The Top Things to Do in Kitsilano Beach, Vancouver

Kitsilano Beach is the perfect escape from downtown Vancouver
Kitsilano Beach is the perfect escape from downtown Vancouver | © Danita Delimont / Alamy Stock Photo
Olga Lenczewska

Vancouver’s Kitsilano – or ‘Kits’ – Beach has everything an ocean-lover could possibly want. Whether you’re into water sports, sunbathing, beachfront jogging or just dipping your toes in the water, Kits has you covered, with stunning views of the nearby mountains sealing the deal. Check out the seven best things to do at Kits Beach.

1. Take a dip in the Pacific

Swimming in the Pacific Ocean is one of the great pleasures of Kitsilano Beach. There are sections specially designated for swimming enthusiasts, so you don’t have to worry about colliding with kayaks or boats. Whether you’re a doggy-paddler or a front-crawler, the amazing views of the Vancouver skyline and the surrounding mountains are sure to enhance your swim.

Kitsilano Beach is a gem on Vancouver’s coastline

2. Swerve the waves at Kitsilano Pool

The enclosed Kitsilano Pool is a good alternative to ocean swimming if you’re surf averse, though don’t let the word ‘pool’ fool you – the water here is almost as salty as that in the Pacific – but considerably warmer. Views from the open-air pool are just as lovely as from the ocean, of course.

Kitsilano Beach park and swimming pool is the ideal spot for families

3. Lend your ears to the annual Shakespeare Festival

This renowned Shakespeare festival takes place outdoors in Kitsilano Beach every summer. Managed by artistic director Christopher Gaze, Bard on the Beach is the largest Shakespeare festival in Canada and incorporates performances as well as creative and cultural workshops.

Bard on the Beach festival is the largest Shakespeare festival in Canada

4. Get active

If you’re the energetic type, Kits Beach offers loads of water sports, ranging from water aerobics to kayaking. You can also play basketball or tennis. If you want to make like a true Vancouverite, while away an afternoon exploring by kayak or paddleboard.

Paddleboarding is a popular activity on the Pacific

5. Soak up Vancouver’s maritime history

With Vancouver’s history and identity so tightly intertwined with the ocean, a visit to Kitsilano Beach’s Vancouver Maritime Museum is a must. The permanent exhibits include The Avenger of the People – a detailed model of the famous French warship – and the Arnold 176 chronometer, which was used by George Vancouver when he was exploring the Pacific coast.

The Vancouver Maritime Museum tracks the history of the city’s relationship with the sea

6. Cruise Kitsilano Beach on two wheels

Cycling is another great way to experience the area. Try starting at Kits Beach and making your way across the hip Kitsilano quarter all the way to popular Granville Island or the False Creek. Vancouver has plenty of bike rental places, some of which offer both private rentals and cycling tours along various local routes.

Kitsilano Beach park overlooks English Bay and the skyline of downtown Vancouver

7. Chow down on seafood at the Boathouse Restaurant

Call ahead to bag a table with ocean views at the Boathouse Restaurant. This place’s specialties – seafood and wine sourced from British Columbia – taste even better when you’re gazing out over the Pacific. Try the spicy yam fries or the perfectly crispy calamari for your appetizer. For your main course, it has to be grilled fish, simply served with potatoes and veg.

Fresh, grilled seafood is the area’s specialty
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