Granville Island, Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Overall Score: A
Recommended? Yes! Although parking is limited on weekends, this is a great place for tourists to spend the day shopping, eating, and taking in local culture. Kids will enjoy the Kids Market, indoor playground at Adventure Zone, and the Granville Island water park.
Whether you’re looking for exotic flowers, artisan breads, fresh seafood, local theater, great dining, or Vancouver brews, you can find what you need on Granville Island. While the island has restaurants, shops, theaters, a marina and hotel, most traffic on the island is headed to the famous Granville Public Market. I’ll cover the public market first, and then share with you the rest of the activities available on Granville Island.
Located on Granville Island next in False Creek (part of the Burrard Inlet), Granville Public Market was created in 1979, allowing farmers and local merchants to sell directly to the people.
When I visited Vancouver this past June, I made sure Granville Island and the market were on my touring list because of the popularity of this area. After driving onto the island, I managed to find a parking spot, despite how busy the island seemed. (Keep in mind that you do have to pay to park (at kiosks) while on Granville Island.) I followed the streams of people to a large open area, surrounded by shops and restaurants, eventually setting my eyes on the public market.
I found the public market in a large, red building on the north end of the island. Inside, food was everywhere! There were stalls, counters, tables, and various collections of food. Merchants were busily assisting customers and other employees were busy restocking displays. Because retail space here is premium, the walkways are narrow and filled with people. All around were colorful arrays of fruits and vegetables, incredible pastries, indulgent cheeses, fresh seafood, meats, and more.
Also within Granville Public Market, there are non-food vendors, many of whom are crafters that create their own goods. Here you can find unique gifts, handmade jewelry, hand thrown pottery, art, and more, towards the rear of the building. Be sure to grab a bite here at the market, choosing from a variety of gourmet food vendors selling fresh fish, salads, pizza, coffee, and more.
Open seven days a week from 9 am until 7 pm, the Granville Market is a treasure. Not all vendors will take credit cards, so be sure to have cash on hand when making your purchases. It’s also a good idea to bring a couple of reusable grocery bags to carry your home your goods.
In addition, there is a farmers market here that runs on Thursdays throughout the summer. For more information on the public market, click here to go to their website.
Granville Island has more than just the public market on its land. Despite being filled with factories decades ago, the island is now home to numerous shops, local artists and craft vendors, restaurants, parks, a walking path, hotel, marina, theaters, and galleries. A few times during the year, the island is also home to local festivals due to its central location. Don’t forget to visit Granville Brewing Company. Brewing since 1984, this company was Canada’s first microbrewery and gives daily tours to thirsty tourists.
Children will enjoy the Kids Market, which houses shops filled with magic tricks, toys, books, plush toys, crafts and more. The Kids Market is also home to Adventure Zone (an indoor playground) and Canada’s largest (and free!) waterpark.
Dedicated to helping the environment, Granville Island is amazingly striving to “reuse or divert as much waste as possible to help meet or exceed Metro Vancouver’s mandated 80 per cent waste diversion rate in the year 2020.” (GranvilleIsland.com)
To become a zero waste island, the island has a detailed plan to eliminate foam packaging, compost all food scraps, expand recycling opportunities, eliminate single use plastic bags, as well as decrease overall energy consumption on the island. I applaud Granville Island for launching this program and hope that initiatives like these catch on in the US and worldwide.
When you’re ready to plan your trip to the island, be sure to check out the Granville Island website for a list of things to do.
Whether you visit as a couple, a family, or even as a local, head to Granville Island and the Granville Public Market with good walking shoes and a hearty appetite! Find food, local brews, unique shops, great theater and more in one location. You can easily spend a fun day of touring here.
What’s your favorite part of Granville Island? Let me know in the comments!