The Local Life: Kitsilano, Vancouver

A local's guide to one of Vancouver's most iconic neighbourhoods

  • Jun 10, 2021
  • 485 words
  • 2 minutes
Kitsilano Beach. Photo: City of Vancouver
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On the surface, Kitsilano may appear to be all surf and sand. But spend a little time like a local in Kits, and you’ll discover a vibrant seaside neighbourhood with character, culture and incredible energy. Here are some of my favourite things to do.

Explore West Fourth and West Broadway

Taking a stroll down West Fourth and West Broadway is a great way to get a true taste of Kits. Both streets have fascinating histories and are where you’ll find most of the neighbourhood’s shops and restaurants. West Broadway, also known as Greektown, is where many of the city’s Greek immigrants settled in the 1960s. And it’s where you can get some great food without breaking the bank. Make sure to stop by Serano Greek Pastry and order their spanakopita, a traditional Greek pie. For an authentic Kits experience, browse some of the thrift stores and vintage shops along the way. Stepback is a cool and curated vintage store that carries all manner of unique items, from antique maps to typewriters and refurbished furniture to retro globes.

Inside Stepback on 2936 West Broadway St.
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West Fourth Avenue was the hub of Vancouver’s Hippie movement back in the late 1960s. While the street has changed since, you can still feel some of its influence. The Naam has been a Kits landmark since 1968 and is still open today. Serving vegetarian food 24 hours a day, it’s popular with local university students. Head over for a late-night snack of sesame fries with miso gravy.

Grab a coffee, or two

Vancouver is known for coffee. And luckily there’s no shortage of great spots to get your fix in Kits. Bruno’s Coffee Corner and Lokal are two of my go-to places, serving Italian-style coffees alongside gourmet sandwiches and pastries. Just don’t be surprised if there are lineups outside the doors. 49th Parallel is another popular neighbourhood spot and roasts their own coffee. They also make Lucky’s Doughnuts on site, so be sure to pair your beverage with one — the earl grey lavender doughnut will rock your world. But if you’re looking for somewhere a little off the beaten path, look no further than hidden gem Arbutus Coffee. Tucked away on a quiet residential street, the neighbourhood joint serves up coffee and homemade treats in a heritage building that’s been standing since 1907.

On the corner of West 6th Ave. and Arbutus Street, Arbutus Coffee is a local favourite.
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Spend an afternoon at Kits Beach

Head down to Kits Beach in the summer for a relaxing afternoon. Soak up the sun and take in the breathtaking views of the north shore mountains. The park area overlooking the beach is perfect for picnics and games. And if you truly want to be like a local, try going for a dip in frigid English Bay. But whatever you do, make sure you stick around to catch the Pacific Ocean sunset — it may just have you considering a move here.

Kits Beach at dusk.
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