About This Place
Kelowna, four hours east of Vancouver, is most renowned for its wine tourism. At the heart of British Columbia's popular Okanagan Valley, the Kelowna area has three different oenological sub-regions and about 25 different wineries, including Tantalus Vineyards, which produces a Syrah Icewine and St. Hubertus Estate Winery, known for an un-oaked white called Goddess. East of the Kelowna Cultural District, the BC Wine Museum and VQA Wine Shop (open since 1998), presents the history of the Okanagan Wine Region and carries over 600 different wines from 90 different British Columbia wineries.
At Waterfront Wines, visitors can pair tapas plates and Okanagan-made cheeses with local wines, or switch things up and have a glass of icewine with a delectable dessert. Bonfire Grill is another fine choice for dining out, offering a trendy atmosphere and an extensive local wine list, as well as speciality cocktails and wine martinis for those feeling more adventurous with their tipples.
Because of its proximity to the Thompson Okanagan Mountains and Okanagan Lake, Kelowna is also a popular destination for outdoor sports. Multiple hiking trails take Kelowna visitors through a wide variety of terrain, offering adventure for hikers of every skill level. The most popular trail in the area, the Mission Creek Greenway, runs sometimes steeply along a salmon-spawning stream, while the gentler Kettle Valley Railway Trail meanders along the Trans-Canada Trail for 12 kilometres, punctuated by trestles, bridges, tunnels and spectacular views.
Biking and boating are also big activities here. In addition to the two trails already mentioned, more seasoned bicylists might want to venture out to Crawford Trails, an extensive, well-marked series of mountain switchbacks set within Myra-Bellevue Provincial Park. Many Kelowna area restaurants offer docks for boaters, and Kelowna tourists who are anywhere from inexperienced to comfortable out on water will enjoy Okanagan Lake, where you can rent a craft or book a leisurely cruise.
Tourists who enjoy skiing will find themselves in powder heaven in Kelowna. Big White Ski Resort, just under 60 kilometres outside of Kelowna, is an international destination for playing in the snow, and their ski school offers lessons. Closer to Kelowna, the Crystal Mountian Resort is a smaller, local favourite, featuring 22 downhill trails and a snowshoe park.
In addition to its outdoor sporting options, two hockey teams call Kelowna home: the Kelowna Chiefs are a junior, "B" level hockey league, while the Kelowna Rockets play in the Western Hockey League. The latter club competes at Prospera Place in downtown, where locals also gather to watch concerts, comedy events and other live entertainment.
The Cultural District of Kelowna, set near Prospera Place, offers several other opportunities to escape the winter cold—and experience the local arts scene. Amongst the the 6 blocks comprising this district—which offers its own walking tour—Kelowna tourists will find the main branch of the Kelowna Library, the Rotary Centre for the Arts and the Kelowna Art Gallery, as well as 18 works of public art created by area artists.