Vancouverites are notoriously active and outdoorsy. It would be hard to find a city with easier access to forests, mountains and the ocean. Whether you’re in Van for business, brewery hopping, skiing or hiking, here are some ways to stay active.
Vancouver has more yoga studios than just about any other city in North America. Kitsilano is the yoga mecca and home to Lululemon HQ. Y Yoga is the most prolific studio but if you don’t want to pay the standard $25 CAD per class, there are free classes held outdoors all summer. Lululemon host free classes at the Shipyards in North Vancouver, and outside the Convention Centre downtown.
Vancouver is a hikers dream, from multi-day treks to short trails. The most popular hike is Quarry Rock in Deep Cove. Only a 30-minute drive from downtown, it’s an easy 4km trail with a great viewpoint. Whyte Lake is a good alternative that’s not as busy, and it has a small lake at the end of the trail. Dog Mountain, up Mt Seymour, is another picturesque 5km option. For some awe-inspiring multi-day hikes Howe Sound Crest and the Baden Powell Trails are great options. Both Cypress Mountain and Mt Seymour have excellent hiking trails, from 1 hour up to multiple days.
Spin studios are everywhere in Vancouver. Big names include Spin Society, Eastwood, Soul Cycle and Salted. Soul Cycle is the most internationally well-known, but for a great workout with less pretense, try Salted in North Vancouver, who offer first-time visits for $10. For spacious studios with great music and experienced instructors, try Spin Society who have locations downtown, North and East Vancouver.
Take a Group Fitness Class
There are countless fitness studios to choose from. Classpass is a good option that allows you to try many different kinds. Equinox is for those wanting to be seen, while Steve Nash is a good no-frills gym. Hustle in East Vancouver is one of the best studios, conveniently joined to Spin Society. The Booty class is the most popular, don’t forget to reserve your spot!
Biking is a staple mode of both transport and fitness in Vancouver, as it’s relatively flat with many bike lanes. For visitors, Mobi offers a great service, register online and use their app to reserve by ride, day or month. The seawall that hugs the coast around Stanley Park is a spectacular path for views of the ocean and city. Vancouver also has an abundance of mountain bike trails, especially on the North Shore.
One of the most picturesque ways to break a sweat in the winter is by strapping on some snowshoes and getting into the forest. Mount Seymour has some great trails, including Dog Mountain, which is a favourite thanks to the view from the peak. Cypress Mountain is also popular. Rent Snowshoes at both Seymour and Cypress.
Vancouver has countless trails with beautiful views. The seawall around Stanley Park is the most popular, but there are also many forest trails from Pacific Spirit National Park, in Kitsilano, to the forests of North Vancouver. Lynn Valley in North Van has wide, flat trails. For the ultra-fit and brave, the Grouse Grind is a grizzly uphill that earned its name for good reason. Take the trail up, have a beer at the top, and catch the gondola down.
Skiing and Snowboarding
Vancouver has three ski hills within an hour of downtown. Skiers and boarders can finish a hard day at work and hit Grouse, Seymour or Cypress for some night riding. Whistler easily has the best terrain but it’s a 2-hour drive, so if you don’t have time for that, Cypress is the next best thing. Cypress has been hammered with snow in recent years, and powder days are relatively common. Seymour is the smallest mountain, with cheap night-skiing deals, including $10 tickets for ladies on Monday nights. Grouse is the most touristy with a beautiful restaurant, The Observatory, a Gondola and an ice skating rink. All three mountains have spectacular views. They can be accessed by car or bus.
There are many free public tennis courts in Vancouver. Stanley Park has a few that don’t need to be reserved, just show up and wait. Sports stores will rent rackets and balls.
Get out in the ocean – SUP & Kayak
With summer reaching 30 degrees Celsius and water temperatures up to 22 degrees, water sports are popular. Vancouver is not immune to the standup paddleboard craze, and there are SUP rentals all over the place (including MEC). A favourite spot is Deep Cove in North Vancouver, where SUPs and Kayaks can be rented on the inlet.