30 Mar Vancouver Neighbourhood Spotlight: Yaletown
As far as downtown Vancouver neighbourhoods go, Yaletown definitely has its own style and identity. Condensed into three square blocks and bordered to the South by False Creek, Yaletown is a mecca for shopping, dining, and liquid lunching. Once a run down industrial section of town, it has retained its utilitarian charm of beautiful brick buildings and cobblestone sidewalks. Aesthetically, it is similar to the popular Gastown neighbourhood seven blocks to the North, but without the grit. But where Gastown houses an eclectic mix of hipsters, tourists, and street people, and where the nightlife is geared toward the college and start up crowd, Yaletown has a decidedly more upscale vibe, where Land Rovers, men in Tom Ford suits and dogs with Armani sweaters run rampant.
When it comes to shopping, however, Yaletown is certainly a destination neighbourhood. From boutiques to big stores, from fashion to personal grooming, there are a ton of places to thin out your wallet. To narrow down your Yaletown experience, we recommend these four places to pop into as you hop from bar to bar and restaurant to restaurant.
Men’s grooming has come a long way in the 21st century, and thank god for that. No longer relegated to the dusty corner of a hair salon and half an aisle at London Drugs, men’s grooming products now have stores of their own, where men of all shapes and sizes can pick up something to improve their skin, their hair, their beards, their smell. And when it comes to Vancouver, Masc in Yaletown is the creme de la creme of men’s grooming.
It is virtually impossible to walk out of Masc without finding something that is going to make you better. From head to feet and everything in between, you will find the right product, be it a hair wax or shampoo, beard oil or lube, skin cleanser or moisturizer, shaving cream or balm, cologne or body spray. It’s a one stop shop for being a better man. And when it comes to shopping at Masc, things get even better: on-demand delivery with ParcelPal, which is like your own personalized shopper. Too busy? Feeling lazy? Choose what you want from Masc’s awesome website, and have it delivered on the same day to your home or office. Shopping hasn’t been this easy since malls were invented.
Where Masc will have you feeling like a better man, Contraband will certainly have you looking like a better man. Located in the heart of Yaletown, Contraband is a store for those looking for higher end, niche and hard-to-find men’s fashion brands. Don’t get it twisted, it is definitely no H & M-style mass-produced clothing store; the duds at Contraband are the epitome of fresh, and certain not to be found anywhere else in Vancouver.
Did you know that ASAP Rocky developed a clothing line with Guess? Well, he did, and it is available at Contraband. Have you heard of Raf Simons, Juun.J, Marcelo Burlon, or Alexander Wang? Well, they are a basically a who’s who of modern international fashion, and their collections are available at Contraband. A visit to Contraband may leave a dent in your wallet, but you will leave looking fresher than you ever have.
Located around the corner from Contraband is Woo to See You, a whimsically named women’s fashion boutique that hits a lot of the same marks for the ladies as Contraband does for the gentlemen. In a neighbourhood with a superfluity of fashion boutiques, Woo to See You stands out for the quality and originality of its fashion offerings. If you could sum up the aesthetic of Woo to See You in two words, it would be Funky Chic.
From classic pieces (t-shirts, blouses, jeans, shoes) to more funky alternatives (wraparound dresses, jumpsuits, rompers, camisoles), Woo to See You has what it takes to make you an original.
At Skoah, it’s all about your skin, and your face. Seriously, if you give any kind of damn about your skin, then pop into Skoah for some pampering. While their skin care products – “personal training for your skin” – are made in Canada, they are known globally for magical effects.
But if you really want to splurge and pamper yourself after a day of strolling the exhaust-filled streets of Yaletown, then you really need to indulge in one of Skoah’s famous facials. From the 45 minute basic Fitskin Facial, to their epic 75 minute Facialiscious, your face will never feel this good. And they even have something for the fellas: the Mancial. Either way, with your glowing skin, you will fit right into the neighbourhood, and be fully prepped for a night on the (Yale)town.
And speaking of nights out, there are plenty of options in Yaletown. But you can’t go wrong by checking out any (or all) of these spots: The OPUS Bar (322 Davie St.) at the trendy OPUS Hotel is a lounge known for its cocktails and celebrity sightings. The Blue Water Cafe (1095 Hamilton) is housed in an old warehouse space and has long been one of Vancouver’s top seafood restaurants. And be sure to visit one of Yaletown’s original establishments, the Yaletown Brewing Co (1111 Mainland St), which includes both a large restaurant area, and a smaller, cozier bar with killer pool tables.
Eat. Shop. Drink. Look at the beautiful people. Repeat. That’s how you enjoy Yaletown.