When it comes to shopping in Vancouver, you’re in for a special treat. With a stylish combination of neighborhood boutiques, organic markets, second-hand havens, and everything in between, you’re sure to find at least a couple of knick-knacks worth taking home. For those looking to make the most of this unique shopping climate, we’ve compiled just the thing for you: Vancouver’s Alternative Shopping Guide. Enjoy!
One of the best things about visiting a new city is tapping into its creative community. And when it comes to Vancouver, that community in particular is thriving — which, lucky for you, makes it hard to miss. It’d be impossible to name all of the amazing makers in this space, but some of our favorites include: Westerly Handmade Shoes, Ola Volo and her killer paintings, outdoor-inspired designs by Jessa Gilbert, visual artist Drew Young and, last but not least, textile master Amanda Wood. To find more local makers in the Vancouver area, click here!
Local business owners on the West Coast have a deep reservoir of resources at their disposal. The tricky part is finding the balance between eco-friendly products and prices clientele will be happy about. One online shop that has succeeded is Woodlot, which was founded in 2014 and continues to preach their philosophy that “beauty and wellness should be intentional, inclusive, and natural.” They put an emphasis on mindful rituals with products spanning soaps, candles, lotions, and essential oils — each one handcrafted with natural ingredients. Another small business with a knack for keeping customers happy and healthy is the Good Spirit — a meditative, tarot-reading metaphysical supply store in Gastown. And finally, if you happen to find yourself strolling the Commercial Drive during your trip, be sure to stop into Second Nature Home, where all merchandise is organic and eco-friendly, including the likes of shampoo and cleaning products, to keep things all-natural at home.
Vancouver showcases plenty of local artists, their work ranging from greeting cards to jewelry. So if you’re looking to spice up your apartment or house with something Vancouver-made, check out Old Faithful Shop for a variety of locally-designed goods that will give your space a clean, minimalistic look. Another shop to keep an eye out for along Main Street is Neighbourhood Quality Goods. In addition to fostering workshops and vintage nights, the shop combines all things Vancouver: wellness, beauty, fashion, and homesense. There’s also Regional Assembly of Text, for those looking for a cool and quirky experience. This stationery establishment was founded by two art-school-graduates (Brandy Fedoruk and Rebecca Ann Dolan) back in 2005. Since then, the crafty duo have given typography and book lovers something to smile about, and we’re sure it’ll have the same effect on you. (And ps: if you happen to be there on the first Thursday of the month, check out their “Letter Writing Club” for a chance to send your favorite person back home some snail-mail!)
Granville Island is deserving of its own spot on this list for plenty of reasons, but the one we like most is its ability to showcase local products to people who might not see them otherwise. The island is up there with the city’s top attractions and brings in a huge number of daily visitors, and though not everything is made on-site, so-to-speak, what is available showcases the wide scope of creative Vancouverites. During your visit, stroll through the Public Market (where you’ll find Our Little Flower Company) and other shopping areas like the Net Loft and Railspur Alley (home of Granville Island Broom Co). And along with the magnificent shopping available, be sure to check out the artists’ studios and galleries while you’re there too! Additionally, for those wondering, you can reach the island by bus, boat, or car (on-site parking is available), and checking the events page before going is always a good idea.
Best Of The Rest
If you haven’t found your special shopping niche above, don’t worry. There are still plenty of of other shops, stores, and markets that should do the trick! Are you a fan of perusing racks of pre-owned clothing?
Then venture over to Community Thrift and Vintage, a funky spot decked with bygone outfits. In need of some refreshment while touring the city? Organic Acres Market has you covered. Can’t get enough of that seasoned smell that accompanies old books? Your love of prose will soon be matched by the Paper Hound, a bookstore that falls under the category of “classic, curious, odd, beautiful, visually arresting, scholarly, bizarre, and whimsical” — which is also a great way to describe Vancouver’s overall shopping scene!
What did we miss? Let us know in the comments below!