Thinking of coming to Canada to study but feeling overwhelmed when considering where to live? Whether you are planning a homestay or to rent on your own, Vancouver is a beautiful place to live, situated between the ocean and mountains, with a mild climate and endless possibilities for outdoor activities. It also has a variety of neighborhoods, each with it’s own unique qualities. Read on to find out which one could be right for you!
If you enjoy the hustle and bustle of the city, an active social life and being walking distance from pretty much anything you could need within minutes, then a downtown neighborhood is the one for you. Within the downtown core there are several distinct neighborhoods of their own, such as Yaletown, Gastown, Coal Harbour and Crosstown. Though different, each one does offer plenty of great coffee shops to study at, amazing restaurants to try out, and endless shopping nearby.
Although sometimes considered part of downtown, the West End can really be considered its own distinct neighborhood. Two of the best things about living in the West End are beach access and affordability. Because most of the buildings in this neighborhood are a bit older than most of the buildings downtown, the rental prices are usually a little lower. So you’d probably be living in an older building with a shared laundry room, but be able to walk to Sunset Beach or English Bay within only a few minutes. We think that’s a pretty good trade off!
Kitsilano is south of downtown Vancouver, just across the bridge. It is similar in some ways to the West End, one big reason being easy beach access. This neighborhood is also home to many boutique shops, yoga studios and great restaurants. In the summer, may Vancouverites will flock to “Kits” beach to play volleyball and grab some ice cream.
Just north of the downtown core is North Vancouver, also just a short bridge away. While North Vancouver is mostly an affluent suburban neighborhood, it offers gorgeous views of downtown and the easiest access to the many hikes that surround the outskirts of Vancouver. If you are an outdoorsy type, this is the neighborhood for you. And if “outdoorsy” to you means having lunch on a sunny patio, North Vancouver has plenty to offer in that regard as well.
This area is called “The Drive” by many locals and is the perfect place for the hippie-artist-type. Rent is a little lower here than right downtown, yet accessible to downtown by a short bus ride or by taking the Skytrain a couple of stops. Here you can find live music, trendy eateries with board games you can play, and occasional fun festival events like “Car Free Day” and “Italian Day” where they close down a section of The Drive to hold the celebrations. If you are an artsy type who actually likes getting to know their neighbors, this is the place for you.
This is only a small sample of some of the major Vancouver neighborhoods. Strathcona, Mount Pleasant, South Granville, and Fairview are all great areas that you can research as well, but there is defininitely something for everyone out there! Sterling College’s Vancouver campus is located pretty much in the middle of the areas we have mentioned, in the heart of downtown, so it’s easily accessible no matter where you are coming from. Which neighborhood sounded the most appealing to you?