Huddled under the snow-mantled Shore Mountains of Canada, where the icy sounds of the Pacific Northwest carve through the landscapes, Vancouver is one of those cities that really takes the breath away. You’ll spot shiny new skyscrapers set to a backdrop of craggy BC summits. You can go whale watching close to buzzy districts of hipster coffee houses. There are hi-tech museums about science and discovery right by historic areas where saloons and steamboat docks were built way back in the 1800s. Welcoming, fun, and surrounded by outdoorsy adventure, there’s no denying this is one darn enthralling corner of North America.
One great way to feel the true neighborhood vibes of Vancouver is to opt for an Airbnb over a classic hotel. These are the places that offer you a private space with self-catering facilities and other home-away-from-home features. There’s a fantastic variety on offer these days, as listings run the gamut from high-rise apartments with sweeping views to cozy boltholes in the sleepy suburbs.
In this Airbnb guide to Vancouver:
- Is Airbnb legal in Vancouver?
- Where should I stay in Vancouver Airbnb?
- Best Airbnbs in Vancouver
- Best Airbnb apartment in Vancouver
- Best Airbnb house in Vancouver
- Best Airbnb for families in Vancouver
- Best Airbnb for large groups in Vancouver
- Best Airbnb for relaxation in Vancouver
- Is Airbnb cheaper than hotels in Vancouver?
Is Airbnb legal in Vancouver?
Airbnb is completely legal in the city of Vancouver. However, there are now strict requirements to follow when it comes to listing property on the service. For example, it’s only possible to rent primary residences, every property must have the right license from the local authorities, and hosts need proper fire escape plans and other securities. None of that should impact you as a traveler. You’re still free to browse and book whichever Gastown party pad or Kitsilano beach cottage you like. It might just be a good idea to drop the owner a message to check that everything’s in order before you do, though.
Where should I stay in Vancouver Airbnb?
Vancouver’s old center is anchored on the historic quarter of Gastown (1). There, brick-faced saloons beckon with honkytonk shows and there are loads of loveable gastropubs. The vibrant West End (2) keeps the party going with buzzy beachfronts and LGBTQ bars close to that. Then there’s liveable Kitsilano (3), with its bayside homes and upmarket cafés. Commercial Drive (4) joins with Mount Pleasant (5) to the east to offer microbreweries by the bucket load – they’re the town’s prime hipster enclaves. Yaletown (6) is chicer and very exclusive but has luxury in its short-term lets. Finally, North Vancouver (7) is perfect if you’re looking to explore the hiking paths and ski runs of the nearby mountains.
Gastown is the oldest part of Vancouver. Way back when the first pioneers and trappers settled in this corner of BC, this was where they went to drink in the saloons and sleep in the hotels. These days, it’s a well-preserved historic quarter with lovely redbrick buildings and vintage streetlamps. It’s also one of the city’s top gastronomic areas, with myriad gastropubs up its sleeve. Charm is easy to come by, what with cobblestone plazas and shadowy alleys aplenty to explore.
There’s a load of life in the buzzy West End. The epicenter of Vancouver’s LGBTQ community, this one links the downtown core to the tourist hotspots of Stanley Park. Things start on the western side, where Beach Ave fringes a string of lively urban sands. Past that are Denman Street and Robson Street, awash with spice-scented Korean BBQ joints and Scandi-inspired baking houses. There’s top-notch café culture, a liberal bar scene, but also good proximity to major attractions like the Vancouver Aquarium. Essentially: West End is Vancouver’s star all-rounder.
Call Commercial Drive, simply, ‘The Drive’. Beloved of locals, this 1.8-kilometre run of East Vancouver roadway is always alive with shoppers and drinkers and diners. It’s become known for its eclectic character. Everything from Indian curry shops to Belgian chip outlets to Ethiopian stew kitchens makes an appearance. It’s also a great spot after dark – beer bars abound. You shouldn’t have to fork out too much to score an Airbnb in this part of town, because it’s generally cheaper than the areas nearer to Gastown.
A little rough around the edges, Mount Pleasant has nevertheless emerged as Vancouver’s premier hipster hub. The old tenement blocks now contain experimental photography and installation galleries, while the local crowd is undeniably youthful and full of moxie. Most of the energy is centered on Main Street. It’s arguably the best nightlife district in the city, with sourdough pizza ovens blazing and microbreweries pouring in earnest every weekend.
Kitsilano is the feel-good corner of central Vancouver. In the summer, the grassy shores here are dotted with sunrise yogi classes and Pilates stretchers. In the winter, joggers brave the cold to weave between the pebbly bays, where the views of the Strait of Georgia are priceless. The northern half of the neighborhood around Cornwall Ave is where the action happens. It’s dotted with swish bistro-cafés and East Asian restaurants, along with some lovely waterside Airbnbs.
Yaletown is proudly affluent and not afraid to show it. Score a pad in these parts and you’re probably looking at a five-star condo with front-row seats by the Vancouver marinas. The bars and bistros are suitably elegant to match – expect degustation menus and refined cuisine and long-drink cocktails. The locals are known to don the latest haute fashion and drive hybrid convertibles down the leafy streets. It’s basically a lovely place to be if you have the budget!
If you’ve been drawn to Vancouver by the promise of the rugged British Columbian mountains and the powdered ski fields that lurk on the peripheries of the city, you can hardly go wrong with North Vancouver. This is the area that spreads across the land on the top side of Vancouver Harbour. It’s not great if you want to check off the sights and attractions, or for getting stuck into nightlife. However, a few steps from your front door and you could be lost in the pine woods of the North Shore Mountains. They’ve got winter resorts like Grouse Mountain and the endless trails of the Mount Seymour Provincial Park.
Best Airbnbs in Vancouver
Best Airbnb apartment in Vancouver
The Garden Quarter in Kitsilano
There’s a sort of quaint English cottage feel to this compact guest suite in relaxed Kitsilano. Just 10 blocks back from the beaches, it’s spread over a small kitchen-lounge area and rolls into an open-plan bedroom. The design is bright and airy and modern, while the outside comes with a small patio area with deck seating for those morning coffees in the fresh Vancouver air.
Best Airbnb house in Vancouver
Rita’s Coach House
Rita’s Coach House is a stunning and romantic escape on the quiet North Shore of Vancouver. Set beneath the lovely peaks of the BC mountains, it’s perfect for returning to after long days of hiking or skiing. Inside runs through a modern and bright kitchen area adorned with designer white units. The bedroom is airy with big windows. There’s also some outdoor space for chilling on warmer days.
Best Airbnb for families in Vancouver
Beautiful home in Vancouver
This highly rated rental is a lived-in Airbnb that offers any traveling families that perfect home-away-from-home feel. The kitchen joins with a breakfast bar to give space for those long morning brunches planning the day. There’s also a cozy interior lounge, along with a breezy roof terrace which boasts jaw-dropping vistas of the mountains to the north. Location wise, you’ll be in chilled Kitsilano only a stone’s throw from the popular beaches.
Best Airbnb for large groups in Vancouver
3BR/3BA Downtown Luxury Townhouse
There’s enough space to host up to 14 guests in this luxurious townhouse. Situated right in the heart of Vancouver, it’s near the big-name tourist draws of Stanley Park and the moody old roads of Gastown. You’ll be cozy and comfy inside, what with designer lounge areas, little snug nooks with high-shouldered sofas, and a large open-plan kitchen diner where you can all hang together.
Best Airbnb for relaxation in Vancouver
British Properties Mountain View Retreat
This get-away-from-it-all bolthole is one of the last properties in North Vancouver before the wild North Shore Mountains take over. Being that far from the city means one thing is guaranteed: Serenity. You’ll have everything you need to relax, from a cushy leather sofa to a small patio huddled between the pine trees.
Is Airbnb cheaper than hotels in Vancouver?
Travel budget tight? No worries – Airbnbs in Vancouver could be a pleasant surprise. They often have lower nightly rates than hotels of comparable quality. In addition to that, you can save oodles more by picking a pad that’s got enough room for everyone you’re going to be traveling with. Then, it’s just a case of dividing up the cost of the stay. Airbnb can also offer pretty enticing discounts for stays that last more than four weeks (sometimes even as much as 50% off the total!).
The one sacrifice you’ll probably have to make is on service. Airbnbs aren’t hotels. They don’t have dedicated front desks, on-duty concierges, in-house lobby bars, and on-demand room service. If you’re after that sort of level of attention, you could be better off going for somewhere like the Georgian Court Hotel BW Premier Collection. It’s a modern hotel with contemporary rooms and a dash of old-school style, not to mention a spa, fitness center, and sleek Art Deco bar.
Vancouver is calling with its historic Gastown gastropubs, pine-threaded urban beaches, budding microbrewery scene, and wild setting under the Canadian mountains. Where will you go looking for your Airbnb?
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