Gastown covers twelve city blocks and offers more than 100 shops and 65 restaurants. It’s an easy walk from end to end, so don your best footwear and prepare to spend the day tracking down cool finds for family, friends and maybe even yourself.

If your boots aren’t made for walking, there are plenty of places to stop along the way. New to the neighbourhood, Str/ke Mvmnt offers technical performance in wearable styles. Or, head into Nifty Do for something that’s infinitely stylish.

Get Caffeinated

But, we’re getting ahead of ourselves. A day in Gastown starts with coffee, and we sit down to drink it. Sidle up to the slow bar at Timbertrain and let Josh know what you’re after. These guys roast their own beans and brew each cup methodically. We recommend adding a waffle to your order – yum. Or, head over to Revolver for a rotating menu of coffee from world-class roasters around North America. If you’re an avid people-watcher, a window seat is worth its weight in gold.

GLAL-HolidayWrapGive Gifts that Stand Out

With some caffeine on board, it’s time to start shopping. Gastown is home to a long list of independent boutiques offering impeccably curated wares. From exclusive labels to buzz-worthy items, there are plenty of unique options.

Locals know that shop owners are in their stores every day, sharing a passion for the products they’ve collected. And, during the holidays, they’re the best resource for gifts that wow. A stop at Litchfield usually includes a few minutes chatting to Jonathan about the concept of enriched living. Or, drop in to Old Faithful and meet Walter. His grandparents operated general stores that were the inspiration behind the shop’s commitment to trusty, well-built heirloom pieces.

If you need a little more help, Orling & Wu has created a window display that pulls together the perfect pieces for ‘the Adventurer’ and ‘the Brilliant Host’, among others, while Meadow Gifts has assembled an enviable collection of holiday cards and festive paper.

Stop for a Nosh

When low blood sugar kicks in, it’s time to get a bite. Gastown is home to a diverse collection of restaurants where a mid-day snack becomes a gastronomic experience. There’s something for everyone, from locally inspired dishes featuring organic ingredients to traditional southern barbecue. Brunch at Chill Winston, lunch at Blacktail Florist, sample some sourdough at Nelson the Seagull or grab a cozy table at Brioche.

Spoil Yourself

The holiday season also brings an endless array of events, from casual cocktails with friends to the fanciest of black tie gatherings. A diverse wardrobe that meets every need is easy to come by in Gastown.

Keep things casual with modern basics from Oak & Fort or try technical cashmere at Kit & Ace. If the occasion calls for something that makes a statement, ladies will find pretty pieces at Alfie Italia, One of a Few and LYNNsteven, while the gents are well served by Roden Gray, Indochino and Neighbour.


The Beatulleful Skirt from Alfie Italia

End the Day with a Nightcap

As night falls, it’s time to drop your bags and sink into a comfy chair at a neighbourhood watering hole. Pourhouse has some wintry libations, including mulled cider and traditional Egg Nog made fresh to order with cognac, aged rum, cream and bitters. Down the road at L’Abattoir, Shaun Layton will mix you a Bloody Alley (anchovy-infused vodka, caper berries and mini corn) or his new creation, the Bourbon Cinnamon Toast Milk Punch. Sounds like the end of a perfect day.

For more tips on how to Gastown like a local during the holidays, check out these recent posts:

Best Places to Raise a Glass

Shopping for the Well Kept Man

Keeping it Stylish During Party Season