Point Grey/Arbutus/ Dunbar
As popular locations for UBC students to live, Point Grey, Arbutus and Dunbar aren’t just conveniently close to campus — they’re also some of the nicest (and priciest) neighbourhoods in the city. Stroll the tree-lined streets in autumn for a brazen display of some of Vancouver’s best fall foliage or in spring for the pretty cherry blossoms. Plus, depending on where exactly you live and assuming you’re not standing face-first in someone’s Fjällräven Kånken backpack, your morning commute might be blessed with views of the city skyline and mountains beyond.
A hippie hangout back in the 1960s, Kits — as the locals call it — still retains its relaxed charm. Here you’ll find your favourite yoga studios, outdoor stores, vegetarian eats and the much-loved Kits Beach. If you really want to fit in at the birthplace of Lululemon, make sure to don your athletica and bring along your S’well bottle if you really want to fit in. Grab some friends for a game of beach volleyball, watch the awesome sunset or follow the coastline all the way to Granville Island. A perfect place for the perfect chill day.
Main Street is hipster heaven and it’s easy to see why. Visit for vintage shopping, record hunting and fragrant coffee. Walk north and you’ll hit Chinatown, south and you’ll be at the Punjabi Market. In between, expect retro shop fronts from the ’60s and ’70s mixed with gentrified developments. Check out Eastside Flea Market if you’re in the area for unique pieces and cocktails or sample one of the many treats the area has to offer, from 24-hour breakfast at Lucy’s Eastside Diner to craft beers from one of the area’s several breweries.
No foray into East Van is complete without a visit to Commercial Drive. Home to Vancouver’s Little Italy, Commercial Drive is full of indie shops, coffee joints and, of course, Italian food. There are tonnes of other international foods to choose from too, so if you can’t decide whether you’re feeling lasagna, sushi, tandoori chicken or donair, why not take a trip to the Drive and try them all?
If you find yourself forgetting that UBC is, in fact, located in a city and not just in the middle of a forest on a peninsula, head downtown for your big-city fix. Tick off your sightseeing list with a visit to Waterfront, the Vancouver Art Gallery or a bike ride through Stanley Park. Plus, if you’re tired of Pit Night, the Granville Strip is home to the city’s clubbing district, and a short walk away you’ll find Vancouver’s gay nightlife scene in the West End’s Davie Village.
Feel like leaving behind the drudgery of the broke student life for a moment? Yaletown — with its classy bars, repurposed warehouses and outdoor patios — is the perfect place to live out your employed-and-financially-stable daydreams. Largely home to a younger professional crowd, the place is also said to be a favourite celebrity hangout, so if you visit one of the area’s many lounges, make sure to keep your eyes peeled.
Take a trip to the past with a visit to historic Gastown. Home to the city’s only cobbled streets and a famous steam clock, Gastown is a nice place to shop at (expensive) clothing boutiques or get an (expensive) brunch. A cool mesh of new and old, you’ll also find plenty of chic décor shops and some of the city’s trendiest and finest restaurants within old Victorian walls.
While technically not part of Vancouver, North Vancouver is well worth mentioning. Gateway to the outdoors, North Van will soon become your second home if you’re the nature-y type. Whether it’s skiing down Cypress, hiking Deep Cove, swimming at Lynn Canyon or driving the scenic Sea-to-Sky Highway, North Van has all the best views that Vancouver is famed for. Just don’t be surprised when a senior citizen with a hiking stick or a seven-year-old in Crocs surpasses you on the Grouse Grind.
Don’t let this become the place you always pass but never actually visit on your way to the airport. Its population is majority Chinese, so it isn’t surprising that it has some of the best Chinese food, too. From hotpot joints to countless bubble tea chains, dim sum to Asian-fusion patisseries, your stomach will thank you. Plus, the bustling Richmond Night Market, home to Instagram-worthy street foods, is a great place to hang on a weekend night between May and October.