If you haven't explored Chinatown in Vancouver, you're missing out on authentic Chinese food, unique attractions, excellent shopping and events that you won't be able to find anywhere else. Vancouver Chinatown is universally appealing to visitors, artists and people from all over the world - topping the list as one of North America's cleanest modern day Chinatowns.
This unique part of North American began between 1890 and 1920, when early Chinese immigrants settled in what was then known as Shanghai Alley and Canton Alley. This area was made up of vibrant nightlife, shopping, cultural activities, opera music and more. As time went by, Chinatown grew and incorporated even more attractions and exciting new projects for visitors to enjoy; if you want to learn about the history with historic footage, please see Vancouver's Chinatown: Past, Present, and Future shared on Vimeo.com.
Please your taste buds with a palate of aromatic teas, authentic Chinese baked goods and more.
Goldstone Bakery & Restaurant: This bakery and restaurant serves Hong Kong style snacks and meals at a reasonable price. Dine in with high ceilings and windows which let in plenty of natural light. The waitresses serve delicious food and execute in typical Hong Kong style - highly efficient.
Floata Seafood Restaurant: This eatery is a must-visit in Chinatown. With seating for 1,000 you can experience exquisite Cantonese cuisine and exotic seafood specialties.
New Town Bakery & Restaurant: There are a number of items on this bakery's menu that demand attention. From their award-winning apple tarts to their legendary steamed buns, you can't go wrong in any local favourites that you choose.
The Pie Shoppe: Visit this location for a slice of homemade pie and a cup of coffee to go with it. Using quality ingredients and a nostalgic environment, pie and coffee provides visitors with an opportunity to get away and relax.
You're going to have to plan to be in Chinatown for several days if you're wanting to see all the attractions that this part of town has to offer. Being one of the earliest communities in British Columbia, Chinatown in Vancouver hosts some of the cities' most famous sceneries and historical buildings.
Jimi Hendrix Shrine: If you're a fan of the famous singer and songwriter known for his electric guitar skills, this site is a must-see. The restaurant at this location used to belong to Hendrix's grandmother, Nora Rose Moore Hendrix. The restaurant hosted a number of famous performers like Louis Armstrong and Nat King Cole. Jimi lived nearby when he was in primary school. Today, this is the site of a shrine dedicated to Jimi Hendrix. It features old pictures and memorabilia of Jimi Hendrix as well as his family.
Vancouver Chinatown Millenium Gate: Opening back in 2002, this beautiful imposing archway exists across Pender Street and greets visitors entering into Vancouver's Chinatown. It was originally built for the new Millennium. The tall poles appear to precariously hold up the orange-shaded roof and the lattice work and Asian scripture is filled with relevant Eastern and Western symbols.
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Chinese Cultural Centre Museum and Archives: This museum promotes the history of Chinese Canadians and fosters an appreciation of traditional and contemporary Chinese arts. The main floor features changing exhibits and the second floor's permanent collection highlights Gold Rush History and Chinatown settlement. This popular travel destination also houses the Military Museum, which showcases the role of Chinese-Canadian soldiers in both world wars.
Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden: For those looking for a bit of relaxation mixed with culture, this garden is the place to be. This oasis of tranquility is the first ever Chinese garden built outside of China and is a model of a Ming Dynasty scholar's home. In 2011, the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden was named one of the "Top Ten City Gardens" in the world by National Geographic in their publication "Secret Journeys of a Lifetime;" you can see well made YouTube.com video here.
West Han Dynasty Bell: This bell was given to the city of Vancouver from the city of Guangzho in 1983 in honour of the 15th anniversary of the twinning of the two cities. It sits in the middle of Shanghai and Canton Alleys, the oldest streets and the beginnings of Vancouver's Chinatown. The bell rests on top of two crossbeams equipped with three bronze plaques memorializing the early Chinese settlers in the region.
Explore the Nightlife
Get a taste of the nightlife in Chinatown by making a stop at any one of these popular clubs and bars:
London Pub: This true English pub was established in 1903 and is nestled in Chinatown on the edge of Strathcona. It's exposed brick arches, floor-to-ceiling heritage windows and creative beer line create a warm and welcoming ambiance that will leave visitors coming back for more.
The Keefer: Escape the hustle and bustle of Chinatown and unwind in this unique atmosphere with a cocktail in hand. Food and music come together in harmony and the drinks are even created to soothe ailments and balance your mood.
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