Vancouver CityGuide: Kitsilano

What to know about one of the city's most iconic—and most mocked—'hoods.

August 10, 2018

By Vancouver Magazine CityGuide / Photo: Ariana Gillrie

If there’s one ’hood that encapsulates Vancouver, it’s Kits. You have the beach, you have the aging hippies, you have the chockablock commerce of Broadway and of West 4th, and you have our most privileged citizens in their waterfront manses on Point Grey Road. The beauty of this neighbourhood is that it all works. Sure, parking’s always a problem, and during fireworks nights the population swells beyond control, but day-to-day it’s tough to beat wandering to Kits Pool for a morning swim, meandering through the farmers’ market or having dinner at Nook before ending with a stroll at the beach.

What To Do

Museum of Vancouver

Haida Now

While the Museum of Vancouver has called its Vanier Park location home since 1968, the collection itself dates back to 1894. With exhibits featuring some of Vancouver’s 19,000 20th-century neon signs and new additions like Haida Now: A Visual Feast of Innovation and Tradition with 450-plus works of Haida art, the MOV is the place to learn everything about our fair city.

New Kid On The Block

B-Line

Transit to Reconnect Kits

The 99 B-Line—the busiest bus route in North America—will finally get a breather when the Millennium Line Broadway extension becomes a reality, creating a quicker connection between Kits and the rest of the city. The project is years from completion, but the line, slated to terminate at Arbutus, will bring new people to Kits—and land assemblies are already in the works. A freshly proposed Arbutus Greenway also includes edible landscaping, long community tables for al fresco dining, flexible spaces for pop-up activities, public art, exercise equipment and more.

Shopping

Pacific Boarder

Pacific Boarder

1793 W 4th Ave.

Hawking boards since the 1970s, this West 4th original is your hub for everything from skateboarding to surfing. Yes, they have the largest wall of snowboards in Vancouver, but this is also the spot for Roxy, Vans and RVCA shorts, bathing suits and sundresses.

BuddhaBarn

Buddha Barn

2179 W 4th Ave.

This bright and modern dispensary is a non-profit that focuses on pain management. Membership isn’t required for cannabis-infused bath bombs or other lotions and topicals, however cannabis flowers, edibles, etc. require ID and a $10 membership.

Living Space

Livingspace

1706 W 1st Ave.

Established in 1988, Livingspace joined the neighbourhood in 2011 with its breathtaking showroom by designer Omer Arbel. Explore curated spaces and shop for high-end Minotti, Moooi and Ligne Roset furnishings—all beneath Arbel’s own Bocci studio on the top floor.

Old Favourites

Fable

Fable

1944 W 4th Ave.

Top Chef notable Trevor Bird packs ’em in with a concise seasonal menu that keeps it real on the price point: gnocchi gussied up with parmesan-crusted chicken in cashew-tomato sauce is a reasonable $22, and a lovely pan-seared ling cod is $25. While some entrees skirt the $30 mark, the place never feels pricey, just casual, jocular and relaxed. And the fairly priced wine list favours interesting over obscure.

Naam

The Naam

2724 W 4th Ave. 

Its quirky decor and homey vibe make it undeniably Kitsilano. Serving up humble, hits-the-spot vegetarian and vegan fare since 1968, the Naam is one of the establishments that helped West 4th earn the hippie moniker Rainbow Road. It’s open 24/7, so dig into veggie burgers and dragon bowls at any hour.

Local Picks

Angus An

By Angus An – Chef/Owner, Maenam

Best Local Gem

Thomas Haas

Thomas Haas

2539 W Broadway

“World-class pastries within reach. Thomas is one of the nicest men you will ever meet: he will serve you coffee, refill your pastry, and greet everyone in the room before you can even say hello.”

Best Bookstore

Kidsbooks

Kidsbooks

2557 W Broadway 

“I love taking my son Aidan to bookstores, and this is one of his faves. A bookstore dedicated to kids? Come on!” 

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