Where to go on one of the city's most creative streets

Info: Illuminares Lantern Festival (604/879-8611) is 7-11 Jul 29. www.tourismvancouver.com

In July, Commercial Drive in Vancouver, British Columbia, gets its glow.

At month’s end is the Illuminares Lantern Festival, an enchanting evening of fire dancers, ragtime bands, fireworks, and a shimmering procession of handmade lanterns that weaves around John Hendry Park’s Trout Lake.

And on any day, you can visit independently owned housewares and curio shops, ethnic eateries, European cafes, vintage clothing retailers, and organic grocers.

Whether or not you make it to the parade, the neighborhood’s festive spirit is sure to shine through.


Havana Restaurant & Gallery.

What: Sea scallop ceviche and pineapple salsa, art, and the best people-watching patio on the Drive. Tucked behind the dining room is a 60-seat theater that showcases local performers.
When: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily.
How much: $$ U.S.
Where: 1212 Commercial Dr.; 604/253-9119.

Falconetti’s East Side Grill.

What: A 30-seat streetside restaurant specializing in sausage: chorizo, merguez, coconut-curry Thai chicken, even veggie; all homemade and additive-free.
When: Lunch and dinner daily.
How much: $ U.S.
Where: 1812 Commercial Dr.; 604/251-7287.

Caffè Calabria.

What: Kitschy Italian coffee bar complete with statues, celebrity head shots, and creamy espresso drinks.
When: Open daily.
Where: 1745 Commercial Dr.; 604/253-7017.

JJ Bean House of Coffee.

What: Another front-runner in the area’s parade of java brewers.
When: Open daily.
Where: 2206 Commercial Dr.; 604/254-3723. 

East Vancouver Farmers Market.

What: Vancouver’s favorite seasonal market, where you might spot some of the city’s best chefs wandering among Green Zebra tomatoes and juicy Okanagan Valley peaches.
When: 9-2 Sat through Oct.
Where: John Hendry Park, E. 15th Ave. at Victoria Dr.; 604/879-3276.

Dream Designs.

What: Organic home furnishings, bedding, and linens, all made locally.
When: Open daily.
Where: 956 Commercial Dr.; 604/254-5012.

Keep Reading: