Chinatown Vancouver

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Chinatown Vancouver is home not only to the Chinese community but is also an international village. Again, we won't go to the historical details of the Chinatown in Vancouver, but would list some essentials on how to get there, what to find, what to avoid and have a great-safe shopping experience.

Historical Names of Vancouver Chinatown

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Canton Alley or Shanghai Alley


How to Get to the Vancouver Chinatown

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Chinatown Vancouver Time Table

NOTE:Please see the website for accurate info on timing/scheduling. The tables below are for your convenience only.
Departure time example is 9:00 am.


Driving directions to Shanghai Alley, Vancouver, BC 0.6 km – about 1 min
  1. Head northwest on Dunsmuir Viaduct toward Beatty St 34 m
  2. Turn right at Beatty St 0.2 km
  3. Turn right at W Pender St 0.2 km
  4. Turn right at Taylor St 71 m
  5. Turn left at Shanghai Alley 44 m
  6. At the roundabout, take the 1st exit and stay on Shanghai Alley 56 m
Walk to Shanghai Alley About 6 mins
(Use caution – This route may be missing sidewalks or pedestrian paths)
  1. Head northwest on Dunsmuir Viaduct toward Beatty St 34 m
  2. Turn right at Beatty St 0.2 km
  3. Turn right at W Pender St 0.3 km
  4. Turn right at Shanghai Alley 35 m

You can get there in a number of ways and depends from where you start off. If you're coming from downtown Vancouver, then you're in luck, as you can just walk towards China Town.

The quickest way to find Chinatown Vancouver from downtown is to find these major landmarks:

  1. Vancouver Public Library(downtown / central branch)
  2. Vancouver Community College (downtown)
  3. Stadium Skytrain Station
  4. Google maps (
  5. - one of those "virtual" essentials you definitely need!

Make the Vancouver Public Library ( VPL )as the "first" on your travel list as there are tons of free stuff in the library - maps, restaurant guides, directories, etc., not to mention the "zillions" of resources you can acquire if you have your own library card (depends on your status/eligibility ) and Internet connection at home.
Also, VPL is close to Chinatown, so start from there if you're a new kid in town or around the block.
Do browse the first and research the locations of the major landmarks mentioned above and ask while you stroll the streets. ( see our tips on getting online for free in Vancouver ).

Shopping @ Chinatown

Just like in South China, things are pretty much the same here, but if you convert those dollars and wanted to save, this is the place.
Some common items we came across were:

  • tea, seafood, meat, produce, Chinese herbs, noodles, toys

While, one unique item we found interesting was the
toufu fish (see jpegs ).vancouver fish, chinatown toufu fish, toufu, fish, chinese food, canada, vancouver, bc

Other shopping places which might interest you would be the :

  • TNT supermarket close to the Chinatown. Shop, eat and take a break at TNT while you stroll in town.
  • If you're not for the Chinese stuff and culture and just wanted to go plain-shopping, try Robson and other close shopping places around Vancouver Chinatown, instead.
  • If you don't have time to go to Shanghai Alley or Chinatown, visit the Crystal Mall close to the Metrotown Mall and Burnaby Public Library - the Crystal Mall houses mostly items which you can find at Chinatown, but with a higher price, of course, as the market is housed within the mall.
  • Safety Tips in Chinatown Vancouver

    While we walked the alleys and streets before arriving to the core Chinatown area, we noticed some used needles / syringes (see arrow inset on jpeg )which almost "fixed" us on the way, through the feet (cold turkey anyone?) Well, those signs are everywhere, be alert while you stroll, have fun but don't let "substance" or crime kill your shopping joy in Vancouver..
    (see the contacts page for our safety tips in Vancouver BC ).


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