West 4th vs. West Broadway – Where is a better place to live?


I received an email earlier this week from a Kitsilano.ca reader that is doing some reserch on our neighbourhood before moving. Smart idea.

And if you’re moving to Kits, where better to get some feedback than Kitsilano.ca. Have a read:

My husband and I are moving to Vancouver in July and considering two apartments to rent – one is on West 4th and one is on West Broadway; both are between Trafalgar & Yew.

As a Kits expert, do you have any thoughts on which is a better residential location?… or is it simply a matter of personal preference?

We’ve been to Vancouer once and spent enough time in Kits to know what we want to live there, but I’m having a hard time deciding between the two apartments. The one on Broadway is a little larger but the 4th Ave location (with shops, cafes, closer to beach, etc) might be a bit more attractive.

I replied that they really couldn’t go wrong but that there are a lot of factors to consider including commuting options and lifestyle. She added this to the mix:

We love all things outdoors so being closer to the beach is attractive. I work from home and my husband will be at Vancouver General, so Broadway might be a little more convenient w/ the bus line, but 4th doesn’t look that far either.

Always in search of an interesting blog post,  I suggested that we let our readers help her decide and she’s eager to hear what the natives think.

So, comment below and let her know your opinions on West 4th Avenue versus West Broadway.

Last modified: April 6, 2009

16 Responses to " West 4th vs. West Broadway – Where is a better place to live? "

  1. David Hayes says:

    Both are pretty busy streets but I reckon 4th would be a little quieter at least from traffic noise. Not sure how much noise the restaruants/bars produce on 4th though.
    Even from 7th we frequently hear ambulances shooting past towards VGH in the early hours.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I live between yew and trafalgar on W4th, I love it – nothing short of the best place to live in Vancouver. 2 grocery stores, 49th parallele coffe, shoppers drugmart, a hardware store (don’t under estimate this), and all the resteraunts on Yew @ kits beach

    Broadway is rad, but that stretch is a little sleepy. Also the B-line99 doesn’t stop at Vine st, 4th has the 44 and the 84 express buses that stop at Vine, it makes my commute perfect.

  3. Robyn Kendall says:

    As someone who has lived in Kitsilano for most of my life, I would suggest that the decision also has to do with parking. Parking around 4th Avenue is particularly painful, especially in summer. My friends and family were very happy when I moved south to near the Broadway corridor, because they could finally plan a visit, and were able to park somewhere in the neighbourhood.

    Broadway feels more “residential”, 4th feels more “party-like”. By the end of the summer, if you are a 4th Avenue resident, you will be happy for the relative quiet of autumn. Do I miss being as close to the beach? Sometimes. But it’s a trade off.

  4. Erik says:

    Although I think Rob is right that you really can’t go wrong with either, I’d lean slightly towards 4th. However, a commute to VGH would pretty much mean a walk up to Broadway to catch a bus. Then again, your husband might want to consider cycling to VGH anyway, as it really isn’t that far and easily accessibly using bike routes.

  5. Will says:

    West 4th without a doubt. Much more “neighbourly” with it’s lowrise buildings and smaller operations on ground level compared to Broadway which is more commercial office space and lacks real personality. My office is on West 4th surrounded shops and restauarants where everyone knows everyone’s name. You can easily jaywalk over West 4th and you can’t so much on busier Broadway. The views are better to the North and the beach isn’t far (5 blocks). The difference in commute is about an extra 7 minutes on foot, 2 mins on bike.

    I’d wager you’d be happier on 4th.

  6. I live on W 4th in the 2400 block (between Balsam and Larch), so I’m obviously in favour of W 4th. I don’t have much new to add to this discussion, but my reasons are simple … Everything you need is available on this stretch, with Safeway, Capers (Whole Foods), New Apple Farm Market, Terra Breads, Cobs, Shoppers Drug Mart, to name a few. This is in addition to the numerous restaurants and retail stores lined along this street. Best of all, I’m only a few blocks from the beach.

    Go with your 4th Ave choice. You won’t regret it.

  7. Gord says:

    We call this the “hip Kits” vs. “family Kits” debate. Although, as another friend pointed out the other day, they thought 4th was family Kits due to the heavy amount of maternity and baby shops.

    Broadway does have the B-Line, but in terms of getting downtown quickly, at least from Broadway and Macdonald vs. 4th and Arbutus (our points of reference in our debate), the 4 and the 7 provide much faster bus service than the 22, which while scenic, kinda crawls at times and is often standing room only.

    Other points of comparison (this could really be quite the show-down):

    Houses: Broadway.
    3-story walk-ups: 4th Ave.
    Safeway: both have them
    Produce markets: both have them
    Sushi: both have them
    Second run movie theatre: Broadway (Hollywood)
    First run movie theatre: 4th (well 5th Ave is close enough)
    Library: score a point for family Kits
    Greek places: Broadway
    Wine shops: Wine cellar vs Broadway wine store (Wine Cellar wins)
    New books: Duthies (4th Ave)
    Used Books: Pulp Fiction + ex-Tanglewood (can’t remember the name)
    Whitespot: score Broadway!
    Dairy Queen: double points Broadway!
    High-end eating: Lumiere (Broadway), Bishops (4th)
    Tomato Cafe: Broadway…

    I’m biased, I like Family Kits ™.


  8. Jen says:

    I’ve lived near both locations (4th & MacDonald, now Broadway & Vine) – both are great locations in terms of amenities, so I’d look closer at the specifics of the apartments and transportation needs.

    Is one concrete? Kits is home to lots of students, who sometimes forget to be considerate of their neighbours (yes I know you just finished exams, but for me it’s just another Wednesday). It doesn’t help when your windows are open in the summer, but would at least help for other building noise.

    Also, which direction do they face? Aside from the general preferences on exposure, both my apartments faced the back alleys of the buildings and were pretty quiet. My neighbours who faced the busy streets weren’t so lucky. On Broadway, people in my building consistently complain about the bar patrons across the street, which I don’t hear.

    Transit in Kits is also a little tricky. Broadway and 4th are major bus corridors, but there isn’t really a good North/South route. If your husband’s working at VGH and minds walking 5 blocks North/South a couple times a day I’d say go with the Broadway corridor.

    And above all, welcome to the neighbourhood!

  9. Kevin says:

    I’ve lived both at 3rd & Yew and now Broadway & Larch.

    Broadway has more options for fresh produce whereas 4th is better for fresh meats and seafood. It sounds like your income isn’t a limiting factor, so the Capers could make up for the mom&pop produce stores on Broadway (which also stock more foreign foods and produce).

    Broadway has a little less late-night noise pollution from drunken revelers. I’m usually not around during the day, though, but the highschool kids can be a little loud during lunchbreak and after school and there is more ambulance/firetruck traffic on Broadway than 4th.

    To the beaches, Broadway is only an extra 5-ish minutes so it’s really not a big deal. The cross streets from Broadway to 4th are generally nice, quiet, tree-shaded, and have sidewalks. Parking around 4th is nearly non-existent whereas free street parking is generally available on Broadway.

    On Broadway the majority of “stuff” is between MacDonald and Alma, on 4th, it’s between MacDonald and Burrard.

    I think the deciding factor would be the layout, size, and quality of the apartment complexes (and fixtures and stuff) that you’re choosing from.

    Personally, I prefer Broadway as the businesses there fit my personality a bit better than the ‘trendier’ and more pricey 4th.

  10. David Shepherd says:

    I would recommend 4th Kits for anyone that is new to Vancouver, but I think that Broadway Kits is a better value for even slightly seasoned Vancouverites. My wife and I lived near Kits beach for the first 1.5 years we lived in Vancouver and we found it to be a great introduction to the beauty of Vancouver. Kits beach and the sea-wall from Kits beach to Granville Island provide easy fun when you are still new to the city. However, after becoming familiar with those attractions the relative isolation of 4th Kits (harder to access Main, Commercial, South Granville, etc.) makes the almost equally pleasant but more connected Broadway Kits a smart move.

  11. Bill Barilko says:

    Lived just off 4th for decades but would switch to Broadway in a flash if I could.

    There’s only so much a person can take and the ‘dogs in purses’ crowd is getting to me…..

  12. ariane c says:

    I would consider either neighbourhood but NOT on those two streets. Both are noisy: West 4th is becoming a drag racing strip these days, and Broadway is non-stop with busses. Both are great areas, and as a Kits resident, it’s nice having both within walking distance.

    If you treasure quiet, I would try West 3rd, or West 5th, 6th or 7th. The latter three streets are close to Broadway.

  13. Ryan says:

    4th ave. no question.

  14. Jared says:

    I live on 7th between Balsam and Larch, and I gotta say I go up to 4th WAY more than I go down to MacDonald, because as Kevin said above, the majority of “Stuff” is on 4th between macdonald and burrard. That being said, at Broadway you’d only be a block or two from Iki (one of the best sushi places around, if you forgive their loveably bizarre service standards).

    And if you are someone who, like other posters here, thinks they might take issue with the noise of the neighborhood – I really think that neither 4th ave nor Broadway is an appropriate choice, as both are full of good restaurants and bars, some open late like the Naam, plus major bus routes, plus tons of foot traffic to and from the beach. It’s an awesome neighborhood, and I wouldn’t trade the noise for anything… it’s a sign that kits is still alive. But if you want real quiet, I think south of Broadway would be the best way to experience Kits. Try 10th or 14th avenue… I doubt you’d be disappointed.

  15. K says:

    Thanks. I love the fact we are moving into a lively neighborhood…West Broadway it is and we’re thrilled to be there. Everyboduy was very helpful we’ll see you in Kits!