Gastown

Vancouver
Gastown showing café lifestyle, street scenes and a city

The birthplace of Vancouver is full of old-world charm with cobbled streets, Victorian buildings, and a unique steam-powered clock.

Gastown grew up around a tavern, which opened in 1867 to service thirsty sawmill workers and visiting sailors. The bar owner was John “Gassy Jack” Deighton, so called because of his talkative nature.

As the nearest pub was more than 20 miles (32 kilometers) away, Deighton’s establishment became the heart of the small town in what was mostly wilderness on Canada’s west coast. Both the fledgling town, which took it’s name from Gassy Jack, and the watering hole prospered thanks to the sawmill and the seaport, and would become the world-class city of Vancouver.

After the global Great Depression of the 1930s, the neighborhood hit hard times. The city had expanded westward and changed its name to Vancouver, and Gastown was largely forgotten. In fact, it became so rundown that there were calls for the neighborhood to be torn down. A large public campaign organized by property owners and local businesses managed to persuade the provincial government to spare Gastown from the wrecking ball in the 1970s.

The area has benefited from a major regeneration program and gentrification, and today is a happy confluence of old town history and modern day urban chic.

It may not be the heart of the city anymore, but Gastown has retained its character with cobblestone streets and old buildings, many of which are more than a hundred years old.

Many of those original buildings are now home to bars and restaurants. Enjoy fine dining — from Italian, to French, to Asian-influenced — as well as tap houses with exceptional locally-brewed beer.

Explore this eclectic neighborhood by day and night. Your meandering will take you past nightspots, high fashion boutiques, antique stores and galleries. Several chic home design shops offer elegant, decorative fabrics and tableware from all over the world. Observe the statue of “Gassy Jack” perched atop a whiskey barrel in Maple Tree Square on the site of the area’s first tavern, and there’s a French restaurant on the site of Vancouver’s first jail.

One of the town’s best-known landmarks is its steam-powered clock, which stands on the intersection of Cambie Street and Water Street, and ‘toots’ every 15 minutes. The clock’s timepiece is partially driven by water vapor and while it looks like a Victorian antique, it was actually built in 1977. It was the first of its type ever built. Plaques with information on buildings and landmarks are scattered throughout the town.

Gastown is an easy walk from the surrounding hotel districts, and also accessible by bus or the Skytrain, Vancouver’s rapid transportation system. Parking can be tricky to find during the busy summer tourist season.


Popular places to visit in Gastown

Top things to do in Gastown


Top Hotels in Gastown

Cambie Hostel Gastown
Cambie Hostel Gastown
2 out of 5
310 Cambie Street, Vancouver, BC, V6B 2N3
The price is CA $140 per night from Jun 5 to Jun 6
Stay at this hostel in Vancouver. Enjoy free WiFi, breakfast, and a 24-hour front desk. Our guests praise the breakfast and the helpful staff in our reviews. ...
3.1/5 (368 reviews)
"I love the old building, the food was great, the staff were very friendly and helpful."

Reviewed on Apr. 5, 2022

Cambie Hostel Gastown
Delta Hotels by Marriott Vancouver Downtown Suites
Delta Hotels by Marriott Vancouver Downtown Suites
4 out of 5
550 West Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC, V6B1L6
The price is CA $386 per night from Jun 26 to Jun 27
Stay at this 4-star business-friendly hotel in Vancouver. Enjoy free WiFi, breakfast, and room service. Our guests praise the helpful staff and the clean rooms ...
4.5/5 Wonderful! (989 reviews)
"convenient location which is why this hotel was chosen; however having to give 24 hrs notice to have room cleaned was not convenient. I am busy with activities on vacation, and if I have an unexpected mess in the bathroom it is not pleasant to have to wait till the next cleaning lady's shift. at ..."

Reviewed on May 12, 2022

Delta Hotels by Marriott Vancouver Downtown Suites
Skwachàys Lodge
Skwachàys Lodge
2.5 out of 5
31 West Pender, Vancouver, BC, V6B 1R3
Fully refundableReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is CA $349 per night from Jun 1 to Jun 2
Stay at this hotel in Vancouver. Enjoy free WiFi, onsite parking, and concierge services. Our guests praise the breakfast and the helpful staff in our reviews. ...
4.4/5 Wonderful! (951 reviews)
"Comfortable and clean room, nicely decorated with native motifs. Common room with fireplace and tea/coffee, well maintained. Lovely gift shop with native art."

Reviewed on May 9, 2022

Skwachàys Lodge
1 Bedroom 1 Den Free Parking,  fast WiFi, Sauna Hot-tup,Gym, Downtown Vancouver
1 Bedroom 1 Den Free Parking, fast WiFi, Sauna Hot-tup,Gym, Downtown Vancouver
Vancouver, BC
Stay at this family-friendly condo in Vancouver. Enjoy free WiFi, an indoor pool, and a spa tub. Popular attractions Rogers Arena and Vancouver Waterfront are ...
3.6/5 Good! (7 reviews)
Everything you need
"Cute, clean, well appointed and friendly host"

Reviewed on Nov. 3, 2021

1 Bedroom 1 Den Free Parking, fast WiFi, Sauna Hot-tup,Gym, Downtown Vancouver
Sterling Suites - Gastown
Sterling Suites - Gastown
4 out of 5
Vancouver, BC
Stay at this 4-star business-friendly condo in Vancouver. Enjoy free WiFi, laundry facilities, and Netflix. Popular attractions Rogers Arena and Vancouver Waterfront ...
3.4/5 (8 reviews)
"We received no information from the host as to how to check-in after numerous attempts to contact them. We arrived in Vancouver and were not able to access the property. We had to find another place to stay. Do not stay there!!"

Reviewed on May 2, 2022

Sterling Suites - Gastown
Noel Suites-Gastown
Noel Suites-Gastown
4 out of 5
Vancouver, BC
Stay at this 4-star condo in Vancouver. Enjoy free WiFi, a terrace, and a picnic area. Our guests praise the helpful staff and the property condition in our ...
3.9/5 Good! (19 reviews)
"Loved staying in a fully equipped suite - with balcony and BBQ - for the same price as a mid-range hotel room. Suite was modern, clean, and comfortable. Other reviewers have mentioned the distance to the key pick up. It is about a 10-minute walk, so prepare for that. I’m sure a cab would wait, as ..."

Reviewed on Jan. 20, 2020

Noel Suites-Gastown
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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Gastown

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