Vancouver Wonderful Walks #2: Gastown, Yaletown & False Creek Loop

Please check out my first post: Vancouver Wonderful Walks #1: Seawall Loop through Stanley Park

You might say I travel a lot, and though many of those miles are spent in the air, if I kept track, I’d bet I walk as many miles as I fly! When I wrote about how to spend the perfect long weekend in Vancouver, I touched on my favorite walks, but didn’t go into much detail. Vancouver is one of my favorite cities for walking! During my recent trip to Vancouver, I took my favorite walks, only this time I made extensive notes so I could share them with you. Here’s one of my favorites, which I call the Gastown / Yaletown / False Creek loop.

I stay at the Hyatt Regency when I visit Vancouver, and it never disappoints me. As you’ll see in the photos, luck was on my side for this week because the weather in late October was amazing. Beautiful fall foliage everywhere. So let’s start this walk from the Hyatt. You’ll exit onto Burrard Street and head north towards the water. As you walk towards the water, you’ll pass a historic and architecturally stunning building, the Marine Building. The art deco details are worth seeing so make sure to go into the lobby of the building and look around. Take the elevator up a few floors and when you get out you’ll have an overhead view of the lobby. Beautiful! On the ground floor of this building, you will find one of my favorite JJ Bean coffee locations. It has seating on the second floor if you want to relax, read, talk, and stay a while.

Make a right on Cordova Street. You’ll be heading to Gastown. This area of Vancouver can be touristy, but many locals live/work/play here too. There are lots of restaurants and coffee shops worth visiting. The steam clock on the corner of Cambie and Water Streets is probably the number one site people come to see here and it’s a fun photo opportunity. You’ve actually walked two miles already!

Gastown Steam Clock. Image source:

From here, take a right and you can take any street to Pender as you’ll be going through Chinatown. At Pender, take a left and head through Chinatown to Taylor Street. It’s a small street to your right. There are some streets in Chinatown that are very edgy, so please stay aware. I’ve walked through this area alone many, many times and have never had a problem.

At the end of Taylor Street, you’ll see Andy Livingstone Park. It’s filled with kids’ playgrounds and grassy areas. Walk through the park (north). We’re heading towards False Creek. You’ll cross over a main thoroughfare and out to the water. You’ll see the arena on your right. This is also an area where big outdoor events take place. The week I was in Vancouver, Cirque du Soleil had their huge tents set up here. Made for some fun people watching!

As you stand on the path and face the creek, you have two options. If you go left and choose to go around towards the other side of the creek, you’ll eventually end up at Granville Public Market. That’s a lovely walk! For this walk, though, we’re turning right and heading towards Yaletown. You’ll pass an area where a casino once was. It’s now moved across the street into a big modern glass building. Rogers Sports Arena is the landmark here.

You’ll start to notice docks with water taxi stops. Using the water taxi system in Vancouver is a lot of fun and I think everyone should try it at least once. I’ve used it many times and even in intense rain, they keep chugging along.

This area of False Creek has great, clean grassy areas, kids’ parks, plenty of benches, and condo buildings all along the water. As I mentioned in the Seawall walking loop post, it seems to be the best of urban planning when you leave the public use space nearest the water and then build the housing set back on the street. I really don’t like cities that don’t take this into consideration.

When you get past Yaletown, and are almost to the Granville Bridge, you’ve walked five miles! You have a bunch of options. Of course, one would be to take a water taxi across to Granville Market.

From there, you can easily catch a bus back to the Hyatt, that I’m using as a starting point. If you want to walk back towards the Hyatt’s area, I’d suggest walking up Richards Street, Hornby, or Howe. I’d stay off Granville Street as it’s not looking good these days and really needs some TLC from the city of Vancouver. You could also stay on the path and keep going past and under the Granville Bridge and take the stairs up to the Burrard Bridge and then head north on Burrard back to the hotel.

Congratulations! However you head back and finish off the loop, the whole walk is SIX miles back to the hotel! You’ve just completed one of my favorite walks in Vancouver. I hope this Yaletown / False Creek walking loop is something you’ll enjoy. Walk parts of it, walk all of it, but just get out in Vancouver and walk. It’s the best way to see the city! Have you walked through these areas of Vancouver? Let me know!

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