From beaches to parks to gardens galore, Kitsilano is Vancouver’s outdoor playground – and a great place to live for those seeking a healthy and active lifestyle.
1. Kits Beach
Kitsilano Beach (Kits Beach to locals) is the place to see and be seen in Kitsilano. On a warm summer day, you’ll find families playing by the shore, multiple beach volleyball games in full swing, and the occasional juggler or street performer working on new moves. With Canada’s longest outdoor pool and excellent washroom and change facilities, Kits Beach is perfect for a quick dip or a full day soak in the sun. Bonus: It’s a great vantage point for the annual Celebration of Light fireworks festival, which lights up the skies over English Bay every summer.
2. Parks and Gardens
Kits Beach Park is the largest park in Kitsilano, but it’s by no means the only place to head for a picnic on a sunny day. There are nearly 20 parks in Kitsilano, ranging from huge to postage-stamp tiny. Hadden Park is a favourite for dog owners, since this beach park allows off-leash play, and the Arbutus Greenway Park is a great place for nearby condo-dwellers to stretch their legs. Kitsilano is also home to several community gardens. Most have long wait lists of hopeful gardeners, but they’re fun for anyone to stroll through to get a sense of what flowers and veggies are in season at any time of year.
3. Festivals and Street Parties
Summer is festival season in Kitsilano, and it seems there’s something happening just about every weekend. The biggest festivals are Greek Day in the “Greektown” section of West Broadway, offering Greek food and entertainment to nearly 100,000 visitors in June; the Khatsahlano music and art festival on West 4th Avenue in July; and the KitsFest Beach Festival featuring basketball, volleyball, tennis, yoga, and more at Kits Beach in August. Car-Free Day in June features neighbourhood block parties throughout the community.
4. Arts and Culture
The most famous cultural institution in Kitsilano is the annual Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival, which brings world-class performances of Shakespeare’s plays to Vanier Park every summer. But Kitsilano is also home to the Vancouver Maritime Museum, the Museum of Vancouver and the HR MacMillan Space Centre. The Kitsilano Showboat theatre at Kits Beach offers live music and dance performances all summer (and has done so for 80 years!) and plenty of restaurants and bars feature live performances by emerging local talent.
5. Healthy and Local Shopping and Dining
A holdover from its days as a hippie enclave, Kits is still home to an array of healthy and organic restaurants and food shops (including the famous Bishop’s), and a bustling farmers’ market that runs from May to October. For those who want to shop local for all kinds of goods and services, the retail corridors along West 4th Avenue and West Broadway offer everything from clothes (new and vintage) to books (new and used) to kitchenware to furniture to sporting equipment. In a neighbourhood like Kits, there’s little reason ever to step foot inside a mall.