With the stunning mountain backdrop and pristine wilderness on the city's doorstep, visitors may think the locals are too preoccupied with outdoor entertainment to cultivate much of a night-time entertainment scene, but the nightlife in Vancouver is actually second to none. With plenty of pubs, clubs, lounges, and everything else in between, there is no shortage of entertainment when the sun sets on this vibrant city. Until fairly recently, city regulations forced bars and pubs to masquerade as restaurants, so you'll find many watering holes with token menus.
Vancouver's British heritage plays a part in it being a pub paradise, the heart of which is downtown, with countless pubs and bars tucked away and nestled in between shops, businesses and bistros. Chambar and Chill Winston are names to remember in Gastown's cobblestone streets, which are reminiscent of Amsterdam and bring tourists flocking here to imbibe and socialise.
Most of Vancouver's clubs and discos can be found downtown around Granville Street and Water and Pender streets in Gastown. The Roxy in Granville is a must and is one of Vancouver's top nightlife spots. Another busy entertainment district is Kitsilano, while a third is the up-and-coming nightlife district of Yaletown, which is a more upscale bar and lounge zone.
The Orpheum Theatre, the Queen Elizabeth Complex, and the Vancouver East Cultural Centre are the top venues for the performing arts in Vancouver. You can see the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, touring theatre and ballet companies, as well as high-profile music concerts. For a less formal experience, check out the Bard on the Beach in Vanier Park during the summer months.
Vancouver also hosts several large festivals, including the Vancouver Fringe Festival, centred on Granville Island every September; the Vancouver International Film Festival, the Vancouver Jazz Festival and the Vancouver Folk Festival.
Check out the weekly Georgia Straight or the Thursday edition of the Vancouver Sun for nightlife and entertainment listings while in Vancouver.
Become our Vancouver Travel Expert
We are looking for contributors for our Vancouver travel guide. If you are a local, a regular traveller to Vancouver or a travel professional with time to contribute and answer occasional forum questions, please contact us.