Why go now: The Olympics hubbub has died down, but this neighborhood continues to boom with new shops, restaurants, and watering holes.
Its name comes from: Gold prospector "Gassy Jack" Deighton, who built the first tavern here in 1867.
The vibe: Once-gritty, now more SoHo than Skid Row.
Best place to chat with a local: Irish Heather Gastro Pub (210 Carrall St.; 604/688-9779), where a huge whiskey list helps along conversation.
Canadian soul food: Try poutine, french fried doused in gravy and cheese curds, at Boneta ($$$ U.S.; closed Sun; 12 Water St.; 604/684-1844).
Walk off that gravy: Head five blocks to the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden ($14 U.S.; 578 Carrall; 604/662-3207).
Hot table: New Nicli Antica Pizzeria ($$ U.S.; 62 E. Cordova St.; 604/669-6985) is already famous for its authentic Neapolitan pies.
Get the inside scoop: Keep up on Gastown's goings-on at gastown.org
Fine dining in Blood Alley: Upping Gastown's name is new, swanky-industrial L'Abattoir (its name is French for "slaughterhouse," a nod to the location near a former butchers' alley). A see-and-be-seen crowd comes for killer cocktails, while the food is a happy marriage of modern French technique and local ingredients. $$$ U.S.; 217 Carrall St.; 604/568-1710.