I lived here for a time, but now I only come back if I need some cheap fruit and veg. The whole strip just gives me the creeps now. Lots of beggars crying poverty, yet somehow they have the funds to smoke drugs and drink in the parks all day, when they aren't taking up half the sidewalk. At least one guy has a knife in his hands at all times- for the arts and crafts he sometimes carves, I'm sure. Dope is openly sold outside the post office; convenient for some I suppose.
On the other side of the coin are the Yuppie Hiptser types who thrive on the gluten free organic vegan paleo hand-picked by Tibetan virgins coffee shops and fishmongers who will tell you the name of the captain of the boat where this overpriced fish was caught, but I ramble. If you're familiar with Vancouver, the Drive is kind of like Robson Street, with slightly less known brands (but the same high prices). But hey, if people want to spend $32 (plus tax and tip) for a thin crust pizza who am I to be critical.
Be careful if you're driving, as the denizens of this area tend to walk into traffic as is they're daring you to hit them.
On the plus side, there are a few good takeaways and fruit and veg shops left, though I'd advise browsing them all to see which has the better prices or quality on any given day.
Tacky, certainly. Funky, maybe- but not cheap.
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