Great Local Vancouver Holiday Shopping Spots

Local Vancouver Holiday Shopping - SavvyMom
Vancouver, Canada - December 24, 2021. The bright lights of a traditional holiday market in the city center.

Remember that opening scene in the live-action version of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, starring Jim Carrey? Everyone running this way and that, frantic and anxious, long lines at every store, horns honking and people shouting? It’s easy for the holiday lead-up to feel exactly like that: a lot of chaos. The solution? Think small, local, and early. Rather than hit up the big department stores and big-box operations a few days before Christmas, or ordering online and just keeping your fingers crossed things will arrive in time, why not start now – and keep things close to home with local Vancouver holiday shopping.

Vancouver is full of vibrant neighbourhoods with their own thriving business districts; we’re a city of a hundred main streets. And bonus: there’s a variety of holiday markets scheduled to pop up (or in some cases, stay up all month) for unique local shopping opportunities all month long.

Now’s the time to get organized so you can enjoy the rest of the month as it’s meant to be spent: watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas from your cozy couch. Here’s a few of our favourite shop-local neighbourhoods and local craft markets where you can get some of your holiday gift-giving organized this year:

Great Vancouver Holiday Shopping Spots

Local Holiday Markets

There are plenty of short- and long-term markets that will be happening around the city this month. Perhaps the most well-known among them is the European inspired Vancouver Christmas Market, which is held at the Jack Poole Plaza daily until December 24. Check out the Weirdos Holiday Market Saturday, December 9th & 16th, Sunday, December 10th & 17th; and the Friday Night Markets (ages 19+) on December 8th & 15th from 5PM – 10PM. Weirdos is known for unique, quirky, one-of-a-kind curiosities and crafts.

All month long until January 7, check out the Polygon Gallery’s Annual Holiday Shop, which highlights all-Canadian lineup of makers and artists. Check the websites before heading out – some markets are free to enter, while others include ticketing at the gate.

Waterside Wandering: Lonsdale Quay Market

The Lonsdale Quay Market first opened as part of the Expo ’86 celebrations but it’s been a busy destination ever since. Currently undergoing a revitalization, the Lonsdale Quay has a number of small businesses, gift shops, community resources, and more. Located at the Sea Bus terminal in North Vancouver, it’s an easy hop to get over to for folks in Vancouver, leaving from Waterfront Station. And if the weather is good, head out along the waterfront for a walk with a wonderful view of the Vancouver downtown skyline across the water.

Checking out the Drive: Commercial Drive

Known locally as The Drive, this area boasts an incredibly diverse array of shopping and dining, including Vancouver’s Little Italy district. There’s book stores, art shops, children’s clothing, bakeries, and more, as well as festive decorations along the way thanks to the annual Christmas on the Drive event (which was held in late November, but includes festive décor and a tree lighting which remains throughout the season.)

Historical Heyday: Fort Langley Village

Go back in time for an afternoon of shopping in the historic Fort Langley community. Small shops and a picturesque community will have you feeling like you’re starring in a Hallmark holiday movie. Known for their antique shops, along with plenty of clothing, gift, and specialty shops, there’s something for everyone on your gift list and the perfect spot for last-minute holiday shopping in Vancouver.

Fisherman’s Delight: Steveston Village

There’s a reason so many Hollywood movies film in Steveston – it’s a picture-perfect small town community, complete with seaside wharf and a busy main street. The entire area covers only a few blocks, making it a great walk for a day of shopping and maybe some fish and chips for lunch. It might be a little cold for ice cream but there’s plenty to be had if wanted.

Urban Exploring: The Heights

One of the oldest shopping districts in the region is the historic Heights district, along Hastings Street in Burnaby. There’s more than 300 diverse retail shops and services, from chocolate shops to clothing stores, along with plenty of long-time favourite restaurants. Many of the businesses here have been in operation for decades. And there’s plenty of butchers, bakers, and markets, so you can get your holiday meal supplies at the same time.

Hip and Happening: West 4th – Kitsilano

For those right in Vancouver, there’s no better place to go for shopping than iconic West 4th in Kitsilano. There are hundreds of stores along this artery, along with some of the city’s favourite restaurants. From major chains, like Lush and Lululemon, to small family-owned businesses, there’s everything from soaps to toys to nuts in this area that’s ideal for holiday shopping in Vancouver.

Right on Target: One-Stop Shop

Maybe you know exactly what you’re looking for and just want to go right to the source, here’s a few best bets for specific categories of gifts. For crafts and art supplies, check out Opus Art Supplies which has locations around the Vancouver region and offers gift cards in store for supplies from the entry-level to the high-end for artists of all ages. And, of course, there’s the go-to big box craft store: check out Michael’s for a wide variety of supplies. Looking for some literary gifts for the little ones? How about Kidsbooks, which has a location in both Vancouver and North Vancouver. They are one of the longest-running children’s book-focused stores in Canada. If you’re in New Westminster or surrounding neighbourhoods, head down to Kinder Books in River Market at the Quay. This shop has been open for more than ten years now, offering a carefully selected stock of books focusing on diverse and inclusive titles.

How about gifts of experience, which won’t clutter up your house? A night out at the movies is a great option: check out Cineplex Canada, Landmark Cinemas, Hollywood 3 and the Rio Theatre for a mix of mainstream and independent cinema.


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