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Insider Itinerary: Wellness Weekend

November 13, 2023 |
Wendy Underwood

There are many reasons that Vancouver is synonymous with healthy lifestyles and pursuits: plenty of active, entertaining outdoor activities from strolling Stanley Park’s Seawall to kayaking in English Bay. But even when there is rain (not to mention the odd wintertime cameo made by the snow), those looking for a wellness weekend will find lots of indoor options for enjoying mental, physical, and nutritional health. If you’re just looking for a unique workout, you’ll find our favourite five here. But if you’re looking for a whole weekend of rejuvenating wellness, you’re in the right place; here’s just one example of a feel-good itinerary.


A Healthy Start
The vibrant, seaside neighbourhood of Kitsilano was the epicentre of 1960’s hippie culture and it remains a hotspot for healthy eating, yoga, and various fitness activities to this day. After a morning wander along Kitsilano Beach with coffee or tea in hand, head up the hill to Kokomo (2028 Vine Street) for colourful, nourishing, plant-forward fare. Got allergies, avoiding gluten, or going low-carb? They’ve got your back with things like blueberry matcha smoothies, beet poke macro salads with edamame hummus and ginger pickled carrot, and black bean burritos with brown rice, pickled cabbage, pickled onion, tofu feta, and pico de gallo.

Get a Sweat On
Mingled among the colourful shops on West 4th is TurF Kitsilano (2041 W 4th Avenue), a very Vancouver-ish fitness studio, retail shop, and healthy café combo. Check out their calendar for drop-in classes like ‘Meta’ –  described as “a signature TurF class designed to move the body physically and energetically, work the heart and lungs, and increase endurance. Elevated by a curated and energizing playlist, we move to the beat of the music.”

Look to the Universe
Looking to kick back after an afternoon of exercise? Expanding your mind is always an option at H.R. MacMillan Space Centre (1100 Chestnut Street), where there are plenty of exhibits and shows to discover new things beyond our planet. Lean back in Vancouver’s only planetarium theatre and experience events like ‘Surfing the Solar System,’ where you will have a chance to see Earth from the perspective of astronauts on the International Space Station. After getting comfortable as an armchair astronomer, make sure to check out the half-metre Cassegrain telescope in the Observatory for a little personal exploration of the skies.


Treat Yourself
The first of its kind anywhere, Circle Wellness Spa is completely private, and completely self-guided, but smack-dab in the middle of Granville Island. The five-step experience moves you from open-air shower to a cedar soaking tub before you enter the WelPod – a modern sauna-like room. From there, you take a cold plunge and then relax on a bed of radiantly-heated river stones. Sessions are 90 or 120 minutes and give you the whole space, meaning that it’s the same price whether it’s just you or you bring a friend.

A Comforting Pause
Step over to Chinatown to slow things down a little, with a private, traditional tea tasting at Treasure Green Tea Company (227 East Georgia Street) with second-generation tea master, Olivia – the shop’s proprietor. Learn etiquette, brewing methods, and enjoy premium custom teas like West Lake Long Jing, Dragonball Jasmine, or Superior Roast Iron Buddha while discovering the histories behind them.

Eating Well
An offshoot of the popular, vegan Virtuous Pie pizzeria a few doors away, Mila (185 Keefer Street) takes plant-based dining to new heights with riffs on international cuisine, from the richness of a Wellington (puff pastry, mushroom duxelle, rutabaga puree, demi glace, brussels + leeks) to dan dan noodles (spicy dan dan sauce, farro, gai lan, peanuts) to a spin on aburi lox sushi with carrot, aburi sauce, shiso, and serrano. Are organic and natural wines on offer? You bet!

Having a relaxing night sleep is another key ingredient to a healthy mind and body. Check out our booking page for a great rate and a good night’s sleep.

Photo Credits:
Feature Photo: Yoga at Whytecliff Park: edb3_16 via Getty
Kokomo: via Kokomo Official Instagram
Turf Kitsilano: via Turf Official Instagram
H.R. MacMillan Space Centre: via H.R. MacMillan Space Centre Official Instagram
Circle Wellness Spa: via Circle Wellness Spa Instagram page
Treasure Green Tea: via Treasure Green Tea Company Official Instagram
Mila: via Mila Official Instagram