25 Pros And Cons Of Living In Vancouver BC (By A Local)

Want to know about the pros and cons of living in Vancouver?

Being born and raised in Vancouver, I’m here to help you with all the details and information that will help you feel more prepared if or when you move to Vancouver.

Vancouver is one of the most multicultural and diverse Canadian cities. It’s also a beautiful city, and there are many reasons why people want to live here.

While I love living in Vancouver, I’m going to be honest: it’s not the easiest to live in one of the most expensive cities in Canada. But there are upsides to living in Vancouver.

However, these are the pros and cons of living in Vancouver that many people don’t know before moving to Vancouver.

Pros And Cons Of Living In Vancouver

I have identified 13 advantages and 10 disadvantages from my experiences growing up in Vancouver, which will help you gain more valuable insights into the city.

Additionally, I’ll address a neutral statement that often sparks debate among locals.

An overview look of Vancouver and other neighbourhoods in the distance. There are many buildings and water that surrounds parts of downtown. It's also during either sunset or sunrise.

13 Pro Statements

Let’s start with the pro statements of living in Vancouver.

Pro: Close To Nature

Vancouver is the centre of the great outdoors. You can travel to different locations, such as mountains, oceans, deserts, and forests. The best part is that it’s only a few hours away from the city.

You don’t have to love the outdoors to live in Vancouver. However, you’ll grow to love the outdoors when you live in Vancouver.

While being in nature, there are many things to do in Vancouver in the winter, such as snowboarding, skiing, kayaking, canoeing, camping, and hiking.

Overlooking the water at Coal Harbour. There is a float plane docked on the water, the sun on the left setting in betweem two tall buildings, and Stanley Park and boats docked in the distance. You can see the start of the Seawall from below the viewpoint. The pros and cons of living in Vancouver is something to consider before moving here.

Pro: Variety Of Food

I mentioned earlier that Vancouver is a multicultural city. Not only does that show with our people but with our food. Seafood in Vancouver is top-notch because we live on the coast.

You’re bound to find all different types of cuisine all over the city. Whether it’s the best Japanese food, for example, sushi (which I have to say in all of Canada, Vancouver has the best sushi), Chinese food or Vietnamese food, and even more to discover.

Pro: Local Events

Vancouver always has local events. You name it: sporting events, farmers’ markets, conventions, competitions, and even movie productions that film all over the city. Depending on the year, there’s always something to watch or see.

There are also many non-touristy things to do in Vancouver, so while you’re living there, check them out; that way, you’ll get acquainted better with the Vancouver lifestyle.

A hockey game taking place in Rogers Area. The Vancouver Canucks winning a game on home ice with the crowd standing, cheering, or leaving the area stands. The game just ended so there are hockey players are still on the ice. One of the pros of living in Vancouver is attending sporting events.

Pro: Hub To Islands

There are multiple islands that you can travel to while living in Vancouver. Luckily, Vancouver has easy access to Vancouver Island with places like Victoria, Tofino, and Ucluelet.

You can also travel to the Sunshine Coast, where you can find the towns of Gibsons, Sechelt, and Halfmoon Bay.

There are also the Gulf Islands that are scattered between the mainland of British Columbia and Vancouver Island. The southern Gulf Islands are perfect for romantic getaways. The islands include Salt Spring, Galiano, Mayne, Pender, and Saturna.

Pro: Local Public Transportation (Transit)

Okay, hear me out. A lot of people complain about our transit system. I agree they have flaws and inevitable delays, but I have to consider transit a pro.

Why is transit a pro? Well, for convenience sake. We have SkyTrains, buses, the Canada Line, SeaBus, and a new subway under construction. Depending on the time of day and where you’re going, transit can reduce travelling time.

Yes, they have delays and break down occasionally, but as a local living in Vancouver, using the transit system is highly convenient. Without it, Vancouver would end up like Los Angeles. Using transit makes it much easier to get around Vancouver without a car.

I have used the transit system since I was a teenager; all I can say is always allow extra time for transit. If you’ll get there in 20 minutes, tack on an extra 10 in case of delays.

A dark grey with a thin yellow strip in the middle and blue bottom of a SkyTrain (car 007) coming into a station during sunset. You can see part of Downtown Vancouver peaking from behind the trees and mountains in the distances on the left and right. While many like to thing the transportation in Vancouver is a con, I like to think of it as a pro because it is convenient.

It can get expensive to ride transit in Vancouver. However, due to inflation, the transit fair goes up a couple of cents every year or two.

I recommend purchasing a Compass Card. It’s reusable and reloadable, with slightly lower prices than the Compass Passes.

πŸ’‘ Tip: Leave 20 to 30 minutes earlier on rainy days or snow days to avoid delays on your way to work.

Pro: Multiple Outdoor Green Spaces

Vancouver is home to nearly 300 parks (including beaches and gardens). You can find a green space almost anywhere in the city. British Columbia alone is home to many national parks, like Manning Provincial Park.

Some outdoor spaces there are notorious in Vancouver:

  • Stanley Park
  • Queen Elizabeth Park
  • Jericho Beach
  • Kitsilano Beach

Vancouver has bike lanes and roads all around the city. To be transparent, some routes can be more dangerous than others, so be careful when riding a bike on the streets.

Some of the best Stanley Park bike tours take you in and around Stanley Park, on the Seawall, and to other locations around the city. They’re available for all levels of riders, and there are even E-bike tours if you don’t want to do a lot of peddling.

An overview shot of Vancouver with neighbourhoods in the foreground and the city in the background. There is also the mountains and ocean visable. It's cloudy and the sun setting. There are many pros and cons of living in Vancouver and one of them is the many green spaces in the city.

Pro: Vancouver International Airport (YVR) Is Well Connected

Vancouver International Airport (YVR) has consistently ranked as the best airport in Canada. YVR has an impressive streak that includes 12 consecutive years of winning the Skytrax Best North American Airport Award from 2007 to 2010 and continuously from 2012 to 2022. According to Skytrax, YVR is ranked in the 20th position worldwide.

Vancouver International Airport features two marine exhibits maintained by the Vancouver Aquarium. Installed in 2007 during the International Terminal expansion, the main aquarium on Level 3 has a 114,000-liter tank that houses over 5,000 creatures like wolf eels, kelp greenlings, and sea stars, 3,000+ invertebrates, including sea urchins and anemones.

On Level 4, a smaller exhibit features a Jellyfish Exhibit with 12 jellies in a 1,800-liter tank.

The Vancouver International Airport is also easily accessible by taking the Canada Line from Downtown Vancouver.

Pro: Great Schooling Opportunities

Vancouver’s public school system is among some of the best in the country. The Vancouver School Board manages it. Vancouverites have the opportunity to choose between public or private schools covering education from kindergarten to grade 12.

If you’re moving to Vancouver with children, determining which elementary or high school they attend is based on the neighbourhood catchment boundaries.

I know some people who lived on the catchment boundaries and had to decide which high school they wanted to attend. If you’re already within a school’s catchment area, you’ll automatically be eligible to register for that school unless you apply for a Cross Boundary Application.

However, Cross Boundary Applications aren’t guaranteed. They’ll be considered after all the students in the catchment area have been accommodated.

Some neighbourhoods and schools will have more students than others based on programs and other factors, such as housing affordability.

Additionally, globally well-known post-secondary education institutions such as the University of British Columbia (UBC), Simon Fraser University (SFU), and the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) offer many programs.

Educational buildings on campus at the University of British Columbia. The ocean is in the background and you can see mountains in the far distance.

Pro: Shopping

Retail or grocery shopping, you’ll be okay with shopping anywhere, living in Vancouver. It feels more like where I should shop today for my groceries or which mall I should shop at today.

We also tend to have various grocery stores in the moderate price range if you plan on living on the East side of Vancouver, i.e., Superstore or Walmart. Meanwhile, the West end has higher-end grocery stores, i.e., Whole Foods or Urban Fare.

Pro: Health Care

The free health care system is funded through taxes and is universal in Canada. If you plan to live in Vancouver for a certain amount of time or permanently, I recommend looking into more information about Canada’s health care system.

Pro: Weather

I’m not sure if it’s a local thing, but no matter what, Vancouvrites always talk about the weather. Summer overall is hot, and we can reach temperatures up to 30 degrees Celcius (86 Fahrenheit) in some areas over 30 degrees.

Winter overall is moderate. However, temperatures can reach the negatives, but the weather fluctuates between years. Sometimes, we get a lot of snow during the winter; others, we get none.

Pro: A Walkable City

Vancouver is a walkable city due to its infrastructure, pedestrian-friendly streets, and many green spaces. Vancouver’s downtown core is compact, making walking from neighbourhood to neighbourhood much easier.

Pro: Easy To Get To The USA

Taking a day trip or a weekend trip to the States (United States) is a common and regular occurrence for Vancouver people because the border is a 40 to 50-minute drive away.

Many people, including myself, drive to Birch Bay (PO Boxes), Bellingham, Seattle, Oregon, and even California.

Most of the time, it’s as far as Seattle because we mainly check out stores we don’t have in Canada, such as Target and Trader Joe’s, or look for cheaper gas, etc. I mostly go for Taco Bell.

Pro: You Don’t Need To Know French

Canada’s two main languages are English and French. You don’t need to know how to speak French in Vancouver, or at least in almost all of Canada; you’ll only need to speak French if you’re in Quebec.

Neither Pro Nor Con

Neutral: Rain

Sorry, the Vancouverite in me is going to be talking about the weather again.

Geographically, Vancouver is a temperate rainforest. In layman’s terms, we get a lot of rain, especially during winter and spring. Throughout the year, we can go weeks with ample amounts of rainfall.

I would consider myself neutral when it comes to rain. However, many local people debate whether rain is a bad thing or a good thing and also, depending on who you ask, you’ll get a different answer.

A rainy evening all Granville Street in Downtown Vancouver. The Orphum and Rogue are popular spots for entertainment. There's a bus that just passed the traffic light and cars waiting to pass at the just changed green light. Vancouver is one of the rainest locations in Canada because it is located in a temperate rainforest.

There are a number of reasons why people can’t stand the rain in Vancouver. For example, it rained out my plans, it brought my mood down, and transit sucks in the rain (sometimes), etc.

However, rain contributes to our electricity in Vancouver because the entire city and the tri-cities rely on a hydroelectric generating system.

We also have many freshwater dams that contribute to our drinking water, which relies on rainfall. And I have to say personally, I think that Vancouver has the best drinking water in the worldβ€”or at least in Canada.

10 Con Statements

Con: High Cost Of Living

The biggest thing on this list of the pros and cons of living in Vancouver is the city’s high cost of living. Whether you rent or plan to buy, almost everywhere is expensive. Depending on which neighbourhood you plan to live in, make a price difference too.

As a general idea, I don’t know anyone who rents for under $2,500 CAD a month. And to tell you the truth, the $2,500, depending on location, will give you a small one-bedroom apartment.

I don’t want to scare you, but finding somewhere to live in Vancouver is tough. Many people I also know have roommates to help split the cost, but even then, it still costs a pretty penny.

Con: High Food Prices

Again, like the cost of living, the high food prices in Vancouver only keep increasing, especially for red meat. To put it in perspective, my family is a household of three. We tend to buy our groceries every two or three weeks.

Our grocery bill can reach close to $300 CAD or more depending on where we shop, i.e., Superstore vs. Costco or Walmart vs. Superstore.

Con: Traffic & Drivers

Compared to Los Angeles traffic, they make Vancouver’s traffic or rush hour look like nothing. Typically, our rush hours aren’t a massive deal unless there’s an accident, and it’s still considered a con but not one of the biggest cons of living in Vancouver.

πŸ’‘ Tip: Rush hour occurs in the morning, from 6:00 AM to around 8:45 AM, and in the evenings, from 4:00 PM to 6:45 PM.

The drivers in Vancouver aren’t always the best. I have seen both sides of people driving as a passenger and a driver.

Sometimes, you’ll see people being reckless or reckless with road rage. But you also have polite drivers who will throw up a thank you hand.

Con: Expensive To Fly Elsewhere

If you fly anywhere from Vancouver, the cost of flying is expensive. Even travelling between provinces is costly. Compared to flying from Ontario, their location is more centralized than Vancouver, so hence why flights are cheaper in comparison to Vancouver.

You can find cheaper flights from Vancouver; for example, travelling to places like Mexico tends to be in approximately the $500 CAD range. But flights tend to skyrocket if you travel even down to locations in the USA.

Con: High Gas Prices

Even though British Columbia is right next to the province of Alberta (also known as oil country), our gas prices are starting to become more than two dollars a litre. When I was younger, I remember when gas hit one dollar, and we thought that was high.

However, times are changing, and Vancouver is working towards all-electric vehicles and installing more charging stations across the province. But we still have a ways to go.

Con: Forest Fires

In recent years, forest fires have been a massive issue in our province because of climate change and human irresponsibility. Unfortunately, that affects everyone in British Columbia because the smoke will fill the sky if the forest fire is close enough or the wind blows in our direction.

The smoke can cause potential respiratory problems, making it difficult for humans and animals in Vancouver and throughout British Columbia to breathe the air.

A couple of years ago, the smoke was highly hazardous. Scientists said it was above the safe range to step outside. Windows or airflow into the house had to be closed or turned off.

In 2023, British Columbians experienced one of the worst forest fire seasons in history. The season started earlier than usual (April). At the time of writing this post, 1,818 wildfires had burned approximately 1.61 million hectares of land, including communities.

If you plan to move to Vancouver, please throw your cigarette butts or joints in the proper disposal bins, put out campfires properly, never leave them unattended, and report a fire if you see one.

Con: Boring Nightlife

While many retail and Canadian souvenir stores are in Downtown Vancouver, clubs and pubs are not among Vancouver’s strongest suits.

Vancouver is known to have a poor or non-lively nightlife in Canada. Granville Street is the only place in Downtown Vancouver with all the pubs and nightclubs, but even then, as a whole, it’s boring.

Con: Underprepared For Snow

I’m not going to lie; Vancouver is underprepared for snow. It’s pretty much laughable that the city isn’t. Vancouver doesn’t frequently get a lot of snowfall, but the city isn’t prepared when we do.

I suggest staying off the roads altogether when the snow starts falling.

In recent years, Vancouver has had a variety of heavy or light snowfalls, and even during the light snowfalls, it’s a catastrophe. Mostly because nobody really has winter tires in Vancouver, and the snowplows don’t start on time, or we don’t have enough.

But on the positive side, the city looks stunning when covered in snow!

A snowy neighbourhood. There are some cars covered in snow and the neighbourhood street is not properly plowed.

Con: Not Always Friendly

Another thing I won’t lie about; not everyone in Vancouver is friendly. As a local, I’ve encountered people who are friendly or outright rude.

For some reason, making new friends in Vancouver is also challenging. Either way, you’ll always find friendly or not-so-friendly people anywhere.

Con: Earthquake Prone

Vancouver is located on the Pacific Tectonic Plate or “The Ring of Fire,” meaning we are more prone to earthquakes. Yes, tsunamis can happen as well because of the quakes.

Growing up in Vancouver, in elementary and high schools, you’ll always have earthquake practice drills at least once a year. There are mini earthquakes that could happen any day, and historically, we are overdue for “The Big One.”

Pros And Cons Of Living In Vancouver — FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions about the pros and cons of living in Vancouver.

Is Vancouver An Expensive City To Live In?

To be honest and blunt, Vancouver is an expensive city to live in. Along with Toronto, it’s constantly tied for the most expensive city in Canada.

Where Is Vancouver Located?

Vancouver is located on the West Coast of Canada in the province of British Columbia.

Why Is Vancouver So Desirable?

Vancouver is desirable because of its stunning natural surroundings, mild climate, cultural diversity, high quality of life, and economic opportunities.

As well as the abundant outdoor activities, free healthcare system, environmental sustainability, easy access to nature, low crime rate, and overall safety.

Is It Worth Living In Vancouver?

Diverse natural landscapes, a mild climate, a multicultural atmosphere, and diverse food options will make the majority of people wanting to live in Vancouver worth it.

However, what may deter many is the high cost of sustaining a living in Vancouver.

Regardless of the high cost of living, I love living in Vancouver, and I’m not biased; there are many reasons why I love living in the city.


As you can see, living in Vancouver has more pros than cons. While I can say it’s not easy to live in one of the most expensive cities in Canada, if you want to live in Vancouver, I would say make a move to live in Vancouver. Despite all the negatives, Vancouver is beautiful, and you’ll fall in love with this city.

Have a good day πŸ™‚