Vancouver's Chinatown is the continent's second-biggest (next to San Francisco's), and home to a booming Asian marketplace unlike many you can find in North America. The city also has a few quirky neighborhoods that specialize in art and ceramics.
But the high point of shopping in Vancouver is loosening your wallet on Robson Street. Above ground is row after row of designer fashion boutiques, jewelry stores, fair-trade gift shops and bookstores. Under the street is Pacific Centre, with a massive subterranean shopping mall catering to all of your upscale needs.
Stretching from Robson Street's intersections with Jervis and Granville streets, this is Vancouver's premier shopping destination and includes the underground Pacific Centre complex. It's decidedly upscale, especially when the neighboring designer district at Alberni intersection is taken into account. Gifts, clothing, cosmetics, jewelry and practically anything else you can think of is in the mix.
The public market on Granville Island is a hub of produce, fresh cheeses, coffee and seafood. Emanating in every direction is one of Vancouver's finest shopping districts. Local artists sell their work, children shop at the Kid's Market and shopping aficionados marvel at the dense array of funky boutiques found here.
This shopping district is young and vibrant, and oddly enough it specializes in antiques. From thrift stores to upmarket antique stores, there's a dazzling selection here on ‘Antiques Row'. Major shops include Antiques Warehouse, Second Time Around, Antique Market and French Country Antiques.
On the southern coastline of this peninsula, Kerrisdale Village exudes small-town charm. The shops and boutiques here are generally upscale but unpretentious. The selection is comprehensive and spanning small-town florists and fashion houses selling imported designer brands. This is as good a place to stroll as it is to shop.
Another angle on Main Street shopping, Punjabi Market stretches four blocks and lives up to its reputation as ‘Little India'. Spices, sarongs, Bollywood movies and exotic produce dominate the scene. Prices here are unbelievably low.
Robson Street's stores may stay open as late as 21:00, but most of the other retailers in Vancouver shut down relatively early (around 18:00). The department stores and shopping malls are open past sunset. A mixed 12 percent local sales tax applies to most merchandise.
Bargain hunters look no further than Chinatown's night market or the shops of Punjabi Market. Old-fashioned bargaining still gets results in these neighborhoods.
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