Sporty activities in Vancouver: Where to get fit and watch the game

December 20, 2016

by Erin Shaw

Being active and physically fit is fashionable year-round here in Vancouver. Whether you’re an elite athlete in need of top-tier conditioning, a community centre faithful, or an outdoor enthusiast, Vancouver has a wide variety of places to sweat, regardless of your budget, interests or fitness goals. Even if you’re not much of an athlete, there are always opportunities to cheer on your favourite sports teams. [Photo courtesy of Tight Club Athletics]

Sporty activities in Vancouver: Where to get fit and watch the game

“Vancouver is such an active city,” says Olympic snowboarder Mercedes Nicoll. “Everywhere you look, people are keeping fit on the seawall, in the parks or on the mountains. I think the Vancouver lifestyle is work to play. Our backyard is a ‎huge playground and everyone takes advantage of that.”

Luckily, you don’t need to be an Olympic athlete to enjoy all the sporty activities that Vancouver has to offer. From boutique fitness studios serving up high-intensity interval training to accessible step classes for all skill levels, we’ve got a comprehensive list of places to workout, plus a few suggestions on where you can watch your favourite athletes in action.

Where to Sweat

  • Richmond Oval: Built for the 2010 Winter Olympics, the Richmond Oval is a multi-sports arena that attracts former Olympians and amateur athletes alike. “When I'm in Vancouver I tend to work out at the Richmond Oval,” says Mercedes. “There is an athlete’s gym for national team athletes there.” The sprawling sports facility also features a comprehensive public fitness centre, ice rink, climbing wall, paddling centre, hardwood sports courts, a 200-metre training track and much more.
  • Tight Club: If working hard, crushing beers and some serious camaraderie are what you want in a workout, Tight Club Athletics is your temple. What began as a laugh with friends and meet-ups in the park has since evolved into one of the city’s most sought-after workouts. High fives, positivity and realness punctuate every workout at this Chinatown clubhouse.
  • Eastwood Cycle Sanctuary: There’s more than meets the eye at the Eastwood Cycle Sanctuary’s Instagram-worthy downtown location on West Hastings – although what meets the eyes is pretty pleasing! The cult of personality reigns supreme at this boutique spin studio, as some instructors have gained a god-like following among the city’s fitness fanatics. The darkened cycling room, glowing candles, and sing-along class soundtrack don’t hurt either. Plus there are cold eucalyptus towels on deck for the very necessary post-class cool down. Sunday mornings are getting religious again!
  • Lagree Fitness: Originating in Los Angeles classes at, Lagree Fitness use the patented Megaformer machine (similar to a Pilates reformer) to inflict the most intense workouts on those who are up for the challenge. Using weighted pulleys and a sliding platform, instructors lead participants through a series of movements that effectively combine core, endurance, cardio, balance, strength and flexibility training. Expect sore, thankful muscles for days after you try this low-impact, high-intensity workout.
  • Community Centres: For under $400 a year, Vancouverites can sign up for fitness facilitates across the city, and get access to public pools and ice rinks through the Vancouver Parks Board. So if you’re more community-minded when it comes to your athletic pursuits, joining your neighbourhood community centre could be the best option. If you’re not ready to commit to a full year, most centres also offer a range of drop in classes, including Zumba, circuit training, dance and martial arts.
  • The Great Outdoors: Vancouver’s renowned Seawall, picturesque parks, mountains and oceans all help make the city the perfect open-air playground those who like to sweat outside. Whether you choose to run, bike, hike, snowshoe, rollerblade, kayak or ski, you’re sure to find an outdoorsy activity to fall in love with.

Where to Cheer

If you’re more of a sideline spectator than a natural athlete, there are many places for you to cheer on your favourite team in Vancouver, both in person and on the big screen.

  • Want large-scale sports action? Rogers Arena and BC Place are the go-to places for live sporting events in the city. “I love watching all sports but I’m a really big Vancouver Canucks fan,” says Mercedes. “I always love a good game at Rogers Arena.”
  • Looking for somewhere to catch an international soccer match? Commercial Drive is the place to be during the Euro Cup and the World Cup, when the neighbourhood’s charming European cafés are crowded with raucous fans of all nationalities.
  • If you prefer a more refined spectator experience, visit Red Card at the Moda Hotel. The upscale sports bar airs daily live sports (NFL, NHL, English Premier League football and more), and offers polished service alongside gourmet, Italian-inspired comfort fare. The bar’s annual Superbowl Party is must for football enthusiasts.

So whether you’re a fitness fanatic or a just a super-fan, there are plenty of places to indulge your inner athlete in Vancouver. The sporty city offers scenic outdoor spaces, slick fitness studios and world-class arenas where you can catch plenty of professional-level action. Ready, set, go!

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