Moving to a new city can be tough. With so much to consider, where do you start? Rentals.ca has done your homework to help you find the perfect Vancouver neighbourhood. Whether you’re looking for an after-class crash pad for working hard or playing harder, or for your first starter home, there is something for everyone in beautiful Vancouver. Let us guide you home.
Top Vancouver Neighbourhoods
1. Top family and kid-friendly neighbourhoods in Vancouver
- Mount Pleasant
It’s all in the name. This neighbourhood, with its gorgeous character homes, is picture perfect for families. Mature trees line the streets of this established neighbourhood, which is quiet and mostly residential. However, this neighbourhood has plenty for parents: the Flats, an emerging art district in an industrial zone, is at the edge of this neighbourhood. Vancouver’s famous Science Zone and IMAX theatre are also on the periphery, and plenty of big-box and independent shopping can be found along Main Street and Cambie Village.
- North Vancouver
Want to call the mountains your backyard? Check out North Vancouver, a veritable family paradise. North Vancouver is connected to the city mainland via bridge, highway, and sea bus, although it has a different yet equally cool vibe. North Vancouver is close to nature, with a wealth of outdoor excursions. Lynn Canyon is a favourite for hikers and bikers, while shoppers and strollers will prefer the eclectic shopping along Lonsdale Quay. Some of the best schools in the city are in North Vancouver.
- Maple Ridge
Although just outside the city proper, Maple Ridge is a hot ticket for families. With a red-hot market in Vancouver, parents are looking to the outskirts for the space and amenities they seek at more affordable rates. Located 45km from downtown Vancouver, Maple Ridge offers a quieter alternative to the Van City lifestyle without compromising on great schools, neighbourly communities, outdoor adventure, and that big house with a porch and a yard.
- Port Moody
The smallest of the Tri-Cities, Port Moody is a city in the east end of the Burrard Inlet in metro Vancouver. Athletic families will love Port Moody for its Olympic facilities: Completed in 2008, the recreation centre was renovated to house an OIympic-sized ice rink, a track, gym, and curling rink. Recreation programs are held at the centre to keep the whole family active year-round. Once a haven for artists, Port Moody is known as the “City of the Arts.” The city keeps this tradition alive through a variety of festivals and arts incubators, and attending openings and performances are common activities for residents here.
2. Top neighbourhoods in Vancouver for singles and young professionals
- The West End
Bordered by downtown on one side, Stanley Park on the other, and the water on two, the West End is a desirable neighbourhood truly in the heart of it all. Vancouver residents who want the best of nightlife and the best nature and amenities don’t have to compromise when they call the West End home. In 2015, The Canadian Institute of Planners named the West End the “Great Neighbourhood” in its Great Places in Canada contest. If you move here, you can rest assured that experts agree that the West End is No. 1. Its residents, who appreciate fine dining, trendy shopping, and a thriving nightlife scene for everyone, agree.
Cotton candy cityscape sunsets. Joggers and their dogs on the waterfront. Lululemon everywhere. That’s Kitisilano, a name synonymous with the trappings of success in Vancouver. This is the neighbourhood where the condos seem to stretch as high as the mountaintops and the views never end. If you’re a young person in Vancouver with money to burn, move to Kitsilano to see and be part of the scene.
- The Olympic Village
A ‘hood for champions!’ Originally built to accommodate athletes in the 2010 Olympic games, the Village has since been repurposed as one of the city’s hottest new neighbourhoods. Some of the finest food and drink is clustered in this trendy area, which has drawn young singles and professionals from all over the city and country. As a bonus, it’s close to Science World, BC Place Stadium, and the waterfront.
A classic for a reason! Downtown Vancouver is great for young people getting established. Compared to other downtown cores, downtown Vancouver is on the smaller side, making getting around a breeze. By saving on gas and hitting the pavement or plentiful public transit, renters can open themselves up to a world of possibilities in the housing stock of downtown. Did we need to mention it’s close to everything?
3. Safest neighbourhoods in Vancouver
It’s been named Vancouver’s most charming community, and with good reason! Its streets are picturesque, its homes are gorgeous, and generations have recognized it as one of Vancouver’s most desirable locations. Character bursts out of every nook and cranny in this incredibly homey ’hood. As a bonus, the local shopping can’t be beat.
- South Cambie
Following revitalization efforts to prepare for the Olympics, South Cambie has since repeatedly ranked as the safest neighbourhood in Vancouver. As a bonus, it’s centrally located in the west side of the city, close to a rapid transit route connecting Vancouver to Richmond and the airport. If you are a business commuter and a safe ‘hood is high on your list of musts, South Cambie could be for you.
4. Top places for students to live in Vancouver
- Main Street
A ’hood with a wholesome name worried parents will love! Main Street used to be a bland thoroughfare of antique stores and flea markets, but it’s since been revitalized. These days, it’s an eclectic area filled with indie bars, restaurants, and coffee shops — perfect for when the library is full. This is the kind of neighbourhood where you’ll find board game cafes and ’90s trivia nights. It’s fun, vibrant, and full of young folks. Don’t miss out if you’re a student in the city.
The neighbourhood surrounding the campus is as legendary as the school itself. Naturally, the UBC neighbourhood is home to a huge concentration of students at the University of British Columbia. Businesses here cater to this crowd, offering a plethora of cheap late-night eats and cozy places to study. There are many room shares for students in the area, making finding a roommate and reducing costs a breeze.
- Dunbar Southlands
Located just to the west of UBC, Dunbar Southlands is another classic choice for students. In 1912, an entire subdivision was created for students in this area. This subdivision, which is full of student housing, room shares and simple furnished apartments for rent, is in the midst of one of Vancouver’s poshest residential communities. Surrounded by gorgeous heritage homes, vibrant gardens, and a forest of cherry trees, you can eat ramen out of a coffee mug here in the lap of luxury.
5. Up-and-coming Vancouver neighbourhoods
Located in Vancouver’s East End, this up-and-coming neighbourhood offers some of the best home prices within the city limits. It offers all of the conveniences of downtown Vancouver at a fraction of the price — a hot ticket in this market. This neighbourhood has been highly ranked for diversity, affordability, and stability. It leaves something to be desired in terms of dining, shopping, and nightlife, but if you can live without these frills, you’ll find a great home in Killarney.
Change is coming to Grandview-Woodland. Plans are in place for increased density, taller buildings, and more affordable and geared-to-income housing. Located on the waterfront and home to a bustling Little Italy, Grandview-Woodland’s location is hot, and developers are snatching it up. If you’re looking for an affordable new rental in a central location, and you don’t mind a neighbourhood in transition, keep your eyes on Grandview-Woodland.
Lauren McGoldrick is a Toronto-based writer who studied English at Ryerson University. She likes to write comedy and about the Canadian housing market, which is not so humorous. In her free time, she enjoys getting into nature to hike, surf and scuba dive.