Spring Shopping in Vancouver: Diverse, Local, and Sustainable

Photo: Park Royal

Spring brings with it the promise of new beginnings due to the warmer weather and the blooming of flowers in the city. Also, if you’re in the mood for a wardrobe refresh, Vancouver has a wide variety of shopping experiences, from extensive shopping centres to local boutiques specializing in sustainable artisanal products.

Shopping Centres

Vancouver has numerous shopping centres where you can find all your favourite national and global brands.

CF Pacific Centre is located in the heart of downtown. It’s anchored by department stores Hudson’s Bay and high-end Holt Renfrew, as well as numerous retailers, many of them specializing in luxury goods. Stores include kate spade new york and Michael Kors. CF Pacific Centre currently has a promotion on right now in partnership with hotels in the city. Enter the promo code “StayandShop” when you book via Stay Vancouver Hotels for a stay before June 30, 2024. Within 24 hours of check-in, you’ll get an electronic code, which you show to Guest Services at CF Pacific Centre (with matching photo ID). As long as you redeem by July 31, you’ll get a physical $75 CF SHOP! card, accepted at most retailers in the shopping centre. The promotion is good for a maximum of two bookings on non-consecutive days. Happy shopping!

For sheer selection, you can’t beat Metropolis at Metrotown, the province’s largest mall, located in Burnaby. The mall has tons of parking but is also easily accessible via transit. The shopping centre has a plethora of different shopping options on its three floors, including local brands such as Aritzia and lululemon. In addition to many restaurants, such as Zubu Ramen Bar, and an extensive food court, Metropolis at Metrotown also features a SilverCity movie complex,

Park Royal, situated in West Vancouver, is an elevated shopping experience, featuring both an indoor and outdoor component, as well as a north and south section. The mall has been revamped over recent years, making its aesthetic particularly refined. As the second largest shopping centre in Metro Vancouver, Park Royal has a ton of brands to shop at, including the department store Simons and Browns Shoes. Park Royal is also a great place for eating, with options like The Village Taphouse and Tractor Everyday Healthy Foods.

If you’re in looking for upscale outlet shopping, McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Vancouver Airport is your place. You’ll find all your favourite brands at this Richmond outlet, including Armani, Jimmy Choo, and LaCoste. Easily reached via the Canada Line, McArthurGlen has an outdoor layout, allowing you to enjoy the sun in-between stores. Restaurants like BIBO Pizzeria and Neptune Noodle House round out the experience.

Tsawwassen Mills in Delta (33 km from downtown Vancouver) is one of the newer shopping centres in Metro Vancouver. At over a million square feet, including a 20,00 square foot food court, Tsawwassen Mills has a lot to offer. Store offerings are extensive and varied, ranging from American Eagle Outfitters to Polo Ralph Lauren Factory Store.

Meanwhile, if you’re looking for Asian shopping centres, Richmond is the destination, a short Canada Line trip away from downtown Vancouver. Aberdeen Centre features an array of stores selling clothing and specialty items, such as Tokyo Beauty, and also has a food court with unique vendors and restaurants like Fisherman’s Terrace Seafood Restaurant if you’re in the mood for dim sum.

Key Retail Streets/Neighbourhoods

Neighbourhood shopping is highly recommended in Vancouver, since you get to know an area of town, browse independent boutiques, as well as fuel up at the many cafes and restaurants along their main streets.

Robson Street is the city’s most well-known thoroughfare, with approximately 150 shops in its central area between Burrard and Jervis Streets. Local, national, and international brands are represented on this iconic street, including Plenty and Zara Women. There are also a ton of great eats, including farm-to-table Forage and Menya Itto, known as “The King of Tsukemen.”

Gastown is a great neighbourhood for getting to know Vancouver’s history, appreciating heritage architecture, as well as browsing special local stores. Retailers specialize not only in fashion but also home/furniture, wellness, and gifts. Stores—like Cappelleria Bertacchi Italian Hatcrafter, where you can admire beautiful hats both in the window display as well as inside—are truly unique. Other one-of-a-kind Gastown shops include Jason Matlo Atelier (private appointments) and Sarah Mulder Jewelry. Standout restaurants in the area include L’Abattoir (Pacific Northwest with French influence), Di Beppe (Italian), and Monarca (refined Mexican).

South Granville is a lovely shopping experience, particular with its floral art installation, Bloom, in their Plaza West (West 13th Avenue). Get out your cameras and bask in the sun and under the floral canopy. The street contains numerous boutiques, including Artisan Avenue (for local goods), Boboli for luxury fashion, and Fable for tableware. If you’re looking for a bite, The Stable House, Gary’s, and Impostori are delicious options.

Photo: South Granville‘s Bloom

Shopping on West 4th Avenue in Kitsilano reflects the neighbourhood’s focus on wellness and healthy outdoor living, as well as the chic style of its residents. Stores on the street include Fjallraven and Reigning Champ. Outstanding multicultural eateries range from Persian Delara to Thai Maenam.

Mount Pleasant’s Main Street has become popular among those looking not only for unique local finds, but also vintage apparel and accessories for more sustainable shopping. Stores like Giving Gifts showcase local makers while others like The Soap Dispensary and Kitchen Staples prioritizes sustainable living, with refillable soaps and cleaning products as well as eco-friendly kitchen tools. Curated vintage stores abound on the strip, with boutiques like Woo Vintage Clothing and Rewind Main Street. Mount Pleasant is also a hub of dining, with amazing eateries like The Acorn (vegetarian) and local-forward Burdock & Co.

More ideas for a perfect spring day in Vancouver neighbourhoods can be found here.

Local Sustainable Shopping

A sign on Granville Island promoting lcoal artists

Granville Island is a great place to shop local. Photo: Destination Vancouver/Nelson Mouellic

For sustainable goods that are distinctly Vancouver, you have a range of shopping options. Vancouver is a leader when it comes to sustainable fashion that prioritizes long lasting clothing and a reduced environmental impact. Three shops committed to sustainability can be found here.

As well, a visit to a local farmers market (e.g., Trout Lake on Saturdays; Riley Park on Saturdays; and Downtown on Wednesdays starting June 5) is an outing that will introduce you to sustainable food products and goods, in addition to fresh local produce.

Granville Island—with its Public Market, Artisan District, as well as many boutiques and artist studios—is also a great neighbourhood for finding local sustainable items that would be ideal keepsakes of Vancouver. Whether you take home a bottle of artisan sake, or support local authors at Upstart & Crow, you’ll have something special to remember the city. The Public Market is packed with delicious local produce and specialty food items, including jams at Preservatory Provisions and Toast Bar and day vendors like Cascadia Skincare, which specializes in local organic products.

For a local good that incorporates flora of Vancouver, you can purchase honey at farmers markets; at The Honey Shoppe, which has hives around the city and partners with Bloedel Conservatory in Queen Elizabeth Park; and at the VanDusen Botanical Garden Shop for honey from the garden, in addition to other local goods, like handmade soaps.

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