West End

Tucked away within Vancouver’s city centre, the West End is a true neighbourhood feeling with lots of residential streets that help you escape downtown instantly. One of the highest density places that exist in North America, it unusually feels quaint despite the throngs of people that call it home. The slightly older buildings give it a certain familiar charm and tree-lined streets tuck it away. But amongst this homey ‘hood there is also an energy that bursts to life along two particular streets – Davie and Denman – that include shops, pubs, clubs, bars, restaurants. Oh and if there’s a festival happening, the borough bursts to life with more celebration than a grand fireworks finale.

An eclectic mix, The West End is Pride Week Central for Vancouver as the annual parade and festivities engulf it at the beginning of August. As well, the summer nights host the annual fireworks competition, the Celebration of Light. Wanna catch a flick? Just hop into Stanley Park on the West End side and catch one of the many Movies in the Park screenings on a massive outdoor screen. But there’s even more of a scene here than the ‘usual’ festivals that take place.

It’s what the West End is all about - A friendly mix where neighbours meet pals or just plain strangers, and strike up a conversation, bucking the snobby Vancouver stigma that may exist in other ‘hoods. And like its Castro cousin to the south, it also embodies a spirit of flare, social consciousness and flamboyant energy.

It’s also home to English Bay – Yep, there’s a beach right in the downtown ‘hood. Just at the mouth of False Creek opening up to the ocean waters, English Bay’s sand beaches bring the diverse mix of sun worshippers to its shores. It’s one of those places where serenity meets and there is never a dull moment as a whole range of characters walk by. The people watching alone is worth the price of admission (which of course is free). And, where the two major streets of Denman and Davie intersect, it’s the perfect place to end a day. Pick up some take-out sushi and have a picnic on one of the logs and just take in the beautiful scenery. Sunsets are fantastic and if you’re lucky, you may get some guitar jams, or random dancing in the sand to add to the experience. It’s just the right quirky coolness that perfects the West End.

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