Commercial Drive: The Heartbeat of Culture in East Vancouver

Commercial Drive: The Heartbeat of Culture in East Vancouver

With an eclectic array of food, drink, and entertainment options, the ambiance buzzes in the cultural epicenter of East Vancouver.   

Neighbourhood Overview 

Commercial Drive, also known as "The Drive," is a vibrant and culturally-rich neighbourhood in East Vancouver starting approximately at the intersection of Broadway and Commercial. The Drive is known for having many shopping, dining, and nightlife options. 

One of the best parts about this East Van staple neighbourhood is it has an officially designated "Little Italy" area. This eight-block stretch has represented Italian heritage in the area for over 60 years. The Commercial Drive neighbourhood spans 22 blocks and has more than 300 unique merchants, including charming boutiques, a wide variety of superb restaurants, a lively music scene, hopping bars, theaters, coffee houses, specialty food stores, and bakeries. 

Whether you visit during the day or after dark, The Drive is a one-of-a-kind experience in Vancouver. Welcome to the unique and colourful jewel of East Vancouver, Commercial Drive!  

Vibrant Culture

Grabbing a coffee and strolling along Commercial Drive is a great way to get to know the area. There are plenty of people-watching opportunities, and in a neighbourhood this diverse, you're sure to see a little bit of everything culturally.

Events from theatre to poetry readings to live music can be found on The Drive in abundance. The hardest decision is choosing where to go, and there's only one solution, and it's an East Van tradition—stroll The Drive.  

Fabulous Food and Drink

The culinary diversity on Commercial Drive is impressive. The area is renowned for its strong Italian influence, which has permeated into many of the food establishments in the area. 

With an abundance of espresso bars, wood-fired pizzerias, pasta restaurants, and gelato shops, the culinary delights of The Drive are calling you. 


Commercial Drive also offers an array of cuisines from other cultures, including Caribbean, El Salvadorian, Nepalese, and Mexican. With so many options, the best way to pick a spot is to wander into a restaurant that catches your eye while you explore the neighbourhood. 

For those thirsty souls looking for a drink, The Drive does not disappoint. The area is a paradise for beer lovers, featuring plenty of tap houses, pubs, and craft breweries. With a dizzying variety of local and European brews, the Drive delivers the goods when it comes to booze. 

Abundant Recreation Opportunities 

Packed with parks and green spaces, the Commercial Drive neighbourhood in East Vancouver has plenty of spaces for peace and quiet. At least, as much solitude as one can expect in the middle of a busy metro area with thousands of residents. 

In the southern part of the neighbourhood, John Hendry Park surrounds Trout Lake. This is where locals go when they want to unplug from the city and be surrounded by trees, greenery, grass, and wetlands. 

In the north part of the neighbourhood, Grandview Park beckons with its drum circles, green spaces, and inclusive vibe. 

Connie’s Top Five Spots on the Drive

If you need a little guidance on some excellent local businesses, these five places are ones you must check out: 

  1. La Grotta for a delicious sandwich

  2. Moja Coffee for croissants and cappuccino

  3. York Theatre for shows or performances

  4. Havana Vancouver for its patio

  5. LIVIO for brunch with a friend

The Verdict on This East Van Neighbourhood

Commercial Drive is a neighbourhood known mainly for its cultural amenities. Those looking for a quiet family neighbourhood may want to look at other areas nearby, as The Drive is a busy, vibrant neighbourhood that feels like one big party. With a cultural scene as diverse as anywhere, The Drive is sure to have something for everyone.  

Does Commercial Drive or another East Vancouver neighbourhood catch your eye? Get in touch with Connie Buna. You can reach her by phone: (778) 689-7653 or by email:


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