The "City of Glass" is a place of stunning vistas set between mountain ranges and the Strait of Georgia. Vancouver has the high-energy buzz befitting a city of post-modern condo towers, high-tech industry and after two decades of heavy immigration from Hong Kong and Taiwan, a thriving Chinatown. But visitors can tune into a laid-back west coast vibe as they commune with nature and cruise the parks and nudist Wreck Beach. Top-notch skiing, hiking, camping and surfing are nearby.
With rainbow banners and pink bus stops, the West End's "gayborhood" of Davie Village contains most of the city's gay clubs, bars, lounges, cafes, and restaurants. Handsome guys can often be seen holding hands as they make their way down the streets.
The second gay district is Commercial Drive. Locally known as "the Drive," it has lots of inexpensive ethnic restaurants, interesting shops and several women's hangouts.
Out front of the arrivals level of Vancouver International Airport catch bus 98B or 496 to downtown Vancouver. Pay on the bus with exact change, $2.50. Alternatively, the SkyTrain, Vancouver's rapid rail line, departs from the departures level and will quickly transport you to the city center.
The Amtrak Cascades train links Eugene OR (Eugene Station), Portland OR (Union Station) and Seattle WA (King Street Station) to Vancouver BC (Pacific Central Station), a trip of about 12 hours, five times a day. Coast Starlight trains connect Los Angeles and Seattle, as well as cities along the way, including San Francisco.
Linking Toronto and Vancouver the ViaRail Canadian offers a legendary long haul 4-day journey of breathtaking landscapes and outstanding dining. En-route amenities include sleeping berths, live music entertainment, Wi-Fi connections, and in-chair massages by a registered therapist. Winnipeg, Saskatoon and Edmonton are among cities seen along the way.
Canada Rail offers coast to coast service on the Rocky Mountaineer, including from Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Banff to Vancouver (1755 Cottrell Street), with connections to Whistler BC, and Seattle WA.
The SkyTrain, buses and ferries will easily get you around Vancouver. A fare of $2.50 to $5 gives you 90 minutes of travel around the Lower Mainland. Day passes cost from $7 to $9. Also, two companies operate mini-ferries that ply the waters of False Creek taking you from the Westend or Yaletown to Granville Island and the south shores of False Creek. The West End and downtown core are quite compact and easy to get around on foot. The TransLink website lists all bus, SkyTrain, SeaBus, commuter trains and airport access information.
City by Cycle is the city's website for bicycle enthusiasts, with info on lanes, paths and resources for cyclists. A public bike share system is in the planning stages. In the meantime see West End rental shops such as: Bayshore, Bikes on Robson, English Bay, Stanley Park, or YesCycle.
The Vancouver Trolley Company offers two sightseeing tour loops, with six stops in Stanley Park, live commentary, and hop on and off as you please. A trip on the Granville Island Ferry is included.
Probably because of it's year-round temperate climate and abundance of trees, parks and beaches, outdoor cruising is a pretty popular in Vancouver. Some of the best cruising spots are Central Park in Burnaby at Kingsway and Boundary road, afternoons/after dark, trails between Kingsway and north duck pond. Lees Trail in Stanley Park. Popular trail northwest of Second Beach, day or night discreet outdoor sex. Kitsilano Pool at 2305 Cornwall Avenue, has late night meetings at back of the pool, along the seawall. English Bay Sundial on the beach at the bottom of Davie and Denman Streets. Cruisy late nights at large sundial.
Media and resources
Xtra! Vancouver the local gay bi-weekly, is chock-full of current events, news, opinions and listings.
GayVan travel marketing group has many years of experience and lots of online listings for the whole area.
LivingOutVancouver, or LOV, is the alternative lifestyle magazine quarterly in town, with website.
For locations and website links to businesses listed below, see our Vancouver gay map & listings pages.
Bars & clubs
1181 (1181 Davie) plush lounge open nightly -five with DJs, chill-out zone, good martinis, retro films, pop art, shirtless Friday beer boys, local artists, and hot men.
Celebrities (1022 Davie) 19-plus dance club, big-name DJs, special events, guest celebrities, nude shadow box dancers, entertainment, and shows. Upstairs cruising area for guys.
Club 816 (816 Granville) after hours electronic dance music club, Thursday through Sunday nights.
Five Sixty (560 Seymour) big new 4-floor nightclub focused on arts community patrons, stage, dance floor, lounge, mezzanine, vast basement unisex bathroom with dj; weekend dancing, weekday live shows.
Fountainhead Pub (1025 Davie) casually cruisy upscale neighborhood bar in the heart of Davie Village with covered patio, for ages 19-up. Games, TV sports, pub food at reasonable prices, and a good selection of microbrews.
Lolita's South of the Border Cantina (1326 Davie) Mexican restaurant, happy hour bar, delicious margaritas.
Numbers (1042 Davie) three bars on five levels, diverse crowd of ages and types,, friendly staff. Numbers Idol contests with cash prizes and other entertainment.
Oasis (1240 Thurlow; up) ultra lounge and dance bar, cozy heated roof-top patio, extravagant menu, impressive martinis, shadow dancers, live music, DJs with different themes each night.
J Lounge (1216 Bute St, at Davie), pizza/pasta, steak/salmon restaurant and lounge, queer comedy shows, dance and variety, live music
The Junction Public House (1138 Davie), the former Pulse, neighborhood pub/club, video sports bar and cafe. Dancing on Fridays through Sundays.
PumpJack (1167 Davie) leather events, motorcycle club,contests, puppy and underwear parties, see-and-be-seen windows. Big screens for the games, Sunday keg parties, back patio.
Score (1262 Davie) bar and restaurant, sports TV, good selection of beers and mixed drinks, food includes burgers, Sunday brunch; large sunny patio.
Denman Fitness (1731 Comox St) fun, positive alternative to high-pressure clubs, custom programs to fit your needs.
Spartacus Gym (1522 Commercial Dr) gay- owned and frequented workout facility on "the Drive."
Fahrenheit 212 (1048 Davie) huge gay play space, full gym, steam rooms, hot tub, porn, internet, cheap memberships.
Hastings Steam & Sauna (766 E Hastings) Finnish traditional sauna, open since 1926, diverse crowd, men-only area.
M2M Playspace (1210 Granville) open 24 hours, edgy, hard-core alternative crowd, rooms, slings, steam, visitor memberships.
Steam 1 (430 Columbia St; Westminster) rooms, communal showers, sauna, play area, internet, gym, relaxed, good-looking crowd.
Streamworks (123 West Pender) new outpost in the chain of five superb gym/sauna/bathhouses for men 18-plus, open 24/7 with the finest of steamy facilities and play spaces.
Blue Horizon (1225 Robson; 800-663- 1333) near shopping and dining, close to Davie Village, downtown, Stanley Park.
Nelson House B&B (977 Broughton, West End; 866-684-9793) bright and cheery B&B, near English Bay, Granville Island, Davie clubs.
Pacific Palisades (1277 Robson; 604-688- 0461) 233 suites, dinner until midnight, pool, spa, steam, hot tub, massage, fitness rooms.
Sunset Inn & Suites (1111 Burnaby; 800-786- 1997) quiet West End, near urban attractions, balconies, English Bay views.
Sandman Inn and Suites (1160 Davie; 604-681- 7263) luxury suites, penthouses, hot tubs, balconies, water views, pool, spa.
Absinthe Bistro (1260 Commercial Dr) high quality seasonal-fresh French food, casual atmosphere.
Cafe Deux Soleils (2096 Commercial Dr) vegetarian restaurant, brunch, poetry slams, live music, open to midnight.
Cafe Luxy (1235 Davie) pasta specials, elegant weekend brunch, good wine list.
Chinatown Night Market (Keefer and Main Streets) weekends through September 6, shop and eat until 11pm.
Coming Home Cafe (753 6th; New Westminster) kitchy uptown cafe, original art, organic coffee and food, wi-fi.
Darryl's Coffee & Native Art Shop (945 Davie) stress-free vibe, hot drinks, ice cream, fruit smoothies, first-nation art.
Delany's (1105 Denman) popular coffee house, one of the best people-watching patios around.
Elbow Room (560 Davie) big breakfasts, 25 omelet choices, egg bennies galore, great lunch, sandwiches, burgers, a dash of Mexico, and more than a dollop of caustic humor on the side.
Hamburger Mary's (1202 Davie) 1950s-era diner, breakfast all day, late-night dining, burgers, soup, sandwiches, shakes.
Heritage Grill (447 Columbia; New Westminster) broad menu, crab cakes, salmon, live music, affable Friday night gay crowd.
India Bistro (1157 Davie) meaty or vegetarian meals, lunch buffet, dinner daily, Sunday brunch, eat-in, takeout or delivery.
Melriches Coffee House (1244 Davie) independent cafe, good coffee, homemade food, art on the walls.
Moxies Classic Grill (1160 Davie) under Sandman Inn, modern look, street-side dining, massive bar, killer menu.
Rhizome Cafe(317 E Broadway) queer- friendly, community-minded place, entertainment, films, exhibits, food, games.
Vera's Burger Shack (1030 Davie) gourmet all the way, with delicious sweet-potato fries and turkey burgers.
Shopping & services
GayVan Travel Marketing (1808-1150 Jervis) travel planning and area information, knowledgeable gay staff.
Ju Ju Salon and Spa (823 Davie) spa, hair stylists and colorists, full consultations, waxing and facials, ear-candling.
Little Sister's Book And Art Emporium (1238 Davie) gay books, adult toys, erotica, fashion accessories, gifts and cards.
Priape (1148 Davie) sexy underwear, swimsuits, leather gallery, good porn selection.
Qmunity Centre (1170 Bute) gay community resources, support, health and social services, public education.
Top Drawers (1030 Denman, #115) top-name sweats, jeans, T-shirts, vests, accessories, laid-back staff.
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