It’s that time of year again!!!
If you’re a long-time reader, you’ll know that every year I create a Seawheezer’s Guide to Vancouver, intended to help anyone coming to visit this gorgeous city during Seawheeze weekend. This year, that falls on August 11-13, and as is the case every year, I’m beyond pumped about it.
Earlier guides can be found here and here, and this roundup includes a mix of newer spots and tried-and-true favourites. That means some repetition from past recommendations, but these places are so good that they deserve it! If the places I’ve listed aren’t within walking distance from where you’re staying, they’re just a short bike or cab ride away.
For those who are running the lululemon Seawheeze Half Marathon for the first time, know that you’re in for an epic weekend full of sweat, laughing, yoga, fresh air, ocean and mountain views, great eats and a whooooole bunch of partying with your fellow Seawheezers. Charge up your phone and bring a Mophie just in case because you’re gonna be taking a LOT of photos.
The Vancouver Convention Center is where most of the race weekend events go down, including the Seawheeze showcase store, package pickup, bag drop-off, the start and finish line, runner’s brunch – it’s a pretty key location. Located downtown, it’s within about 5-15 mins walking distance from most downtown hotels.
Field & Social (Downtown)
Fellow salad enthusiasts, you will be in heaven here! Field & Social’s menu changes with the seasons and features beautifully plated salads with the most genius and unique ingredient combos. If you’ve been in a salad rut lately, this is a great spot for new inspiration. With a menu consisting of some entirely plant-based salads, plus some featuring ethically-raised local meats, Field & Social is a place you can go with a mixed crowd of carnivores and vegans, and all will leave equally pleased.
The Juice Truck (Yaletown, Downtown, Gastown, Mount Pleasant)
This is one of my favourite juiceries – and Vancouver’s first original cold-pressed juicery, loved by many. There’s bottled juices available to go, or you can have one pressed right there on the spot – it doesn’t get more fresh than that!
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I recently had a chance to stop in at the newest Juice Truck location in Yaletown, which is absolutely beautiful. In addition to the full food + bevvy menu (and even more daily features), you’ll find the Juice Truck’s new book loaded with plant-based recipes for juices, smoothies, salads, bowls and sweet bites. There’s a ton of superfoods and other goodies in their storefront, plus a bright seating area to take a break from the heat. As a purist, my favourite juice there will always be The Green, and it’s even better as a chaser for the ginger turmeric cayenne Wellness Shot!
I wrote about TurF back when they opened earlier this year, and if you’ve not yet visited, you won’t regret it! Not only will you find great eats here featuring super fresh local produce, but you can also stop in for one of their fitness classes and a perusal of their shop which is stocked full of thoughtfully-selected clothes and home goods. The atmosphere in the cafe is always buzzing with energy and the staff are some of the most friendly, hospitable and caring folks you can imagine. Head in for a class, shower up in their changing room and stay for an açai bowl or avocado toast. The turmeric ginger tea is fabulous too!
Kokomo (East Mount Pleasant)
Very recently opened by my former lululemon colleague Katie, this place is one I can’t recommend enough! I’m enormously inspired by Katie who entered into this new chapter of her life and pursued her passions to serve people with beautiful, nourishing plant-based dishes. The menu items are as delicious to taste as they are pretty to look at, and all are gluten-free. What you’ll find on offer at Kokomo changes daily, but you can expect smoothies + juices, açai bowls, macro bowls, salads, and Cocowhip! They’re the only location in Canada to serve this vegan-friendly soft serve ice cream, and they’ve got some killer toppings too!
The rumours are true. . We are the first and only in Canada to serve @cocowhip and we couldn’t be more excited about it! It’s everything we want: vegan (!!), creamy, made with coconut water, vegetable probiotics and no refined sugar! Wait til you try our toppings! ??
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Glory Juice Co (Olympic Village, Kitsilano, Downtown, North Vancouver)
Açai bowl aficionados will love this spot – especially those that enjoy a solid smattering of chunky granola on top! The goodness doesn’t stop at juices and açai bowls though – you can also expect smoothies, wellness shots, savoury ‘glory bowls’, soups, salads, and some mean avocado toast. For those staying downtown, you’re in luck because the newest Glory Juice Co location is at 1066 West Hastings St, just 2 blocks south of the Vancouver Convention Center.
The Juicery Co. (Kitsilano, Mount Pleasant, Lonsdale, North Vancouver)
Specializing in juices and nut mylks made with ingredients from the owning family’s farm in Pemberton, BC, The Juicery Co. was one of the first spots I visited upon moving here 2 years ago. Everything about each of their locations is beautiful, and they’re pretty much the definition of farm to bottle. My top recommendation is The Family Farm juice, which changes monthly based on what’s in season (and green.) Think cucumbers, green kale, black kale, cucumber, celery, carrots, beets, mint, and cilantro… all the good stuff!
Monday morning juice pick up! ? Grab a healthy lunch to enjoy at work today or even challenge yourself to a One Day Cleanse, Monday is the perfect day to reset and start the week off fresh! We have four locations: ?Edgemont Village ?Lower Lonsdale ?Kitsilano ?Main St #mondays #freshjuice #cleansing #greenjuice
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Tractor Foods (Kitsilano, Downtown, Mount Pleasant)
With Tractor’s ever-changing menu, it’s a pretty safe bet if you want something that’s healthy, delicious, quick and super fresh. Serving up multiple salads, protein options, sandwiches, soups and sweeter snacks, Tractor is one of those any-time-is-a-good-time-of-day to stop by places. My top recommendations on the salad bar are the Beets and Green Beans, as well as any of their massaged kale salads, especially where tahini is involved. Proteins-wise, I’m always a sucker for the tuna, salmon and avocado (depending on the day, maybe even all at once!) ?
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The Hoke Poke (Kitsilano)
As the name suggests, lovers of this Hawaiian staple will LOVE Hoke Poke. Generous portions, extremely reasonable prices and located just a couple of blocks south of Kits Beach, it’s ideal when you want grab a bowl to go, lay out a blanket and feast while enjoying views of the ocean and North Shore mountains. They’ve got some of their signature bowls on the menu, poke nachos and poke burritos, as well as a custom build-your-own bowl feature. Until I visit Maui in September, this will do just fine!
We are now serving free range eggs. This bowl includes ahi tuna, topped with ?, green onions, cilantro, sweet onions, masago, tagarashi, ? flakes, crispy onions, seaweed salad, crab salad dressed with onion vinaigrette on top of a base of rice and salad with furikake sprinkled over top #freerangeeggs #ourchefeatthiseveryday #weeatwhatweserve #vancouvereats #vancouverfood #yvreats #yvrfood #pokebowls #kitsilano #dailyhivefood #vancouver #vancity #vancityfood #vancityeats #vancityfood #vancouverfoodie #yvrfoodie #vancityfoodie #vancityhype #VanCity #Vancouver #VanCityBuzz #food #foodporn #foodstagram #foodie #foodlover #followme
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Buddha-ful (North Shore)
If you happen to find yourself up on Vancouver’s North Shore and want some wholesome plant-based eats, Buddha-ful will not disappoint. This organic, vegan, raw and gluten-free restaurant prepares everything on the menu fresh in-house and a quick scroll through their rainbow of an Instagram feed is all it takes to see how beautiful their dishes are. Whether you fancy a juice, smoothie, Buddha bowl, soup, wrap, sandwich or salad, they’ll help you get your fix.
The Boathouse (Kitsilano + English Bay)
It’s the restaurant that inspired my West Coast Chopped Seafood Salad, and one I continue to visit often for all sorts of celebrations. The Kitsilano location is my favourite as it overlooks the beach and Kits pool, and watching the sun set as you enjoy delicious seafood is my idea of a summer night well spent! There’s never been a dish I didn’t enjoy, but my favourites will always be the Peel ‘n Eat Shrimp, Seafood Chop Chop Salad, Ahi Tuna Poke, and Maple Salmon. The latter is roasted on a cedar plank for the best, smokiest flavour, and would be a strong contender for my favourite meal if forced to pick one. If you’re in the mood for getting a little dressed up after the race to celebrate your 13.1 miles, The Boathouse would be a great place to do that!
Heirloom (South Granville)
Heirloom is a vegan and vegetarian restaurant where many of my Seawheeze memories of years past have taken place. Not only is their lunch and dinner menu full of plant-based goodness, but their brunch is extremely popular year-round and the portions are definitely big enough for a hearty appetite. My top recos include the kale slaw with tahini apple cider vinaigrette, avocado toast, ninja bowl and avocado benny.
Vital Supply Co. (Downtown Eastside)
Offering meal plans and meal delivery across the city, Vital Supply Co recently opened Vital Cafe + Blend Bar, a beautiful location serving up breakfast, smoothies, bowls and cafe bevvies. You may have already seen photos of their famous yam falafels from keen diners on Instagram, but regardless, they’re worth stopping in to taste for yourself!
Feed Your Vitals //❗️new item alert❗️Togarashi Tuna Tataki Bowl – PNW albacore, spiced brown rice, pickled cucumber, ginger, kale, carrots, red cabbage, ponzu. Can we hashtag #ChefInspired a million times in a row? #ChefInspired #DairyFree #GlutenFree #YVRfoodie #EatLocal #PNW #MealDeliveryYVR #VitalLife
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Cactus Club Cafe (Coal Harbour, English Bay, Yaletown, multiple downtown)
This is definitely a touristy spot as it’s located right next to the Convention Centre and is an easy walk for anyone staying near the waterfront. You’ll find lots of them in your downtown travels but the views of the North Shore mountains from the Coal Harbour location just cannot be beat. Go for lunch, brunch or dinner, but be sure to call ahead as this is prime real estate and you can count on it being busy all weekend. My top picks: the tuna stack, ceviche, tuna tatake, and raincoast greens salad.
This studio’s paint has barely just dried! SoulCycle is a super fresh and long-awaited addition to Vancouver’s fitness scene, and the Yaletown location is just as you’ve come to expect from other SoulCycling cities. I did my first ride last week, and my only previous one was at SoulCycle Bellevue in Seattle. (More on that here.) In case you’ve never been before, each standard class is a 45-minute experience with a lot of high-cadence riding, driving music to keep you motivated, and a weighted portion at the end. It’s not the type of spin class where you’ll be watching a monitor or screen that tracks your RPMs, calories or watts – think of it like high energy, party-like atmosphere meets introspective, somewhat emotional experience. If you’ve ever wondered what all the fuss is about, there’s no time like the present to try it!
Barre Fitness (Yaletown, Gastown, North Shore)
For a slightly quieter workout – but one with just as much burn – Vancouver offers two downtown Barre Fitness locations. One is in Yaletown just down the street from SoulCycle, and the other in Gastown at 130 West Hastings. For those that aren’t sure about what to expect, barre classes are a mix of ballet, pilates, strength and flexibility training. You’ll use tools including a ballet barre, balls, bands and a mat, as well as your own bodyweight to work muscles you probably didn’t know you had, especially in your glutes and core. Since runners are known for tight hips, hammies and glutes, this is a type of cross training we could all benefit from incorporating.
Already mentioned above, you’ll find a great selection of classes here including boxing, dance, strength, TRX, yoga, and The Class by Taryn Toomey. TurF is the only studio in Canada with an instructor certified to teach The Class, so if you’ve been curious, now is chance to try it! The full schedule can be found here.
Tight Club (Chinatown)
The folks at Tight Club believe that exercise doesn’t have to define your life – it’s something you do to enhance who you are. Based in Chinatown (just around the corner from Kokomo, mentioned above), the schedule consists of a variety of classes from their signature Tight Sweat and Tight TRX to athletic training, run club and 1-on-1 personal training sessions. Expect classes to start with a community question along the lines of “what was your favourite childhood cereal” or “in what order do you do all the things you need to do in the shower?” Even if you only come for a single class, I can almost guarantee you’ll meet at least one new friend in the process.
Lagree West (Gastown)
40 intense minutes is all it takes for this workout to hit you hard. Each participant hops on a megaformer – think of it like a Pilates reformer machine, but black with all sorts of springs and band attachments. Quickly moving from move to move and focusing on bodyweight-based movements that isolate muscles deep deep down, don’t be surprised if you’re sweating within the first 5 minutes. Class sizes are small which means you’ll get attention from the instructor if you need it, and great music will keep you motivated to push through.
This is one of my favourite low-impact yet intense and effective classes, especially when I need to switch up my usual routine. I wouldn’t recommend it the day before Seawheeze because newbies will likely wake up feeling a bit sore, but those up for a challenge might want to give it a shot on Sunday!
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Moment Meditation (Downtown)
Ok, you probably won’t do much sweating here, but it’s a great place to go if you’ve been doing too much sweating, sweating the small stuff, or just need some time to get quiet and grounded. Moment Meditation is a super easy way to get started with a new meditation habit, and their instructors are extremely knowledgeable in the quantitative and qualitative science behind the practice.
Orangetheory Fitness (Downtown)
I say this not because I’ve been to the studio yet, but because I know some of you out there are avid Orangetheory fans and I want you to know that we have it! There’s another studio on the North Shore, however, the one linked above will likely be more convenient as is right next to the Vancouver Convention Center.
You’ll find Mobi Bikes (Vancouver’s bike share service) all over the city to take you almost anywhere you want to go. They’re $10 for a 24-hour pass, and you can get all the deets on how the program works here. Alternatively, if you prefer to pick out a different model for yourself to cruise the sea wall, paths of Stanley Park, along the beaches or wherever else your heart desires, there are heaps of bike rental shops downtown. Check out Cycle City which not only offers a whole bunch of bikes, but also has TONS of recommendations for self-guided tours. Vancouver is an extremely bike-friendly city, and why not enjoy some fresh air while you see everything it has to offer?
The North Shore mountains are just across the Lion’s Gate Bridge (north of downtown), and within them you’ll find a ton of hikes ranging from easy to challenging. Some can be done in just over an hours, whereas others can be tackled as half-day or day hikes depending on how much time and ambition you have! For a quick cardio blast, climb the famous Grouse Grind (accessible via public transit). There’s a chalet to relax in at the top, and gondola rides back down cost $10. (Make sure you wear proper running shoes for this – flip flops and sandals are not going to cut it!) For something different and less touristy, check out Eagle Bluffs, Mount Seymour, Mount Fromme, Quarry Rock or Lynn Valley. I always use the Vancouver Trails website to plan my hikes, and I love it because you can sort hikes by region, duration and difficulty. If there are any you have specific questions about, let me know and I’ll do my best to help.
good fun (+ shopping!)
lululemon west 4th (Kitsilano)
This store is where it all began – the first lululemon, right in the heart of Kitsilano and just blocks away from my office. (Proximity is a dangerous thing!) It’s been under renovation for the majority of the year so far but is just about to reopen with a shiny new look. There are heaps of shops and eating spots on 4th so you could easily spend an afternoon browsing along, either before or after visiting the beach.
lululemon Robson (Downtown)
Not the original lululemon, but the most convenient for those staying downtown. This location is on the corner of Burrard St and Robson, and if your hotel is downtown you’ll probably walk past it at least 6-8 times during Seawheeze weekend.
lululemon lab (Gastown)
Previously on Cambie and West Broadway, the lululemon lab YVR moved downtown to the Gastown neighbourhood last year. The concept lab is half design space, half storefront, and features smaller collections of exclusive city-specific designs you won’t find in the regular lululemon retail spaces or online. (There’s another one in NYC, and like Vancouver, the designers there create specifically for the trends they see emerging in their city.)
You’ll run past the beach as part of the Seawheeze race route, but you’ve got to go back to truly take in its beauty. In case all of the places listed above aren’t enough to convince you to spend a day exploring Kits, the beach should be the thing that makes it a must-do on your weekend agenda. This is by far one of my favourite spots in all of Vancouver, especially in the summer when it’s buzzing with people. Choose between spots on the sand or the grass, under a tree or in full sun. You can hop in on a beach volleyball game, splash around in the water or cool off in Kits pool which also overlooks the ocean. (On a side note – there are many other beaches if you want to see a few – take a look at English Bay, Sunset Beach Park, Second Beach and Third Beach.
This is one of Vancouver’s tourist attractions, and worth a visit if you want to check out some local fare, gifts, shopping and restaurants. I’ve written many times before about how maple smoked salmon nuggets are a must-try while you’re there, but you can also get plenty of other treats like locally grown market produce, artisanal breads, baked goods, meats, cheese, and chocolates that are almost too pretty to eat… almost. ? You can either take a taxi, ride bikes, or combine 2 tourist activities in 1 outing by hopping on the Aqua Bus in Yaletown and sailing across False Creek to the Granville Island docks.
Phew – all that, on top of the race festivities should keep you plenty busy! Of course, there’s also the Sunset Festival happening in Stanley Park, multiple yoga classes throughout the weekend and all the pre-race expo fun at Jack Poole Plaza next to the Convention Center. If this is your first Seawheeze, my best advice would be to do as many of the lululemon race activities as you can – they’re always great and keep getting even better every year.
Want to add anything to my list? Feel free to put it in the comments below. And of course, if you happen to see me around on race weekend, please come over and say hi! I’d love to meet you in person.
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Here’s to another fun-packed Seawheeze weekend!