Emergency measures in the wake of Covid-19:
Since March 21 the US-Canada border has been closed to all non-essential travel, and will remain closed until at least October 21, 2020. Travellers entering Canada by air or by land face mandatory quarantine, and must provide traveller contact information on arrival. See the Government of Canada and Tourism Vancouver websites.
The "City of Glass" is a place of stunning vistas set between mountain ranges and the Strait of Georgia. Vancouver has the high-energy buzz befitting a city of post-modern condo towers, high-tech industry and after two decades of heavy immigration from Hong Kong and Taiwan, a thriving Chinatown. But visitors can tune into a laid-back west coast vibe as they commune with nature and cruise the parks and nudist Wreck Beach. Top-notch skiing, hiking, camping and surfing are nearby.
With rainbows on banners and the Butte and Davie crosswalks, the West End's "gayborhood" of Davie Village contains most of the city's gay clubs, bars, lounges, cafes, and restaurants. Guys can often be seen holding hands as they make their way down the streets.
The second gay district is Commercial Drive. Locally known as "the Drive," it has lots of inexpensive ethnic restaurants, interesting shops and several women's hangouts.
On arrival at Vancouver International Airport take Canada Line, Vancouver’s new rapid transit rail link, connecting YVR to downtown Vancouver in about 26 minutes and to downtown Richmond in 18 minutes. Access trains from either the International or the Domestic Terminal.
The Amtrak Cascades train links Eugene OR (Eugene Station), Portland OR (Union Station) and Seattle WA (King Street Station) to Vancouver BC (Pacific Central Station), a trip of about 12 hours, once a day (two trains from Seattle) and with bus service another four times each day. Coast Starlight trains connect Los Angeles to Seattle, as well as other cities along the way, including San Francisco. Amtrak Empire Builder trains link Seattle to Chicago, by way of Spokane.
From Toronto to Vancouver the ViaRail Canadian offers a legendary long haul 4-day journey of breathtaking landscapes and outstanding dining. En-route amenities include sleeping berths, live music entertainment, Wi-Fi connections, and in-chair massages by a registered therapist. Winnipeg, Saskatoon and Edmonton are among the cities seen along the way.
Canada Rail offers coast to coast service on the Rocky Mountaineer, including Coast to Coast Rail Adventures from Halifax, and Montreal, and Trans Canada Train Adventures from Toronto, Calgary and Banff to Vancouver (1755 Cottrell Street), with connections to Whistler BC, and Seattle WA. Rail tours of 7 to 16 days are offered.
For intercity coach/bus travel from Seattle to Vancouver see BoltBus, GoToBus, QuickShuttle and Greyhound, the latter with connections to all major US cities (but no longer serving Canadian cities west of Ontario). Rider Express runs buses between Vancouver and Calgary, and between Calgary and Winnipeg - with connections to Regina, Saskatoon and other western towns.
West End and downtown core districts are quite compact and easy to get around on foot. The public transit bus, train and ferry networks will get you around Vancouver with ease. A fare of $3 to $5.75 (depending on zones) gives you 90 minutes of travel around the Lower Mainland, good for use on all buses, SkyTrain and SeaBus. The TransLink website lists all bus, SkyTrain, SeaBus, commuter trains and airport access information.
False Creek Ferries operate mini-ferries that ply the waters from the Westend or Yaletown to Granville Island and the south shores.
Cycling in Vancouver, the city's website for bicycle enthusiasts, has info on lanes, paths and resources for cyclists. Mobi, the public bike share system. They offer monthly and annual plans along with day passes for just $12 allowing for unlimited 30 minute rides during a 24-hour period. Alternatives include West End rental shops such as: Bayshore, Bikes on Robson, English Bay Bikes, and YesCycle.
The Vancouver Trolley Company offers two sightseeing tour loops, with six stops in Stanley Park, live commentary, and hop on and off as you please. A trip on the Granville Island Ferry is included.
Probably because of it's year-round temperate climate and abundance of trees, parks and beaches, outdoor cruising is a pretty popular in Vancouver. Some of the best cruising spots are: Central Park in Burnaby at Kingsway and Boundary road, afternoons and after dark, trails between Kingsway and north duck pond; Lees Trail in Stanley Park and a popular trail northwest of Second Beach with discreet day or night outdoor play; Kitsilano Pool at 2305 Cornwall Avenue, late night meetings at back of the pool and along the seawall; English Bay Sundial on the beach at the bottom of Davie and Denman Streets, late night action at the large sundial.
Media and resources
Xtra! Vancouver our local gay bi-weekly paper, ceased publication in February 2015, but the DailyXtra website continues to provide news, current events, commentary and listings, along with travel articles on this site.
GayVan, with many years of experience in LGBT travel marketing, has an online guide and lots of listings for the whole area, in English and Japanese.
MyDavieVillage website has the scoop on what's going on in this, the gayest part of town.
HIM, the Health Initiative for Men is the city's physical, sexual, mental and social health center. Qmunity, the Queer Resource Community Centre for British Columbia, has services and group offices. The Vancouver Pride Society has offices on Howe Street and their main event parade takes place in August.
The Vancouver Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence spread joy and raise money for good causes, with various events throughout the year.
The Vancouver Men in Leather have fun with leather, uniforms, and fetish at monthly and special annual events.
The Wreck Beach Presernation Society offers off-season nude swims every 3rd Saturday and summertime events at the beach. Their members also participate in second Saturday Skinnydipper Nude Swim Nights, and first + last Saturday NIFTY Swims.
Straight.com has general movies, music, food, arts and other reviews and events listings.
The Vancouver Art and Leisure Society artist-run group present professional public projects and happenings without discrimination in terms of artistic intent or discipline, in unconventional ways and performance spaces.
Bars & clubs
1181 (1181 Davie), plush lounge with DJs, chill-out zone, good martinis, retro films, pop art, shirtless Friday beer boys, local artists, and hot men.
The American (926 Main St), gay-friendly Strathcona pub and beer/ wine store; cocktails, local beers, arcade, pinball games and sports, burgers.
Celebrities (1022 Davie), 19-plus dance club, big-name DJs, special events, guest celebrities, hot go-go boys, bingo, entertainment, and drag shows.
Central Studios (856 Seymour St) - CLOSED - Downtown Vancouver queer art/ culture hub; counter-culture/ underground music/ Goth/ Industrial nights, PlayPen parties, Make Out and Backdoor events. CS won't reopen, but similar space expected to return somewhere, when possible.
Club 816 (816 Granville), Thursday through Sunday mainstram after hours electronic dance music club.
The Clubhouse (238 E 1st Ave), casual party bar, mixed queer crowd, dance nights, drag shows, live music, patio events.
Cobalt (917 Main St), funky East Side bar, underground vibe, mixed young alternative crowd, edgy drag performances, live music, dance parties and karaoke nights.
Five Sixty (560 Seymour), large 5-room nightclub on four floors, focused on arts community patrons, stage, dance floor, lounge, mezzanine, vast basement unisex bathroom with DJ; weekend dancing, weekday live shows.
Fountainhead Pub (1025 Davie), casually cruisy upscale 19+ neighborhood bar in the heart of Davie Village with covered/heated patio. Games, TV sports, pub grub lunch, dinner, late nights and weekend brunch, and good selection of microbrews.
Hershe Bar is one of the Flygirl Productions for women in Vancouver; their website has info on these and other events far and wide.
The Junction Public House (1138 Davie), neighborhood pub/club, video sports bar and cafe. Dancing Fridays through Sundays, DJs, go-go boys, Trivia Nights, Saturday drag shows. Vancouver Men in Leather events. Queerprov comedy nights. The former Pulse.
Numbers (1042 Davie), three bars on five levels, diverse crowd of ages and types, nightly DJs, pool tables, friendly staff. Karaoke 7 days a week in the FunBox room.
The Pint (455 Abbott St), Gastown sports bar/pub, pub grub burgers, dogs, ribs, wraps, wings, soups/salads, sandwiches, poppers, yorkies and veggie options.
PumpJack (1167 Davie), leather events, motorcycle club, contests, bears, puppy and underwear parties, DJs, see-and-be-seen windows. Big screens for sports games, Sunday keg parties, back patio. Rubbout and Vancouver Men in Leather events.
Score (1262 Davie), general public sports bar and restaurant, good selection of beers and mixed drinks, food includes burgers, Sunday brunch; large sunny patio.
CLOSED: Oasis (1240 Thurlow; up), mixed restaurant/bar/lounge, roof-top patio; Odyssey (686 W Hastings St), LGBT dance club, special events, shows and performances; XY (1216 Bute St), aka XYYVR, mixed LGBT party bar, former J Lounge.
F-212 Steam (1048 Davie), huge 24/7 gay play space, full gym, steam rooms, hot tub, porn, internet, blackout partiescheap memberships.
Steam 1 (430 Columbia St; Westminster) rooms, communal showers, sauna, play area, internet, gym, relaxed, good-looking crowd.
Streamworks (123 West Pender), private gym/sauna/bathhouse for 18-plus men, open 24/7/365 with the finest of steamy facilities, play spaces, special events. First and third Fridays each month CumUnion sex parties. RUFF Wild after-parties.
In Victoria, on Vancouver Island, Man2Man Sex Club at Hung Homo Homestay (15 Wellington Ave), hosts orgies with 15-25 men. Glory hole, showers, playpen, sling, red fucking horse and padded benches/futon. Free admission, donations for condoms, lube, towels and laundry appreciated.
Spartacus Gym (1522 Commercial Dr) body sculpt, cross training, boot camp, Jiu Jitsu, kickboxing, Zumba, yoga at workout facility on "the Drive."
CLOSED: Denman Fitness (1731 Comox St), alternative to high-pressure clubs.
Best Western Plus Chateau Granvillle (1100 Granville St; 604-669-7070), elegantly decorated rooms and spacious suites near trendy Yaletown and Davie Village; private balcony, Wi-Fi, Edge Social Grille & Lounge casual dining --globally inspired, local source ingredients.
Blue Horizon (1225 Robson; 800-663- 1333) near shopping and dining, close to Davie Village, downtown, Stanley Park.
Executive Hotel Vintage Park (1379 Howe St; 604-688-7678), downtown Vancouver, minutes from Davie Village; 9th floor skyview hot tub oasis and evening wine tasting receptions.
Sandman Suites on Davie (1160 Davie; 604-681- 7263), luxury suites, penthouses, hot tubs, balconies, water views, pool, spa; host hotel for Rubbout events at scene central.
Sunset Inn & Suites (1111 Burnaby; 800-786- 1997) quiet West End, near urban attractions, balconies, English Bay views.
In Victoria, on Vancouver Island, Hung Homo Homestay (15 Wellington Ave; 778-265-4190), seaside guesthouse for gay/bi men, a few steps from the ocean walkway, near Cook Street Village; large rooms and suites, private entrances, lounge area, WiFi, and full kitchen option. Their “Nasty Pig Playpen” offers the company of local men who gather 4 days a week for M2M group sex play.
Near Coquitlam, BC, REO Rafting and Yoga Resort, a wilderness resort at canyon’s edge, has glamping tents with beds and private decks along the Nahatlatch River with a full mile of private river frontage. They offer outdoor dining, Jacuzzi, hot showers, and aromatherapy massages. Enjoy campfires, a private beach, BC’s best white-water rafting and a river’s edge yoga center. Located 2.5 hours from Greater Vancouver, and 4 hours from Seattle.
CLOSED: Nelson House B&B (977 Broughton, West End) bright and cheery B&B, near English Bay.
See more lodgings options on our map and listings page.
Absinthe Bistro (1260 Commercial Dr), high quality seasonal-fresh French food, casual atmosphere.
Cafe Deux Soleils (2096 Commercial Dr), vegetarian restaurant, brunch, poetry slams, live music, open to midnight.
Coming Home Cafe (753 6th; New Westminster), kitchy uptown cafe, original art, organic coffee and food, brunch, WiFi.
Davie Dosa (1235 Davie), daily 11am-11pm South Indian meat/seafood/veggie lunch/dinner, dosa specialities.
Delany's (1105 Denman), popular coffee house, one of the best people-watching patios around.
Elbow Room (560 Davie), big breakfasts, 25 omelet choices, egg bennies galore, great lunch, sandwiches, burgers, a dash of Mexico, and more than a dollop of caustic humor on the side.
Hamburger Mary's Diner (1202 Davie), 1950s-era diner, breakfast all day, late-night dining, burgers, soup, sandwiches, shakes; patio.
Heritage Grill (447 Columbia; New Westminster), broad menu, crab cakes, salmon; live music, open mic, gay-friendly mix.
India Bistro (1157 Davie), meat or vegetarian meals, lunch buffet, dinner daily, Sunday brunch, eat-in, takeout or delivery.
Moxies Classic Grill (1160 Davie), chain restaurant under Sandman Inn, street-side dining, massive bar; soups, pizza, steaks, burgers, sandwiches, pastas, brunch.
Vera's Burger Shack (1030 Davie), gourmet all the way, lamb, chicken, turkey, BBQ, beef or veggie; delicious sweet-potato fries, Chili Cheese Dogs, Philly Cheesesteak.
See more restaurants at our map and listings pages.
CLOSED: Darryl's Coffee & Native Art Shop (945 Davie), hot drinks, ice cream, fruit smoothies, first-nation art; Dish (1068 Davie St), 25-year LGBT all-day beakfast/brunch restaurant.
Shopping & services
GayVan Travel Marketing (1808-1150 Jervis) travel planning and area information, knowledgeable gay staff.
Little Sister's Book And Art Emporium (1238 Davie) gay books, adult toys, erotica, fashion accessories, gifts and cards.
Qmunity Centre (1170 Bute) gay community resources, support, health and social services, public education.
Top Drawers (809 Davie St), top-name underwear, swimwear, sweats, jeans, pants, Ts, shirts, shorts, accessories, laid-back staff.