"Chinatown at night? Don't bother!" Top 5 Page for this destination Vancouver Warnings Or Dangers Tip by Carmanah

Vancouver Warnings and Dangers: 205 reviews and 119 photos

  Bar-covered doors and windows evident by evening
by Carmanah

Chinatown is a really interesting neighbourhood with a lot of grit, history, and character. However, I only recommend visiting during the morning or afternoon, but not at night.


The stores in Chinatown close by evening. After that they bar their windows and doors and the neighbourhood becomes a ghost town.

As well, since Chinatown is next to one of Vancouver's poorest areas, a lot of the grit like drug abuse and property crime spills over at night. This ambiance can make a tourist feel uneasy.

You'd logically expect Chinatown to be a vibrant neighbourhood full of the city's best Chinese restaurants, especially since tourism literature promotes Chinatown as the 2nd largest in North America, and especially since Vancouver is known for its huge Chinese population and its great Chinese food.

The reality is that Chinatown is somewhat of a relic left over from the very first wave of working class Chinese immigrants of the 19th century. The buildings are old and the Chinese community has existed here a long time, but presently it is no longer the hub of Vancouver's Chinese community.

Ironically, there are not many restaurant choices in Chinatown. Locals don't generally think of Chinatown as a place to go find dinner. Strangely, many tourists do. That's why you'll find lost looking tourists in Chinatown after dark, but no locals. This is the main reason why I'm writing this tip.

Many restaurants in Chinatown tend to be grungy, tiny, hole-in-the-wall establishments which close their doors by late afternoon. There are only a handful of restaurants that stay open later. Even fewer which are highly regarded. There are, however, hundreds of Chinese restaurants strewn across Vancouver outside of Chinatown, and especially its suburb of Richmond.

Since the 1990's Richmond has superseded Chinatown for its Asian shopping and Chinese cuisine. Richmond represents the modern, affluent, cosmopolitan Chinese community in the Vancouver area. However, unlike Chinatown, Richmond's aesthetically uninspiring.

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Feb 11, 2008
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Comments (2)

  • briantravelman's Profile Photo
    Feb 2, 2014 at 3:42 PM

    I read the San Francisco Chinatown is not safe at night either.

  • briantravelman's Profile Photo
    Feb 2, 2014 at 3:41 PM

    LOL. My cousin send me a picture of it at night.
    I think that goes for all of Vancouver though. It is not a very safe cities. There are areas you shouldn't even go during the day, let alone at night.
    My cousin has a bad habit of going out at night, and he has been robbed, beaten, and peppersprayed on several occassions. A few times, for being on someone's turf.
    The local gangs run some of the nieghborhoods. I felt safe walking everywhere during the day, but it is not a safe place to go out at night.

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