Vancouver’s Chinatown is the one of largest in the Western Hemisphere, and, no matter the weather, it’s always packed with people and bustling with energy. It’s one of the most vibrant areas of the city, home to a wide range of shops, restaurants, and historic attractions.
I love walking through Chinatown. More honestly, I love shopping and eating my way through Chinatown, stopping at the historic sites as I go.
Which sites should you definitely see on a trip to Chinatown?
Chinatown’s Top 5 Historic Attractions
1. Vancouver Chinatown Millennium Gate – Pender Street & Taylor Street
On any visit to Chinatown—especially if you’re coming from downtown Vancouver—how could you resist walking through the Millennium Gate? This magnificent structure not only commemorates the millennium, it’s a symbol of Eastern and Western cultures coming together in joint community.
2. West Han Dynasty Bell – Shanghai Alley
This impressive monument, a gift from the city of Guangzhou, China, memorializes Chinese history in Vancouver.
3. Sam Kee Building: The World’s Narrowest Building – 8 West Pender Street
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the Sam Kee Building is the world’s narrowest commercial building, with a width of only 6 feet!
4. Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden – 578 Carrall Street
Rain, shine, even snow—this classical Chinese garden is one of the most beautiful spots in all of Vancouver. It also hosts not-to-be-missed events year-round, including an outdoor summer concert series and an annual Winter Solstice Lantern Festival in December.
5. Monument of Canadian Chinese – Keefer Street & Columbia Street
Located very near the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Garden, this monument is dedicated to the historic achievement of the Canadian Chinese, including their bravery in WWII and their invaluable work on the Canadian Pacific Railway.
All of these attractions are an easy walking distance of each other, and touring them yourself means you get to stop and explore whenever you want. But touring with a knowledgeable guide is always a major plus. A Wok Around Chinatown combines cultural tourism and culinary tourism—how awesome is that?!
Have a favourite historic Chinatown attraction? Please share!