What to do in Kelowna
Kelowna's location along the eastern shoreline of Okanagan Lake translates into a remarkably diverse landscape where outdoor recreation thrives.
The lake draws water hounds for swimming, boating, wakeboarding, and kayaking. The rolling terrain is great for golfing, hiking, and cycling. In winter, Kelowna's Big White (mountain) is a hotspot for downhill skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing.
Meanwhile, Kelowna's fertile agricultural land ensures that locally sourced vegetables and fruit and locally produced wines are never far from any restaurant table, while its growing urban culture promises excellent galleries, museums, and performing arts.
The warm waters of Okanagan Lake beckon from more than 30 beaches along Kelowna's downtown waterfront, in the secluded coves of Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park, and at the popular Bear Creek Provincial Park. Many beaches have playgrounds, concessions, picnic areas and restroom facilities. Swim, fish, kayak, wakeboard, water-ski, or jet-ski. Board a cruise boat for an afternoon or dinner on the lake. Public launch areas provide easy access for visitors towing their own boats and all water toys are readily available for rent.
Hiking, cycling, and horseback-riding trails abound in and around Kelowna. Walk the shoreline of Okanagan Lake, or stroll by a Kokanee Salmon spawning stream. Take to the countryside for a quiet ride through the orchards, head to the highlands for easy-to-challenging outings on forest trails, logging roads, and cross-country ski trails, or pack a picnic and explore the scenic Myra Canyon section of the Kettle Valley Railway (KVR) Trail. Jack up the adrenaline on a technical mountain bike ride, or admire the scenery from above while soaring along a zipline in nearby Oyama or Peachland.
The snow is deep and dry in the highlands around Kelowna, ideal for virtually every kind of winter activity. Big White Ski Resort offers a full cold weather experience with downhill skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and ice skating. Crystal Mountain Ski Resort is a more low-key family destination. Free-heelers can glide over 115km/72mi of groomed trails at Nordic Cross-Country Ski Club, McCulloch Lake Nordic Ski Club and Telemark Cross-Country Ski Club, or break new backcountry trail on a snowbound logging road. Ice fishing enthusiasts can head to a mountain lake and drop a line through the ice.
Food and Wine
Kelowna is front and centre of the Thompson Okanagan's burgeoning food and wine scene. The longstanding home of bountiful farms and orchards, Kelowna was ready and waiting for chefs to produce fresh locally-sourced dishes to complement the region's distinctive wines. Attend a tasting at one of 19 Kelowna-area wineries, or dine at winery restaurants, on Okanagan Lake-view patios, and in city chic bistros. Kelowna's best harvest is featured both on the plate and in the glass. Do-it-yourself foodies can learn local tricks at Kelowna cooking schools like Wine & Thyme or the culinary workshops of Mission Hill Family Estate winery.
Arts, Culture & Historical
Kelowna's Cultural District is characterized by a vibrant arts scene of galleries and artist studios, performing arts venues, and public art installations. The city enthusiastically supports the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra, chamber music, dance, choral groups, musical theatre, up-and-coming performers, bands and more. Artists and artisans thrive in the region. Visit studios and markets to see sculpture, pottery, leatherwork, woodwork, and First Nations crafts, or experience the history of Kelowna at one of the city's museums.
Festivals and Events
Kelowna hosts a full calendar of festivals and events featuring music, performing arts, sports competitions, wine and food, and just plain family fun. In September, the Kelowna waterfront vibrates with the beating drums and cheers of spectators supporting their favourite teams in the Kelowna Dragon Boat Festival. Seasonally, Kelowna celebrates local wine culture at two Okanagan Wine Festivals. Other festivals include the Okanagan Film Festival, Centre of Gravity Festival, and annual Apple and Cherry fairs.
Shopping and Spas
Check out the many independently owned boutiques in Kelowna's two premier shopping areas, downtown along Bernard Avenue and at the Pandosy Village. Chill out at one of Kelowna's spas, which offer a range of full service packages. Try a unique vinotherapy treatment at Beyond Wrapture, using grapes and skins from Summerhill Pyramid Organic Winery.
Explore Kelowna's swimming, boating, wakeboarding, kayaking, golfing, hiking, cycling, downhill skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing opportunities, and food, arts, and cultural festivals via the Mountains & Vineyards Circle Route. Learn more about driving routes through Kelowna here: Driving Routes.