If music is the lifeblood of Montreal, movie magic is fast becoming the pulse of Vancouver.
Dubbed “Hollywood North,” British Columbia’s largest city is the go-to location for a growing number of Hollywood productions, including recent box-office winners Deadpool and the Fifty Shades franchise. The bonus: Hollywood stars have since become a fixture on the Vancouver scene. Keep your eyes peeled and you could be rewarded with a celebrity sighting during your Vancouver holidays.
To ramp up your chances of a star-studded encounter, propel yourself into the celebrity orbit by following our guide to the A-listers’ favourite places to eat, play, shop, and stay while in Vancouver city.
1. Where to Dine
Whether you crave breakfast, brunch, or lunch, Café Medina in Downtown Vancouver carries its own clout—expect to wait an hour for your table on weekends.
The café recently clinched the “Best Brunch” award in the annual “Best of Vancouver” poll. Entourage actress Constance Zimmer recommends the Liege waffles and lavender lattes.
Within the neighbourhood, Zimmer is also partial to the fare at Chinese eatery Legendary Noodle, which has been described in Food & Wine Magazine as one of the “best-valued restaurants around the world.”
As evening falls, make a beeline for Yaletown to revel in its hip factor. Like perennial charmer George Clooney, you too can savour contemporary (and sustainable) Japanese cuisine at Minami, and chase your dinner down with a vodka martini.
Or heed Canadian actress Meaghan Rath’s advice to load up on oysters and lobsters at Rodney’s Oyster House—for dessert, be sure to enquire about the off-menu key lime pie, reserved for those in the know.
For a fine dining option, consider Hawksworth Restaurant (Downtown Vancouver), voted “Best Fine-Dining Restaurant” in the “Best of Vancouver” poll and cited by Forbes Travel Guide as a celebrity-worthy choice.
Rodney’s Oyster House
Address (Yaletown): 1228 Hamilton St, Vancouver, BC V6B 6L2 (see on map)
Opening hours: 11:30am to 11:00pm (daily)
Address (Gastown): 52 Powell Street,Vancouver, BC V6A 1E7 (see on map)
Opening hours: 11:30am to 11:00pm (Monday to Saturday); 4:30pm to 11:00pm (Sunday)
Address: 801 W Georgia St, Vancouver, BC V6C 1P7, Canada (see on map)
Monday to Friday: 6:30am – 10:30am (breakfast), 11:30am-2:00pm (lunch), 5:00pm – late (dinner and bar menu)
Saturday and Sunday: 7:00am or 7:00am to 10:30am (breakfast), 10:30am – 2:00pm (brunch), 5:00pm – late (dinner and bar menu)
2. Where to Unwind
Yaletown’s Opus Bar is widely regarded as a celebrity hotspot. However, you are just as likely to run into famous faces at Gastown, which actress Danielle Panabaker (The Flash) recommends as the best Vancouver neighbourhood to bar hop. Her personal hideout is The Keefer Bar, which also counts Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, and Clive Owen among its celebrity clientele.
Both bars received second placings in this year’s “Best of Vancouver” reader poll while The Keefer Bar was voted the top spot for cocktails.
In the same poll, the “Best Wine Bar” award went to Downtown Vancouver’s Uva Wine & Cocktail Bar, which happens to be a regular haunt of actress/model Beau Garrett (Girlfriends’ Guide To Divorce).
Address: 350 Davie St, Vancouver, BC V6B 5V6, Canada
Opening hours: From 7:00am to late (daily)
The Keefer Bar
Address: 135 Keefer St, Vancouver, BC V6A 1X3, Canada (see on map)
Opening hours: 5:00pm to 1:00am or 2:00am (Friday and Saturday)
Uva Wine & Cocktail Bar
Address: 900 Seymour St, Vancouver, BC V6B 3L9, Canada
Opening hours: 11:30am to 2:00am (daily)
3. Where to Shop
To rub shoulders with prominent personalities, Forbes Travel Guide’s Vancouver correspondent Maria Tallarico suggests visiting high-end retailers such as Holt Renfrew or the upscale Alberni Street (pictured below), home to some of the most expensive brands in the world.
For mid-range shopping, English actor Samuel Barnett has named NiftyDo as his “favourite clothing store” and Durant Sessions for designer eyewear. Both stores are located in the Gastown neighbourhood.
Address: 737 Dunsmuir Street, Vancouver, BC V7Y 1E4 (see on map)
Opening hours: 10:00am to 7:00pm (Monday, Tuesday), 10:00am to 9:00pm (Wednesday – Friday), 10:00am to 8:00pm (Saturday), 11:00am to 7:00pm (Sunday)
Address: 227 Carrall St, Vancouver, BC V6B 2J2 (see on map)
Opening hours: 12:00pm to 7:00pm (daily)
Address: 315 W Cordova St, Vancouver, BC V6B 1E5 (see on map)
Opening hours: 10:00am to 6:00pm (Monday to Saturday); 12:00am to 5:00pm (Sunday)
4. Where to get the Hollywood Glow
How do Hollywood celebrities attain their immaculately flawless skin, capable of withstanding the harsh scrutiny of camera close-ups?
According to Canadian entertainment blogger, reporter, and talk show host Lainey Lui, celebrity jet setters have been known to schedule a quick stop in Vancouver for the sole purpose of being laser treated by skin specialist Lorinda Zimmerman of W SkinCare.
Lui herself is a convert, vouching for the treatment’s efficacy and extolling its benefits, namely dewy skin and shrinking pores. Find W SkinCare at the Waterfall Building in West Second Avenue, and request for nothing less than the “Doubleblast” treatment.
Address: The Waterfall Building, 1536 West Second Avenue, Vancouver, British Columbia V6J 1H2 (see on map)
Opening hours: 10:00am to 6:00pm (Monday and Thursday)
10:00am to 8:00pm (Tuesday)
10:00am to 6:00pm (Wednesday)
10:00am to 5:00pm (Friday)
10:00am to 4:00pm (Saturday)
5. Where to Stay
Pan Pacific Vancouver has hosted Hollywood heavyweights such as Jack Nicholson and Robin Williams. The hotel on Vancouver bay has also been graced by royalty (Prince Charles and Princess Diana) and global icons such as the Dalai Lama.
Word has it that Pan Pacific Vancouver offers the best hotel views in the city. Another of its star attractions is the award-winning Spa Utopia, which is popular enough to warrant a wait list.
Guests also appreciate Pan Pacific Vancouver’s attention to detail: for one, it offers six specialty pillows for the discerning guest’s selection, including the Tempur-pedic classic. The hotel’s reputation is built on customer care and going the extra mile.
For more cool things to do in Vancouver, read our guide to other Vancouver attractions. Begin your Vancouver celebrity experience by checking in to Pan Pacific Vancouver, voted by Condé Nast Traveler readers as the 9th best hotel in Western Canada.