Kamloops

Destination Location

Kamloops

Overview

There is always something fun to do in Kamloops. This interior resort community in British Columbia is a place to stay and play - no matter what season you’re visiting. In this laid back city, you can enjoy boating, camping, cycling, golfing, skiing, snowmobiling, tobogganing and more. Just don’t try them all at once!

Many visitors come to Kamloops by way of the popular Rocky Mountaineer Railtours and stay to explore the gorgeous terrain perfect for hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, wildlife watching and horseback riding.

And with over 2,000 hours of sunshine each year and very little rainfall, Kamloops has some of the region’s nicest weather. In other words, a city made for golfing. You’ll find more than 10 full-length golf courses here and an additional six courses in the surrounding area.

In the winter months, Kamloops transforms into a skier’s paradise. The region’s dry powder snow makes for stellar skiing and snowboarding – and Sun Peaks, Canada's third-largest ski resort, puts it to good use. There are plenty of great spots for snowmobiling, snowshoeing, ice fishing and dog sledding as well.

You’ll also find western culture alive and well in Kamloops. Historic farm and ranch tours give visitors a taste of the way life was in the 1800s. Visit Hat Creek and O'Keefe ranches for farm tours and delicious fruit and vegetable stands. Step back to a simpler time and pick up some delicious treats to take with you on the road en route to your next activity.

Kamloops is a fantastic destination for:

  • golf
  • skiing
  • outdoor adventure

Airport served by: Kamloops, BC (YKA)

Destination basics

Sunny skies and year-round mild weather have helped Kamloops earn a great reputation with visitors who love to spend time outdoors. With little humidity and summer highs in July and August averaging around 28 C, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to spend time outdoors with friends and family, catching up or people-watching in the sun...

Temperatures during the winter months rarely fall below -5 C, with an average of only eight days per year falling below -10 C. Can you say perfect temperatures for skiing, snowboarding and generally spending time outdoors? Kamloops has you covered. Just be sure to bring a jacket and snow gear if you’ll be hitting the slopes or taking part in other snow activities.

Average monthly temperature and average monthly rainfall diagrams for Kamloops
Despite being a fairly young city, Kamloops has flourished over the years, and gained status as Canada’s Tournament Capital. It is also a major transportation hub in Western Canada, considering British Columbia’s main highways pass through it - the Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 1), the Coquihalla Highway (Highway 5), the Yellowhead Highway (Highway 5), and Highway 97.   

Kamloops’ districts are clustered around the North and South Thompson Rivers. While the rest of its districts are not as colorful as its City Center, they have a unique personality of their own.

City Center
Located to the south of the South Thompson River, Kamloops’ City Center sports an exciting mix of green spaces, emerging restaurants, watering holes, shops, sports arenas, and local businesses. A versatile neighborhood, downtown Kamloops’ main attractions are centered around Lansdowne and Victoria Streets. As you stroll along the neat, tree-lined streets of the City Center, you will come across the Kamloops Art Gallery, the Kamloops City Hall, and the Memorial Arena with its  recreational sports facilities. The riverside is home to another major sports arena, the 6,400-seat Sandman Centre. Other prominent landmarks include the 19,045-square-meters (205,000-square-feet) Lansdowne Village Shopping Center. There are several parks in downtown as well, including the Riverside Park, the Pioneer Park, and the Peterson Creek Park. Kamloops City Center is also the epicenter of the city’s cultural activities, with the Western Canada Theatre and the Sagebrush Theatre both located here. The streets of downtown are packed with action during days of importance and festivals such as Canada Day and Christmas Day, when carnivalesque parades roll down the streets.

North Shore
A largely nondescript neighborhood, the North Shore area is home to several smaller communities such as McDonald Park, Aberdeen, Westsyde, and Batchelor Heights. This neighborhood was mainly developed as a residential district, with little scope and options for recreation. However, it does have McArthur Island Park that features numerous playground areas, a curling club, and a sports and events center. If you do find yourself in this area, head to Tranquille Road where most of North Shore’s dining and shopping scene is centered.

Hillside
Lying to the southwest of the city center, the collective neighborhoods of Mount Dufferin, Aberdeen, Knutsford, Sahali, and Southgate are characterized by a particularly hilly terrain. While Aberdeen’s vast expanses of land contain several recreational options such as the Kamloops Longboard Park, biking trails, and soccer fields, Mount Dufferin is famous for the Kenna Cartwright Park that invites hordes of trekking enthusiasts to traverse its meandering trails. The Southgate neighborhood has more recreational possibilities than all of the other hillside neighborhoods combined. It is home to the sprawling Thompson Rivers University that contains gems like the Tournament Capital Centre and the TRU Horticultural Gardens. Visitors will find a multitude of shopping options at the Aberdeen Mall and the Aberdeen Village Shopping Centre. The Kamloops Visitor Center is situated nearby, which allows for splendid views of the lower city. If you’re looking for more shopping options, you will find that the Sahali neighborhood has some fine options to offer, chief among them being the Columbia Square Mall and the Sahali Centre Mall.

Eastern Kamloops
The eastern corridor of the city lies closest to the City Center, yet retains a relatively quiet atmosphere separate from the downtown buzz. Eastern Kamloops consists of the neighborhoods of Valleyview and Rose Hill. Valleyview was an erstwhile town in the city of Kamloops, reserved for post-war veterans. The advent of the Trans Canada Highway spurred its growth in 1970, and it became the site of several small shops, gas stations, and motels. Later in 1973, it was merged into the city of Kamloops. Today, the area is home to the Valleyview Square Mall and one of its main thoroughfares, Sunset Drive, is dotted with several high-end auto dealers. A little further along the way, past Dallas Drive, you'll find the amazing BC Wildlife Park.
When it comes to entertainment, Kamloops stays decidedly ahead of the curve, with scores of sports fans gathering for the various annual tournaments hosted here. Besides sports, the city’s four-season weather invites outdoor enthusiasts to come play in its unencumbered wilderness. While sports and outdoors take centerstage in Kamloops, it also boasts of a flourishing arts scene, represented at various live music venues in the city. All in all, there is never a dull moment in Kamloops.

Sports
Kamloops’ prime source of entertainment emerges from its ardent passion for spectator sports. Over the years, the city’s participation in innumerable tournaments that span tennis, indoor athletics, gymnastics, and several other sports, has earned it the title of "Canada’s Tournament Capital." Avid sports fans congregate at the humongous facility dedicated to diverse recreational sports, the Tournament Capital Centre. This 41,148-square-meters (135,000-square-feet) arena, located within the Thompson Rivers University campus, hosts major tournaments each year, including the Thompson Rivers Wolfpack Basketball games.

Closer to the South Thompson River, the city is home to the remarkable 6,400-seat Sandman Centre, where home games of the ice hockey team, the Kamloops Blazers, are hosted. For a glimpse of this exciting sport, follow the team’s schedule from October to April, which is when most games are played. Other arenas of interest for sports enthusiasts include the McArthur Island Park, which comprises of a BMX track and an ice skating multiplex, the Kamloops Memorial Arena dedicated to hockey, and the Kamloops Valleyview Arena for public ice skating.

Outdoors
Kamloops’ craggy landscape is home to deep canyons and seemingly limitless grasslands, offering thrilling year-round opportunities for intrepid adventurers. Kamloops wilderness throws open incredible possibilities for hiking, horseback riding, golfing, and ziplining. Equipped with an unpredictable rise-and-fall terrain, Kamloops is a favored hotspot for mountain biking. It features several trails for beginners as well as experienced bikers, running along Paul Lake and Stake Lake a little outside of Kamloops. Within the city itself, the Kamloops Bike Ranch with its 26 hectare (64.24 acre) facility is an excellent spot to test your skills. Such is the popularity associated with this sport that the city also hosts the Intermontane Challenge - a five-day bike race that attracts biking hotshots from all across Canada and the United States.

Kamloops also offers incredible ranching experiences at the Campbell Guest Hills Ranch and the Erin Valley Riding Stables that are located a few minutes away from Downtown Kamloops. Those who would like to enjoy the wild landscape of British Columbia slowly and steadily can hike up the Peterson Creek Park that ends with a view of majestically cascading falls. The Kenna Cartwright Park also offers well-marked trails lined with pine and Douglas fir trees that meander over 40 kilometers (25 miles).

Those keen on watersports will be pleased to find that Kamloops and its immediate outskirts are home to over 100 lakes that lie an hour’s drive from the city. Go canoeing or kayaking along the South and North Thompson Rivers and soak in the sublime beauty of the surroundings. To attain a bit of quiet, venture a little outside the city, where lakes such as Paul Lake and the Kamloops Lake provide plentiful opportunities for boating and stand-up paddling.

With superb climate that supports favorable conditions for golfing, it is no surprise that Kamloops is counted among one of British Columbia’s best destinations for the sport. Golfers can rejoice in the fact that the city hosts spectacular golf courses, designed by celebrated golf architects. The Tobiano Golf Course, a five-par course, is deemed as one of the best in the province, while the Sun Rivers Golf Course is a top-notch desert course. Other prominent golf courses include the Kamloops Golf & Country Club and the Rivershore Estates course.

Come winter, the city turns into a winter wonderland, inviting skiing enthusiasts galore. The Sun Peaks Resort, an hour’s drive away from Kamloops, offers the best in skiing action. The Harper Mountain Ski and Snowboard area is located a lot closer, and features varying terrains for multi-level skiers, besides offering exciting night skiing opportunities every Thursday and Friday.  

Nightlife/Live Music
Visitors looking to unwind in the city will have plenty to look forward to. Counted among the nation’s "50 Best Canadian Small Music Venues," The Blue Grotto entertains audiences with live music Thursday through Saturday. A classic rock and blues venue, this atmospheric nightclub is also popular for hosting burlesque shows every second Thursday of the month. If you’re hungry and in the mood for music, the Dirty Jersey serves delicious pub grub with a side of weekly live entertainment. But if you’re looking to relax with a little soft music and great coffee, then The Art We Are on Victoria Street is a pretty cool option.        

Located off the Southern Yellowhead Highway, the Cascades Casino provides all-round entertainment. Besides regular concerts, the casino features several hundred slot machines, diverse table games like Blackjack, Baccarat, and Roulette, and an exclusive Poker Room.

Performing Arts
The city’s performing arts scene is centered around the Western Canada Theatre, a professional theater company that produces both mainstage and experimental productions. To catch them in action, head to either the Sagebrush Theatre or the Pavilion Theatre, where they are known to perform from September to May. Another event reflecting the city’s burgeoning inclination toward the performing arts is the Kamloops Performing Arts Festival, held annually during the months of February and March. The festival hosts nearly two weeks of classical concerts and dance performances by talented groups from across the country.

Museums & Galleries
The city is home to two museums that chronicle the city’s historic past. The Kamloops Museum and Archives is known to feature several significant exhibits from the city’s early days, as well as archival exhibits that bring alive the city’s fur trade era, the time of the Gold Rush, and its struggle as a nascent city. The Secwepemc Museum is focused on the city’s indigenous ancestors, the Secwepemc people. The museum’s four galleries document the cultural lifestyle of these people through photographs, artifacts, and illustrations. A heritage park inside the museum complex is built along the bank of the South Thompson River, and carries precious nuggets of the Secwepemc’s past, from archaeological ruins of a traditional village preserved over several millennia, to an ethnobotanical garden that beholds native Secwepemc plants.

The Old Courthouse Cultural Centre is the epicenter of the city's arts scene. Housed inside a historic brick building, the Old Courthouse Cultural Centre comprises of the Kamloops Arts Council and the Amica Artist-run Centre, which feature an array of Western Canadian art. It hosts the Bizarre Bazaar in summer, where local craftsmen come together to display a fascinating collection of eclectic handicrafts and artwork. The Kamloops Art Gallery represents both regional and international talent that create spectacular visual arts. You will find that a lot of the regional artwork is inspired by the culture of its earliest inhabitants.
The city features a mix of North American food chains, as well as independent cafes and restaurants.

Kamloops City Center
Downtown Kamloops, especially Landsowne Street, is the hub of Kamloops’ dining scene. Find a range of restaurants here to suit your every craving, from quick-service sandwich joints, to innovative restaurants with a more sophisticated vibe.

To start your day, head over to Hello Toast, the city’s favorite breakfast spot for both meat and veggie options. Get yourself the unusual Green Eggs and Ham, or indulge in specials like the Egg White Frittata. The Bird’s Nest, featuring multi-grain toast, eggs, spinach, and cheddar, is especially delicious. For something out of the box, Terra on Victoria Street is a splendid choice. It makes the most of local ingredients to produce inventive West Coast cuisine. Order an artisan cheese and charcuterie board with house made bread for starters, and fill yourself up with the splendidly rendered Pork Duo for the main course. Leave some room for their brilliant desserts.

Try Quilas Mexican Restaurant, which features a festive ambiance and a vibrant decor. The Dorian Greek House is a true gem in downtown Kamloops that offers authentic Grecian meals, from souvlaki and Dolmathes, to classic Calamari and Tzatziki. You also shouldn't miss Vyanjan’s Fine Indian Cuisine. The restaurant features an extensive Indian menu, replete with well-spiced curries, butter-topped flatbreads, and tandoor-treated meats. For more upscale dining, head over to the Brownstone Restaurant on the far end of Victoria Street. Set inside a historic building dating back to 1904, this stunning restaurant is perfect for romantic meals and special occasion celebrations.

Hillside
The dining scene in the Hillside area of Kamloops has flourished over the years with the arrival of numerous malls and shopping centers.

When pizza cravings hit, head to Bold Pizzeria. It treats its pies in an open-flame oven, the result being glorious moons of crisp bread, laden with delicious meats, veggies, and molten cheese. There is also a fire-inspired cheesecake, for those who like to end their meal with sweet treats. Located along Summit Drive in the Lower Sahali neighborhood, find a place to satisfy your hankering for Chinese food at the Shanghai Mandarin Restaurant. This no-frills eatery serves excellent Chinese staples, from chow mein and Beijing Lemon Chicken, to Egg Foo Yong and Braised Duck.

Don't miss the colorful Fiesta Mexicana Restaurante & Cantina. Around Hillside Drive, stop by Duffy’s Neighborhood Pub for happy hours, shared plates, and daily specials. For a full-blown American meal and sweeping vistas of the city, head over to the Milestones Grill in Aberdeen Village that offers both.
Kamloops

Province: British Columbia

Country: Canada

Kamloops by the Numbers
Population: 90,280
Elevation: 347 meters / 1,140 feet
Average Annual Precipitation: 27.9 centimeters / 10.98 inches
Average Annual Snowfall: 63.5 centimeters / 25 inches
Average January Temperature: -2.8°C / 27°F
Average July Temperature: 20.8°C / 69.44°F

Quick Facts
Electricity: 120 volts, 60Hz, AC

Time Zone: GMT-8 (GMT-7 Daylight Saving Time); Pacific Standard Time (PST)

Country Dialing Code: +1

Area Code: 250; 778; 236

Did You Know?
Known to host over 100 tournaments each year, Kamloops is known as the "Tournament Capital of Canada." 

Orientation
Kamloops is located at the confluence of the South and North Thompson Rivers, in south central British Columbia. Kelowna, BC, is located 166 kilometers (103 miles) away from Kamloops, while Vancouver, BC lies 357 kilometers (222 miles) away.
This location was originally settled by the First Nations people, specifically the Shuswap tribe of the Salish Nation, who called Kamloops their home during hunting and fishing season. The tribe called the site "Tk'emlups," a Shuswap word that translates into "meeting place," suggestive of the settlement's location at the convergence of the South and North Thompson rivers. Around the year 1811, the proximity to the rivers invited European fur traders, who traded beaver pelts with the First Nations. As the trade flourished, it sparked the establishment of a Hudson Bay Trading Post.

Years later, the Cariboo Gold Rush brought in several miners who came panning for gold, causing them to pass through the area to reach the gold-laden mines on the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast. Quite a few miners settled here, and several farms sprung up to meet the demand for vegetables, grain, and meat.

Toward the later half of the 19th Century, the area prepared for the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway or CPR, in the wake of British Columbia’s amalgamation into the Dominion of Canada. This further prompted the establishment of a hamlet along the south shore of the Thompson River. As the railway neared completion, the site witnessed progress as well, with amenities such as schools, churches, shops, and hospitals cropping up. The city of Kamloops was thus officially incorporated in 1893.

Nearly a century later, Kamloops became a prime junction for the Trans-Canada Highway, as well as the Yellowhead Highway, and Highway 97, earning it the moniker "Hub City."

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