Stroll down Fourth Avenue in Kitsilano - Vancouver

by Nathan


I'm probably the worst person to be talking about a shopping district-I hate shopping.  But if I did like shopping, 4th Avenue is where I'd be at.  What I like about 4th Avenue is you won't find any mall stores.   Most of the stores are one-of-a-kind, like the shop selling nothing but flags.  The clothing is more hip and trendy, and heavy on the exercise and active lifestyle.  You can pick from Westbeach, the Boardroom, Helley Hansen, Coast Mountain Sports and the Fitness Store.  Those are just the ones that caught my eye.  Getting back to the Fitness Store, I dragged Dad in there because I want him to buy a Bo-Flex.  It'll help him get back that washboard stomach he had when he was younger  (hard for me to believe), and maybe help me grow a few muscles at the same time.  Luckily the guy who helped us was a pretty good salesman.  I think he actually talked Dad into buying one.  

I also stumbled across a couple of bike shops, which I couldn't resist going inside.  I found the perfect camelback, which I tried to convince Mom into buying for me.  Unfortunately she didn't go for it.  Coleman made a b-line for this store called E-Ride which actually sells electric scooters and bikes.  Mom's reply for him was, "Santa makes the best electric scooters-wait till Christmas."

For people who actually like to shop, my sister, you'll be in seventh heaven.  Jen went crazy.  Honestly, I think she would've shopped till she dropped, except Dad pulled the old empty wallet trick.  I thought she was never going to leave the Lululemon store.  I could hear her all the way outside begging Mom to buy her a hundred dollar jacket.  Finally she comes out with a pink hair band.  Nice work Jen!

Mom, of course, had to step inside every cookware and clothing store we came across.  Get a load of these store names:  Blue Crush, Ironhead, Lushuz, Paboom.  I bet you can't guess what any of them sell?  Answers:  specialty swim & surf, limited edition tough clothes, fashion wear passion style, and cookware.  Speaking of cookware, Mom was saying Basic Stock Cookware has been there for over twenty years, because she always bought coffee there.  That must've been before Starbucks came along.

Mom was reminiscing about the days when her and Dad were dating.  Her favorite restaurant on 4th Avenue was Simpatico's.  Apparently they had the best whole wheat pizza.  "Whole Wheat"!!   You'll have to excuse my mom, Dad says she's a health food nut.  That's why she couldn't stop herself from going inside Capers and buying a tough-as-nails loaf of bread.  If you're a health-foody too, there are a number of health conscious places to eat on 4th Avenue.  Mom said the Naan has been there for about 25 years.  

Dad fell in love with Sophies Cosmic Café.  That's where we ate lunch.  What a cool place.  I had the Lumberman's Breakfast.  I've never eaten so much food at one time.  Apart from the great tasting food and reasonable prices Sophies has a million pieces of nostalgia for you to feast your eyes on:  pennants, lunchboxes, movie posters, retro figures.  It's like a museum.

Dad said 4th Avenue is popular with University students.  Apparently it's not far from U.B.C.  I guess that's why most of the restaurants aren't rich and the shops cater mostly to the young, active, single person.

Age group:

All ages

Expense rating:

Free (if you're just browsing)


For shoppers, 4th Avenue has it all.  What I like though is the feeling you get there.  It's casual and relaxing, but then it also has an energy and vibrancy all its own.  


I can handle shopping for one hour, two is pushing it, and three is obscene.  Take my advice and don't go with someone who likes to shop.  You'll be having lunch and dinner there.


How do you get there:  the shopping district starts at Burrard and extends for about two miles till you hit Alma.  No,  it's not all dense shopping the whole way.  It's broken up by apartments and a park.  The best shopping is close to the major crossroads:  Burrard, McDonald, and Alma.  Website:




All seasons

Educational highlights:

Mom said 4th Avenue's hip character started in the 1960's.  University students and hippies gravitated there for the cheap rent, vegetarian restaurants, and alternative lifestyle stores. 

Fun for the adult?:

Dad's not the shopping type but he loves restaurants that serve a lot of food.  If you do too, try Sophies Cosmic Café.