Vancouver B.C. — A Self-Guided Walk Covering Gastown, Chinatown and More

by Shelli Stein

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 these the best places for walking in Vancouver, is the Gastown / Yaletown / False Creek loop. It includes some of the top attractions in the city.

Last week I wrote about my other favorite Vancouver walk: the Vancouver Seawall Loop

I stay at the Hyatt Regency when I visit Vancouver, and it never disappoints me, so I start this walk from the Hyatt, but this is a loop, so you can join in wherever it makes the most sense.

Yaletown Chinatown False Creek walking LOOP self-guided tour Vancouver B.C.



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!

Gastown Steam Clock Vancouver BCFrom 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!

Vancouver BC Yaletown Loop Walk

Lots of grassy areas to enjoy all along this loop!

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!

Vancouver BC Yaletown Loop Walk

Granville Market is worth a visit all on its own!

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.

Vancouver BC Yaletown Walk

Site of the science museum and Vancouver Olympic Ceremonies.

As you’ve now seen, this best places for walking in Vancouver guide would never leave out walking along the water!

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.

Vnacouver BC Yaletown Loop Walk

Don’t miss out on a water taxi trip.

a boat on the water

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.

Vancouver BC Yaletown Loop Walk

Yaletown area of town with lots of great views, shops, and eateries.

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.

Vancouver BC Yaletown Loop Walk

Wherever you walk in Vancouver, you’re near water!

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.

Final Thoughts

I hope you’ll agree that these ideas provide you with the best places for walking 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.

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Related Articles


Lea August 31, 2018 - 4:14 pm

Thank you for this guide. I’ve never been to Vancouver and want to make a trip during the Spring Season. We wanted to stay near Stanley Park, because we wanted the park to be within walking distance BUT this walking guide looks cool too and might consider this year as well.

Lea August 31, 2018 - 4:15 pm

I meant to say….might consider staying this area as well

phoenix September 1, 2018 - 3:19 am

That’s also the beginning of peak season, which means downtown hotels will be painfully priced.

If you don’t mind transiting a short distance to get to downtown, there are a few hotels in the Cambie/Broadway area that may be much cheaper.

Shelli September 1, 2018 - 3:26 pm

True, hotels in Vancouver are very seasonally priced. I do enjoy the off season months when hotel prices are basically half. Late fall and even winter hotel prices go way down. Thanks, phoenix!

Shelli August 31, 2018 - 4:33 pm

HI Lea, Glad you find the guide useful. Vancouver is a wonderful city and there are lots of accommodations within walking distance to the park. It’s a very walkable city, and beautiful in springtime. Enjoy!!

phoenix September 1, 2018 - 3:07 am

Yay another fantastic Vancouver “walk-through!”

I would personally save the coffee stop for Republica, Timbertrain or Revolver in/near Gastown. All are a step-up from JJ Bean IMHO.

The Chinatown Millennium Gate and Sun Yat Sen Garden are near the corner of Carrall and Pender, barely a blocks-worth of detour off your route. Happy your walk-through goes through that neighbourhood – massive changes are afoot there. Nuba and Chambar are great meal stops, also short detours off your walking route.

Granville Island Brewing is a wonderful stop for a quality pint. Come on, you gotta be thirsty from all that walking, right? 🙂

Shelli September 1, 2018 - 3:20 pm

HI Phoenix, Great comments. Let me answer them one at a time. I am a big fan of Timbertrain. Love their space and coffee. I don’t care for Revolver. They seem a bit stuck on themselves and I don’t like the space. As for the massive changes in the area, I agree. Friends lived in Chinatown for a bunch of years, so I know that area well. Lots of good eats and bakeries nearby, though most tourists will probably find that area still too edgy. True enough that by the time I get to Granville Island I am quite thirsty! The Granville Island Tea Company has the best chai I’ve ever had. I see that on my next trip there I’ll have to switch to a pint 🙂 Thanks for the laughs and glad you enjoyed the walking tour.

Vancouver -My Favorite Local Coffee Houses - November 17, 2018 - 11:51 am

[…] that divides east and west Vancouver, so it may be off the beaten path for tourists but again, Vancouver is so walkable, it’s really not out of your […]


Leave a Comment