Having found a cheap fare on Amtrak from Chicago to Portland I decided to head out to the west coast. From Portland I headed up to Seattle for a day and then ended my trip with a stay in Vancouver. What follows is a partial look at a few select neighborhoods (as in they were in the guidebook). I may add more later as well as Portland and Seattle.
According to Lonely Planet Vancouver's larger Chinatown is actually now in suburban Richmond, but the original Chinatown was still quite impressive. My first visit was to the night market which was a several block long strech of vendors hawking everything from food to cheap trinkets. I ended up going back a few days later (I took a bus the wrong direction) and ended up walking around for a bit and having lunch. The atmosphere in Chinatown was much different during the day (it was pretty much dead with the exception of the market) and the sidewalks were filled with displays flowing out of the many shops.
I was a little dissapointed in this neighborhood. Its of course an Indian neighborhood and hosts a small strip of Indian food stores, restuarants, and sari shops. Not much street life, much more suburban than Chinatown.
SoMa (South Main) Neighborhood has a bit of bohemian, hipsterish feel.
Commercial Drive, very mixed area, heavy Italian influence