Trying to decide what to do in Kelowna? Here are some of our favourite things to do in this lovely lakeside Okanagan city!
Walk along the Waterfront in Downtown Kelowna
The waterfront area in Downtown Kelowna is absolutely stunning! We’re talking the area between (and including) Kelowna City Park and Waterfront Park. Here’s the general waterfront walking route area. Bring the stroller if you’ve got little kids!
There is a beachside walk, beautiful park landscaping, yummy food, the marina, and lots to look at. Be warned that nearby parking is likely to be either tricky to find or expensive….but it’s always worth it.
Eat in a Waterfront Restaurant
There are a few restaurants in Kelowna which have amazing waterfront views. There’s the downtown Kelowna Earls, which looks down on a busy portion of the waterfront. It really does have a great location.
The lakeside Cactus Club is right on the marina and features giant windows which are often open in good weather. The Hotel Eldorado is well known for is beautiful patio. There’s also the rooftop restaurant Perch near the library.
Visit a Winery
The Okanagan is famous for its wineries! There are a few good options very close to Kelowna. Mission Hill and Quail’s Gate are across the bridge on Kelowna’s west side.
There is a collection of wineries in nearby Okanagan Centre. Grey Monk, in particular, offers a lovely view of Okanagan Lake and a well-rated on-site restaurant. The Mission area south of downtown offers wineries as well, including Summerhill.
Do an Organized Wine Tour
Wine Tours are a favourite for both visitors and locals. You’ll get to visit a few wineries and learn a little bit about the area from your host on the drive.
Hike at Knox Mountain
For an outdoor walk or gentle hike, try Knox Mountain. It’s right beside downtown Kelowna and offers lovely views of the city and lake. Locals love it for mountain biking, hiking, and disc golf.
Visit the Railway Tressles
Kelowna is home to some very cool railway trestles from the Kettle Valley Railway at Myra Canyon. Some were lost in a forest fire but were rebuilt to ensure we could keep using the trail! They’re definitely worth a look, whether you just go for a quick look or bring the bikes for a full-on trail ride.
Visit a Local Farm or Plant Nursery
There are quite a few local farms that are open to visitors. Okanagan Lavender and Herb Farm is a favourite. You’ll find all sorts of specialty farms advertised with little signs along the highway.
Kelowna is also home to some fabulous plant nurseries. I like Dogwood Nursery and Bylands Nursery in West Kelowna, as well as The Greenery Nursery closer to downtown. They stock a wide variety of plants for different climates (as well as indoor plants and succulents).
Go to the Beach!
Kelowna is all about the beach. Okanagan Lake is a huge draw for residents and tourists alike. There are way too many beaches to list here. Start along the waterfront in Kelowna (either downtown or Gyro Beach), and then think about visiting one of the lovely Provincial or Regional parks in the area.
Visit the H2O Centre
The H2O Centre is a new fitness and aquatic centre in the Mission area of Kelowna. It is an excellent choice for both fitness buffs and young families. If you’re visiting in the winter, this is a nice way to enjoy a bit of the Okanagan lake life….even in the middle of winter.
Visit the Farmers Market
The Farmers Market happens during the summer on Fridays in a parking lot close to the mall. It’s worth a visit to stock up on locally-grown produce (soooo yummy!).
Buy Local Fruit at a Fruit Stand
There are some very cute little fruit stands around the Okanagan. Some are big commercial operations, while others are just a little tent by the side of the road. Stop at one that actually grows their own fruit. Most do, but it’s always good to check.
Go on a Mini Garden Tour
Kelowna is a great place to grow lovely gardens. You can view lots of lovely plants from downtown, including in the many waterfront parks and in select gardens like the Japanese gardens. Stuff grows pretty well here!
Kelowna is conveniently located nearby to a number of golf courses. There’s Predator Ridge, Gallagher’s Canyon, Bear and Quail, …just to name a few. I’m not a golfer, so I would recommend checking out the TripAdvisor reviews if golf is your thing!
Visit a Wilderness Park
There are some really fantastic parks around Kelowna that are a little less manicured than the waterfront. Myra-Bellvue is very popular
Rent an Eco-Friendly Party Boat
Yup, there’s such a thing in Kelowna. These bright round “BBQ Party Boats” are super popular. They’re the things in the harbour that look like giant orange pool floaties. Rent your own and you can choose to do your own food or have it provided as part of the rental. Fire up the BBQ!
Try a New Watersport
Kelowna has SUP yoga classes, flyboards, jetski rentals, …pretty much whatever you can think of in terms of watersports. Stand-up paddle boarding is the current trend (which is nice for the locals because it’s so nice and quiet lol….).
Stay Downtown Close to the Water
There are a ton of hotels in Kelowna, but some of the best ones are located right on the water. Where you stay can have a big effect on what to do in Kelowna because it’s very nice to be able to walk places (parking is limited). The Delta Grand is obviously the flagship destination hotel, as it’s right on the downtown waterfront by the parks and canals.
There’s also tons of AirBnB and other vacation rentals in Downtown Kelowna. If your hotel and other away-from-home sleeps aren’t the best, try out these sleep music tips to get a better sleep.
Visit a Distillery or BrewPub
Kelowna is home to a surprising number of distilleries and breweries. It’s not all about wine! Okanagan Spirits has won some decent awards and is located close to downtown. BNA Brewpub is also a good place to visit (pub grub during the day, nightlife after dark).
Shop in the Lakeside Cultural District
The Lakeside Cultural District is home to restaurants, shops, galleries, and other cultural destinations. I always find something I’m (not) looking for at the home decor and kitchen stores along Bernard Avenue.
Go Skating Outside
If you’re visiting in the winter, Kelowna has lovely outdoor skating rinks. The waterfront skating rink in downtown’s Stuart Park is a favourite and is quite magical in the winter. There is also picturesque outdoor skating at many of the ski hills around Kelowna.
Ski at a Local Ski Hill
There are a few excellent ski hills close to Kelowna. Most visitors to Kelowna in the winter check out Big White. There’s also Silver Star in nearby Vernon, Apex in Penticton, and Sun Peaks in Kamloops. They’re all decent hills with good facilities for families and the apres ski crowd. During the summertime, check out their hiking and biking offerings.