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Your ultimate Vancouver neighbourhood guide to Kitsilano

The best cafes, entertainment, boutiques, restaurants and more.
ultimate guide to kitsilano
Your ultimate guide to Kitsilano, Vancouver, from coffee and shopping to entertainment and best spots to eat.

If you find yourself in a neighbourhood with a surprising amount of cyclists, joggers and, in general, Vancouver's most active locals, chances are you're in Kitsilano. Welcome to the land of sports, beaches and vegetarian eats (though that's not all there is to this winsome part of town). Kitsilano, lovingly dubbed 'Kits', also carries the legacy of being Lululemon's birthplace - a brand that has become synonymous with Vancouver. 

Kitsilano is known for its lifestyle boutiques, waterfront parks, and great food among plenty of other exciting things to do.

Coffee is a typical morning errand for many Vancouverites, and in Kits it's no different. Either post morning workout or before ambling down to the water, immerse yourself into the sweet coffee aromas of Kitsilano's unique cafes and grab a bite from local-approved bakeries. For a great sit and sip experience, have a coffee at Kahve or Platform 7. The first is a clean and airy cafe with a neatly arranged interior made up of light wood and grey accents. One side is shelved with cafe-esque decor ranging from adorable plates and teapots to flowers and clocks. This spot is great for a relaxed morning coffee, maybe even for some remote work or studying. Platform 7 takes a whimsical twist. The interior models an old European train station making it one of the coolest places to drink a cup of coffee.

For a more quaint setting head over to Arbutus Coffee where past the cute red and blue exterior you can find a glass display with bakery items and a chalkboard menu scribbled over with coffees and other beverages. If the bakery selection has you wanting more, Beaucoup Bakery and Cafe will surely satisfy your pastry and sweet tooth cravings.

Once the caffeine sets in, pack a picnic basket and head down for an afternoon at Vanier Park. The waterfront lawn is a great spot to sprawl in the sun, peer across the water at Sunset Beach and watch boats and paddle-boarders go in and out of the creek. If it rains, the park has three museums to explore: Museum of Vancouver, Vancouver Maritime Museum and HR MacMillan Space Centre.

From the park, stroll along the shoreline to Kitsilano Beach where you'll find soft sand, beach volleyball, watersports and a nearby saltwater pool. (You also probably didn't know these cool things about Kitsilano beach and pool). This beach was and still is a popular hangout spot for many Vancouverites.

Yet, If the beach isn't your vibe and a game of tennis isn't calling to you either, wander into the city and keep an eye out for the many cultural festivals happening in the neighbourhood throughout the year. In June you can find Greek Day on Broadway and in July the Khatsalano Street Party. Throughout the summer, the Kitsilano Showboat amphitheatre will also be putting on performances.

Kitsilano has two main shopping streets: West 4th and Broadway. Shopping on these two store-lined streets will reveal an array of athletic and sporting goods stores, sustainable fashions, curated boutiques and other eccentric goods. You may also recognize a few big brands like Knix, Frank and Oak, The Latest Scoop, Lululemon and Mejuri as you shop through this neighbourhood. 

For the outdoorsy shoppers, be sure to stop at The Boardroom for surf, ski and snowboard gear, at Running Room for all things running and at Billabong and Reigning Champ for quality athletic wear. On the casual side of shopping, Anián and Icebreaker are sustainable stores worth looking through for circular fashion, functional clothing and quality fabrics. Curated boutiques like Hills Dry GoodsGravitypope Tailored Goods and The Nooks feel like the sweet spot between thrifting and shopping. Designer fashion house JNBY can also be found in Kits, for those looking to splurge on a designer statement piece. For sparkle and bling, the newly opened Mejuri store on West 4th street is as pretty as the brand's Instagram feed and is a must to peruse, even if it's only window shopping. Blue Ruby Jewellery, tucked inside Hills Dry Goods, has charming accessories too. As for eccentric shoes, Miz Mooz Boutique and Gravitypope Footwear have colourful styles for every Vancouverite. 

When it comes to food, Kits is an exciting meld of enduring local favourites and bucket list-worthy special occasion splurges. 

Explore the flavours of Thailand at Maenam in Kitsilano. Photo by Octane Collective / courtesy Maenam

Enjoy throwback vibes at veggie have The Naam, have the quintessential quirky diner experience at Sophie's Cosmic Cafe, or tap into the over-the-top insanity that's sushi at The Eatery

If you're looking to celebrate or go a little more high-end, Kitsilano is home to Au Comptoir for French bistro classics, Italian fine dining at La Quercia, acclaimed modern Thai at Maenam, and contemporary Pacific Northwest at AnnaLena

Global flavours abound in Kits, from relative newcomer Delara for Persian eats to Vietnamese eats at Mr Red and pan-Asian dishes at East is East. Unsung heroes like The Ellis and OddFish are also worth checking out, while plant-based eaters will want to hit up Chi and The Cider House.

Japanese food fans will want to check out Raisu for their stunning boxes and bowls showcasing dazzling kaiseki-style bites and fresh fish, Green Leaf for its beautiful plates of aburi 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 at Their There (coffee and pastries), Rain or Shine (ice cream), Uno (gelato) and Aphrodite's (Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively are loyal fans of their pies). Kits is also home to outposts of cafes and restaurants from popular Vancouver restaurant empires, like Tacofino, Tractor, Nook, Banana Leaf, and Purebread bakery.  

Next time you're craving an all-day adventure, look no further than Kitsilano. 

With additional reporting by Lindsay William-Ross