Vancouver

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.
 

Neighborhoods
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. Handsome 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.

 

Getting here

Out front of the arrivals level of Vancouver International Airport catch bus 98B or 496 to downtown Vancouver. Canada Line, Vancouver’s new rapid transit rail link, connects YVR to downtown Vancouver in 26 minutes and to downtown Richmond in 18 minutes.

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 other 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 inexpensive intercity coach/bus travel from Seattle to Vancouver see BoltBus, GoToBus, and QuickShuttle. Greyhound provides bus services to Vancouver from all major US and Canadian cities.

Getting around

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 $2.75 to $5.50 (depending on zones involved) gives you 90 minutes of travel around the Lower Mainland. Day passes cost $9.75, 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. A bike share system was scheduled to launch in 2015. In the meantime, or for alternatives, see West End rental shops such as: Bayshore, Bikes on RobsonEnglish BayStanley Park, or 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.

 

Cruising spots

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 Queer Film Festival also takes place in August. See our events pages for more of what's coming up in town.

The Vancouver Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence spread joy and raise money for good causes, with various events throughout the year. The Vancouver Men of Leather have fun with leather, uniforms, and fetish at monthly and special annual events. The Nude Dude group gets together for naked yoga twice a week.

Straight.com has general movies, music, food, arts and other reviews and events listings.

For locations and website links to businesses listed below, and more, including museums & galleries, theaters & performance venues, see our gay Vancouver map & listings pages.


 

Bars & clubs

1181 (1181 Davie), plush lounge open nightly -five with DJs, chill-out zone, good martinis, retro films, pop art, shirtless Friday beer boys, local artists, and hot men.

Celebrities (1022 Davie), 19-plus dance club, big-name DJs, special events, guest celebrities, hot go-go boys, bingo, entertainment, and drag shows.

Club 816 (816 Granville), after hours electronic dance music club, Thursday through Sunday nights.

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.

Heaven's Door Lounge (1216 Bute St, at Davie), mixed LGBT crowd, men/women, live music, dragaoke, fetish nights and special events. Mr RUFF election in April and related Harness events each first Friday. Formerly J Lounge.

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, Saturday drag shows. The former Pulse.

Lolita's South of the Border Cantina (1326 Davie), Mexican restaurant, happy hour bar, delicious margaritas.

Numbers (1042 Davie), three bars on five levels, diverse crowd of ages and types, nighyly DJs, pool tables, friendly staff. Karaoke 7 days a week in the FunBox room.

Oasis (1240 Thurlow; up), mixed bar and lounge in transition with new owner; dance floor, roof-top patio, food menu, martinis, DJs with a variety of themes.

Odyssey (686 W Hastings St), LGBT dance club that closed in 2010, re-opening at new location in 2015; male go-go shower dancers, shows/performances.

The Pint (455 Abbott St), Gastown sports bar/pub, RUFF events; pub grub burgers, dogs, ribs, wraps, wings, soups/salads, sandwiches, poppers, yorkies and veggie options, plus weekend brunches.

PumpJack (1167 Davie), leather events, motorcycle club,contests, puppy and underwear parties, see-and-be-seen windows. Big screens for sports games, Sunday keg parties, back patio. Rubbout events and home bar for Vancouver Men in Leather,

Score (1262 Davie), general public sports bar and restaurant, good selection of beers and mixed drinks, food includes burgers, Sunday brunch;  large sunny patio.

Truckerdisco gay alternative dance party for  "guys, grrls, hipsters, homos, str8s, folks of all bearish persuasions...." seems to be on hold for now, but check their website for news of any upcoming events.

 

Gyms

Denman Fitness (1731 Comox St) fun, positive alternative to high-pressure clubs, custom programs to fit your needs.

Spartacus Gym (1522 Commercial Dr) body sculpt, cross training, boot camp, Jiu Jitsu, kickboxing, Zumba, yoga at workout facility on "the Drive."

 

Saunas/ Sex

8x6 (1775 Haro St, at Denman), 19+ men's membership-only sex club, open for special events, refreshment bar, social area, dance floor, DJs, porn lounge and play space. Home to: VancouverJax 1st Wednesdays and 3rd Sundays; First Friday Vancouver Men In Leather play parties; Every Tuesday Vancouver Dog Pound puppy fun; Nude Dude naked yoga Mondays and Saturdays.

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 men 18-plus, open 24/7/365 with the finest of steamy facilities, play spaces, special events.

In Victoria, on Vancouver Island, Man2Man Sex Club at Hung Home (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.

 

Accommodations

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.

Nelson House B&B (977 Broughton, West End; 866-684-9793) bright and cheery B&B, near English Bay, Granville Island, Davie clubs.

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 Home (15 Wellington Ave; 778-265-4190), is a seaside guesthouse, near Cook Street Village, for gay/bi men with two large rooms, 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.

See more lodgings options on our map and listings page.

 

Restaurants

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.

Cafe Luxy (1235 Davie), pasta specials, elegant weekend brunch, good wine list.

Coming Home Cafe (753 6th; New Westminster), kitchy uptown cafe, original art, organic coffee and food, brunch, WiFi.

Darryl's Coffee & Native Art Shop (945 Davie), stress-free vibe, hot drinks, ice cream, fruit smoothies, first-nation art.

Delany's (1105 Denman), popular coffee house, one of the best people-watching patios around.

Dish (1068 Davie St), vegetarian and vegan fast food restaurant, breakfast, lunch, dinner, take-out.

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 (1202 Davie), 1950s-era diner, breakfast all day, late-night dining, burgers, soup, sandwiches, shakes.

The Heartwood Community Cafe (317 E Broadway) queer- friendly, community-minded bistro and social justice hub; entertainment, films, art exhibits, food, games. Was Rhizome.

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.

Melriches Coffee House (1244 Davie), independent cafe, good coffee, homemade food, art on the walls.

Moxies Classic Grill (1160 Davie), under Sandman Inn, modern look, street-side dining, massive bar, killer menu.

Vera's Burger Shack (1030 Davie), gourmet all the way, with delicious sweet-potato fries and turkey burgers.

See more restaurants at our map and listings pages.

 

Shopping & services

GayVan Travel Marketing (1808-1150 Jervis) travel planning and area information, knowledgeable gay staff.

Ju Ju Salon and Spa (823 Davie) spa, hair stylists and colorists, men/women/kids, full consultations, waxing and facials, ear-candling.

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 (1030 Denman, #115) top-name sweats, jeans, T-shirts, vests, accessories, laid-back staff.

Van Caissey (125 W Broadway), global street style trends, menswear/womenswear and accessories; seasonal collections, hats, caps, sunglasses, earrings, cuffs, studs, plugs, rings, bracelets, necklaces, chains, scarves, ties and more.

- staff - February 2015