Kelowna

Destination Location

Kelowna
  • 49.957222, -119.377778:primary
  • 49.9561004638672, -119.377998352051:secondary

Overview

Best described as a small town with a big city personality, Kelowna offers all the amenities of a metropolitan area complemented by untouched mountain and water views. Whether you’re visiting for a romantic getaway or just to recharge, Kelowna is a destination that brings relaxation, outdoor adventure and good, old-fashioned fun all together in one place.

Here you’ll find stunning summer sunshine and a temperate winter climate that can be enjoyed indoors and out. Visitors rarely leave Kelowna without climbing at least one of the region’s beautiful mountain trails or taking a walk along one of the beachside boardwalks.

Golfers will love the perfectly manicured, lush golf courses around the Okanagan. Spend a day (or an entire week) playing scenic holes with mountain, orchard and water views. Check out the Attractions and Activities section to learn more about area courses and other outdoor cultural activities.

One experience wine lovers won’t want to miss is The Okanagan Wine Festival. This quarterly festival offers events across the Okanagan Valley region, including winery tours, wine samplings and incredible gourmet meals. It’s easy to find an event nearby no matter where you’re staying. Or, rent a car and visit them all. Take a guided vineyard tour, learn about the winemaking process and partake in special events celebrating Kelowna’s rich wine harvest. There’s truly no better way to explore Okanagan wine country.

While in town, don’t forget to take a look out on the water for local lake monster Ogopogo, who’s said to reside in Okanagan Lake. Can’t find him? Never fear. You’re sure to enjoy Kelowna’s incredible beaches, great weather and fabulous outdoor activities either way.

Kelowna is a fantastic destination for:

  • outdoor adventure
  • golf
  • beach

Destination basics

Kelowna is one of those wonderful places where visitors can enjoy time outdoors, any season of the year. Aside from a lightweight jacket and pants during the winter months, you’ll be able to pack light for this trip

Summers in Kelowna are hot, sunny and perfect for lounging on the beach. Temperatures often reach the mid 30s C in the day but cool down quickly in the evenings...

The Cascade Mountains in the west and Canadian Rockies and Columbia Mountains to the east as well as the Okanagan Lake tend to ward off cold weather in the winter. Average winter temperatures hover between 5 C and the 0 C mark, while fall temperatures tend to be warmer (often in the low 20s C). The occasional cold snap does hit the region but generally these don’t last for long. Snow typically falls in December and January although it’s typically minimal. June, on the other hand, experiences the most rainfall.

Average monthly temperature and average monthly rainfall diagrams for Kelowna

Kelowna has seen a steep surge in culinary trends, with more eateries coming up in the wake of its wine-producing success. The city offers a multitude of culinary ranges, from haute French cuisine and casual coffee shops, to wine-driven restaurants and local farm-to-table eateries. Home produced wines alongside most meals are a given.

Kelowna's dining scene is fairly diffused, however, some neighborhoods see more variety than others.

Downtown Kelowna
Downtown Kelowna is a good place to explore the reaps of Kelowna's bounty, with several eateries and homegrown cafes populating Water Street. Dine at Raudz, one of the many champions of farm-to-table dining. Sample their simple yet inspired dishes, whether it is the fennel-spiced baked fries, or the Mashed Potato Brioche. Offering a casual contrast to Raudz's sharp atmosphere is Micro Bar Bites, a snack bar that serves regionally-inspired mini bites. If you're traveling with a group, the shared charcuterie plates feature a veritable smorgasbord of organic meats that are well worth the dime.

Up on Bernard Avenue, the Salted Brick serves delicious brisket sandwiches, as does the Bohemian Cafe, with a free-spirited vibe thrown in for free. Not far away on Lawrence Avenue, the Little Hobo Soup & Sandwich Shop is a local haven for quick bites, should you have a hankering for home-style soups or sandwiches. The Krafty Kitchen + Bar on the same street is a cool place for boozy brunches. At the Jammery on the highway, breakfasts like Monte Cristo Benny and the Three Egg Omelets are served alongside regional waffle specialties.

Neighboring Areas
Closer to the lakefront, Sunset Drive sports a more romantic atmosphere. At the edge of Waterfront Park on Sunset Drive, sink into the sumptuous environs of the Bouchons Bistro and blindly order the Le Cassoulet. Nearby, head to the award-winning Waterfront Wines bar on a leisurely afternoon for wine and tapas. Kelowna's beautiful landscapes merit a ‘dine with a view' concept, and restaurants like the Old Vines Restaurant and Terrace Restaurant agree. Both offer scintillating vineyard views, and serve Canadian specialties in a fashion that is hard to top.

Kelowna's bar scene decidedly centers around wines from the Okanagan Valley, with a smattering of cocktails and craft beers from local breweries. Set in a heritage station on Ellis Street, the Train Station Pub is an excellent choice for shared plates alongside lip-smacking wines and inventive cocktails. At water's edge, few can match the collection of wines at Oak + Cru, which hosts an interactive cellar carrying nearly 300 labels.

The city of Kelowna nuzzles the pristine shores of Lake Okanagan, a glacier-fed lake wedged in the Okanagan Valley. Over the years, Kelowna has been recognized as a wine-producing gem, with its location smack in the middle of the Okanagan Valley wine region. Also known as ‘Napa of the North', this was Kelowna's best-kept secret until its fragrant vineyards and lush green orchards were discovered by touring oenophiles. Today, it is known for producing some of the best wines in the country, from pinot noirs and Rieslings, to pinot gris and chardonnay.

Kelowna carries a sun-dappled disposition most of the year round, with the exception of its snowy winters. Owing to its well-endowed natural beauty and prairie-like landscapes, it is home to several golf courses and trails that lead to sparkling lake shores and sand-gilded beaches.

Downtown Kelowna
The heart of the city finds itself in the throes of culture and art, and is home to the ever-evolving Cultural District. With the Okanagan Lake to its west, Downtown Kelowna is a diverse playground, with much to see and do for the average tourist. This neighborhood is the site of the Kasugai Gardens and the Laurel Packinghouse, where the city's wine museums are located. Other crucial landmarks and attractions include the City Hall, the Kelowna Art Gallery and the Kelowna Yacht Club. The smaller lanes along Water and Ellis Streets are dotted with a motley mix of small boutiques, restaurants and bars.

Glenmore
What was once a rustic community in the Glenmore Valley has given way to a tonier suburb made up of townhomes and condominiums. It still retains its natural allure, with its proximity to Knox Adventure Park, the Kelowna Golf & Country Club and the Mill Creek Linear park.

Mission
After Mission relinquished its erstwhile position as an independent community and was merged with Kelowna, it was divided into smaller communities of Lower Mission and Upper Mission. Although the Lower Mission neighborhood is located a few minutes away from Downtown Kelowna, it has come into its own with a unique, colorful personality that is separate from downtown. More modern as compared to its elevated counterpart, Lower Mission is where you will find a host of boutiques, cafes and restaurants, alongside single family homes and townhouses. It allows plenty of recreation opportunities too, with its proximity to the Bryce-Gyro Beach Park, H2O Adventure Centre and the famous Summerhill Winery. Upper Mission occupies a more raised terrain, consequently offering breathtaking views of the lake and the lower city.

Dilworth
From a nondescript grassy knoll, Dilworth went on to become one of the most affluent neighborhoods in the city, offering enviable city views from its lofty perch. Dilworth makes for a promising haven for outdoor enthusiasts, with the Dilworth Mountain Park and the Knox Mountain park in its near vicinity.

Kelowna has vast gamut of entertainment opportunities, from native galleries and historic museums, to classical concert venues and celebrated wineries. Downtown's Cultural District is the epicenter of most of its cultural activities.

Museums
Kelowna's museums pay tribute to the valley's history and cultural heritage, showcasing period artifacts and original exhibits wherever possible. The Okanagan Heritage Museum is one such marvel. It holds everything from Kelowna's oldest log cabin to a true-blue Chinatown shop window on display. You can also see what an ancient Okanagan home looks like, or peruse through the exhibits at the Central Okanagan Sports Hall of Fame. Inside the Laurel Packinghouse on Ellis Street, two museums - the Okanagan Wine and Orchard Museum, and the BC Orchard Industry Museum pay homage to the city's flourishing wine industry.

Further away on the same street, study the firearm collection at the Okanagan Military Museum, and gape at historical artifacts that witnessed the Boer War, the World War I and II, and the Korean War. In South Kelowna, the Father Pandosy Mission, a small museum doubles up as both a historical site and a museum, and educates visitors about early settlers in the city.

Art Galleries
In the city's Cultural District, walk the halls of the Kelowna Art Gallery and browse through varied collections of traditional and modern Canadian art. At the Geert Maas Sculpture Gardens and Gallery on Reynolds Road, things are a bit different. Find yourself among large and quirky bronze sculptures and installations by the internationally acclaimed artist. For a more Canadian-focused art narrative, head to the decades-old Hambleton Galleries where more than 80 Canadian artists are represented. The Tutt Art Gallery is recognized for its contribution to fine art, and often showcases artworks inspired by Canada's natural landscape.

Performing Arts
In Downtown Kelowna, the Rotary Centre for the Arts is known to host an assortment of cultural activities, from art exhibitions and musical performances, to film festivals and theatrical plays. The smaller Mary Irwin Theatre also opens to music, dance and theater productions. If you wish to listen to the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra, visit its home theater, the Kelowna Community Theatre located in the Cultural District. It is also home to the Kelowna Community Concert Society. At stone's throw, Prospera Place is known to host several concerts, besides being the home ground of the Kelowna Rockets Hockey Club

Wineries
The fertile Kelowna land harvests a sizable amount of wine and fruit from its vineyards and orchards each year. Blessed with a rich wine industry, both East and West Kelowna are known for their expansive wine estates that go from strength to strength every season. Tour iconic vineyards such as the Mission Hill Winery and Quail's Gate Winery in West Kelowna, while the Summerhill Pyramid Winery and Tantalus Winery in East Kelowna are prolific as well. Most wineries have tasting rooms and restaurants that serve dishes made from local produce alongside fragrant in-house wines. Besides wine, Kelowna owns a fair share of distilleries and cideries as well. Pay a visit to the Urban Distillery on Bay Avenue which is known for its production of hand-made craft whiskies, brandies and liqueurs. The Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery and the Scenic Road Cider Co. are a few others that offer tours and feature tasting rooms.

Outdoors
Kelowna's outdoor spaces are legendary, offering myriad possibilities for outdoor sport and recreation, both during summers and winters. Within the city's mainland, the Knox Mountain Park is an adventuresome option. Trek to this dense mountain park, or cycle down its scenic trails for sweeping views of the lower city. Summers provide ample opportunities for bird-watching near the Rotary Marshes. To the southeast, the Myra Bellevue Provincial Park offers trails for mountain biking and hiking. Peek into the gritty depths of the Myra Canyon, and feel an instant rush of adrenaline that makes the journey here worth it. Cross over to the west side of Kelowna for a night of lakeside camping at the Bear Creek Provincial Park. An uphill hiking trail here leads to a stunning waterfall.

Water babies can cool off in summers at the Gyro Beach Park in the city, which offers incredible avenues for paddling, swimming and boating. Else, take it up a notch by also trying your hand at flyboarding.

With the onset of winter, Kelowna transforms into a winter wonderland, carpeting summer blooms with thick snow. However, the winters here are not as harsh as the rest of Canada, and provide some terrific options for winter activities. Go skiing on the slopes of the Big White Mountain Reserve, located outside the city limits. Popular resorts like the Big White Ski Resort and the Silver Star Mountain Resort are great for all the winter fun you're seeking.

Kelowna's landscape and weather translate into perfect golfing conditions. In recent years, the city has become a top-notch golfing destination, with a slew of premier golf courses cropping up within city limits. Tee off at the Harvest Golf Club, the Tower Ranch Golf Club or the Kelowna Springs Golf Club.

Kelowna

Province: British Columbia

Country: Canada

Kelowna by the Numbers
Population: 127,380
Elevation: 344 meters / 1,129 feet
Average Annual Precipitation: 38 centimeters / 15 inches
Average Annual Snowfall: 64 centimeters / 25 inches
Average January Temperature: -2°C / 28.4°F
Average July Temperature: 20°C / 68°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; 775

Did You Know?

The word Kelowna is inspired from the Salish word for "Grizzly Bear."

Orientation

Kelowna is located in the southern interior of British Columbia, near the Okanagan Lake. It is located 50.6 kilometers (31.4 miles) away from Vernon, BC.

Before the land of Kelowna was discovered by trekkers of the fur trade, it was largely used by the First Nations' Sylix people for hunting. In 1859, Oblate missionaries, headed by Father Pandosy, founded a mission in Kelowna, which stands today as the Father Pandosy Mission Provincial Heritage Site. In 1860, European settlers used the Okanagan Valley as thoroughfare to get to Kelowna, where they ultimately established their trading post. This pronounced a new dawn for Kelowna, which started attracting more settlers soon thereafter.

Beef traders coming in from the United States, as well as miners that passed the land in the wake of the Cariboo Gold Rush in 1862 began taking notice of the land. Kelowna's arable land and proximity to the lake ignited the need to settle here. Thus, the population grew further. In the last decade of the 19th Century, Kelowna's orchard industry bore fruit when Lord Aberdeen planted sizable orchards and farms. Since then, Kelowna has established itself as the wine capital of the Okanagan Valley, and continues to enjoy a thriving wine and orchard industry.

Window views in Kelowna are like paintings of perfectly framed skyline, mountain peaks and lush tree-lined meadows. Here, you’ll feel as relaxed inside at the spa as you will outside on the beach or boardwalk. Even the golf courses in the region offer optimal relaxation (not to mention fantastic greens and conditions)...

You’ll find plenty of low-key, shop-lined streets to explore in town and many lush orchards and vineyards to visit on the outskirts. Take a trip out to West Kelowna, often referred to as Westbank or Westside by locals, where you’ll find some of the region’s most distinct houses and lookout points.

There is also unlimited outdoor adventure for the taking in Kelowna. Hit the slopes at Big White in the winter and try runs perfect for every skill level. In the summer, rent a boat, jetski or kayak and explore the beautiful blue waters. If you’re looking to try something really adventurous, head out on a waterskiing trip or try parasailing.

No matter what you choose to do, Kelowna will welcome you with open arms – and some great beaches, incredible daytrips and adventures for the whole family.

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