Neighborhood Guide: Things to do in Kitsilano, Vancouver

The best cafes, entertainment, boutiques, restaurants and more.

If you find yourself in a neighborhood with an astonishing number of cyclists, joggers, and, in general, the most active locals in Vancouver, you’ll probably be in Kitsilano. Welcome to the land of sports, beaches and vegan eating (although that’s not all in this great part of town). Kitsilano, dubbed “Kits,” also carries the legacy of being the birthplace of Lululemon – a brand that has become synonymous with Vancouver.

Kitsilano is known for its lifestyle stores, waterfront parks, and great food among many other exciting things to do.

Coffee is a typical morning chore for many Vancouverians, and Kits is no different. Either after your morning workout or before stepping into the water, indulge in the sweet aroma of coffee at Kitsilano’s unique cafés and snack on certified local bakeries. For a great sit and sipping experience, grab a coffee at Café Portrait or Platform 7. The first is an art lover’s dream, where the entire interior of the café is lined with portrait paintings framed by the owner’s father. The dark wooden tables and chairs lit by yellow hanging lights add to the old art gallery the perfect feel for a coffee. Platform 7 is just plain whimsical. The interior is an old European train station which makes it one of the coolest places to have a cup of coffee.

For a more inviting setting, head to Arbutus Coffee where you can find a glass screen with bakery items and a blackboard written menu with coffee and other drinks following the cute red and blue exterior. If your choice of baked goods crave more, Beaucoup Bakery and Cafe will surely satisfy your pastry and sweet cravings.

Once the caffeine kicks in, pack a picnic basket and head down for an afternoon in Vanier Park. The waterfront park is a great place to stretch out in the sun, look across the water at Sunset Beach and watch the boats and paddle boats come in and out of the creek. If it rains, the park has three museums to explore: the Vancouver Museum, the Vancouver Maritime Museum, and the HR Macmillan Space Center.

From the promenade, stroll along the shoreline to Kitsilano Beach where you’ll find fine sand, beach volleyball, water sports, and a nearby saltwater pool. (You also probably didn’t know these cool things about Kitsilano Beach and the pool.) This beach was and still is a popular hangout for many Vancouver residents.

However, if the beach isn’t for you and tennis isn’t for you either, walk around town and keep an eye out for the many cultural festivals that take place in the neighborhood throughout the year. In June you can find Greek Day on Broadway and in July a Khatsalano Street Party. During the summer, the Kitsilano Showboat Amphitheater will be showing performances.

Kitsilano has two main shopping streets: West 4th and Broadway. Shopping on these two store-lined streets will reveal an array of sporting and sporting goods stores, sustainable fashion, curated boutiques and other exotic goods. You can also spot some of the big brands like Knix, Frank and Oak, The Latest Scoop, Lululemon and Mejuri while shopping in this neighborhood.

For outdoor shoppers, be sure to stop by The Boardroom for surfing, skiing and snowboarding gear, the Running Room for all things running and at Billabong and Reigning Champ for quality sportswear. On the more casual side of shopping, Anián and Icebreaker are sustainable stores to look out for for circular fashion, casual wear, and quality fabrics. Curated stores like Hills Dry Goods, Gravitypope Tailored Goods, and The Nooks feel like the sweet spot between thrift and shopping. Fashion house JNBY can also be found in collections, for those looking to flaunt a designer statement piece. For sparkle and shine, the newly opened Mejuri store on West 4th street is as beautiful as the brand’s Instagram feed and a must-see, even if it’s just window shopping. Blue Ruby Jewelry, found within Hills Dry Goods, has charming accessories, too. As for eccentric footwear, Miz Mooz Boutique and Gravitypope Footwear have colorful patterns for all of Vancouver.

When it comes to food, Kits is an exciting mix of local favorites and special occasions worth visiting.

Discover the flavors of Thailand at Menam Restaurant in Kitsilano. Photography by Octane Group / Courtesy Minam

Throw in a veggie hit, enjoy The Naam, enjoy the perfect quirky dinner experience at Sophie’s Cosmic Cafe, or take advantage of the super-crazy sushi at The Eatery.

If you’re looking to party or go a little more upscale, Kitsilano is home to Au Comptoir of French bistro classics, fine Italian dining in La Quercia, popular modern Thai in Maenam, and contemporary Pacific Northwest at AnnaLena.

International flavors abound in Kits, from relative newcomer Delara eating Persian to Vietnamese cuisine at Mr. Red and Asian dishes at East Is East. Unsung heroes like The Ellis and OddFish are also worth checking out, while vegan eaters will want to check out Chi and The Cider House.

Japanese food lovers will want to check out Raisu for their amazing boxes and plates showcasing dazzling kaiseki-style meals and fresh fish, Green Leaf for its beautiful abori and nigiri sushi, and Moltan for its vibrant sushi creations. You won’t regret waiting in line for a bowl of ramen at Danbo either.

Treat yourself to their There (coffee and pastry), Rain or Shine (ice cream), Uno (gelato) and Aphrodite (Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively are loyal fans of their pies). Kits is also home to cafe and restaurant outposts from popular Vancouver’s restaurant empires, such as Tacofino, Tractor, Nook, Banana Leaf, and Purebread bakery.

Next time you crave an all-day adventure, look no further than Kitsilano.

With additional reporting by Lindsey William Ross

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