1. Attend Kelowna Events and Festivals
We approach this tentatively, as Covid ran afoul of many 2021 events. However, universe willing, time your visit with one of these renowned Kelowna festival dates for maximum galivanting.
Le Dîner en Blanc Okanagan
Diner En Blanc (Courtesy of tourismkelowna.com – Voth Photography)
When: Usually the 1st Thursday of July.
Mysterious, exclusive, and extravagantly civilized. This first event means ‘Dinner in White’ in French and might take some good fortune or planning to see for yourself. To attend, you must either be invited or register in advance.
If successful, you will board a bus to a mystery location, wearing your most elegant all-white outfit. You will be whisked away to a stunning location, where you and 1,000 others will partake in the decorous ritual of public picnicking.
Guests supply their own table, mandatory white linen, and fine china. You can either bring your own dishes (with a minimum of one being required no matter what) or purchase a pre-packed picnic hamper. Wine can be pre-purchased with your registration.
This event is unlike anything else and one of the best things to do in Kelowna. Being part of a 1,000-strong gourmet picnic in mass colour coordination is something that you won’t forget. We’re not the only ones who think so. After starting in Paris, this event has now spread across six continents.
Website | Instagram
Denim on the Diamond
Denim on the Diamond (Courtesy of tourismkelowna.com – Darren Hull & Denim on the Diamond)
When: Labour Day Long Weekend
Where: King Stadium
Hoedown and throw down with the locals at this annual one-day country music festival celebrating the end of summer.
An action-packed lineup will keep you dancing through the day, while local businesses and artisans keep you energized with the best food and drink the region has to offer.
This party is by locals, for locals, and it’s fantastic to see the community supporting one another. The founders have made it into one of the best things to do in Kelowna. And the best thing? You’re invited!
Website | Instagram
Canada Day in Kelowna
When: Canada Day – July 1st
Where: Mulitple Locations
Where better to celebrate Canada day than one of British Columbia’s most beautiful and exciting cities?
Over 60,000 usually attend this city-wide festival. Countless kids’ events, musical performances, and one-off food experiences make the day a constant adventure.
Again, the community pride and mutual support is on full display, with local business leading the way.
The magical day concludes with an unforgettable firework display right out in the centre of Okanagan Lake’s nourishing waters.
Kelowna Pride March (Courtesy of tourismkelowna.com – Brandon Dodds & Kelowna Pride)
When: View website for dates
Where: Usually from Stuart Park to City Park
A testament to its vibrancy, Kelowna boasts the largest Pride event in the B.C. Interior. Well over 12,000 people each year are drawn to a celebration of queerness, inclusivity, and love between human beings.
This inspiring space of LGBT2Q+ pride is family and pet friendly, and heaps of fabulous fun. Whether you’re there to support diversity or celebrate your own identity, you will meet amazing people and contribute to making the world a more open and interesting place.
As well as rejoicing past progress and working towards a united future, you can lose yourself in music, shows, exclusive stalls, and – of course – great Okanagan food.
Website | Instagram
2. Take a Swing at Kelowna Golf Courses
Tower Ranch Golf Club (Courtesy of tourismkelowna.com – Shawn Talbot Photography)
Kelowna’s rolling countryside and kind seasonal conditions make it a golfer’s paradise, with courses flanked by views so jaw-dropping they might just mess up your swing.
Golfing in Kelowna runs in the season between snows, so usually somewhere between March and November. Different venues cater to everyone from casual beginners to career golfers seeking one-of-a-kind courses.
Read the Guide: Best Golf Courses in Kelowna
3. Enjoy Okanagan Lake Activities
Wake Surfing on Okanagan Lake (Courtesy of tourismkelowna.com – Nic Collar Film)
Whether you want to skim across the surface, sink down to the depths, or even take to the skies, Okanagan Lake offers the full spectrum of water sport experiences.
Read the Guide: Best Okanagan Lake Activities in Kelowna
4. Hike, Bike or Climb Kelowna Mountains
One of our founders, Michelle on the McDougal Rim Trail
One of our favourite things to do in Kelowna as locals is to explore the many amazing hiking trails. We chase expansive lake views, waterfalls, and diverse terrains – from desert-like rocky sunny scree to lush, soft mossy steps in the forest. Kelowna offers it all.
There are many ways to explore the wild side of Kelowna. Some of our friends prefer mountain biking or even rock climbing and bouldering. We cover that too in our guide below.
Read the Guide: Best Kelowna Hikes
5. Explore the Best Beaches in Kelowna
Best Beaches in Kelowna (Courtesy of tourismkelowna.com – Matt Ferguson Photography)
Some of the best beaches in Kelowna are obvious, but some secret spots offer some special skim or skin moments, too. (If you know, you know.)
We highlight the popular beaches in Kelowna as well as parks, playgrounds, and other places to make a splash in our guide below.
Read the Guide: Best Beaches in Kelowna
6. Take a Hot Air Balloon Ride over Kelowna
The Okanagan’s patchwork of lakes, vineyards, and dramatic elevation changes is undoubtedly best seen from above. Your new perspective will increase your appreciation for this diverse landscape, even if, like us, you didn’t think that was possible!
Okanagan Ballooning are the people to contact. Their family-owned company has been in the business of blowing minds with Okanagan views for two decades, and their balloon fits six passengers. A smaller two-person balloon is also available for forging unforgettable romantic moments.
You’ll even be treated to some local sparkling wine in your new vantage point amongst the clouds!
7. Play Paintball in Kelowna
So, you’ve come to Kelowna for the wine, sophisticated sights, and tranquil lake breeze? Understandable. But why not add a little variety to your trip with some good old-fashioned low-stakes combat?
If that sounds appealing, head on down to Safari Ridge Adventure Park. They host private games, as well as drop-ins during regular hours, across eight themed battlegrounds. Recreate D-Day landing, duke it out in the Wild West, or take cover behind a paint-splattered tank. Hungry after battle? BBQs and fire pits are provided for all your weenie roasting needs.
You will want to book ahead for this one, especially at weekends, as the battlegrounds fill up fast.
(And yes, we totally had our son’s birthday here when he was in grade 7. He’s now nearly 20. Best. Ever.)
8. Get Grounded on Kelowna Farms
Best Fruit Picking Kelowna (Courtesy of tourismkelowna.com, Destination BC – Andrew Strain )
Foodies drawn to Kelowna have the rich local soils and the expertise of the farmers to thank for the range and vitality of the tastes to be found here.
But the experience doesn’t need to stop at the tastebuds! Tracing your culinary delights back to their farmyard origins is one of the most rewarding activities Kelowna has to offer.
Hand-pick your choice of succulent orchard fruit, tour the work that goes into creating flavour sensations, fill your cupboards at the farmer’s market. There are many ways to enjoy Kelowna’s farms.
Read the Guide: Best Fruit Picking in Kelowna
H20 Adventure + Fitness Centre (Courtesy of tourismkelowna.com, Angelique Duffield )
If you can ever tear yourself away from Kelowna’s great outdoors (and that’s a big if!), or find your plans scuppered by rain, there’s a whole other side of the city waiting for you indoors.
From swimming to climbing to bowling, we’ve got an indoor list of things to do in Kelowna that’s got you covered.
Read the Guide: Best Things To Dio in Kelowna Indoors
10. Appreciate the Art & History of Kelowna
Given the beautiful setting and rich cultural heritage of this fair city, it is no surprise that it’s home to a thriving art scene. Across the city’s galleries and studios, you will find pieces that make you stop, question, think, and appreciate.
With deep First Nations roots, settlement histories, agricultural innovation, and so many other influences, it is a joy to unpick the strands of the past that make Kelowna the place it is today.
Read the Guide: Best Kelowna Art & History Experiences
Big White Ski Resort (Courtesy of tourismkelowna.com – Geoff Holman & Big White Ski Resort)
While most travelers flock to Kelowna during the summer months to enjoy optimum lake-side chilling and unbroken sunny days, these people miss the wonderland transformation Kelowna undergoes in the wintertime.
As well as providing the majesty of frozen lakes and snow-blanketed hillsides, winter opens up a world of new sporting opportunities around Kelowna.
Read the Guide: Things to do in Kelowna in the Winter
12. Dine at the Best Restaurants
Old Vines Restaurant (Courtesy of tourismkelowna.com – Quails’ Gate Estate Winery)
With a refined collective palate fed by farm-to-table dining philosophies, exquisite local produce and foraging opportunities, and influenced by centuries of tradition, it’s no wonder that foodie culture is perhaps the number one non-scenery-related reason to visit Kelowna – especially when you pair your meal with a local vintage!
Read the Guide: Best Kelowna Restaurants
13. Visit the Best Kelowna Wineries, Breweries, Cideries and Distilleries
CedarCreek Winery (Courtesy of tourismkelowna.com – Cedar Creek Winery)
Perhaps one of the most popular things to do in Kelowna is wine tasting. You would be hard-pressed to find a visitor in Kelowna who’s of age that doesn’t want to tour a Kelowna winery, or three or four or more!
The lands around Kelowna are unique in the world for their agricultural conditions. The ancient soils here turn a turbulent history of migrating glaciers and volcanic eruptions into unmistakable tastes – with the help of expert beverage crafters wielding generations of wisdom.
Explore our full and focused guides here:
14. Cycle Along the Myra Canyon Trestles
Myra Canyon Trestles (Courtesy of tourismkelowna.com – Shawn Talbot Photography)
This is always one of the most recommended things to do in Kelowna by locals. Whether you brought your own mountain bike, or you want to rent one, the views from the trestles are not to be missed. Sure, you can walk the trestles as well, but you can take in so much more beauty if you have wheels to carry your further.
Read the Guide: Kelowna Trestles at Myra Canyon
15. Things to Do in Kelowna After Dark
Some visitors feel the call of lady luck while they wander past the Kelowna Casino downtown. Some will wander right on past it looking for the best place to give their dancing shoes a spin. Whatever you are up for, the Kelowna Nightlife is jamming with lots of options depending on what you are up for.
Read the Guide: Kelowna Casino & Nightlife
What’s on your list of things to do in Kelowna?
We hope we’ve driven the point home: Kelowna is the perfect place for, well… anything!
This city of unrivaled vibrancy keeps visitors coming back for more every time. Not to mention it totally transforms between seasons. For lovers of the wilderness, of impossibly good food and wine, of locally booming arts and culture, as well as for fans of unique experiences, there’s not a place in British Columbia quite like it.
We are so very lucky to call Kelowna home.
If you are looking for places to stay or more information about Kelowna, check out these links: