Hit up a sleek boutique or indulge at the local cheese emporium.
Stepping into Strathcona (which technically encompasses both Chinatown and the Downtown Eastside) feels like climbing the stairs to a top-floor gable room in one of the neighbourhood’s trademark tall houses: while it’s right near the heart of things, with Mount Pleasant just south and downtown just north, it’s calm, less frenzied and away from the hubbub. Unexpectedly, it’s also a great shopping destination, with hidden gems like an authentic Japanese grocery, well-curated clothing boutiques, and an epic cheese emporium.
Minimalist style means buying fewer things, but better things. Charlie and Lee, with a curated selection of North American-made clothing and accessories is the best place to find items that are wear-forever, not just wear-for-now. 223 Union Street
The learning curve in making your own sushi is steep, but the payoff is worth it. Start by getting the real stuff at Fujiya Japanese Foods, the source for everything from high-quality nori to milky Hi-Chew candy. 912 Clark Drive
Les Amis du Fromage is like a candy store without the sugar crash. Sample their rare, imported washed-rind cheeses, or rent a raclette set for your next dinner party. 843 E Hastings Street https://www.instagram.com/p/BMMbRwIDHrk/?taken-by=strathconabeer
Snap up a growler of the tart Cherry High Ale for the road, or stick around and sample the young brewery's wares—a tasting flight pairs perfectly with a pizza from Chef Alex Carswell, formerly of Pizzeria Barbarella. 895 East Hastings Street
Part cafe, part grocery store, the charmingly cluttered Wilder Snail specializes in organic produce and carries plentiful gluten-free options, too. If you're sticking around after stocking up your pantry, the hearty paninis (like turkey havarti) and strong coffee make for a satisfying mid-day break. 799 Keefer Street