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37 Things to do in Kitsilano, Vancouver

Looking for more things to do in Vancouver and nearby? Check out my Vancouver travel guides which are full of information on the best things to do in Vancouver, the best Vancouver restaurants, and detailed guides for each of the main neighborhoods.

Kitsilano – or Kits as it’s locally known – was the first area of Vancouver I’d heard about before we made the move. That’s in part due to the fact that Facebook groups I was part of for moving to Canada all talked about it.

I quickly realised that the Kitsilano neighbourhood of Vancouver is home to a lot of British and Irish ex-pats. (As I write this I’m sitting at a coffee shop there and at least half the people here are British!).

On our first evening after our mammoth road trip across the USA was spent watching the sunset on Kitsilano beach and then grabbing some celebratory pizza.

It’s packed full of exercise studios, dogs, and juice bars. Lululemon was founded here and still has one of its main offices in Kits. In the 1960s it was Vancouver’s hippy hand out and nowadays it’s got a bit more of a young (and wealthy) family vibe.

Whilst Vancouver’s West End is still my favourite part of the city, there are so many things to do in Kitsilano and it’s a great place to stay on a holiday to Vancouver.  And hey, if you’re into yoga every day, juice bars and have a closet that resembles a Lululemon showroom then you’ll love it even more!

Best Things to do in Kitsilano

Just across False Creek from downtown Vancouver, Kitsilano is a beautiful neighbourhood in Vancouver. It’s green, has fantastic beaches, and great shopping and there are so many tasty restaurants in Kitsilano.

So, if you’re wondering what to do in Kitsilano, here are some of the best things to do in Kitsilano, BC!

1. Watch the sunset at Kitsilano Beach Park

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Sunset on Kitsilano beach has to be one of the top things to see in Kitsilano. As mentioned above this is one of the first things we did in Vancouver.

On a sunny evening, there’ll be many locals out at the beach enjoying some snacks and drinks. Alcohol is not permitted though and you’ll be made to pour it out if spotted by police or lifeguards.

2. Shop at Stepback Kitsilano

For a shopping experience that even the men in your life will find fun then walk into Stepback. This shop will keep you browsing for several hours thanks to the trinkets, homewards, kitchenware, old Vancouver postcards and journals.

3. Walk the Kitsilano section of the seawall

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view of downtown from Vanier Park

While you’re in Kitsilano you won’t be able to resist walking some of the sea wall. The seawall gives you the best views of Stanley Park, the North Shore and the skyscrapers of downtown Vancouver.

If you want a slightly longer walk you can head west from Kitsilano over to Spanish Banks and Jerico Beach (probably the best beaches in Vancouver), or west towards Granville Island.

4. Find the Small Beach near the Yacht Club

Come to stare at fancy yachts and stay for this tiny stretch of beach. Sure it’s got a few rocks and not much space to chill. But it’s a good spot for beach combing!

5. Catch the Aquabus downtown

things to do on granville island vancouver travel guide
Look for these boats!

You’ll notice lots of little sea buses crossing False Creek in Vancouver and they’re a great form of transport. Most of the stops are downtown but you can also take one from Kitsilano and head over to Sunset Beach or towards Granville Island. It’s probably one of the most fun ways to get around.

6. Hang out in Vanier Park

Winding around Kitsilano Point towards Kits Beach in the west, and Burrard Bridge in the east, Vanier Park is home to three of Vancouver’s museums.

It also hosts to the annual Bard on the Beach Shakspeare Festival and is a popular picnic spot. If you’re a dog owner or lover, you’ll like it down here as it’s super close to the dog park at Kitsilano.

It’s also a great place to watch the annual Celebration of Light fireworks event that takes place in July & August. There’s more room to spread out and fewer people than at English Bay!

7. Visit the Museum of Vancouver

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Museum of Vancouver in the foreground

The Museum of Vancouver (MOV) has had a lot of work done on it in the past few years. Nowadays its updated exhibits are aimed at culturally minded adults. There are displays about the local 1950s pop culture and then the hippies in the 1960s too.

We visited here on a particularly smokey day one summer (thanks to wildfires!) and enjoyed a Chinese food exhibition, the gallery of vintage neon signs from around Vancouver and the history behind them, and even an exhibit about 2020!

8. Vancouver Maritime Museum

The prize exhibit at the Maritime museum is the St Roch, a 1928 Royal Canadian Mounted Police Arctic patrol boat that was the first to navigate the legendary Northwest Passage.

Make sure you don’t miss out on the old ships outside the museum which include the Ben Franklin, a NASA undersea research vessel that looks a little like the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine!

9. HR Macmillan Space Centre

The exhibits here are a bit old and dated but the main attractions are really the live science demonstrations that take place and the 45-minute planetarium shows. The planetarium presentation on Saturday nights is almost like a party and definitely aimed more at adults.

10. Eat healthy at Tractor

37 Things to do in Kitsilano, Vancouver tractor food
image via Tractor Foods

There are a few Tractor locations around Vancouver. Nowhere does it seem quite as much at home as in Kitsilano. Tractor serves up great salads and sandwiches and they’ll leave you feeling pleasantly full at lunchtime.

11. Eat Farm to Table at Fable

Fable is one of Vancouver’s favourite farm-to-table restaurants. They serve up bistro dishes with local ingredients such as duck, lamb and fish. It gets super busy in the evenings so you’ll need to book!

You could also try and grab a table for lunch where I hear the Ploughman’s platter is great value, or get up early and get brunch at Fable.

12. Serano Greek Pastry

Serano Greek Pastry is a place you’ll walk past and then have to turn back and go inside. The smell of the Greek baked goods will tempt you in for sure!

Pick up a spanakopita for something savoury but make sure you also get some cakes, pastries or meringues. The only downside is that the treats sell out quickly, so you’ll have to head there in the morning and pick something up for later that day.

13. Try your hand at beach volleyball

During the summer Kitsilano sets up some volleyball courts right on the beach. It’s best to go midweek if you’re a bit nervous about showing off your (lack of) volleyball skills as come the weekend the pros are out in force.

You can also play further down towards Jericho and Spanish Banks at Locarno Beach. For the past few years, we’ve taken part in summer beach volleyball through Urban Wreck and it’s great fun, social volleyball.

14. Join the outdoor swimmers during the summer

From May to September swimmers from the Vancouver Open Water Swimming Society (VOWSA) take to the sea on Monday and Thursday evenings.

The beginning and end of the season see most of them in wetsuits but there are a few days here and there where they’ll wade out into the sea and do a couple of miles without a wetsuit.

If you like swimming and are visiting Vancouver in the summer then come join me and a bunch of others on a sea swim!

15. Shop at one of the numerous outdoor shops on West 4th

37 Things to do in Kitsilano, Vancouver Vancouver speed b 0234
img via Patagonia

I have never seen so many outdoor shops in one place. West 4th Avenue in Kitsilano is a parade of outdoor shops from The North Face to Arcteryx and plenty more in between.

If you need some outdoor gear then this is the place to go. Although maybe time your visit with a sale so you don’t end up broke.

16. Eat Great Vegetarian Food at The Naam

If you want an insight into Kits’ hippy past then head to vegetarian and vegan restaurant Naam in Vancouver.

There is an absolutely ginormous menu including omelettes, burgers (veggie of course), stir-fries and curries.

The Naam used to be open 24 hours a day and now it’s open 11 am – 11 pm Monday to Friday and 9 am – 11 pm at weekends and holidays. It’s worth noting the menu is slightly smaller over night.

17. Play with some dogs at the Kitsilano Dog Beach Park

If you love dogs but don’t have your own, the Kitsilano dog beach park is a fun place to hang out. It’s one of the few beach areas in Vancouver where dogs are allowed to roam free and they love it!

18. Work out, hang out and eat at Turf Kitsilano

Turf promotes itself as a place to hang out, work out and take out. They run exercise classes, have space you can work with your laptop and also make tasty, healthy food.

If you want to feel like your stereotypical Kitsilano local then you’ll have to visit here.

19. Kitsilano Farmer’s Market

Kitsilano seasonal farmers market, which runs during the summer months, is one of the city’s most popular.

Pick up a week’s worth of freshly strawberries, heirloom tomatoes, lettuces, and newer produce like tempeh. Even if you’ve done your shopping already, a walk around a farmer’s market is always good fun!

20. Enjoy Yoga Near the Beach

Every summer, Mat Collective organizes cheap yoga sessions on weekday evenings near the beach. The sessions are usually a mix of Vinyasa and Hatha and you’ll find it hard to beat the views!

Alternatively, there are a bunch of yoga studios in Kitsilano including Y Yoga Kitsilano which is a chain known for its lovely studios and range of classes.

21. Take out a Kayak or Paddleboard

If you have your own kayaks then head over to Kitsilano for kayaking towards Jericho Beach. Alternatively, you can rent kayaks and stand-up paddle boards from a stand on the beach during the summer.

22. Get Coffee at Arbutus Coffee

This isn’t a cozy Vancouver coffee shop you’d just happen to walk by unless you were a Vancouver local. But, now you know about it, make sure you stop in and grab a coffee.

This is one of the best coffee shops in Kitsilano with a super cute vibe. You can just imagine living nearby and popping down for your morning coffee as you head off to work!

23. Kitsilano Showboat

Right next to Kitsilano Pool is the 80-year-old Kitsilano Showboat. It’s actually a stage that offers free shows and concerts during the summer and, as a backdrop, you’ve got the North Shore mountains and the forest canopy of Stanley Park. Not bad, eh?

24. Shop at Zulu Records

Zulu Records is a small but great indie music store in Kitsilano. Browse through hundreds of vinyl and CDs, and come across something that was previously hard to find!

You can also get show tickets here for local concerts if you fancy a live music fix.

25. Visit the Cider House

cider house kitsilano
img via instagram @vancitycider

The Cider House in Kitsilano just steps from Kitsilano beach is Vancouver’s very first cider place. They offer flights of cider from 18 taps with the cider coming from local producers.

They also do tasty appetizers and snacks.

26. City Farmer

Along the finished parts of the Arbutus Greenway Park (see below for more) is Vancouver City Farmer. This area is staffed by volunteers who have created some beautiful gardens.

There’s the biodiversity garden and climate-change garden and you can also attend a talk to learn about composting and water-efficient horticulture. If you’re visiting alone you can just take a wander and enjoy the flowers.

27. Cycle the Arbutus Greenway

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part of Arbutus greenway

The Arbutus Greenway is undergoing planning and development and there’s still parts waiting to be finished. But you can still cycle or walk it from Kitsilano all the way into South Vancouver. It’s a good cycling option for families, since you’re on a very separate cycle path from traffic.

Learn more about cycling the Arbutus Greenway here.

28. Go house hunting

Not to actually buy a house (unless you’ve got a spare few million) but to just look and wish. There are some absolutely gorgeous houses in Kitsilano!

29. Moderne Burger

This retro-styled diner with green vinyl booths is a comfort food heaven. Expect good classics such as beef and turkey burgers with cheese and bacon toppings.

The fries come in big portions and you HAVE to get a big milkshake to drink or you’re not doing it right!

30. Sophie’s Cosmic Cafe

Sophie’s Cosmic Cafe on West 4th gets super busy for breakfast and lunch. The decoration in here is crazy and the walls are lined with lunch boxes, kids’ drawings and more.

Come here for breakfast in Kitsilano to feast on eggs and hash browns but expect to wait a little before getting a table at the weekend.

31. Relax at Margaret Pigott Park

Just on the border of Kitsilano and Point Grey, Margaret Piggot Park is a small grassy area with a couple of benches and great sea views. It’s a great place to stop for a while if you’re walking, running or cycling the sea wall.

33. Cool down with ice cream at Rain or Shine

rain or shine ice cream kitsilano vancouver

Rain or shine is considered to be one of Vancouver’s best ice cream places. In the summer you can expect a big queue outside their doors with people hoping to try flavours such as London Fog, Honey Lavender, Malted Milk Chocolate and more.

The malted milk chocolate honeycomb and ruby raspberry are my current favourites!

32. Sunset pints at Local

the local bar in kitsilano
img via instagram @localpubliceatery

Local is a big pub on the waterfront in Kitsilano. It has a huge outdoors area that fills up quickly during the summer. Head down early to reserve your spot and watch the sunset over the sea with a cool pint.

33. Picnic or BBQ

One of the best things to do in Vancouver in summer is BBQ in the park.. Get a small BBQQ for the summer and head over to Kits on a nice day.

Get there earlier in the day to secure your spot, bring a few books, some blankets and plenty of tasty food and relax by the beach.

34. Swim at the outdoor pool

37 Things to do in Kitsilano, Vancouver KitsPoolList 56a9ba5b3df78cf772a9f698
img via TripSavvy

Kitsilano’s outdoor pool has undergone some refurbishment recently and it’s looking better than ever.

The longest saltwater pool in North America, the Kitsilano pool was made in 1931 and swimmers get incredible views of the ocean and North Shore mountains while they swim.

Tickets must be booked in advance for specific time slots.

35. Get sweaty at Kitsfest

KitsFest is ‘Vancouver’s Hottest Sports & Healthy Living Beach Festival’! During the day there are all kinds of sports events taking place (including bath tub racing?!) and sunset beach yoga.

36. Party it up at the Khatsahlano Festival

Khatsahlano is a ginormous street party held yearly along West 4th Avenue. It’s Vancouver’s largest free art and music festival and it’s great fun! 

There are over 50 of Vancouver’s top musical performers, local artisans and street performers as well as a wide variety of food options, giveaways, special activities, and licensed beer gardens!

37. Enjoy watersports!

Jericho Sail Club is a little bit outside of Kitsilano but it’s where you can go to enjoy watersports such as sailing, paddleboarding, kayaking or windsurfing.

They’ve also got one of the best waterfront bar patios in Vancouver!

38. Play Tennis

Tennis courts across Vancouver are free to use and there are some lovely ones at Kitsilano Beach. You will need your own rackets and balls though.

They’re busy so you’ll have to wait a bit but the rules are everyone gets 30 minutes. So, when you arrive give a couple ‘their notice of 30 minutes and then it’s your turn!

Last Updated on March 13, 2023 by Hannah

Leave a comment

  1. […] If you’re looking for things to do in Kitsilano be sure to check out this post […]

  2. Nohra-Cecilia says:

    What a great, detailed and complete article. Thank you very much, now we know where to go and where to spend our Sunday!

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