What to Do in Kelowna - Walk Along the Waterfront

What to do in Kelowna

If you’ve got an upcoming trip to Kelowna, British Columbia, you’re going to love all that this community has to offer!

So, if you’re trying to decide what to do while visiting Kelowna, B.C., this is the post for you. Here are some of our favorite things to do in this lovely lakeside city – It’s truly a gem of the Okanagan valley!

What to Do in Kelowna - Walk Along the Waterfront

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.

Wisteria in Downtown Kelowna City Waterfront Park

Eat in a waterfront restaurant

There are a few restaurants in Kelowna that 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 its beautiful patio. There’s also the rooftop restaurant Perch near the library.

Whichever you choose, be sure to take a moment to take in the stunning views of Okanagan lake!

Visit a winery

The Okanagan is famous for its wineries… It is in a wine region, after all! You can go for wine tasting at any one of the beautiful wineries, or make a day of checking out a bunch of them.

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 also 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. If you’re visiting Kelowna, it’s definitely worth touring a bit of wine country. They are all so unique and such high quality.

Do an organized wine tour

Wine tours are a favorite 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. There are tons of companies in town, or you can find a friend to drive!

Dining at and Visiting Wineries Around Kelowna

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.

Check our Big White Ski Resort

Whether you’re visiting in the winter or summer, there are tons of activities to do. You can do some snowboarding, skiing, cross country skiing, or skating during the snowy months. Or, you could check out the bike park or go for a hike during the warmer months.

Visit the Railway Trestles

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 Farm is a favorite. You’ll find all sorts of specialty farms advertised with little signs along the highway.

Kelowna is also home to some fabulous plant nurseries with great selection (especially in the summer months). 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).

Kelowna Beaches - Downtown

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.

The nice thing about the beaches is that you also get beautiful views of the surrounding mountains. It’s nice to grab some local fresh produce and have a picnic lunch while taking in the incredible scenery at a nice sandy beach. You could also plan to have a picnic lunch in between wine tastings!

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. If you’re traveling with children, this is also a great way to get some energy out for a few hours.

There’s also a hot tub if you want to relax while the kids play.

The Kelowna Farmers Market - Okanagan Fresh Fruit

Visit the farmer’s 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!).

While the local cuisine you can find there is amazing, there are also lots of great art, craft, and liquor vendors too!

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 and the Okanagan 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. Kelowna’s sister city is Japan, Kasugai. The Japanese gardens you’ll find are in honor of that city!

The city centre offers beautiful garden beds too that are maintaned by the city. Keep your eyes out for them as you walk around when you visit Kelowna next!

Go golfing

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!

Wilderness and Wildflowers in the Okanagan Valley

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 and definitely worth looking at!

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 and enjoy beautiful Okanagan lake!

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….).

Watersports are one of Kelowna’s best attractions, and I mean, how could they not be when we have so many sandy beaches?

Staying in Downtown Kelowna

Stay Downtown (close to the water)

Wondering where to stay in Kelowna? 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.

Wherever you stay, I’d also advise checking in with your host or the reception of a hotel to see which other Kelowna attractions they would recommend. There might be some cool local events happening that you don’t want to miss, and they’ll be in the know!

Gardens in Kelowna BC Canada

Visit a distillery or brewpub

If wine touring isn’t your thing, you could also check out some of the local breweries, like the Kelowna brewing company. More breweries pop up every year, and they all have something unique to offer! Some even have a tasting room/let you see exactly how the beer is made.

If you see spirits from the Okanagan spirits craft distillery, these are another must-try. They don’t sell wine or beer, but they have dozens of unique flavors all derived from Okanagan valley grains and fruits.

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 (the one we mentioned earlier). If you’re up for a drive, there’s also Silver Star Mountain Resort 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 bike riding offerings.

Lakeside Patio in Okanagan Centre BC

Visit a neighbouring community

The Okanagan valley is filled with beautiful communities, so it’s totally worth a drive through the valley. There is tons to learn about the natural and human history of the valley, so I’d recommend doing some prior research so you know what to look for.

Some beautiful communities to check out include:

Lake Country: You can enjoy beautiful hiking trails, wineries, or beautiful beaches in this region.

Vernon: Vernon is home to many beautiful beaches, including Lake Okanagan and Kalamalka Lake. The colors of Kalamalka are exuisuite – Totally worth checking out! If you’re into ski resorts, this is also a cool spot for Silver Star resort.

Honestly, every community in this valley is gorgeous! They’ve all got their perks, most of them including beautiful scenery and local hangouts.

Conclusion

Well, we hope we’ve helped you plan your next stay in Kelowna, BC!

Mary Jane Duford
Mary Jane Duford

Mary Jane Duford is a digital content creator and mom of three. She is also an engineer and bit of a plant nerd too. She has been featured by publications such as Real Simple, Mother Earth News, Homes & Gardens, and Family Handyman.