Gastown loves Students: 3 Great places to eat and shop on a budget – Gastown
Shopping & Style

November 23 2016

Gastown loves Students: 3 Great places to eat and shop on a budget

Hello! My name is Misung Emma Lim and I’m a student from Korea. For my practicum with the Gastown Business College,  I have been working as a marketing assistant with the Gastown Business Improvement Society. I have been asked to share with you some of my favorite places in Gastown to get great coffee, cool clothes and delicious food. The trick is, they need to be places that a student, like me can afford.

Before we talk about that though, let me tell you a little about myself.

I was born and raised in Seoul, South Korea. I’m an international student who is still learning constantly how to speak English but also about the marketing industry in North America. Studying abroad has always been one of my dreams. Now it’s happening.

When I was at home and attending school in Korea, I had the opportunity to take a class where we looked at multicultural countries such as France, United States, and Canada. For me, it was Canada that won out. I have been in Vancouver now for 8 months and I can say that this city has a ton of amazing things to see and do. I find that Vancouverites are truly nice people. For that reason, I love Vancouver, especially Gastown. This neighbourhood has a unique vibe unlike anywhere else in the city. Gastown inspires as I often see tourists taking pictures in front of the Steam Clock on Water St and visiting the area. At the same time, there are many locals eating, hanging out, shopping, working and living life. As a stranger coming from another country, it’s amazing to see that tourists and locals both share the same space. For this reason, Gastown is truly special. I’m delighted to share with you my favourite places to get coffee (and study!) eat and shop here in the Original Vancouver.

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Cafe: Milano Espresso Lounge

I wanted a Lavender latte, which they don’t serve anymore. They do have a delicious Peppermint Mocha though! Milano Espresso Lounge in Gastown offers a special item every month. I’m not too big on overly sweet hot drinks but this was perfect – not too sweet, not too bitter, just right for me. Including tax, drinks from the premium menu (the staff called it this and I think it deserved it) – costs $4.75.

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Another reason I like Milano Espresso Lounge is their interior design. Dark brown wood and warm colored lights allowed me to be comfortable and relaxed. Since this is not located in the heart of Gastown, I can enjoy having coffee in a calm atmosphere. Also, it’s nicely laid out. The room is designed to cater to the diverse customer base of business people, students, and tourists. They have a designated bar for students who are trying to do their school assignments.

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Style – Oak & Fort

When do you know a certain brand is right for you? For me, it’s usually what I see displayed in a shop window. It needs to draw me inside and make me want to touch and try on the clothing. If I like what I see, and the style aligns with the overall aesthetic of what I currently have in my wardrobe, then I’ll probably purchase a few items.


The style here is chic and cool. Oak & Fort is not just a clothing store, they’re trendsetters. You’ll find different types of fabric, color washes, and other subtle details. I definitely recommend getting basic items here. They have sale items also and some are up to 30% off! These are the most affordable for students as the newest arrivals are a little pricier. Oak & Fort also have men’s apparel and big, bright fitting rooms.

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Eat – Tacofino

Tacofino is well known for excellent Mexican food in Gastown. This was my second time eating here.  It was crowded with people, both dining in and taking out.

The best part of my lunch was the awesome pairing between beverage and food! When I took a look at the menu, one dish really grabbed my eye. I didn’t hesitate to order this very interesting taco. It was made of Kimchi and roasted Pineapple together. I could never imagine combining fruit and kimchi. I was shocked in a good way. It tasted amazing! 2 tacos for one person cost only $10 (tax inc.) at Happy hour.


Tacofino’s Happy Hour is available Monday to Friday from 3:00pm to 6:00pm and features specials on classic cocktails, beer, and wine along with share plates, all ranging from $5 to $8. For a drink, I ordered an “Elderflower Collins”, which is non-alcoholic and it was perfect for me. Overall, I believe that Tacofino has created their menu for various tastes and budgets. We students often don’t have enough money to spend on luxurious lunches and dinners but we do have flexible schedules compared to working folk. Hit up the happy hour and have a great lunch or early dinner at an affordable price!