Kitsilano (or "Kits"), South Granville and Granville Island form most of the northern part of the Vancouver west side. In the 1960s Kits was a neighbourhood where hippies "tuned in and dropped out" but today it has some of Vancouver's most expensive properties. It is situated right on the beach and very close to downtown. Granville Island and the nearby neighbourhood of South Granville is a focal point for the arts community in Vancouver with a number of studios and theatre groups.
Kitsilano is one of Vancouver's most popular neighbourhoods. The first people living in the area were the Squamish people and the neighbourhood's name is derived from a Squamish chief, August Jack Khatsahlano. Its proximity to the early Vancouver settlement drew settlers and it became one of Vancouver's first suburbs.
It's long been a popular spot with young people and was a counterculture hotbed in the 1960s. Greenpeace opened one of their first offices in Kitsilano and the British Columbia Green Party's original offices were here, as well. The area has become more gentrified in the decades since, but it still has a vibrancy that is missing in the more staid neighbourhoods that surround it.
One thing that hasn't changed is the beach, which continues to be the focal point of the community. On a sunny day, the beach towels come out, the volleyballs fly and the patios fill. And while the neighbourhood beaches certainly cater to the sun worshipers and the see-and-be-seen attitude, they also host music festivals, live theatre and other community events.
Kitsilano also has the distinction of historically being an enclave of Greek immigrants and their descendants. The Greek neighbourhood's borders have never been defined, however the strip between Alma St and Trafalgar St is known as 'Greek West Broadway'; West Broadway at Trutch Street is generally considered the neighbourhood's heart. The Greek community of Vancouver continues to maintain a presence by hosting 'Greek Day' on the last Sunday of every June where West Broadway is closed to vehicle traffic between MacDonald and Blenheim for free, family-oriented festivities.
Kitsilano is defined as the area between Burrard St in the east and Alma St in the west, and from the water to 16th Ave in the south.
Granville Island Edit
Located beneath the Granville Street Bridge on the south side of False Creek, Granville Island (actually a peninsula) started off as industrial land. Over time, its warehouses and shops were abandoned and left to decay when industry moved on. In the 1970s the Federal Government embarked on an ambitious plan of urban renewal, which involved cleaning up the pollution left by industry on the island and encouraging mixed-use development. Today, the restored original corrugated tin buildings and their new occupants – artisans, markets, boutique shops and restaurants – come together to give Granville Island its vibrancy and unique feel.
Get in Edit
See Vancouver for options to get in the Vancouver area by plane, by bus, and by train, and by boat.
The neighbourhoods are easy to access by car, bike or bus, especially from downtown Vancouver. Parking is somewhat limited and traffic around the beach can back-up on weekend afternoons, so public transit (or walking/biking) will frequently be a better option.
There are multiple ferries (operated by False Creek Ferries and Aquabus) in Vancouver that can take you to the two ferry stations on Granville Island. Depending on where you are in Vancouver, this could be the quickest and cheapest way to get to Granville Island.
Get around Edit
By public transit Edit
TransLink, ☏ . The main public transit network in the Vancouver area, including: Bowen Island, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Delta, Langley, Lions Bay, Maple Ridge, New Westminster, North Vancouver, Port Coquitlam, Pitt Meadows, Port Moody, Richmond, Surrey, Vancouver, West Vancouver, and White Rock. Its network includes buses, SkyTrain (rail rapid transit), SeaBus (ferries), West Coast Express (commuter rail), and HandyDART (door-to-door shared-ride service for those who cannot ride public transit without assistance).
Passengers can pay for fares using Compass Cards ($6 refundable deposit), Compass Tickets, or tap-to-pay using contactless credit cards (only American Express, Mastercard or Visa) or mobile wallets. Passengers using Compass Cards and Compass Tickets pay discounted fares. Passengers can transfer for up to 90 minutes, except if taking West Coast Express, in which case they can transfer for up to 120 minutes. On bus and HandyDART, passengers can also pay in cash, but in that case will not receive change and are not eligible for transfers. Zone based fares apply between Monday and Friday for trips starting before 6:30 pm, if travel involves SkyTrain or SeaBus. Outside of those hours or for travel on only bus or HandyDART, a single zone rate applies. If traveling by West Coast Express, a higher cost zone based fare system applies regardless of time of travel. Children 12 and under can ride for free. People aged 13 to 18, and 65 and older pay discounted concession fares.
By bus Edit
Some good buses to get into and around the area are:
- #4 runs from UBC to Powell St downtown, and passes most of the Kits/4th Avenue area, as well as stopping by Granville Island.
- #50 that runs from downtown to the entrance to Granville Island.
- #84 is an express bus that runs from VCC-Clark Skytrain station in East Van to UBC. In the Kits area, it follows 4th.
- #99 B-Line is an express bus that runs down Broadway. In the Kits area, it stops at Alma, Macdonald, Arbutus and Granville, and is considerably faster due to its infrequent stops.
Bus fare travelling in and around Kits would be $3.15, whether travelling one stop or from end to end.
There is no direct access to the Skytrain's Canada Line or Expo Line, but the Olympic Village station (Canada Line) connects with the #50 bus to Granville Island.
By car Edit
Burrard St, via the Burrard Street Bridge, links Kitsilano with downtown and Granville St links South Granville with downtown. 4th Ave and Broadway are the main east-west streets that connect the neighbourhood with UBC and Mount Pleasant. Cornwall Ave is the main street along Kits Beach.
By boat Edit
It is also possible to take the Aquabus or False Creek Ferries from downtown, Yaletown and Scienceworld to Granville Island or the dock at the Maritime Museum on Kits Point. Fares vary between $2 and $6 depending on distance travelled.
There are a trio of museums in Vanier Park on Kits Point, the peninsula forming the mouth of False Creek just west of the Burrard Street bridge. There is some free parking in front of the Space Centre, and it's an easy walk from Translink bus #2 and #22 at Cornwall and Cypress streets. You can also walk down from the 4th Avenue buses (such as #4), or over from Granville Island about 1000 m away.
- 1 H.R. MacMillan Space Centre and Planetarium, 1100 Chestnut St, ☏ , fax: , firstname.lastname@example.org. M Tu Th Sa Su 9:30AM–4:30PM, W F 7-11PM. The Space Centre is not unlike Science World, with most activities fascinating primarily to pre-teens. The planetarium, however, is a more interesting excursion, and will not be so fascinating to children. It is a small planetarium staffed by volunteers whose knowledge of all things space will stun and amaze you. Admission $18+GST, child under 5 free.
- 2 Museum of Vancouver (formerly the Vancouver Museum), 1100 Chestnut St (shares a building with the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre), ☏ , fax: . Su-W 10AM-5PM, Th-Sa 10AM-8PM. The largest civic museum in Canada, with over 1 million items from Vancouver's history, only a fraction of which fit in the exhibit halls. Tucked away to the left off the Orientation Gallery is a series of rooms telling Vancouver's story from the 19th century to the 1970s. The museum makes an effort to tell many stories of Vancouver: English Canadian, First Nations, various immigrant groups, etc. Kid-friendly exhibits. $20, senior or student $15, youth (6 to 17) $15, children (5 and under) free.
- 3 Vancouver Maritime Museum, 1905 Ogden Ave, ☏ , fax: . Tu-Su 10AM-5PM, Su noon-5PM. Canada's premiere western maritime museum. Covers the maritime history of Canada, includes artifacts, models and the St. Roch ship. The museum apparently has far more things than space to show them, so they frequently rotate their exhibitions in fascinating thematic arrangements. Previous exhibitions included such familiar topics as the history of the Vikings, to the less familiar "1500 years of Croatian sailors". Check for $2 discount coupons that you can print from the website. (credit card only) Adult $13.50, senior or student $11, youth (ages 6-18) $10, child 5 and under free, Family Pass (2 adults and 4 children) $38.
- 4 Vanier Park, 1000 Chestnut St (at Whyte St, and shoreline of Kits Peninsula). Surrounds the Kits Peninsula, with trails for joggers and bikers paralleling it, and some green grass and trees. This unique location is famous as an ideal place flying kites and hosts a Kite Flying Festival every summer. Stunning views of English Bay, Stanley Park, and downtown.
- 1 Kitsilano Beach (Kits Beach). It's the sandy beach for the young to hang out and be seen at. Kits beach also features beach volleyball courts and a large public swimming pool. Popular in the summer, the salt water pool is 137.5 m in length and runs along the ocean's edge.
- 2 Reckless Bike Stores, 1810 Fir St (at 2nd Ave), ☏ . 10AM-5PM. Bicycle rentals and sales. $23.50 for 2 hr, $38.50 for half day, $54.50 for 24 hours. Tandem bikes, trailers and baby seats extra charge.
- 3 Cooper Boating (Departs from Granville Island). Sailboat Racing. Offers drop-in Friday night racing for all comers. No skill or knowledge is required, in fact the sailing is strictly novice level. $25, with an additional $15 membership fee (which is valid for 2 years).
- 4 Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage (Stanley Theatre), 2750 Granville St, ☏ . The main stage for the Vancouver Arts Theatre Company. Mostly shows Broadway musicals and other large theatre productions.
Granville Island Edit
Granville Island (accessed from 4th Ave via Anderson St or bus #50 from downtown) is an eclectic mixture of shops, restaurants, theatres, art galleries, one hotel and a functioning concrete plant. It is a major tourist destination yet also a huge draw for locals with its variety of food, restaurant and entertainment options.
One of the easiest ways to see the island is to just wander around and take it all in -- browse a little bit, enjoy the views, watch a street performer, people-watch. Railspur Avenue is home to plenty of art galleries and an artisan sake shop. The Public Market on the far north end of the island has a revolving set of day vendors selling art and specialty food items, and permanent stalls that offer produce, meat, fish and natural herbs. Notable permanent vendors in the market include: the Stock Market (which sells ready-to-eat soups as well as sauces, stocks and dressings), Granville Island Tea Co., Stuart's Bakery and a la mode, the pie store. See Buy section for additional information about shopping opportunities on Granville Island.
Specific things to do on Granville Island include:
- 5 Vancouver Arts Club Theatre, 1585 Johnston St (beside the Public Market), ☏ . The Granville Island stage for the Vancouver Arts Club Theatre Company.
- 6 The Improv Centre, 1502 Duranleau St, ☏ . Main shows Th F Sa evenings. Long-running improv company in the Improv Centre on Granville Island. $25-28.
- 7 Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival, Vanier Park, ☏ . Jun-Sep. Annual summer Shakespeare festival held in tents. Each year there are two mainstage productions and two productions for the smaller stage. Even if you have tickets, plan to line up at least an hour before the show to get good seats. Many people will bring a picnic lunch/dinner (purchased at nearby Granville Island) to enjoy while they wait to be admitted. From $60.
- Greek Day. Greek Day is a family-oriented street festival that invites visitors to taste Greek food at its many kiosks while enjoying entertainment and activities for all ages. It is the culmination of the Hellenic Heritage Month that celebrates Greek heritage and culture. Greek Day takes place on the last Sunday of every June along West Broadway between Macdonald St and Blenheim St.
- KitsTreeMap. Vancouver, apart from the mountains and the ocean, is famous for its variety of trees, tree-lined streets and cherry blossoms in the spring. No area more so typifies this veritable tree heaven than Kitsilano. Walk down most of the streets in the neighbourhood and you will find yourself beneath one stunning canopy after another. As well as street plantings of the same species of tree, there are hundreds of different individual trees in front gardens, alleyways and public places. One of the most famous tree avenues in Vancouver is the Tulip trees on 10th Ave from Blenheim to Dunbar.
- 8 Vancouver Folk Festival, Jericho Beach. A truly amazing folk festival featuring spectacular views of the harbour and mountains. The Vancouver Folk Festival typically features several stages, and a wonderous mix of traditional and contemporary artists.
- 9 Vancouver Fringe Festival. Every year, close to 100 theatre groups and performers from across Canada and around the world perform for 11 days in diverse venues, from theatres to garages to a moving Aquabus.
Shopping options are plentiful in Kitsilano and South Granville. 4th Avenue is one of Vancouver's best-known neighbourhood shopping areas. Broadway makes for nice walking and shopping and has mature trees that line the street. Along 'Greek West Broadway' (the strip between Alma St and Trafalgar St) you will find a Greek bakery, some restaurants, public house, delis and markets. There is also a cluster of shops at along Alma Street between 10th Avenue and Broadway, and another cluster at Alma Street and 4th Avenue. Finally, Granville Island has a range of craft, toy and gift shops with items from local artisans and imported goods.
4th Ave Edit
4th Avenue was once the domain of small eclectic shops, but as Kits drifted from its hippie roots, more mainstream retailers have settled in. If you take your time though, you can still find the independent shops mixed amongst the clothing and home decor stores. The street also has a good selection of coffee shops, restaurants and fine dining. Street parking can be challenging along 4th Avenue. There is an underground parking lot in the 2200 block under Capers Market (east of Safeway).
- 1 Zulu Records, 1972 West 4th Ave (between Maple and Cypress Streets), ☏ . A long-time mainstay of Vancouver's music scene, and focuses particularly on alternative and indie rock. Has a vinyl section and an outlet for event tickets, and frequent in-store performances.
The junction of Burrard Street and 4th Avenue has a good cluster of ski, snowboard, and skateboard shops, including:
- 2 Comor, 1987 West 4th Ave, ☏ . Primarily skis, and mainly freestyle stuff, but does snowboards too.
- 3 Pacific Boarder, 1765 West 4th Ave, ☏ , toll-free: . M-F 10AM-6PM, Th F 10AM–8PM, Sa 10AM–6PM, Su 11AM-5PM. Large snowboard and skateboard shop with a wide range of clothing and other apparel as well.
- 4 The Boardroom, 1745 West 4th Ave, ☏ . M-W 10AM-6PM, Th F 10AM-8PM, Sa 10AM–6PM, Su 11AM-5PM. Snowboarding, skateboarding, wakeboarding, surfing. Has adjacent clearance stores where some good deals can be had.
Granville Island Edit
There is shopping galore on Granville Island. Plenty of tourist stores with your usual array of Canadiana and B.C.-specific souvenirs. You can buy fresh seafood right off the boat throughout most of the year; follow the seawall on the west side of the island to find these public fish sales. Most of the shops and restaurants can be found by wandering the streets (it's not a big place) or in the markets.
- 5 Hamuhk Hangout Place, 1652 Duranleau Street (on the west side of Granville Island in the Big Red Barn), ☏ , email@example.com. 10AM-6PM. Canada's only hammock shop has been operating on Granville Island since 1995. Specializing in hand made fair trade hammocks from Mexico, Bali & Brazil.
- 6 Kids Market, 1496 Cartwright St. Lots of toys and activities for the children.
- 7 Maritime Market. Stores and a museum for all things related to the sea.
- 8 Public Market, 1669 Johnston St, ☏ . 9AM-7PM. Food stalls and small items. Make sure to bring your own reusable bag.
The area has one of the highest densities of restaurants you will find anywhere, with a huge variety in the dishes offered. Most of them are along 4th Avenue, Yew Street, Broadway, Cornwall Ave, Granville Ave or on Granville Island.
- 1 Whole Foods, 2285 West 4th Ave, ☏ . High-end organic grocery store featuring a veggie buffet take away or eat in. Also has a Robson Street location downtown.
- 2 Cheesecake, etc., 2141 Granville St, ☏ . Daily 7PM-1AM. Vancouver's first late-night dessert cafe. Opened in 1979, it is an authentic Vancouver cultural experience. Featuring the original "Vancouver-style", it is a light cheesecake with various toppings added. Cheesecake slices $6-7.
- 3 East is East, 3035 West Broadway, ☏ . Su-Th noon-10PM, F Sa noon-10:30PM. An interesting concept that sometimes works with low shared tables and wailing Asian music in a carpeted room. Decent chai to go with Indian/Tibetan/Pakistani/Iranian food. Some say service is lacking and portions are small.
- 4 The Naam, 2724 West 4th Ave, ☏ . M-F 11AM-11PM, Sa Su 9AM-11PM. Vegetarian restaurant with organic options. Food taken from numerous cooking styles. Some love the Naam, some are disappointed by food, service and cleanliness. Wine and beer available. $6-15.
- 5 Aphrodite's Cafe and Pie Shop, 3598 W 4th Ave (On 4th Ave, at Dunbar), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. A friendly cafe that uses locally-grown and organic ingredients with a first-class menu that's long on vegetarian and vegan dishes. The brunch on Saturday and Sunday is delicious or try the pie and chai combination. Service is sometimes slow, so expect a wait, particularly when crowded. Lunch and dinner on weekdays; no reservations. Pies to go can be purchased at the pie shop next door.
- 6 Banana Leaf, 3005 W Broadway (on West Broadway near Carnavon Street, between MacDonald and Balaclava), ☏ , email@example.com. M-Th 11:30AM-10:30PM, F Sa 11:30AM-11PM, Su 11:30AM-10PM. Malaysian food is a vibrant mingling of Chinese, Indian, Thai, Indonesian, and Malay, and it springs to life at Banana Leaf with rich flavours beautifully presented, yet in an efficient, low-key atmosphere. Many dishes can be prepared vegetarian. Other locations are on West Broadway (Mt Pleasant), Davie, Robson, and Denman. Mains $20-45.
- 7 Heirloom Vegetarian, 1509 West 12th Avenue (Near S. Granville St.), ☏ . M-F 7AM-7PM, Sa Su 8AM-7PM. A bright, airy, colourful space and an all-vegetarian menu with extensive vegan choices. They favour local and fair-trade ingredients. There is brunch menu F-Su 9AM-4PM (weekends). entrées $20-25.
- 8 The Eatery, 3431 West Broadway, ☏ . M-Th 4:30-10:30PM, F 3:30-11:30PM, Sa noon-11:30PM, Su noon-10:30PM. A fusion Japanese restaurant. The food is anything Japanese with a North American twist to it. The crowd can best be described as your usual 20-something crowd. Be prepared for kitsch overload.
- 9 Tojo's, 1133 West Broadway (just east of Alder St), ☏ , fax: , firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Su from 4:30PM, last seating at 8PM. Serves innovative Japanese cuisine. Try the omakase menu, where you leave the details of your 5-course meal to the chef's discretion. The vegetarian omakase can have spectacularly realistic-looking sushi made from vegetables. À la carte menu also available — but why skip the chance to let the master delight you? Winner of the "Best Japanese Restaurant" awards from Vancouver Magazine every year since 1991. Omikase from $120/person, nigiri sushi $7-25/piece.
- 10 Vij's, 3106 Cambie Street (just in from Granville St), ☏ , email@example.com. Open daily from 5:30PM. Indian restaurant that combines Indian spices and cooking techniques with local ingredients. New York Times food writer Mark Bittman said that Vij’s was: "Easily among the finest Indian restaurants in the world." Mains $26-31.
Granville Island and vicinity Edit
- 11 Afghan Horsemen, #202 - 1833 Anderson St (on the mainland opposite the entrance to Granville Island, almost under the Granville Street Bridge. On Anderson at 2nd Ave/Lamey's Mill Road. Behind Starbucks. 2nd floor), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Th 5–10PM, Su 4-10PM. The exotic decor and rich flavours justify this restaurant's pride in Afghan culture and cuisine. Try one of the platters for two people ($54-76). Numerous vegetarian options, and some vegan dishes too. Try to stay for the mesmerizing belly-dancer's performance. Mains $23-38.
- 12 Go Fish, 1505 West 1st Ave (on the waterfront south of Granville Island entrance), ☏ . M closed, Tu-F 11:30AM-6:30PM, Sa Su noon-6:30PM. Some of the best fish and chips in Vancouver, along with seasonal fish-based dishes all using fresh ingredients from local fishers. It's just a shack with some outdoor seating and may be a little hard to find; easiest to reach by foot or by bike. Look up driving directions if going by car – the route is not straightforward. $7-15.
- 13 Sandbar, 1535 Johnston St (On Granville Island near the Arts Club Theatre), ☏ . Su-Th 11:30AM-10PM, F Sa 11:30AM-11PM. Enjoy a variety of fish and seafood while looking out over Granville Island and False Creek. Also has a number of tapas and meat dishes. $16-50 (appy + main).
There are a few nightclubs in Kits, but most of the nightclubs in Vancouver are Downtown.
A number of restaurants on Granville Island, such as The Cat's Meow in the theatre district, the Sandbar beside the Public Market, and The Keg Restaurant have fully licensed lounges.
- 1 Darby's Pub, 2001 Macdonald St (at Macdonald and 4th Avenue), ☏ . Su-Th noon-1AM, F Sa noon-2AM. A local favourite, Darby’s is one of Kitsilano’s oldest neighbourhood pubs and has the best rooftop patio in the neighbourhood. Featuring live entertainment, comedy & karaoke nights, UFC, all broadcast & PPV Canucks games. With a classic pub menu focusing on quality.
- 2 Granville Island Brewing Company, 1441 Cartwright St (across the street from the Kids Market on Granville Island), ☏ , fax: , email@example.com. Oct-Apr: daily noon-8PM; May-Sep: daily 11AM-9PM. Visit this local brewery and sample their brews in their taproom. Taster sleeves and full pints of this locally brewed beer.
- 3 The Wolf and Hound, 3617 West Broadway, ☏ . M-Th 3-10PM, F 11AM-10PM, Sa 9AM-10PM, Su 11AM-10PM. Irish-themed pub with a good selection of draft beers and live music.
There are a few B&Bs in the Kitsilano area. People tend to stay Downtown.
- 1 Granville Island Hotel, 1253 Johnston St, ☏ , toll-free: , fax: , reservations@GranvilleIslandHotel.com. The only accommodation on Granville Island. Some of the standard rooms have a water view plus there are six executive suites and two penthouse suites. All rooms come with wireless and high-speed internet and there is a jacuzzi room on site. May-Oct from $500; $320 at other times.
Go next Edit
|Routes through Kitsilano-Granville Island|
|END ←||W E||→ Mount Pleasant → Hope|
|Whistler ← City Centre ←||N S||→ South Vancouver → Seattle / Victoria via|