I’m always skeptic when I see a list proposing the “most instagrammable” city. Normally these lists feature food too big for any human to consume or specialty drinks that make for pretty pictures but are the size or your head and the price of a lunch. But when these lists are done right not only is the personality of a city revealed but also some of the best, off beat things to do within that city. This is what I hope to do with my Instagram Kelowna list of hot spots!
Please note, I’ve omitted West Kelowna because it deserves its own post entirely.
You can find directions by clicking on the Google Maps link below each location.
1. Kelowna Marina
The Kelowna Marina is in the heart of the downtown core at the end of Bernard Ave. Surrounded by some of the best restaurants Kelowna has to offer as well as some of the best scenery it is a place you’re bound to walk past on your first visit to Kelowna. You’ll most likely find plenty of others taking selfies and photos from the dock too.
Tantalus winery has one of the best views encapsulating the city, lake, mountains beyond the rows of vineyard all from the tasting room. On certain days you can catch Arlo’s Honey Farms collecting honey from the on site hives within the vineyard.
One of the most popular and gorgeous hiking spots located in the city is Knox Mountain. I particularly love the hike to Paul’s Tomb (yes a real gravesite) that cascades down to the lake. Plenty of little areas to tuck away to sit with the views, or cliff dive and swim, it is one of my favourite Kelowna activities during a #MyOkanaganSummer.
4. Okanagan Lavender Herb Farm
Back in 1999, we officially launched Okanagan Lavender & Herb Farm…and we’ve all grown up a lot since then! Check out our blog for details about our exciting new product packaging that will be launching this spring ? A new style for a new season on the farm ? (link in bio) . . . #lavenderfield #lavenderfarm #familyfarm #newseason #naturalproducts #plantbased #botanicalskincare #cleanbeauty #powerofplants #sustainablepackaging #handmade #ecofriendly #kelownalavender #explorekelowna #explorebc #route97
I was able to pay a visit during the local foodie event, Farm Folk City Folk’s Feast of Fields. It is held at a different farm each year and in 2014 the Okanagan Lavender Herb Farm set the perfect backdrop for a roaming foodie feast. Not far from Tantalus Vineyards, it too has a view of the city, lake and mountains from the lavender fields.
You can hike or bike this scenic trail that follows the old Kettle Valley Rail Way route. You’ll be able to walk to at least one or two of the tunnels and enjoy the canyon views with the occasional peakaboo shots to the Okanagan lake.
6. The Kelowna Farmers’ Market
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My favourite time of year to visit the farmers’ market – the tourists are gone, the stone fruits are just perfect and the tomatoes come in plenty of colours. I walked away with peaches, plums, apricots, and a knitted hat for little man in celebration of the football season. . . . #farmersmarket #ylweats #peachseason #nectarines #italianplums #foodiechats #foodietribe #hellobc #explorekelowna #okanaganfoodie #britishcolumbia #canada #almonds #autumnlover
It is one of my favourite summertime routines; Grab a coffee, pick up a sweet or savoury crepe and fruit n’ veg that’s in season. There’s something for everyone at the market. I just recommend you go prior to 9 am to beat the crazy crowds and ensure your favourite products and produce are in stock.
7. Sandrine’s Pastry & Chocolate
Before you head for your car after the Farmers’ Market, take a quick 5 minute walk to Sandrine’s for Kelowna’s best croissant. Hailing from France, Sandrine’s offers authentic and gorgeous pastries, macarons, chocolates and savoury terrines. It’s a slice of France right here in Kelowna. Check out her culinary classes held throughout the year!
8. Kitsch Winery
The Kitsch Winery is a fresh addition to the wine scene in Kelowna. Catering to the younger crowds who appreciate wine but also a good time, they host a yearly party that look incredibly fun. Their tasting room and vineyards overlooking the valley are popular on Instagram.
9. Karat Chocolate
Right next door to Canoe Coffee’s main location, as opposed to their location on wheels, is Karat Chocolate. They create gorgeous little chocolates in all and any shade of colour throughout the year. The little gems of chocolate and geometric chocolate bars are packaged in unassuming little white boxes and come in flavours like Neapolitan, caramelized white chocolate banana and yuzu, Madagascar vanilla bean, smoked marshmallow s’more, macchiato bars and more. Each season brings new flavours at this little gem!
10. Hotel Eldorado
During the summer months the Hotel Eldorado, or “The El” as it is referred to by locals, is a place to see and be seen. It’s perfect location on the lake makes it a hub for boaters, foodies wanting a view, or those who appreciate a good local glass of wine to be had on a dock with the Okanagan sunsets. Get Sam to make you a classic cocktail if you can’t find anything on the menu, although I doubt that’s possible.
The history behind this boutique-style hotel goes back to 1926 involving a countess wanting to cater to her visiting European friends.
11. Lakeside Cherry Orchards
I much prefer to pick my own fruit while it’s in season. It is more economical and you get to interact with the environment your food comes from. Cherries are a hot commodity as soon as they are ready here in the Okanagan which is July – depending on the seasonal temperatures and weather. You can end up spending $20-$30 for a bag depending where you go. Make an afternoon to go pick the cherries yourself at Lakeside Cherry Orchards or, when Spring arrives, take some classic cherry orchard shots.
12. BNA Brewing
BNA is one of my favourite spots to grab a beer and a couple of small plates. It’s a fun place to go before a hockey game or concert or hang out and play indoor bocce and shuffle board. An exciting addition, soon they will have their own indoor bowling lanes up stairs! Grab a pint of their My Name is Earl and the steamed pork buns to start your evening.
13. Rotary Beach Park
If you find it to be a windy day the get yourself down to Rotary Beach Park, or at least the outdoor bar at Manteo next door. The kite surfers all flock to this one beach with their colourful kites and acrobats on water. One of the most relaxing afternoons on the beach on a colder or windy day.
14. Summerhill Pyramid Winery
One of Canada’s most visited wineries and for good reason! The views, the iconic bubbly, the pyramid that helps age and intensify the wine (as told by the owners & proprietors) all make for a spectacular place to visit for lunch or dinner. I listed it under one of my top hipster wineries (with some backlash) but under my definition it is an off beat winery you’ll enjoy touring.
15. QB Gelato
A perfect day for Gelato! #fresh #gelato including: Milk Chocolate, Green Goddess, Vanilla, Della Nonna, Bee Sting, Creamy Coconut, Holy Cacao, Pear & Thyme, and Pucker! ? @gingeralbrecht #kelowna #kelownaeats #kelownalife #kelownaicecream #kelownasbest #tourismkelowna #localkelowna #kelownarestaurants #kelownacoffee #kelownacafe #okanagan #interiordesign #italiantiles #qbgelato
The latest addition to our flourishing gelato scene here in Kelowna is QB. They have a chic storefront with monthly classes available for a behind the scenes look at how they make their unique flavours.
16. CedarCreek Winery
A winery that hosts summer concerts and BBQ classes as well as lunch and dinner while overlooking the Okanagan Lake. Gorgeous views, easy drinking and, on most summer weekends, weddings to watch. Summer yoga sessions are also popular and sell out fast!
A more rustic approach to gelato tasting is the Carmelis Goat Cheese Farm. Take a tour of the goat farm before you head in for cheese tasting and a gelato – you can’t leave without trying both! I highly recommend the salted caramel! It’s a ways out of the city but you can make a day of it by stopping at Summerhill Pyramid Winery, Cedar Creek and the charming St Hubertus Estate Winery all along the way.
18. Kettle Valley
Normally I’d tell you to visit the Kelowna Mountain but I don’t want to get into any trouble should you choose to trespass. It has foreclosed but that doesn’t keep all those lookey-loos away. But instead I suggest heading up through Kettle Valley, past the charming homes and Public on Main restaurant, into the Johns Family Nature Reserve Regional Park for some amazing hiking and views. Hike to the top of the hill by following the slate steps and you’ll find a bonfire area fitted with seats made of rock. Someone took great pains to create this area. Or you can keep going up the mountain if you’re in for a little 4x4ing to find even greater views.
19. Kettle River Brewing
Shout out to the little guy! This is around the corner from the immensely popular Vice & Virtue Brewing. But Kettle River, although a lesser known brewery, is well worth a stop. Surrounded by industrial buildings, and more breweries popping up yearly, it is tucked away in an unassuming corner with a garage door that allows optimal patio sipping. Get a flight of beers and order something from the rotating food truck
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I love being a tourist in my own city. Especially since I’ve been a home body with baby, it was nice to get out and be treated to a day with my sister. It didn’t hurt that it included drinks and bar hopping around town. One of our stops included @riccobambino It channels 70s style, drinks straight out of Italy including their delicious prosecco and Aperol or Campari spritz. It describes itself as an urban winery with concrete tanks fermenting the wine next to you (see pic). Another great local spot to add to the website! Grand opening August 14th! . . #okanagan #foodie #okanaganwine #winecountry #canada #explorecanada #helloBC #britishcolumbia #explorekelowna #kelowna #urbanwinery #prosecco #winery #myokanagansummer
An urban winery for those that can’t head into the vineyard, this is the next best thing! A very ‘hip’ vibe (I feel old saying that) but it definitely is out for the Millennial dollar with plush velvet seating and beats by Drake bumpin’ just loud enough where you can feel the bass but not so that you can’t hear one another. The concrete eggs function as unique decor but also used to age the delicious wine. No matter your feelings about the space, their wine deserves your attention!
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The latest addition to Kelowna’s mural art scene is the Rutland Mural project. These 7 murals can be hard to find in the neighbourhood but you can cheat and use their site’s map. My sister and I set out to hunt for these murals with coffees in hand and a box of fresh donuts (pre-ordered the day before) from Sugar Sweet Cake Company. I suggest you do the same!
Please note: I have no affiliation with any business mentioned. I simply love all these places and truly believe that together they make a great representation of Kelowna’s lifestyle and unique food scene.
*Updated for 2020