Without a doubt, there are many ways to plan the perfect weekend in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada including brewery tours and days at Grouse Mountain. But stopping by the beachside neighborhood of Kitsilano is an absolute must. The community has a vibe of its own that's one of the most distinctive in the Greater Vancouver area.
Kitsilano (nicknamed "Kits") is a neighborhood located on Vancouver's west-side just south of English Bay. It was the hood that Ryan Reynolds grew up in, and one that he still returns to along with George Clooney and a number of other celebs who frequent Vancouver. While Kits is a hotspot for tourists, it does have a complicated reputation amongst some of the locals.
Without further ado, here's what to expect when visiting the beachside Kitsilano neighborhood in Vancouver, British Columbia.
10 A Beachside Community Caught Between The Ocean, Downtown Vancouver, And The Mountains
Visiting the Richmond night market or the Sea-To-Sky Gondola tend to be included in many Vancouver travel guides, but so does visit Kits Beach. The beautiful laid-back residential area sits right on the water with gorgeous views of Downtown Vancouver, the ocean, and the North Shore which houses Grouse and Seymour Mountains. While the community still has a large number of old-school homes and apartment buildings, there's also a ton of brand-new developments and over-the-top mansions on Point Grey Road. Because of this, the community is a healthy mix between the Earthy, old-school beach-siders, and a younger generation obsessed with fitness and health.
9 Kit's 4th Ave Is A Popular Destination For Food And Shops That Still Maintains A Shred Of A 1960s Vibe
In the 1960s, Vancouver's Kitsilano neighborhood was constantly compared to the vibe of San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury area, but that's changed in the last few decades. While the area, specifically the 4th Avenue shopping district, has maintained some of this vibe, it's also home to new businesses, developments, and an epic yoga community fed by the presence of Lululemon. There are still a few old-school restaurants on 4th Avenue, including Sophie's Cosmic Cafe and The Naam. But 4th has also become about high-end boutiques, swanky restaurants, and bustling neighborhood pubs.
8 Kits Beach Is Beautiful But Filled With Attractive Show-Offs
The Kitsilano neighborhood is almost synonymous with Kits Beach itself, which was named one of the "10 Best City Beaches In The World" by international travel magazines. That's probably because of the beautiful setting V.S. how nice it is to actually swim there. For the record, swimming at Kits Beach is average due to cooler waters and rocky beaches. But it is a good place to people watch. Kits Beach has a reputation for attracting the young and fit. This means that there are a ton of hotties showing off their beach bodies but the beach itself can attract some attitudes, according to multiple reviewers on TripAdvisor.
7 It's Home To The Longest Pool In All Of Canada
The Kitsilano Pool, found right beside Kits Beach, is one of the oldest and most beloved attractions in the entire city. According to Tourism Vancouver, it's the longest swimming pool in Canada measuring in at 137-metres. It's a heated, saltwater pool that's a favorite of both professional swimmers and sunbathers alike. Although, there tends to be a bit of a clash between the two as some folks want to use the pool for exercise purposes and others just want to play around.
6 The Yoga Culture Is Strong With Kitsilano
Since one of Lululemon's headquarters is located right in the hear of Kitsilano, it's really no surprise that yoga is such a major component of the Kits culture. Seriously, everyone walks around in yoga-apparel in Kitsilano. Aside from also having a big Lululemon store on 4th Avenue, the supremely successful athletic-clothing company also sets up yoga events on the beach, according to their website. but they aren't the only ones. There are other Kits yoga studios that love relocating to the beach for mass-yoga sessions.
5 Kits Hosts The Largest Summer Time Street Party In The City
While the Khatsahlano Street Party has been delayed until 2021 for obvious reasons, it's been a Vancouver institution for the past nine years. According to Khatsahlano.com, honors Kitsilano's hippie roots from the 1960s while receiving the blessings from the First Nations people who lived on the land prior. The music and arts festival is the largest in Vancouver and shuts down 10 entire blocks along 4th Avenue to host the hundreds of thousands who visit the July-based event. At the festival, you can find countless food trucks, artisans, beer gardens, and activities for people of all ages. The local businesses bring their shops out onto the street and there's a different band set up on every second street corner. It's awesome!
Greek Days Summer Festival also takes place in Kitsilano on Broadway at MacDonald and isn't as popular but certainly has a richer history.
4 Old-School Restaurants, Bars, And Other Businesses Give The Area True Character And Love Your Support
Kitsilano is still home to a number of businesses that date back to the 1960s and 1970s, both in terms of restaurants and unique stores. Popular older joints to grab a bite include Arbutus Coffee, which used to be a corner grocery store, The Naam, Jackson's Meat, Parthenon Supermarket, Las Margaritas, Sophie's Cosmic Cafe, The Bimini Bar, and Darby's Pub which has an awesome rooftop patio. Zulu Records and Banyen Books are among the most unique businesses that are so worth your support.
3 Some (Not All) Of The Trendy Hot Spots Are Also Worth Going To
Since there's been a large influx of wealth into the Kits area, there's been a ton of new developments. Older homes haven given way to luxury condos, and with those have come new restaurants, bars, and cafes. According to reviewers on TripAdvisor, some of these establishments are even better than those that made Kits what it is. However, some are just SO not worth your money or time. Spots like Turf and Local Pub are REALLY popular amongst the young trendsetters but tend to get a bad rap for attitude and over-pricing. However, spots such as Novo Pizza, Tamaki Sushi, Romer's Burgers, Fable, Kavhe Cafe, Dehli 6, and the absolutely incredible Cafe Lokal are definitely worth your time and money.
2 Vancouver Volleyball Tournaments Are A Big Deal
The Kits Volleyball Association runs all of the major tournaments and volleyball events on the beach. While the area of Spanish Banks is also known for having a ton of beach volleyball courts, Kits is easily the more trendy location. Perhaps this has to do with the culture of the community. The young, fit hotties who play there love being watched by the crowds who gather on the beach and park. Many of them get to the beach via the famous Vancouver Seawall that ends in Kitsilano.
1 Instagram Culture Is Huge Thanks To The Kits Swing And Wings
Like a few of the neighborhoods in Vancouver, Kitsilano really caters to the Instagrammers of the world. Specifically, two popular spots in kits are constant photoshoot grounds for those looking for "likes". The kits swing, which is hidden to most and known only to those who look for it, is the most popular Instagrammable location in Kits, according to Tourism Vancouver. The wings mural on the corner of Burrard Street and 4th Avenue is easily the second most popular spot. Without a doubt, both attractions capture the energy and spirit of this iconic neighborhood.