You soon get the hang of Vancouver’s Downtown district, an arena of avenues and shopping malls centred on Robson Street. On hot summer evenings it’s like a latter-day vision of La Dolce Vita – a buzzy meeting place crammed with bars, restaurants, late-night stores, and bronzed youths preening in bars or cafés, or ostentatiously cruising in open-topped cars. At other times a more sedate class hangs out on the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery or glides in and out of the two big department stores, Holt Renfrew and The Bay. Downtown’s other principal thoroughfares are Burrard Street – all smart shops, hotels and offices – and Granville Street, partly pedestrianized with plenty of shops and cinemas, but curiously seedy in places, especially at its southern end near the Granville Street Bridge. New development is taking Downtown’s reach farther east, and at some point you should try to see the public library at 350 West Georgia St, a focus of this growth and a striking piece of modern architecture.
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