Stroll down Robson Street - Vancouver

notes from Mom


Looking for some new clothes to spruce up your wardrobe?  I know just the place:  Robson Street in downtown Vancouver.  What used to be Vancouver's trendiest shopping district 30 years ago - still is.  Where else are you going to find five solid blocks jam-packed with fashion?  Shops like Banana Republic, Aritzia, Mexx, Guess, Gap are all there plus some more expensive boutiques like Ferragamo, St. John's, and Furla are not far away.  Pacific Centre, my favourite indoor shopping mall, is also off Robson Street.  It has two big department stores (Sears and The Bay), the only Holt Renfrew in Vancouver, and my husband's favourite place to buy clothes, Harry Rosen.

If you get tired of shopping, or spent all your money (whichever comes first) you can visit the Vancouver Art Gallery (literally a stone's throw away from Pacific Centre).  At some point you'll probably want to grab a bite to eat.  Everybody knows how shopping can make you hungry.  Take your pick from the hundred plus restaurants sprinkled in between the shops.  If you have little ones in tow, McDonalds is just off Robson, on Thurlow Street.  I forgot to mention, the one-and-only Virgin Records is also on Robson (& Burrard).  It's actually housed in what used to be the old Vancouver Public Library.  It's gone through quite a face-lift since then.

Age group:

All ages

Expense rating:

No matter what, you'll end up spending about 5 to 10 dollars on parking.


I don't know about you, but it's exhilarating for me to, every once in a while drop everything and go shopping.  I can't help it.  It makes me feel good.  My husband thinks I need my head examined.  He hates shopping, so I can never expect him to understand.  Shopping brings back memories of my younger days when I could be frivolous with my time.  Anyway, I'll stop there.  Trust me on this one: Robson Street is worth making the trip for.


Whenever you go on a shopping spree there's always a risk of spending too much money, and having to explain away your inflated credit card statement at the end of the month.  Unless, of course, you're the one doing the checking and paying the bills - then you have nothing to worry about.

Parking can also be a little pricey.  I don't even bother to find a spot on the street.  The underground parkade at Pacific Centre is convenient, but it costs at least $3 an hour.

Finally, let me say a word about the target market (who mostly buys) on Robson Street.  As my girlfriend summarized it once, "Robson Street is meant for the young and shapely, not the old and out-of-shape".  She's right in a way, but there's plenty of seniors who are young at heart and love shopping on Robson Street.


If I were to approach this shopping extravaganza, I'd start at Pacific Centre (Robson & Granville), and work my way up the north side of Robson Street until I hit Bute Street, where the high-power shopping peters out.  Come back on the other side of the street (south side), and if you still have money to burn, have a peek in Pacific Centre or browse some books in Chapters Book Store.

P.S. I wouldn't start off shopping in Pacific Centre (unless it's a rainy day) because you literally can spend all day and run out of time on Robson Street.




All seasons

Educational highlights:

Thirty years ago, Robson Street area was called Robsonstrasse, known for its European flair.  I can remember a few French boutiques, a toy shop, cheese shop, and Italian shoe store.  Unfortunately over the years most of these stores were edged out by high rent and the area lost its European character.

Fun for the adult?:

It goes without saying, most people who enjoy shopping will have fun on Robson Street.  My ten year-old daughter and I would have a ball.  However, my husband, 13 year-old son, and four year-old son would hate every minute of it.  Time for a girls' day out?