Kelowna is one of Canada’s most desirable destinations. Often referred to as Canada’s Napa Valley, it’s known for the numerous vineyards that produce some of our best wine. One of my best friends, Amanda has been living in Kelowna since beginning her career. Despite living on opposite coasts for the past three years, we’ve made every effort to spend time together. I wanted to make one more visit to see her (and her stunning city) on my way to New Zealand. Coincidentally, our friend Elyse had already planned a visit, so my cousin Lucia and I thought we’d crash the party last minute!
Geographically blessed with picturesque mountains and glistening Lake Okanagan, Kelowna is a popular tourist destination and offers an endless array of activities for all types of travellers. Whether you want to spend your time hiking, sipping wine, or indulging in some of Canada’s best cuisine, Kelowna undoubtedly delivers. Here are a few of our favourite local spots:
Canyon Falls: This 60-minute hike is ideal for those who want to see Kelowna’s natural beauty, but don’t want to miss out on wine tastings in the afternoon. Canyon Falls features gorgeous waterfalls and rugged terrain, so make sure you pack proper shoes.
Knox Mountain offers one of Kelowna’s best views, so you’ll want to bring your camera.
Bean Scene Roastery: The beans roasted here provide an excellent base for the delightful caffeinated beverages on offer. And the skilled baristas rival those at Vancouver’s best coffee shops.
Carmelis Goat Cheese Farm: Need some cheese to go with all those wine tastings? Carmelis is a goat farm where you can sample more than a dozen types of cheese. My favourite was the cream cheese laced with dill. Oh, and they also make goat cheese gelato. I tried the salted caramel and was blown away.
Okanagan Lavender Herb Farm: If you’re at all a fan of lavender, I highly suggest checking out Kelowna’s lavender herb farm. A beautiful farm overlooking Okanagan Lake, the boutique store sells face products, hand creams, scents, and lavender-infused goodies. I was especially intrigued by the lavender and rose petal scones and lavender jelly. You can even pick bunches of lavender yourself if you reserve in advance.
RauDZ: We had to check out Kelowna’s best restaurant and TripAdvisor’s fifth best ranked restaurant in Canada. It didn’t disappoint, every dish was perfectly executed and the cocktails (Lavender Bees Knees and rhubarb martinis) were a major selling point.
Micro: Next door to RauDZ, Micro offers sharing plates, strong drinks, and an intimate environment. The Corpse Reviver consists of gin and absinthe, and will certainly kick start your night.
Krafty: Another spot for delicious local craft beer and cocktails with a fun, light-hearted environment. I’m also told they serve a 90s hip hop brunch on Sundays. Count me in!
Tantalus Vineyards: Tantalus was recommended to us by the friendly server at Cedar Creek Winery, for their riesling and pinot noir. A visit is worthwhile for the architecture and resplendent views alone!
Summerhill Pyramid: The best winery for bubbly, many of the local restaurants use Summer Hill’s brut for mimosas!
Mission Hill: Kelowna’s most well-known winery and one of the most respected in Canada.