The Nice List: Christmas Shopping in Vancouver

The Christmas season is just around the corner, but it's never too early to start your shopping and there are a few neighborhoods you're going to want to check out. Downtown Vancouver is riddled with plenty of selection and it's here that you'll find familiar stores, high-end designer labels and department stores. Gastown is the place to go if you're looking for a stylish boutique and something unique. South Granville is a mix of known brands and smaller boutiques, while Main Street has a solid stash of vintage finds and unique treasures.

There are three major department stores in Vancouver: The Hudson Bay Company, Holt Renfrew, and Nordstrom. Each of these stores has something different to offer and it's worth exploring them all to find that perfect piece. And, if all that shopping tires you out, grab a seat at one of Nordstrom's three dining options and refuel.

Vancouver is an outdoor enthusiast's dream so it's no surprise that finding something for their next hike, ski trip or camping adventure is an easy feat. The best place to go to hook them up? Mountain Equipment Co-op, definitely. With an array of quality brands, they'll be stoked about a gift from here.

If you're shopping for the foodie or chef in your life, Ming Wo in Chinatown is a must. From their favorite knives and cookware to fun kitchen gadgets that make the perfect stuffing stuffer, the options here are plentiful.


The Pacific Centre covers three city blocks and offers an indoor shopping experience that comes in handy on those notoriously wet days in Vancouver. With some familiar brand names like The Gap, Guess, Hollister, Coach, Michael Kors and Sunglass Hut, mixed in with Canadian companies like The Hudson Bay Company's department store, there's no shortage of choice. Feeling peckish? There's a food court with plenty of choice that will certainly curb all cravings. From salads and sushi to pizza and Vietnamese, they've got you covered. The accessibility of this mall is perfectly located in the core of Vancouver and within walking distance of many hotels, buses and public transportation.

The Hudson's Bay Company

The Hudson's Bay Company can be dated all the way back to 1670, and it has evolved over time to keep up with their customers' needs. This location in downtown Vancouver on Granville St. and West Georgia St. is massive! They have just about everything you need for the home, your wardrobe, shoe collection, accessories, beauty products and more. They also carry affordable and high-end items, so no matter your budget, you will find something here. Within this department store is also the second largest TopShop, a trendy clothing chain from the United Kingdom. The department store is attached to the Pacific Centre and can be accessed from the street or inside the mall.

Holt Renfrew

What started as a small hat shop in Quebec City in 1837, has turned into a nationwide empire that is a fashionista's idea of heaven. Vancouver's Holt Renfrew is attached to the Pacific Centre and is three levels of high-end designer apparel, accessories, make-up, shoes and jewels. With brands like Gucci, Christian Dior, D&G, Jimmy Choo, Louboutin, you've got to have some serious dough to spend. However, there are more mainstream brands and popular denim labels that won't totally break the bank. During the holiday season, Holt Renfrew is a favorite spot for those looking to spoil their sweetie and splash out on something special.

Middle Sister

For anyone that's ever been a middle (or younger) sibling, you know what it's like to always get hand-me-downs and feel somewhat stifled by your older sibling's style. After growing up as a middle child, Linda Sin is expressing herself through her new boutique, Middle Sister. West 4th Avenue is home to a number of stores, but if you're looking for that special, fashion-forward piece, you'll want to check out Linda's new store. At Middle Sister you'll find a thoughtfully curated selection of goods that have been hand-picked by her and in fact, she has traveled the globe to meet the designers and artists that are featured in her store.

In an era where buying something new is as readily available as water, it's easy to get lost amongst the steals and deals of mass produced goods. Old Faithful Shop restores our belief in buying quality, unique items that are both timeless in their style and longevity. They like to think of themselves as "an updated version of a general store that would have existed here over 100 years ago." You can find things like plants, stationary, table linens, books, magazines and plenty of home decor items, all of which will be a welcome addition to any room. There's even a little area of edible items, such as honey, jams and all sorts of cutely packaged goodies

Mountain Equipment Co-op has the best quality and options for outdoor recreation and travel gear so that you can withstand the worst seasonal weather conditions! They have everything absolutely everything you'll need for the adventures that are heading your way. You'll find gear for men, women, and children at MEC so the entire family can be kitted out with the best of the best. Brand names found here are MEC (Mountain Equipment Co-op brand) Pac Safe, Gregory, Prana, and Patagonia. The big Mountain Equipment Co-op store is located on West Broadway between Columbia and Manitoba St and is easily accessible from the Canada Line.

Just like the restaurants in Chinatown, the shops are also a mix of old and new. One of the oldest shops in Chinatown is Ming Wo. Since opening up in 1917, Ming Wo has been a reputable and go-to source for professional cookware. They have expanded from one store to multiple locations around Vancouver and North Vancouver. Shop popular brands like Le Creuset, All-Clad, Cuisinart, Wusthof, Global, Shun, Henckels, Riedel and more. Professional and hobby cooks will feel as though they've died and gone to kitchen heaven! They carry a great selection of stock, so there is a lot to choose from.


Boasting 230,000-square-feet of retail space, Nordstrom's flagship store in Vancouver has everyone covered. Guests can expect to find everything from fragrances and beauty items to shoes, handbags, clothing and more for men, women and children. It's not just clothing and the like you'll find at Nordstrom, they've got your appetite covered by offering three different dining options. For something quick and casual, stop by Ebar for a coffee, pastry, smoothie, sandwich or salad. When you want to kick back and relax, check out Habitant. This a casual lounge features boozy beverages (including handcrafted cocktails) that you can enjoy with a light meal or appetizer. Bistro Verde is their full-service restaurant and bar that serves starters, salads, entrees and desserts using local ingredients. Wash it all down with a glass of wine, a pint of beer or one of their specialty cocktails.

Roden Gray

If you're looking for fashion inspired by Europe, Japan and NYC, head to Roden Gray. This awesome shop calls the cobblestone streets of Gastown home, and there really couldn't be a better locale for it. Step inside this contemporary store and prepare for a little retail therapy. The clothing is well laid out and the clean lines mixed with rich wood accents don't overwhelm so you can really focus on the clothing. The price point is definitely higher here, but you're getting quality and style. Find brands like Comme des Garcon, Wings+Horns, Nice Collective, Filson and many more. This men's store is one of the best in Vancouver and an ideal place to go for the man who has everything.

Just a short bus ride or drive from Vancouver is Metro Vancouver's second largest shopping center, Park Royal. This large shopping center in West Vancouver offers a unique experience of both an indoor mall and an outdoor shopping village. With 280 stores and services, there's an incredible amount of choice here. You'll find a mix of familiar national and international brands here for men, women, children and the home. After all that shopping, rest your feet and tuck in to a quick bite or a casual meal at one of the many eateries. You'll find brands like Simons, lululemon, Zara, Sephora, and Aritzia, to name just a few There's parking throughout all areas of the shopping center and the bus stops are right at the entrance.


Meet Natasha John

Natasha is not born and raised in Vancouver, but is pretty certain it's her spirit hometown. After jumping around Canada, Texas, Arkansas and the UK, she has her feet firmly planted in...  More About Natasha