Best Free Places To Go In Vancouver: The West End, A Downtown Neighbourhood By The Beach
It finally feels like spring in Vancouver. We had warm weather this weekend and it felt great to go do something outdoors. My boys and I went to English Bay, a beach west of downtown Vancouver and one of my favourite places. It seemed like everyone was out for the first beautiful weekend of the year.
We parked our car, on a residential street, in the West End neighbourhood. We walked over to the beach, which is only a few blocks away. I thought I would take some pictures and show you why this neighbourhood is so interesting. Even though this is a downtown neighbourhood, at the end of the financial district, the residential streets are relatively quiet and removed from heavy traffic. It actually has a small community feel to it, with it’s interesting architecture and small businesses.
The West End remains a popular place to live for singles, couples and families. It’s proximity to the core of downtown, the beach, restaurants and entertainment makes this neighbourhood unique. You can walk everywhere and not have to own a car.
In this picture, this heritage style house has been converted to a cafe at the street level. Patrons at the Cardero Bottega can enjoy their coffees and New York style sandwiches on the sidewalk as they bask in the sun.
Here are my boys walking towards the beach in this tree-lined neighbourhood. Vancouver is special because everywhere you go, there are trees and greenery.
Just an interesting piece of information… Vancouver is serious about its trees. I used to work for the City of Vancouver and found out that each tree planted is documented. Each tree also has a value to it. That’s right, a price tag. For example, if you purchased a house that has a tree in your way and you decide to cut it down, you will be getting a bill from the city to pay for it. There are heritage trees that are over $100,000!
The residential buildings in the West End are mainly low-rise apartments, with some high-rises. The buildings are usually older, but they have a lot of character to them.
There is still a small supply of single detached houses in the area. The very large ones, like the one you see here, have heritage designations. That means the property is protected from alterations that lessen the character or value of the building. Many of these large heritage properties are not lived in by single families. Many of them have been converted to retirement care homes or even museums.
As we approached Barclay and Bidwell Street, it was nice to see a number of independent shops in the area. It gives this downtown neighbourhood that small community feel.
Production Road is a gift store nestled in the neighbourhood. They carry mainly handmade items from independent designers and makers.
Outside the residential area, we walk along Denman Street to the beach. Denman is a busy street where there are lots of restaurants and boutique stores. You can find all kinds of food there; Chinese, Japanese, Korean, West-Coast cuisine, Middle Eastern.
When the sun comes out, restaurant patios are packed with people.
A view of English Bay. People love this city because the water and mountains are so close by.
All the tall apartment buildings you see in the back are located along Beach Avenue. Wouldn’t it be fantastic to just wake up and go across the street to walk along the beach?
Vancouver is a dog friendly city. When it’s nice out, all the dogs come out. We saw this beautiful fluffy white dog sitting with her owner at the beach.
This dog was so cute. I just had to take a close up of him.
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