Downtown Vancouver is an exciting urban neighbourhood with a cosmopolitan population. The area is full of bars, boutiques, restaurants, cafés and bookstores.
The pedestrian-oriented side streets are easily accessible to beaches and parks. The negative side of this density is the higher level of crime that goes with it.
Access to Public Transit, the SkyTrain, WestCoast Express and SeaBus make it easy to get around, even if you don't have a car.
West End and Yaletown are a very livable part of this high-density city. The West End has a significant gay community. The waterfront Coal Harbour area, close to Stanley Park has an older, quieter crowd (well-off over-40 empty nesters) with some estimates that at half of Coal Harbour's waterfront-property dwellers are part-time Vancouverites from the U.S., Asia, and Europe. Away from the water, about 40 percent of some towers are rental units.
Condos in the West End can set you back $300,000-3 million, with many units over $1 million.
Housing consists almost exclusively of apartment blocks, artists' lofts and low-rise condos.
There are a number of schools in the area (map). Vancouver Public Library's architecturally stunning central branch is close by as well. Post Secondary opportunities are abundant, with everything downtown (including SFU's downtown campus at Harbour Centre) close-by, and the major universities accessible by car or public transit.
The shopping in the community is found along West Georgia, Denman, and Davie Streets. The nearest shopping malls are in the downtown area close to Granville.
Recreation is centred around the beaches along False Creek/English Bay, the Vancouver Aquatic Centre, and of course, Stanley Park. The area's closeness to Downtown, Gastown, and Yaletown gives quick & easy access to the bars, restaurants, sports venues, movie theatres and performing arts venues there.