One of the largest Chinatowns in the western hemisphere, Vancouver's Chinatown is a fun and vibrant place to stroll, explore, eat, and—of course—shop.
Packed with a wide variety of stores, shopping in Chinatown holds more surprises than visitors may expect. It's a great place to find Chinese imports, furniture, and clothes, as well as unique gifts, home decor, and jewelry.
There are plenty of fresh fruit and food markets, Chinese medicine shops, and Chinese-language books, music, and DVDs, too.
Start shopping by entering Chinatown through the Millennium Gate, at the junction of Taylor and Pender streets.
Hone Your Art Skills at Chinese Art Crafts
On the other side of Pender St., after crossing Carrall St., is the Chinese curio and art supply store Chinese Art Crafts (it's next to the Chinese Cultural Centre). The shop offers a host of art tools and products, including a huge range of calligraphy brushes and supplies.
Try on Chinese Fashion at Ochi
Continue east on Pender St.
Just across Columbia St. is Ochi, a Chinese clothing boutique with fashion for women and men. There are two Ochi stores, each across the street from the other.
It's easy to find cheap clothes in Chinatown, Chinese or otherwise; Ochi is one of the few high-quality clothiers. The clothes are a combination of traditional and modern design, and include beautifully made silk gowns and jackets, pashminas and scarves, pants, and shoes.
Refresh at New Town Bakery
Just a few doors east of Ochi is New Town Bakery, the best place to get steam buns in Chinatown.
New Town Bakery has 13 different steam buns, ranging from $1.65 to $3.30, including pork, chicken, beef, sweet custard, and sweet lotus paste and egg yolk.
New Town Bakery is a restaurant, too, so you can have a snack or lunch. It's cash or debit card only, though, so be prepared.
Crowd Into Bamboo Village
Across the street from the New Town Bakery is Chinatown's Chinese-import shop par excellence, the packed-to-the-rafters Bamboo Village.
Long and skinny, the something-for-everyone Bamboo Village has everything from furniture, paper lanterns, and worship supplies to Maoist memorabilia, Chinese folk art, and home decor.
Go for the Gold at Ultimate 24K Gold Co.
Walk east from Bamboo Village and turn right onto Main St.
There is a lot to see between Pender and Keefer on Main, including food markets and a terrific Chinese medicine shop.
On the western side of Main St. is Ultimate 24K Gold Co. Chinatown has its share of jewelry stores, but for reliable quality, Ultimate 24K Gold Co. is a good bet.
Though gold is its specialty, Ultimate 24K also sells Burmese jade and South Sea pearls, along with other gemstones and Canadian diamonds. There's an on-site goldsmith, too, for custom jewelry and repairs.
Taste the Tea at Ten Ren Tea & Ginseng Co.
On the corner of Main and Keefer streets is the Ten Ren Tea & Ginseng Co., a specialty tea shop that's a perfect place to find tea for yourself or as a gift. The teas are packaged so beautifully, you won't even need to wrap them.
Ten Ren Tea has an enormous assortment of teas, from jasmine and oolong to more exotic blends. It also carries very reasonably priced American ginseng.
It frequently features teas for sampling, too, so pop in for a taste of something new.
Explore the Chinese Food Markets on Keefer St.
From Main St. and Ten Ren Tea, turn left (heading east) onto Keefer St.
Before Gore Ave., there are several terrific Chinese markets, including San Lee Enterprises. San Lee is a perfect place to shop for seasonal fruits. Try its un-peeled, previously frozen lychees.
Getting to Chinatown Vancouver
Check Translink for bus schedules, or take the SkyTrain to the Stadium-Chinatown Station and walk east on Keefer St.
For drivers, parking is easy in Chinatown. Most streets have metered parking, and there are several large, pay-parking lots in accessible locations.
Want more Chinatown? Check out this complete guide to Vancouver's Chinatown.