Downtown East Vancouver is a neighbourhood of contrasts. It’s a historic neighbourhood in which heritage buildings house hip new cocktail bars, and where hot young chefs are taking advantage of lower rents to open up innovative restaurants. The MLS®-defined boundaries of Main and Carrall to the east and west and the waterfront and Pacific Boulevard to the north and south create a slice of town that incorporates the eastern parts Chinatown and Gastown along with a small corner of Railtown – all neighbourhoods that are changing fast. This area has plenty of challenges, including crippling urban poverty in the Downtown Eastside, and it’s not for everyone. But those who live here love their neighbourhood. Here are five reasons why.
1. Affordable (and Interesting) Real Estate
While the real estate scene in this neighbourhood is changing fast, for now it’s still possible to buy a brand-new one-bedroom condo for less than $280,000. At the upper end of the market, heritage buildings hold gorgeous, enormous New York-style lofts in the $1.5 million range.
2. A Huge Concentration of Really Great Restaurants
Gastown has become a consistent winner of the Georgia Straight’s Golden Plates award for best neighbourhood for restaurants, and it’s no wonder. While many of the restaurants that earn Gastown its foodie heaven badge are just to the west of the MLS®-defined Downtown East Vancouver, L’Abattoir, Nicli Antica Pizzeria, Rodney’s Oyster House, Bestie, Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie, Calabash Bistro and plenty more are all within the neighbourhood’s boundaries, offering everything from pub grub to fine dining.
3. And Pretty Fine Cocktails, To Boot
Downtown East Vancouver has a definite cocktail scene, with the Alibi Room, Chill Winston, the Diamond and the Keefer Bar all within its boundaries, making it the perfect neighbourhood for a cocktail crawl followed by a short walk home.
4. A Heritage Feel
The history of the neighbourhood is clearly visible, with brick buildings and heritage architecture on every street. The cobblestones in the north part of the neighbourhood were actually installed in the mid-1970s, but they add to the historic charm nonetheless.
5. A Car-Free Lifestyle
Downtown East Vancouver is a neighbourhood of walkers who get everywhere on foot – and why not? With a short walk to the downtown business core and walk scores in the very high 90s, the neighbourhood calls to true urbanites who don’t want to worry about parking. With regular bus service along Hastings and Main, two Expo-line Skytrain stations nearby, and separated bike lanes, Downtown East Vancouver is a haven for the car-free.