North America > Canada > British Columbia > Lower Mainland > Vancouver > Vancouver/Kitsilano-Granville Island
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.
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.
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.
By public transit
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 $3.05, whether travelling one stop or from end to end.
There is no direct access to the Canada Line/SkyTrain, but the Olympic Village station connects with the #50 bus to Granville Island.
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.
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. Tu-Su 10AM-5PM. 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. $15+GST, senior or student $10.75+GST.
- Museum of Vancouver (formerly the Vancouver Museum), 1100 Chestnut St (shares a building with the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre), ☏ , fax: . Tu-Su 10AM-5PM (Th until 8PM); M 10AM-5PM in summer only. 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. $12, senior or student $10, youth $8.
- 2 Vancouver Maritime Museum, 1905 Ogden Ave, ☏ , fax: . Summer (Victoria Day - Labour Day): daily 10AM-5PM; Winter: Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su noon-5PM. Canada's premiere western maritime museum, the site of George Vancouver's 250th birthday party on 22 June 2007, officially declared "George Day" by Vancouver's then-mayor, Sam Sullivan. 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. $10+GST, senior or student $7.50+GST.
- 3 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.
An ExplorePass offers admission to the Vancouver Museum, the Vancouver Maritime Museum, and the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre for $30 (adults), $24 (students), including tax.
- Kits Beach is the 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 137.5m in length and runs along the ocean's edge.
- Reckless Bike Stores, 1810 Fir St (at 2nd Ave), ☏ . 10AM-5PM. Bicycle rentals and sales. $22.50 for 2 hr, $34.50 for half day, $44.50 for 24 hours. Tandem bikes, trailers and baby seats extra charge..
- Sailboat Racing. Cooper's Boating on Granville Island offers drop-in Friday night racing for all comers. $25, with an additional $15 membership fee (which is valid for 2 years). no skill or knowledge is required, in fact the sailing is strictly novice level.
- 1 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 (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.
Specific things to do on Granville Island include:
- 2 Granville Island Brewing Company, 1441 Cartwright St, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. 10AM-8PM. Take a tour of this local brewery and sample four of their brews. Tours are daily at noon, 2PM and 4PM and can be arranged through the retail shop. $9.75.
- Maritime Market — Stores and a museum for all things related to the sea.
- 3 Vancouver Arts Club Theatre, 1585 Johnston St (beside the Public Market), ☏ . The Granville Island stage for the Vancouver Arts Club Theatre Company.
- 4 Vancouver Theatre Sports, 1502 Duranleau St, ☏ . Main show Th 7:30PM, and F Sa 8PM and 10PM on. Long-running improv company in the Improv Centre on Granville Island. $10-18 (depends on show and night of the week).
- Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival. May-Sept. Annual summer Shakespeare festival held in tents in Vanier Park. 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. $18-34.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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).
- 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:
- Comor, 1980 West 4th Ave, ☏ . Primarily skis, and mainly freestyle stuff, but does snowboards too.
- Pacific Boarder, 1793 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.
- 1 Skiis & Biikes (Snowcovers), 1701 W 3rd Ave (one block east of Burrard on 3rd Ave), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 9AM-5PM. Family Bike Shop. Another specialty is proper bike fitting.
- Showcase Snowboard Surf and Skate, 1766 West 4th Ave, ☏ . Mostly snowboard and surfing focused.
- 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.
- Westbeach, 1758 West 4th Ave, ☏ . The outlet store for a snowboarding-oriented clothing brand.
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.
- 2 Public Market, 1669 Johnston St, ☏ . 9AM-7PM. Food stalls and small items. Make sure to bring your own reusable bag.
- Kids Market, 1496 Cartwright St. Lots of toys and activities for the children.
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.
- Baguette & Co, 3273 West Broadway, ☏ . 7AM-7PM daily. A French bakery with some quiches and sandwiches/paninis for lunch and a large selection of desserts and French pastries. The lunch special (sandwich, pastry and an Americano for $8-9) is a very good deal. Lunch items $5-9, desserts $2-6.
- 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.
- 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.
- East is East, 3239 West Broadway, ☏ . 11AM-10PM. 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.
- The Naam, 2724 West 4th Ave, ☏ . 24 hours. 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.
- 1 [formerly dead link] Planet Veg, 1941 Cornwall Ave, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. 11AM-9:30PM (Mar-Aug), 11AM-7:30PM (Sept-Feb). Passable Indian-inspired vegetarian fast food: burgers, wraps, samosa, rice pots, and soups. Has a small number of tables, including a few outside. Just a few blocks from Kits Beach, so it's great for take-out picnics. Most meals in the $6-10 range.
- [formerly dead link] Sejuiced, 1958 West 4th Ave (between Cypress & Maple), ☏ . Tu-Sa 9AM-8PM, Su M 9AM-6PM. Small and casual vegan restaurant serving healthy fare and delicious smoothies and juices. $10-15.
- 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.
- Banana Leaf, 3005 W Broadway (on West Broadway near Carnavon Street, between MacDonald and Balaclava), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. M-Th 11:30AM - 2:45PM, 5-10:30PM; F 11:30AM - 2:45PM, 5-11PM; 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. $20/dinner.
- 2 [dead link] Heirloom Vegetarian, 1509 West 12th Avenue (Near S. Granville St.), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 9AM–late. 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 from opening until 2PM (weekdays) or 4PM (weekends), and the "all-day" menu starts at 11AM (weekdays) and 2PM (weekends). entrées $15-22.
- Memphis Blues Barbeque House, 1465 West Broadway, ☏ . M-Th 11AM-10PM, F 11AM-11PM, Sa noon-11PM and Su noon-10PM. A restaurant for those who don't think vegetables are necessary or like their meat barbequed. Emphasis is on food and cooking styles from the American South. If you have 3-4 people, try the Memphis Feast for a taste of almost everything. $5-10 (starter or sandwich), $11-24 (main).
- Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co., 1876 W 1st Ave (just east of Cypress St.), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. M-F 8:15AM onwards, Sa Su 9AM onwards, holidays closed. Interesting, flavourful soups, sandwiches, and "flatbread" pizzas featuring organic and local ingredients and attentive service. The bright, colourful interior is welcoming and kid-friendly. Lots of options for vegetarians. A hybrid of pancake eatery, pizza joint, coffeehouse, and bar. Try the "Farmer's Market" pizza, with seasonal veggies like beets (on a pizza?!). Single-person pizzas, sandwiches $9.95, salads $8.25-12.25, beers $6-10, glass wine $7.50, bottle $26.
- The Eatery, 3431 West Broadway, ☏ . 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. About $20 and up for dinner.
- Thai House Kitsilano, 1766 W 7th Ave, ☏ . Daily 11AM to 10:30PM. Established in 1986, enjoy authentic Thai cuisine with a wide array of mild to spicy dishes. Other locations include: Richmond.
- Topanga Cafe, 2904 West 4th Ave (On the south side of 4th, a half block west of MacDonald), ☏ . M-Sa 11:30AM - 10PM. Great for lunch or dinner, this classic California-Mexican restaurant has been a fixture in Kitsilano since 1978. The food is still made with the authentic recipes. There are a few good vegetarian options. The margaritas and cold Mexican beers are always a hit. The "homemade" chocolate cake is among the moistest on earth and cannot be missed. Dinner entrees $12-24.
- Bishop's, 2183 West 4th Ave, ☏ . Daily 5:30-11PM (closes at 10PM Su). Known for its emphasis on fresh and local produce in a quieter ambiance. $50 and up for appetizer + main.
- Tojo's, 1133 West Broadway (Just east of Alder St), ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Dinner only, M-Sa; closed Su. 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. However, some say that since April 2008, prices have risen astronomically and quality has suffered, that service is generally poor and value is doubtful. $75-150/person.
- 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. Does not take reservations, it is recommended that you arrive by 5PM to get a spot in the 5:30 seating. If you would prefer a cheaper option to Vij's, try Rangoli, which is also owned by Vikram Vij. $30-45 (Vij's) or $15-30 (Rangoli).
- West, 2881 Granville St, ☏ . Daily 5:30-11PM. Upscale and award winning restaurant with excellent service. Menu has a variety of seafood and meat dishes. $100/person and up. $50 prix fixe menu available if you dine before 6PM.
Granville Island and vicinity
- 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. The exotic decor and rich flavours justify this restaurant's pride in Afghan culture and cuisine. Try one of the platters ($29/2 people). Numerous vegetarian options, and some vegan dishes too. Try to stay for the mesmerizing belly-dancer's performance. $20 dinner.
- 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.
- 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).
- 3 Edible Canada, 1596 Johnston St (across the street from the Public Market), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. M-F 11AM–4PM, 5–9PM, Sa Su 9AM–4PM, 5-9PM. Breakfast, lunches, brunches, and dinner with a menu focussed on local and Canadian-themed ingredients. Nice enough for a holiday brunch, priced reasonably for a business lunch break. In the heart of Granville Island, right across the street from the inland entrance to the Public Market. Being in the heart means parking is scarce, however. Brunch entrées $13-25, dinner entrées $15-40.
There are a few nightclubs in Kits, but most of the nightclubs in Vancouver are Downtown.
- Darby's Pub, 2001 Macdonald St (at Macdonald and 4th Avenue), ☏ . 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.
- The Wolf and Hound, 3617 West Broadway, ☏ . Irish-themed pub with a good selection of draft beers and live music.
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.
- Backstage Lounge, 1585 Johnston St, ☏ . Drinks and pub eats with live music most nights. Has a good selection of domestic and imported beers on tap, with nightly drink specials. $8-16.
- Granville Island Brewing Taproom, 1441 Cartwright St (across the street from the Kids Market on Granville Island), ☏ . Daily noon-8PM. Taster sleeves and full pints of this locally brewed beer.
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. $240 for a Standard room May-Oct; $160 at other times.
|Routes through Kitsilano-Granville Island|
|END ←||W E||→ Mount Pleasant → Hope|
|Whistler ← City Centre ←||N S||→ South Vancouver → Seattle / Victoria via|