A Picture of Vancouver from the sky

Vancouver Neighbourhoods – An Immigrants Guide

Moving to a new city can be daunting. Making new friends, searching for a job, coming to terms with new systems and new customs. We have been there. When we finally made the plunge to leave Ireland and move to Vancouver it was exciting and daunting all at the same time. A huge part of moving anywhere is to find a community that you feel a part of and one that you feel safe and comfortable in. When we tried to figure out the pros and cons of the various Vancouver Neighbourhoods we quickly realized that it wasn’t going to be an easy task. Almost every article that we read online was filled with positivity. Everywhere was great. Surely that couldn’t be true.

We landed in Vancouver with very little knowledge on the city in 2019. We will share our honest opinion on each of the main Neighbourhoods below (this is just our personal opinion and may be different for others – before anyone gets upset!)


Photo by Vinicius Dattwyler from Pexels

The downtown area will boast some great views but is likely to be pricey. Obviously you will be closer to shops, transport etc. Avoid the downtown east-side (especially East Hastings street, where there is a major problem with drug addiction, homelessness and generally anti social behaviour).

You will probably find more noise pollution than other areas, traffic, honking horns and people shouting about whatever topic is on their minds today. The downtown area will be pretty multicultural but mainly apartment based living, accommodation is likely to be on the smaller side of things.

Vibe: Egotistical, Work focussed.

Suitable for: People that want to live close to their job and that are comfortable in a noisy environment

West End

A Bicycle parked against a brick wall
Photo by Alexandr Podvalny from Pexels

One of the most sought after neighbourhoods in Vancouver, the West End is almost like a town within the city. Closer to the water and English Bay and full of people with notions about themselves. Much quieter than the downtown area and much more of a relaxed atmosphere. Expect to pay a premium to live here.

Accommodation will be a mix of apartments and converted town houses. Average size at a premium price.

Lots of great bars, coffee shops and restaurants on your doorstep.

Vibe: Hipster, Intellectual.

Suitable for: Young professionals, People that enjoy a community feel.


A log on the beach at sunset
Photo by Adi K from Pexels

Kitsilano is one of the most popular areas among Irish and English expats. Just a short trip from the city but it feels like an eternity away. This area is much more focussed on beach life with multiple beaches in the area (Kitsilano Beach, Jericho Beach and Spanish Banks). There is a focus on small businesses, fitness and the vegan lifestyle. If you don’t own a yoga mat or attend fitness classes then you will probably feel out of place!

Accommodation will likely offer a bit more space than Downtown or the West End and will likely be a little more affordable.

Vibe: Hippy, Vibrant.

Suitable for: Fitness and clean living enthusiasts, Beach lovers.

East Van

A couple cheers some glasses of craft beer
Photo by ELEVATE from Pexels

East Van is a little more rustic and will feel a little bit rougher around the edges. Think of a Berlin Nightclub and you are probably on the right track. This would sum up the general feel of the neighbourhood as a whole, however, the main area – Mount Pleasant is a nice in-between of everything. It is pretty close to the city but has a lot less notions than most areas in Vancouver. It is the “regular persons” neighbourhood.

Mount Pleasant is a great area to start off in if you are new and need to get to know the city a bit better. Apartments and accommodation are generally quite affordable and are a decent size. Plenty of transport links to both downtown and to the neighbouring city of Burnaby.

East Van is also home to a number of craft breweries and parks (such as Queen Elizabeth Park).

Vibe: Unassuming, Down to Earth.

Suitable for: Young couples, Regular working class people.

What are your thoughts on the various Vancouver Neighbourhoods? Let us know in a comment.

Now that you are familiar with all of the Vancouver Neighbourhoods, why not check out our favourite places to watch the sunset near Vancouver?

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