Who: Anyone and everyone who can ride a bike. I completed the trip on a 7-speed beach cruiser that is very heavy. I biked at a leisurely pace and stopped to take pictures. Most of the biking is on the seawall and bike designated paths. There is some biking on the road (FYI: it is the law to wear a helmet when biking in BC).
Total distance from Science World to Kits Beach including visits to all the shops: 11.4 km
Total approximate biking time from Science World to Kits Beach (not including time spent at each shop): 1 hour
When: All the shops are open on Saturdays (and some weekdays). Check our app for each shop’s opening hours.
Why: This tour is a great way to visit many of Vancouver’s best chocolate shops. Make note of your favourite treats and go back for more another day!
Tips and Tricks
Always ask for your chocolates in a bag. Stores charge extra if you get them in a “gift box”.
Bring a hard-walled container to put your goodies in if you want to enjoy a chocolate meal at the end of the tour. I highly recommend this for the Thomas Haas stop as you might want to indulge in one of his desserts and take it to Kits Beach.
Science World to Beta5 (4 minutes)
The tour starts at Science World. If you have kids, this is one museum I highly recommend. However, it is crazy busy and loud on weekends. If you are an adult, it is also an awesome museum, but I would recommend going on a weekday. It is a short ride from Science World to Beta5 Chocolates.
Looking at Science World from the seawall bike path go to the left for a short distance until just after the chain link fence.
Turn left onto Ontario Street.
Turn left onto 1st Avenue.
Turn left onto Main Street.
Quick right onto Industrial Avenue.
Ride to a row of colourful warehouses on your left. Beta5 is in the orange building!
Beta5 has a standard selection of chocolates plus 6 rotating seasonal choices. I always find something unique I have to try on the seasonal list, so my recommendations here may not be there when you go, but I know you’ll find something amazing too. They tend to create non-traditional flavour and texture profiles and that’s what I love. Try something unexpected at Beta5! I had the Strawberry Olive Oil and Sparkling Praline (has pop rocks!) from their spring collection (chocolates are $2.50 each). If you are brave and think your stomach can handle it before the rest of the ride, try their sublime cream puffs. I don’t usually like cream puffs, but these are some of my favourite desserts in Vancouver ($5 each). If you arrive on a hot day and are in need of some cold relief, try one of their newest products: ice-cream sandwiches ($5.25 each).
Beta5 to ChocolaTas (17 minutes)
After re-tracing your route, you should join up with the seawall at the end of the chain link fence and continue west towards Athlete’s Village (i.e. away from Science World). If you have kids or you just want an interesting photo, don’t forget to make a stop at the Giant Birds – you can’t miss them!
Continue along the seawall until you reach the Colourful People art installation (on your left). Just past the art on the left is a walking path between a small creek and an enclosed gravel dog park. Scoot down the paved path on the far side of the creek to see Vancouver’s own beaver dam. Maybe you’ll even see the beaver bringing back a branch. Return to the bike path and continue all the way to Granville Island.
On your way, there will be a pond on your left before the Giant Jellybeans which has birds and turtles – can you spot them?
Once you reach the Granville Island area, turn right onto “Old Bridge Road” (see photo – follow the Canada geese).
Enter onto the Island and continue along with the cars looking for parking. When you reach the T-ish intersection (in front of the cement facility), turn left and bike towards the Public Market.
There are bike racks in front of the market; lock up your bike and head inside!
At ChocolaTas (and Granville Island)
Granville Island is one of Vancouver’s most popular places to visit. You will find artisan everything here. If this is your first visit, give yourself plenty of time to explore the whole island (not just the market). If you have kids there is a playground and outdoor spray park (free), and grassy hill to race around. Looking for art? There are lots of options in the various studios around the island – Harry Potter-esque broomstick? The Island has it! Blown Glass Studio – check! Hat store, clothing, pottery, photography, Native art – check, check, check! Maple Syrup – get a taster! Eventually make your way to ChocolaTas nestled in the heart of the market near the bagel shop and Oyama’s (cured meats). These chocolates are more traditional than Beta5’s and there are some great Canadiana options ($1.60 each). In fact, they are one of the only places that has a maple pecan chocolate! If you want souvenirs from the Island, you may want to make another stop after the Bike Tour to pick up your presents on the way home.
ChocolaTas to Chocolate Arts (5 minutes)
To leave the island, follow the train of cars on whatever road you are near. Eventually, you will end up riding under the Granville Street Bridge. Feel free to take up a vehicle lane while you bike, since there is no designated bike path along this road.
Turn right at the cross-walk that is still under the bridge (Island Park Walk). You should turn towards the marina and join the pedestrians along the seawall going downhill beside the marina.
Follow the bike path until the fish and chips shop, Go Fish! Turn left before the shop and follow the road up to the street.
Turn left onto 1st Avenue.
At the stop-sign intersection turn left onto Fir Street.
Turn right onto 3rd Avenue and you will arrive at Chocolate Arts (on your left).
At Chocolate Arts
I love having the chocolate shot (a small intense hot chocolate; what an espresso is to coffee). You can sample the chocolate types (single origin or specific flavour blends and percentages) before choosing which one to use for the shot ($2.95). They have one of the largest selection of chocolates (maybe the largest) and recently they’ve been adding new seasonal flavours. My favourite is Rustica, but there are so many amazing choices – you can’t go wrong (price $14.50/100 grams, or approximately $2.25 per chocolate).
Chocolate Arts to Koko Monk (2 minutes)
After leaving Chocolate Arts continue west on 3rd Avenue.
Turn right onto Pine Street.
Turn left onto 1st Avenue and continue through Burrard Street. Next stop is Koko Monk (on the right on 1st Avenue).
At Koko Monk
Koko Monk is all about raw chocolate, minimal processing and unique spices and flavours. Ask the chocolatier to “guide” you while trying one of his filled chocolates ($2.50 each). He will describe the flavours you will experience and where you will taste them on your tongue! Have a fun, intimate experience at Koko Monk. I tried a popcorn chocolate! His hot chocolates have wonderful, soothing, cozy flavour profiles. People with texture issues: beware! There are “bits” in the drinks!
Koko Monk to Thomas Haas (10 minutes)
At this point, you are near Kits Beach. You can turn right onto Maple Street and make your way to the ocean. But, if you do, you’ll be missing one shop that should never be missed: Thomas Haas.
So instead, turn left onto Cypress and bike to 7th Avenue (there is a hill).
Turn right onto 7th Avenue.
Turn left onto Larch Street.
Turn right onto Broadway and walk your bikes on the sidewalk to the front of the shop (on the right).
At Thomas Haas
Thomas Haas is famous for line-ups and being closed on Sundays. But, it is no secret that he makes incredibly scrumptious delicacies (chocolates, pastries, desserts, oh my!). The line-ups are worth it and can even be enjoyable if you go in knowing that you may be standing around in a bustling café for a while. It reminds me of cafes in Paris and I always feel like I’m on vacation when I go to Thomas Haas – escape to chocolate dessert perfection. For all the previous shops on this tour, I can easily recommend a chocolate or hot chocolate. But, at Thomas Haas I rarely buy chocolates ($1.40 each). It’s not that I don’t like them; but, I only have eyes for his dessert case. Small works of art made of chocolate, sugar, cream and butter. On this particular trip, a new dessert was beckoning to me from the glass case – chocolate orange ($5.90 each). Sadly, I have never seen the dessert since. I leave you with the difficult decision of which dessert to buy and take down to the beach.
Thomas Haas to Kits Beach (8 minutes)
When you leave Thomas Haas, continue west on Broadway until Trafalgar Street and turn right.
Take this street all the way down to the beach (it will curve right and turn into Point Grey Road when you reach the water – check out all the richie-rich mansions along this stretch)!
Kits is a great beach for people watching, so find a spot on the sand and tuck into your chocolate spoils – enjoy! You can easily take the seawall from Kits right back to the beginning: Science World.