Five Places to Visit in Vancouver with a Local Lifestyle Editor

Vancouver, with its snowcapped mountains and sleek, squeaky-clean downtown can seem to a new visitor to be lacking in urban grit. Which is exactly why for Sara Harowitz, a Vancouver native, the once blue-collar district of Hastings-Sunrise has so much appeal. Today, the area is a mix of on-trend eateries and boutiques as well as mainstays from its humbler days, and Ms. Harowitz loves the variety. “It’s unpolished, it’s working class, it’s a real Vancouver neighborhood,” says Ms. Harowitz, who edits the online lifestyle journal Basenotes, which explores wellness and female-centric travel, beauty and sustainability.

Credit…Alana Paterson for The New York Times

For the past three years, she has rented the top floor of a cozy house in the area with her long-term boyfriend, a craft brewer. “There are places that are opening that are trendy and design-forward, but it hasn’t lost the Polish sausage place and the local market. It feels like home.” Here are her top Vancouver spots.ᐧ

There are trendier java joints in Hastings-Sunrise, but East Cafe, with its homey décor, laid-back baristas and commitment to pulling perfect shots from its vintage turquoise espresso machine, is where Ms. Harowitz prefers to get her caffeine fix. “It’s unpretentious and cozy,” she says. “I love places that are design-forward but I also love a place where I walk in and it just is what it is.”

2401 East Hastings Street,

This self-proclaimed “microbakery” puts out a surprisingly vast number of sweet treats, including chai custard pie and the bakery’s trademark shortbread cookie. The owner and head baker, Cheryl Low, was peddling her confections at farmer’s markets around the city for years before finally landing her own brick-and-mortar spot in 2016, so its name is homage to the fact that a bakery of her own was always a “half-baked” idea. “Everything I’ve tried there has always just been so good,” Ms. Harowitz says. “It’s such a tiny place, but it’s simply delicious.”

1211 Nanaimo Street,

Vinyl stores have taken a hard hit in the age of digital music, so it was notable in 2016 when Red Cat Records, a beloved independent record store in Vancouver, opened a second location in Hastings-Sunrise. The store, named after its now-departed resident feline, offers both new and used LPs, turntables and a staff known for their expert taste in music. “If you’ve ever talked about music in Vancouver, you’ve talked about Red Cat,” Ms. Harowitz says. “You can find obscure records, or something new and special. It’s synonymous with good music.”

2447 East Hastings Street,

It’s not just the thick milkshakes spiked with rum, the locally sourced craft beers and the homemade hot sauce and jam that has made Ms. Harowitz a devoted fan of this cafe — it’s also the free-range eggs, the organic tofu and the reimagined brunch staples featuring extras like quinoa and scrambled veggies. “Walk in at 8 or 9 a.m. and it’s already full,” she says. “You feel good about eating a breakfast here. It’s a healthier greasy spoon.”

2465 East Hastings Street,

Tacofino began as a food truck serving up mouthwatering Mexican food from a surf shop parking lot, and today exists in five physical locations across the city. But the Hastings-Sunrise address was the original, and Ms. Harowitz insists it’s still the best spot in town to chow down on their trademark brussels sprouts taco and cult-followed nachos with feta, Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses. “It’s a west-coast spin on Tex-Mex,” she says, referring to the west coast of Canada. “And [this location] was the first, and still feels special.”

2327 East Hastings Street,

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