Located just south of Vancouver, bounded by the Fraser River, Richmond is a coastal city known for its rich Asian culture and cuisine, historical heritage sites, and art. It has its own distinct vibe that sets it apart. Below are some of the restaurants, museums, and other sites you won’t want to miss on a trip to this culturally and geographically diverse city just over the border.
Where to eat
Over 50 percent of Richmond of Richmond’s population identify their ethnic origin as Chinese, so it’s no surprise that the Chinese cuisine options are incredible.
Nora Hamade, a local food & travel influencer who can be found under the Instagram handle @nomnomyvr, shared some of her insider tips. Hamade notes that the Asian barbeque in Richmond is something special, and she recommends HK BBQ Master for grab and go meals.
“There’s also Parker Place (Aberdeen) Meat & BBQ,” she says. “They’re not as well known or publicized [as HK] and it’s a slightly different style, but their Asian barbeque meat is really good.” This butcher shop and deli is tucked in the food court of Parker Place, an Asian mall. The Parker Place food court offers a wide range of Asian cuisines – including another of Hamade’s favorite spots, The Rainbow Café — a dessert stall that serves bubble waffles.
Elsewhere in Richmond, an additional “don’t miss” spot of Hamade’s is The Richmond Public Market. On the first floor you can buy produce, flowers, souvenirs, and gifts, while the second floor is a food court that features a wide variety of Asian options.
“The Public Market in general is known for quick and cheap eats,” says Hamade. “It’s a place where you can have a meal and then go down and get groceries for the day.” She says the food court houses two standouts: Xi An Cuisine and Peanut’s Bubble Tea.
Xi An Cuisine is a small food stall run by a man from Northern China who makes hand pulled noodles. “You can see him pull the noodles right in front of you,” Hamade adds. Peanut’s is one of Richmond’s first bubble tea shops. In addition to the original milk teas and fruit slushies, Peanut also serves custard desserts in both sweet and savory flavors.
Hamade resides in Richmond’s historical fishing village, Steveston, Richmond’s fishing village, and says like everywhere in town has a surprising variety of cuisines. Richmond’s fishing village also has great Asian food, but Hamade recommends trying something a little different: Kisamos, a Greek restaurant. “It has delicious authentic Greek food which I order at least once a month,” she says. She also recommends Anar, a Persian restaurant, and Pajo’s Fish and Chips, which has two locations in the village. Hamade recommends grabbing fish and chips at the location near Garry Point Park, then heading to the park to watch the sunset as you enjoy your meal.
Explore history and culture
Richmond is home to two designated National Historic Sites: the Gulf of Georgia Cannery and the Britannia Shipyards. The Cannery is an excellent spot to learn more about Canada’s West Coast fishing history. Interactive exhibits, tours, and films highlight how the Cannery helped shape this history. Built in 1894, it’s now one of very few historically intact cannery buildings out of the 200 that used to dot Canada’s west coast.
Spread across eight acres of land, Britannia Shipyards is best known as home to rare historic buildings from the late 19th century, which include residences, canneries, and boatyards.
“In the late 1800s, many canneries were popping up and down the west coast and this was an ideal place to harvest very nutrient-rich salmon,” explains Mimi Horita, Marketing & Visitor Services Manager at the Gulf of Georgia Cannery. “So when immigrants came to the west coast, they built canneries; at one point there were over 50 canneries operating in BC. It’s significant that we have the historic site and founding members who worked in the cannery and now volunteer here and share their stories firsthand.”
Horita adds that she loves the history and heritage that can be found at other historic buildings, including the The Japanese Fishermen’s Benevolent Society, a museum that focuses on the experiences of Japanese-Canadians in the city leading up to their internment during World War II.
Public art is on display throughout the city, especially in the fishing village. “I love all the public art,” says Horita, pointing out the sculptures and memorials dedicated to the fisherman, as well as murals and boxes wrapped in salmon-related themes and designs as examples.
“I also recommend this corner of Richmond for its natural beauty and the art it inspires for photographers, painters, and musicians,” Horita adds.
On top of all that wonderful public art, make sure to stop in at the Moon & Back Gallery. It opened in October 2019 and is currently in its third season. This contemporary art gallery features a group of rooms including a mirror light exhibit and metro Vancouver’s first-ever Infinity Room. A highlight this season is the new LED Time Tunnel. Made with over two thousand LED panels, it provides a dazzlingly immersive experience. The gallery also recently added interactive activities and a children’s section so it’s an excellent family activity.
Finally, don’t miss the Richmond Art Gallery, the only public gallery in the city. Featuring art from regional, national, and international artists, this gallery focuses on contemporary art and strives to be a source of art education for both children and adults. In addition to the permanent collection, the gallery has an eclectic array of exhibitions, workshops, and lectures.
Tourism Richmond is an award-winning non-profit destination marketing organization with the primary mandate of promoting Richmond through marketing, sales and destination development initiatives. Its ultimate goal is to ensure Richmond and its communities benefit from a thriving visitor economy.