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Vancouver Travel Guide

West Side and Kitsilano

Once a hippie haven, Kitsilano has gone upmarket. Distinctive homes and specialty shopping now make up some of the country's most expensive few square miles of real estate. The West Side has the city's best gardens and natural sights; "Kits," however, is really where all the action is.

Leave downtown via Burrard, Granville, or Cambie Street bridge and you'll be on the West Side,

an area of diverse neighborhoods just south of the downtown core. Any reference to "the West Side" usually has moneyed connotations, as in South Granville's chic galleries and upscale shopping, the old-family mansions of Shaughnessy, the tony university district, and even the up-and-coming area surrounding Cambie Street. The West Side is the antithesis of the city's funkier, lower-income East Side. Some of Vancouver's best gardens, natural sights, and museums, including the renowned Museum of Anthropology on the campus of the University of British Columbia, are south of downtown Vancouver. Established in 1908, UBC is the city's main university campus with a student population of approximately 46,000. The university is where you'll also find the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts, the Botanical Gardens, and Pacific Spirit Regional Park—the latter, although it can't compare with Stanley Park, is where the locals go for meandering forested trails that put you in touch with nature. Except during rush hour, it takes about 30 minutes to drive and 30–40 minutes to travel by bus from downtown to the University of British Columbia.

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