Welcome to Kelowna, Canada!
In Canada, there’s no such thing as tourist season because no matter what the season is, Canadians will always find a reason to head out to the lake, the cottage, go hiking, or camping. Kelowna is simply one of those places that is fun no matter what the season is. The area is known primarily for being on Lake Okanagan, where in the summer months people take out their boats and cruise along the waters, or simply relax to the calming sounds of local wildlife. During the winter, there’s skating and skiing as tons of people flock to the area to head to the world-class ski resorts.
Kelowna has a population of just under 200,000 people, but despite its small size, it is also a foodie city with some of the best wine in Canada. As a worldwide local looking for fun or food, this guide will have you covered for some of the best things to see and do around Kelowna.
Worldwide Local Tip: During the summer months, Canadians love to escape to the lake; so if you plan on visiting between May and September, make sure to book any accommodations you might need in advance. Those are typically the high season, due to the lovely Kelowna weather, so plan well ahead, especially if you’re visiting for a weekend.
Don’t spend too much time in your Kelowna hotel--this is a city for people who love to spend time outdoors. British Columbia has some of the best scenic outdoor spaces on the planet, with huge forests, tons of trees, and breathtaking mountain landscapes. Locals know that in Kelowna, there is no shortage of beauty to behold. Start your trip here by exploring the exquisite Myra Canyon Park, which has been deemed a National Historic Site, and can be visited during the winter or the summer. A good worldwide local knows to pack some good hiking shoes and a camera because the summit views are to die for.
Worldwide Local Tip: If you’re not used to hiking mountains or exploring on your own, the Myra Canyon Restoration Society offers guided tours through the area, which might be preferable for amateurs or people looking to learn about the area and Myra Canyon.
Navigating the City
Worldwide locals understand that knowing how to get around town is paramount to visiting any new city. If you’re going around the downtown area, then the city is quite walkable, however going further distances is best done by taxi or public transit, which is reliable and widespread. These are your options for getting from the Kelowna Airport, as well. There are also a lot of bike paths around the city, which is great for those who want to avoid the traffic of cars. You’ll also get to spend some time in the fresh air while you wander around.
Worldwide Local Tip: A great way to get around Kelowna is through the Dropbike program. These bright orange bicycles can be found all around town and are easy to use. Just download the app, scan a QR code, and you’ll be on your way. Rentals go for as low as 1$/hour and they self-lock so you can leave them anywhere that’s convenient for you.
Eat Like a Local in Kelowna
Though maybe not as big as the food scene in Montreal or Vancouver, Kelowna is a great place for a foodie. There are a ton of delicious places to try and of course, a worldwide local knows to try local food. British Columbia salmon is among some of the best and of course, Nanaimo bars are a classic Canadian treat. A lot of restaurants around Kelowna take the farm-to-table concept to heart, so food is almost always prepared with the freshest ingredients. Check out RauDZ Regional Table, known for its award-winning cocktails or the Salt & Brick where the food is prepared right in front of your eyes. Don’t sleep on the Kelowna wineries, as the quality is top notch.
Worldwide Local Tip: If you’re looking to do a little home cooking, head to the Kelowna Farmer’s Market, which is one of the biggest in Canada. Pick up some homemade cheeses, lavender, fresh berries, or some locally grown organic honey.
Enjoy Your Time in Kelowna, BC!
If you’re into hiking, mountain biking, skating, boating, snowshoeing, hanging out by the beach, enjoying delicious food, or simply just being outdoors, then Kelowna will certainly appeal to you. All of that is only the tip of the iceberg, and a worldwide local knows that there’s always something more to explore.