The Ultimate Vancouver Neighbourhood Gift Guide: Gastown and Chinatown

The best gifts, giftable experiences and places to eat while you shop in Gastown and Chinatown in 2021.

It’s tough to find a pair of ’hoods more rich in culture and history than this dynamic duo: get your one-of-a-kind, charmingly local, and food-themed gifts here.

READ MORE: Our Complete Vancouver Neighbourhood Gift Guide 2021

The Best Holiday Gifts in Gastown and Chinatown

Vancouver Special Shirt

Blim, 115 East Pender St.
Hyper-specific graphic tees? Yes please. Blim screenprints their wares in-house and offers regular workshops so you can, too—or you can get a pre-made stunner like this Vancouver Special shirt ($35) by artist Chantale Doyle.

Artisan Jasmine Collection

Treasure Green Tea Company, 227 E Georgia St.
There’s teabags (yawn) and looseleaf (basic), but for the most elegant and soothing tea-drinking experience, artisan tea balls are the way to go. These hand-tied bundles ($35 for set of 7) from Chinatown’s 40-year-old tea shop have tiny flowers that bloom when you add hot water.

Survey II Backpack

Herschel, 347 Water St.
The rainy commute is no match for this new weather- resistant backpack ($130). The fabric exterior is 100-percent recycled, incorporating 12 post-consumer waste bottles, so your trusty laptop will stay dry. Available starting December 9.

Dim Sum Candles

Foo Hung Curios, 168 E Pender St.
Alright, these are verging on too-cute-to-burn territory, but you know what they say: you dim sum, you lose some. The bao and dumplings set ($45) is made using the same techniques as their edible counterparts, and they come in a bamboo steamer basket. Freaking. Adorable.

Hunting by Stars

Massy Books, 229 E Georgia St.
This Indigenous-owned bookstore is chock full of Canadian reads, like Métis author Cherie Dimaline’s new sequel to the The Marrow Thieves. Hunting by Stars ($17) follows 17-year-old French, a teen dodging “recruiters” in a post-apocalyptic world where only Indigenous people have the ability to dream.

Vintage Quilt Chore Jacket

The Block, 350 W Cordova St.
For the one on your list with inimitable style, there’s one-of-a-kind chore jackets (from $495) made in Vancouver by designer Shawna McLennan. Each one is upcycled from a vintage quilt—think a hug from grandma, but make it fashion.

Artbedo Prints

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden Gift Shop, 578 Carrall St.
We’re swooning over these vibrant storefront prints (from $5) by local artist Artbedo, also known as Mikayla Hong. A portion of the proceeds from each print go to local charities like the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre and the Chinatown Foundation.

Building Blocks

MAKE Vancouver, 117 Water St.
This officially-not-Jenga building block set ($67) is about to become the most sustainable game in the, well, game: it’s made by ChopValue using recycled chopsticks from local restaurants.

A Stay-cation at Skwachàys Lodge

Skwachàys Lodge, 31 W Pender St.
Really amp up your gift game with a staycation in Canada’s first Indigenous arts hotel. On top of a gorgeous art gallery and gift shop (you can definitely guilt your giftee into buying you something, you know, as a thank-you), Skwachàys has themed rooms—we’re obsessed with the cozy Tlingit Hat Room—and cultural activities like sweat lodge and smudge ceremonies.

Where to Eat While You Shop

Calabash Bistro, 428 Carrall St.
It was during our draft of the best burgers in the city that we discovered the Caribbean masterpiece that is the Calabash Bistro’s jerk beef and oxtail burger— we’ll take our burgs with mango salsa from now on, thanks.

READ MORE: Our Vancouver Neighbourhood Gift Guide to Kerrisdale