Where to stay in Vancouver for first time: 6 Safe areas

Hi guys, on my website, I already wrote an article about staying in Vancouver without a car (I will put the links to it at the end of this article). In today’s article, I will help you to find the best places to stay in Vancouver for first-time visitors and tourists.

I will share with you what I believe are the best and safest areas to stay in Vancouver for first-timers and tourists, along with a helpful map and areas to avoid. I’ll also share where I stayed in Vancouver and recommend some of the best hotels in Vancouver for various budgets.

Vancouver is a major city in Canada, located on the west coast of the country in the province of British Columbia. It is one of the most populous and diverse cities in Canada, known for its stunning natural surroundings, including the Pacific Ocean and the Coast Mountains.

Vancouver is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering opportunities for hiking, skiing, snowboarding, and kayaking. Stanley Park, located in the heart of the city, is a famous urban park that features seawalls, beaches, and lush forests.

This city has an extensive public transportation system, including buses, SkyTrain (light rail), and the Seabus, making it relatively easy to get around the city. It is also well-connected by road and air, with Vancouver International Airport serving as a major gateway.

Vancouver is generally a safe city with a relatively rare violent crime rate. However, like any urban area, it’s not entirely without risk, so it’s important to exercise typical precautions. 

Stick to well-lit areas at night, secure your belongings, and be aware of your surroundings. It’s advisable to avoid certain areas, such as Downtown Eastside, due to its significant homeless population and history of drug-related problems.

Where to stay in Vancouver for the first time?

The best and safest areas to stay in Vancouver for first-timers and tourists are Downtown Vancouver, Yaletown, Gastown, West End, Coal Harbour, and Mount Pleasant. It’s always wise to stay aware of your surroundings, no matter where you are in the city.

Downtown is the most popular place to stay in Vancouver for first-time visitors who want to be in the heart of the city. It’s home to many of Vancouver’s top attractions, including Stanley Park and Robson This area also offers easy access to public transit, many restaurants and bars.

Yaletown is a trendy neighborhood in Downtown and is known for its stylish restaurants, bars, and shops. It’s a great base for those who want a more upscale and modern experience. 

Gastown is an area in Downtown Vancouver and is known for its historic charm and cobblestone streets. It’s a great place to explore unique boutiques, art galleries, and enjoy the iconic Gastown Steam Clock.

The West End is a more residential and relaxed area just west of downtown. It’s close to Stanley Park and English Bay, making it a great choice for nature lovers and budget travelers.  

Coal Harbour is a scenic waterfront district and is a great base if you want a more peaceful and luxurious stay. It’s a quiet and upscale area, with great views of the waterfront and the North Shore Mountains.

Mount Pleasant is a bit further from the downtown core but offers a more local and hipster experience. It’s known for its craft breweries, art galleries, and unique shops. While it’s not as central as the other areas, it can provide a more authentic Vancouver experience.

During my first trip to Vancouver, I had a pleasant stay at the 3-star Rosedale on Robson Suite Hotel. The hotel is centrally located in Yaletown district, easy access to transportation, restaurants, shops, and attractions. My suite was comfortable and spacious with a right size kitchenette.

Below is a map of the popular areas in Vancouver for first-time travelers. You can scroll down to view the live map.

Map of the safe areas to stay in Vancouver first time
Map of the safe areas to stay in Vancouver first time

Let’s get into the details of the recommended areas to stay in Vancouver, especially for first-time visitors. I’ll provide you with some suggestions for the best places to stay in each area, catering to every budget. 

All hotels in Vancouver have been carefully selected by me, with guest review scores of at least 8.0 or higher at the time I chose them. If you don’t like my suggestions (perhaps they don’t suit your budget or preferences), you can click the “MORE HOTEL DEALS” button where you can choose your own hotel.

6 Safe areas to stay in Vancouver for first-timers and tourists

1. Downtown Vancouver

Downtown Vancouver is a popular and convenient choice for first-time tourists. It is the hub of the city’s most popular attractions, including Stanley Park, Granville Island, Vancouver Aquarium, Robson Street, and Vancouver Art Gallery. Many of these attractions are within walking distance.

The area is well-served by public transportation, including buses, SkyTrain lines, and the SeaBus. This makes it easy to explore the city and reach other neighborhoods and attractions.

Downtown offers a wide variety of dining options, from fine dining to casual eateries. You’ll also find theaters, cinemas, and nightclubs for entertainment in the evenings.

Downtown has a range of accommodation options, including luxury hotels, boutique hotels, and more budget-friendly choices, making it suitable for various budgets.

Downtown is bordered by the beautiful Vancouver waterfront. You can enjoy a leisurely walk along the seawall or visit the Canada Place promenade for great views.

Robson Street is known for its shopping opportunities, with numerous shops and boutiques offering a variety of goods, including fashion, electronics, and souvenirs.

Best places to stay in Downtown Vancouver for first-time tourists:

  • Luxury ($$$): Paradox Hotel Vancouver, popular 5-star hotel centrally located in Downtown Vancouver, within walking distance from major attractions, shops, restaurants, and bars. Easy access to the Alberni Street high-end shopping area and Vancouver Art Gallery.
  • Mid-range ($$): Carmana Hotel & Suites, great 4-star hotel located in the heart of Vancouver, 5 min walk from Robson Street and Burrard SkyTrain Station, short car ride from the  Cruise Ship Terminal. It has 24-hour front desk, laundry services, and parking for those who drive.
  • Budget ($): Times Square Suites Hotel, 3-star accommodation, conveniently located only a 3 mins walk from Stanley Park, featuring spacious suites with fully equipped kitchens. It has a nice rooftop terrace with views of Stanley Park, Coal Harbour, and North Shore Mountains.

2. Yaletown

Yaletown is a trendy and upscale neighborhood in downtown Vancouver, making it an excellent choice for tourists who want a stylish and modern experience. 

Yaletown is located along the waterfront, offering stunning views of False Creek and the Granville Street Bridge. You can take a leisurely stroll along the seawall and enjoy the scenery.

Yaletown is just a short walk from the core of downtown Vancouver, giving you easy access to attractions like the Vancouver Art Gallery, Robson Street, BC Place, and Stanley Park.

This area is home to numerous green spaces and waterfront parks such as David Lam Park, Coopers’ Park, and George Wainborn Park. The parks are great places to relax and enjoy outdoor activities.

The Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre is a cultural hub in Yaletown, offering exhibitions, performances, and community events. The area is also home to several art galleries.

Yaletown is known for its high-end restaurants, bars, and trendy eateries. You’ll find a wide range of dining options, from international cuisine to local favorites. It’s a great place for food enthusiasts and those who appreciate a vibrant nightlife.

Keep in mind that Yaletown is generally more expensive than some other areas in Vancouver, so it’s important to consider your budget when choosing your accommodation. 

Best places to stay in Vancouver in Yaletown for first-time visitors:

  • Luxury ($$$): OPUS Vancouver, 5-star hotel, situated on Davie Street, Yaletown, just a few steps from Yaletown-Roundhouse Canada Line Station. It is 15 mins walk from Rogers Arena, and close to various restaurants and ferry to Stanley Island. It has free valet parking for green cars.
  • Mid-range ($$): Hotel BLU, 4-star hotel, centrally located on Robson Street, offering charging and free parking for electric vehicles. It is 10 mins walk from Yaletown-Roundhouse SkyTrain station. 
  • Budget ($): Rosedale on Robson Suite Hotel, popular 3-star hotel, located only 5 mins walk from BC Place Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Theater and Vancouver Center for Performing Arts. It has an Indoor swimming pool, family rooms, and Private parking.

3. Gastown

Gastown is a historic district in the downtown area, famous for its Victorian architecture, cobblestone streets, and artistic atmosphere. It is the oldest neighborhood in Vancouver. The iconic Gastown Steam Clock, built in 1977, is a popular attraction. 

Gastown is home to several art galleries showcasing both contemporary and indigenous art. You can explore the local art scene and perhaps pick up a unique piece to remember your trip.

Gastown Gassy Jack Statue, a statue of “Gassy” Jack Deighton, a historical figure associated with the founding of Gastown, is a popular spot for photos and a quick history lesson.

Gastown is located near the waterfront, providing beautiful views of the Burrard Inlet and the North Shore Mountains. You can take a walk along the nearby seawall for scenic vistas.

Best places to stay in Vancouver in Gastown for first-timers:

  • Mid-range ($$): The St. Regis Hotel, great 4-star hotel located close to Gastown, 5-10 mins walk from Vancouver City Centre Skytrain station and Vancouver Convention Centre. It has a complimentary breakfast and newspapers in the lobby.
  • Budget ($): Victorian Hotel, 3-star accommodation, centrally located in the heart of the city, 5 mins walk from  Gastown district and the  Granville Skytrain station. Also close to the Robson Street shopping district. It has family rooms, 24-hour front desk, and private parking.
  • Budget ($): Skwachàys Lodge, 3-star Aboriginal themed hotel, conveniently located 10 mins walk from Rogers Arena and BC Place. Also close to the Stadium-Chinatown Skytrain station and Chinatown. It has Very good breakfast and comfortable family rooms.

4. West End

The West End offers a more relaxed and natural experience compared to the busier parts of downtown Vancouver. It’s an excellent choice for nature lovers, as it provides easy access to Stanley Park and the seawall. As a more residential area, you can find budget-friendly accommodation here.

The West End is adjacent to Stanley Park, one of Vancouver’s most iconic attractions. You can easily access the park and its many trails, beaches, and the famous seawall for outdoor activities and scenic beauty.

The West End is also home to English Bay Beach, a popular spot for swimming, sunbathing, and watching the sunset. It’s a beautiful and relaxing place to spend some time by the water.

The West End is known for its diversity, both in terms of its residents and the businesses that call the area home. You’ll find a wide range of restaurants, cafes, and shops representing different cultures and cuisines.

Robson Street, a major shopping and dining destination, is within walking distance from the West End. You can explore its shops and restaurants while staying in this neighborhood.

Best places to stay in Vancouver West End for first-timers:

  • Mid-range ($$): Sonder at Revival, 4-star accommodation situated close to Stanley Park, English Bay Beach, Sunset Beach and Coal Harbour. Within walking distance to many restaurants and pubs. 25 mins walk along the seawall to Downtown and Canada Place.
  • Budget ($): The Sylvia Hotel, 3-star accommodation, located in the West End neighborhood in  English Bay with views of the ocean. You’ll have easy access to the seawall where you can enjoy cycling, walking, and rollerblading. Breakfast with the views of English Bay is a highlight.
  • Budget ($): Rosellen Suites at Stanley Park, 3-star hotel located short distance from the famous Stanley Park, and English Bay Beach. It has Laundry facilities and suites with fully-equipped kitchens. You will also find many coffee shops, restaurants, and supermarkets in its surroundings.

5. Coal Harbour

Coal Harbour is an upscale waterfront neighborhood in downtown Vancouver known for its stunning views, luxurious living, and proximity to various attractions.

Coal Harbour is renowned for its breathtaking views of the waterfront, Stanley Park, the North Shore Mountains, and the Burrard Inlet. The area’s seawall is a popular spot for jogging, cycling, or simply enjoying the scenery.

The Vancouver Convention Centre is located in Coal Harbour, making it a convenient choice for business travelers attending conferences or events.

Despite its central location, Coal Harbour offers a quieter and more peaceful environment compared to some other downtown areas. It’s a great place to relax and unwind.

Best places to stay in Coal Harbour for first-time travelers:

  • Luxury ($$$): Fairmont Pacific Rim, 5-star waterfront hotel, located on Canada Place Way, featuring a rooftop pool, Private parking, and 3 restaurants. Short distance from the Canada Place, the Convention and Exhibition Center, and Robson Street shopping area.
  • Mid-range ($$): Coast Coal Harbour Vancouver Hotel by APA, 4-star accommodation that has an Outdoor swimming pool, centrally located in the Coal Harbour District, easy access to the  Robson Street and Convention Centre. It has great views of the North Shore Mountains.
  • Mid-range ($$): The Westin Bayshore, Vancouver, this 4-star hotel has Very good breakfast according to 1000 guests’ reviews from booking.com. You can choose to stay in a room with views of the pool/Stanley Park or the harbor.

6. Mount Pleasant

Mount Pleasant is a vibrant and hip neighborhood in Vancouver that offers a different experience compared to the more central downtown areas.

Mount Pleasant is known for its artistic and creative community. You’ll find a variety of art galleries, studios, and public art installations, making it a great place for art enthusiasts.

The neighborhood is home to several craft breweries and tasting rooms. It’s a hotspot for beer lovers who want to explore the local craft beer scene.

The neighborhood has a slightly bohemian and eclectic atmosphere, attracting a younger and creative crowd. It’s a great place for those who appreciate a more offbeat and local experience.

Mount Pleasant is a bit further from the city’s major tourist attractions like Stanley Park and Granville Island. But, it is well-connected to public transportation, so you can easily access other parts of the city. 

Best places to stay in Mount Pleasant for visitors:

  • Mid-range ($$): Windsor Guest House, 4-star  Victorian-style accommodation, easily accessible from Vancouver International Airport via Canada Line.
  • Budget ($): Cambie Lodge, 3-star hotel featuring daily vegetarian breakfast, 5 mins walk from Broadway – City Hall SkyTrain Station for direct train to Vancouver Airport. 
  • Budget ($): Twelve Oaks By Marquee Vancouver, great accommodation located close to Vancouver General Hospital, featuring apartments with laundry amenities. Easy access to the Sea Wall and Downtown Vancouver.

In conclusion, Downtown, Gastown, Yaletown, West End, Coal Harbour, and Mount Pleasant are the best places to stay in Vancouver for first-timers and tourists. These are generally safe areas that offer central locations with a variety of accommodations and easy access to attractions and amenities.

If you don’t plan to drive in Vancouver, you can check this article: Best areas to stay in Vancouver without a car.

There you have it, my recommendations for the most popular and safest neighborhoods that you can stay during your first trip to Vancouver. I hope you enjoyed my article and find it both informative and helpful.

If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Your feedback is invaluable and helps me continue to create more quality content.

About Author: Ocean Cameron

I'm Ocean, founder and main editor of travelhotelexpert.com. I’m a passionate traveler who specializes in uncovering the best hotels and locations in every city, especially for first-timers, all without the need for a car.

Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. This means that, at absolutely no additional cost to you, I'll earn a small commission if you click through and purchase something I've recommended. I only recommend products that I use myself or firmly believe in. Thank you!

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