoy some magical cocktails specially handcrafted by the bartenders.
For a whole meal, there are options of old-fashioned flavors, including classics like the burger, grilled fish, and mac and cheese. Make sure to try their tater tots if they are on the menu! For more refined pallets, try the roasted bone marrow, tuna, scotch egg, or liver with toast.
Hours: Monday – Friday: 11:30 -1:00 am Saturday: 5:00 pm – 12:00 am Sunday: 5:00 pm – 1:00 am
Address: 162 Water St, Vancouver, BC V6B 1B2, Canada
Enjoy Fine Dining at St Lawrence Restaurant
For some classic French dishes in an intimate setting, try having a meal at St. Lawrence restaurant. They serve various phenomenal and delicious meals, including pork chops, rice pudding, lamb shoulder, and Tourtière de Ville au Cerf.
St. Lawrence has a great atmosphere with terrific decor, artwork, and chandeliers reminiscent of classic Parisian restaurants. The bar is stocked with only French spirits, and only some exception of some Japanese whiskey. Also, the restaurant is known for its friendly staff. If you are unsure about what to order, always ask the server for their suggestions!
Hours: Tuesdays through Sundays: 5 to 10:30 pm
Address: 269 Powell St, Vancouver, BC V6A 1G3, Canada
See the Flat Iron Building
Another thing to see in Gastown is Hotel Europe, the Flatiron Building of Vancouver. Built in 1908 and 1909 by Parr and Fee architects, this iconic six-story flat iron building was the first reinforced concrete structure built in Canada and the earliest fireproof hotel in Western Canada. The hotel’s tower still retains its original Italian tile floors and leaded-glass windows. This is one of the most Instagrammable places in Vancouver so have your camera handy when you visit!
Try Local Beer at Steamworks Brewpub
Located next to the Seabus terminal, Steamworks Brewpub is one of the best breweries to try out craft beer in Gastown. Steamworks actually uses Steam to make its beer! Who knew! They do take reservations so consider doing that before you visit. The restaurant is hught though, it has seats both upstairs and downstairs. Besides 20 rotating taps of Steamworks beer, this pub also serves freshly prepared meals like steaks, pizza, fettuccini, and desserts. Try to sit upstairs next to the window to enjoy views of the harbor. This is one of the top places to eat in Vancouver with waterfront views!
Hours: Mon-Fri 11:30AM TO 12AM Sat & Sun 11AM TO 12AM
Address: 375 Water Street, Vancouver BC
Take a Food Tour
One of the best things to do in Gastown is take a food tour down the cobbled stone streets. This legendary 2.5 hours Gastown Walking Food Tour is a great way to enjoy yourself and excite your taste buds. The food tour offers the opportunity to explore the culinary riches of this neighborhood through its very fantastic restaurants. From enjoying local craft beers to trying out Canadian Poutine and Japanese Karage style chicken, this food tour is bound to be a great experience.
Browse a Local Shop or Two
Looking for places to go in Gastown? We recommend you go to the cute little shops around this neighborhood to pick one or two things. Gastown is full of shops, boutiques, and stores, making it a perfect place to source items, including glassware, clothes, furniture, shoes, and other good things. The area also has some great art galleries where you can find souvenirs like art pieces, carvings, and jewelry. Whether you want to buy something or just window shop, Gastown has many shops you can explore.
Where to stay in Gastown?
Vancouver Travel Resources for 2023
If you are from out of town these resources should be helpful for your trip to Vancouver!
RENTAL CAR: You definitely want to rent one in advance and grab it at the airport. Start with a rental car comparison company like this one or this one.
LOCAL TOURS: Looking for the perfect city tour, whale watching tour, bus tour, brewery tour (these are awesome) Start with Get Your Guide and Viator Tours.
BOOK A PHOTOSHOOT: Capture those memories! Book a romantic or family photoshoot while on holiday! Click Here to find a local photographer. Use code LINDSAY to save $25 off your first photoshoot!
HOTELS: Find the best hotel selection on booking.comor hostelworld.com
CRUISING? If you are cruising from Vancouver or even considering it in the future, find information and cruise reviews on cruisecritic.com
A good rain jacket is always a good idea, even in the summer. While you are not likely to get wet in July and August, late august almost always sees a wet day, and May, June and September will also get rain.
A good power bank to charge phones and other devices while out for the day. After a day of videoing, GPS and taking photos, the last thing you want is a dead cell phone. These are inexpensive and come in handy during the day.
A Universal Adapter is going to be handy for International Visitors. Canada uses the same plugs as the USA but if you are coming from somewhere else abroad, grab yourself one before you arrive.
Most stores have gone away from plastic shopping bags and those who do have them likely charge for them. Either buy a cute reusable one (makes a great souvenir) when you arrive or bring a small one with you!
Reusable water bottles are also a good idea. Tap water is drinkable all over Vancouver and there are plenty of water fountain options to get water. You can buy and recycle water bottles anywhere, but why shell out wasteful dollars when you can drink the tap water all over British Columbia?
Lindsay Nieminen is the creator of UncoveringBC.com. She grew up and still lives in the suburbs of Vancouver with her family. She aims to inspire inform, and educate others about traveling in her home province of British Columbia. She is also the creator of carpediemourway.com which aims to show parents how to seek out adventure at home or abroad, with their children in tow!