If I kept track, I’d bet I walk as many miles as I fly! I do have my favorite walkable cities and my special walks I take when I visit them. Some of these walks I’ve been enjoying for more years than I’ll admit to. The sites I see change, as the cities themselves do. Vancouver B.C. is one of my top favorite cities for walking. One of the walks I take every time I visit, and consider it the best walk in Vancouver, is the Gastown / Yaletown / False Creek loop. It includes some of the top attractions in the city.
Let’s Get Started!
From the Hyatt, I exit onto Burrard Street and head north towards the water. Walking toward the water, pass a historic and architecturally stunning building, the Marine Building. The art deco details are worth seeing so make sure to go into the lobby of the building and look around. Take the elevator up a few floors and when you get out you’ll have an overhead view of the lobby. Beautiful!
On the ground floor of this building, you will find one of my favorite JJ Bean coffee locations. It has seating on the second floor if you want to relax, read, talk, and stay a while.
We’re Heading to Gastown
Make a right on Cordova Street. We’re heading to Gastown. This area of Vancouver can be touristy, but many locals live/work/play here too. There are lots of restaurants and coffee shops worth visiting. The steam clock on the corner of Cambie and Water Streets is probably the number one site people come to see in Gastown and it’s a fun photo opportunity. You’ve actually walked two miles already!
From here, take a right and you can take any street to Pender as you’ll be going through Chinatown. At Pender, take a left and head through Chinatown to Taylor Street. It’s a small street to your right. There are some streets in Chinatown that feel edgy, but I’ve walked through this area alone many, many times and have never had a problem.
We’re Heading Towards the Water!
At the end of Taylor Street, we’ll see Andy Livingstone Park. It’s filled with kids’ playgrounds and grassy areas. Walk through the park (north). We’re heading towards False Creek. You’ll cross over a big thoroughfare and out to the water. BC Place stadium and Rogers Arena are on the right.
This is an area where big outdoor events take place. The week I was in Vancouver, Cirque du Soleil had their huge tents set up here. Made for some fun people watching!
As you stand on the path and face the creek, you have two options. If you go left and choose to go around towards the other side of the creek, you’ll eventually end up at Granville Public Market. That’s a lovely long walk!
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For this walk, though, we’re turning right and heading towards Yaletown. BC Place is a landmark here, home to Vancouver’s MLS Soccer Team, Canadian Football League games and the Winter Olympics Opening Ceremonies.
You’ll start to notice docks with water taxi stops. Using the water taxi system in Vancouver is a lot of unique and fun and I think everyone should try it at least once. I’ve used it many times and even in intense rain, they keep chugging along.
The Community Along False Creek Is Special
This area of False Creek has great, clean grassy areas, kids’ parks, plenty of benches, and condo buildings all along the water. As I mentioned in the Seawall walking loop post, it seems to be the best of urban planning when you leave the public use space nearest the water and then build the housing set back on the street. I really don’t like cities that don’t take this into consideration.
When you get past Yaletown, and are almost to the Granville Bridge, you’ve walked five miles! You have a bunch of options. Of course, one would be to take a water taxi across to Granville Market.
From there, you can easily catch a bus back to the Hyatt, that I’m using as a starting point. If you want to walk back towards the Hyatt’s area, I’d suggest walking up Richards Street, Hornby, or Howe.
I’d stay off Granville Street as it’s not looking good these days and really needs some TLC from the city of Vancouver. You could also stay on the path and keep going past and under the Granville Bridge and take the stairs up to the Burrard Bridge and then head north on Burrard back to the hotel.
Congratulations! However you head back and finish off the loop, the whole walk is about 5-6 miles! You’ve just completed one of my favorite walks in Vancouver. I hope you’ll agree that it’s the best walk in Vancouver! I hope this Yaletown / False Creek walking loop is something you’ll enjoy time and time again. Walk parts of it, walk all of it, but just get out in Vancouver and walk. It’s the best way to see the city!
Shelli Stein is a health and fitness entrepreneur who travels the world in search of culture, food, and fun! Besides contributing to PointMeToThePlane, you can find her at Joy in Movement.