Kelowna’s Ultimate Winter To Do List
With winter on it’s way to the Okanagan, there’s no reason to let the cold weather keep you stuck inside. Kelowna, BC is a winter wonderland with no shortage of fun family adventures. Whether you’re planning a trip to Kelowna or you’re already living here, check out our list of the best holiday activities and attractions to keep you entertained, fit, but also jolly through Winter 2019-2020.
Outdoor Ice Skating at Stuart Park
Outdoor ice skating might be the most quintessentially Canadian thing you can do in the winter. And it’s free.
The Stuart Ice Rink, built in 2015, is open for free public ice skating from December to March every year. If you don’t own skates, an ice-skate rental truck is usually parked at Kelowna’s Stuart Ice Rink on Ellis St. around the holiday season. There’s a bonfire at the rink so you can warm up between laps.
Go Downhill Skiing or Snowboarding
It’s no secret that the Okanagan Valley has great ski hills. There are two excellent ski and snowboard resorts within one hour’s drive from Kelowna: Big White to the east via Highway 33, and Silver Star to the north via the town of Vernon. Big White and Silver Start have downhill ski tracks, cross country tracks, tubing, and ice skating.
Big White has the highest elevation, the most runs, and definitely has more terrain, but a lot of folks prefer Silver Star’s terrain - especially the challenging back side. Both hills have terrain for beginners and experts alike, and the truth is they’re both worth skiing if you’re in Kelowna during the winter. If you only have time for one, compare the daily snow reports.
Local Tip: One thing to know about life in the Okanagan: we get weather inversions frequently in winter months. During weather inversion, Kelowna gets shrouded in clouds and fog - but it’s sunny with blue skies at the ski hills. It does pay to be a mountain person during the winter!
Cross Country Skiing & Skate Skiing
There are 3 great cross country ski clubs in the Okanagan with groomed skate skiing lanes, classic tracks, and snowshoeing tracks. Keep in mind these are ski clubs and not ski resorts, which means you’ll want to pack a lunch.
Sovereign Lake Nordic Club is Canada’s largest nordic ski club with over 50km of wooded trails for beginners and experts alike, a lodge, and a resting cabin at the halfway point.
Ski rentals and lessons are available through the club, but phone first to make arrangements.
To get there, take Silver Star Rd out of Vernon then turn left on Sovereign Lake Rd.
Phone: (250) 260-5335
Telemark Nordic Club offers the most challenging cross country terrain in the Okanagan and some spectacular views from Crystal Rim trail on a clear day. It’s also the Okanagan’s top biathlon track and regularly hosts competitions and family oriented events. Ski rentals and lessons are also offered through the club.
Telemark Nordic Club is located 15 minutes away from Westbank Centre via Glenrosa Rd.
Phone: (250) 707-5925
Kelowna Nordic Ski - Take Highway 33 east from Kelowna for approximately 40 mins, then turn right on McCulloch Rd until you reach the parking lot. Be advised that thieves regularly patrol this parking lot, so do not leave any valuables unattended in your vehicle.
Note that Kelowna Nordic does not offer ski or snowshoe rentals, but you can rent from an outlet in town like Fresh Air Experience or Mountain Equipment Coop.
Hear the beauty of the Okanagan Symphony, BC’s 3rd largest orchestra who is celebrating 60 years of music this season.
Laugh, cry, or just enjoy a show at the Kelowna Community Theatre, which hosts plays, concerts, and special events through the winter.
Be amazed by Ballet Kelowna, where athletic prowess meets grace through music and motion.
Play Indoors at the H20 Center! The indoor H20 recreation centre is a great place to stay active while escaping from Kelowna’s winter cold. With hot tubs, pools, a gym, fitness classes, kids programs, and a daycare centre, there’s something for the whole family.
The H20 Fitness + Adventure Centre is located south on Gordon Rd next to the Capital News Centre.
Christmas Light Touring
If you’re Dreaming of a bright Christmas, make it a reality by touring Kelowna's gorgeous Christmas light displays. Some Kelowna neighborhoods that take great pride in their Christmas displays and put on quite the show.
Some of the best areas for Christmas light touring in Kelowna are Kettle Valley, Black Mountain, Candy Cane Lane in Rutland, Mission Hill, and Lower Mission.
Check out Castanet’s Parade of Lights for details on this year’s best holiday light displays.
Horseshoes, Snowshoes, & Great Views
For a true Canadian winter adventure, strap on a pair of snowshoes or get on horseback, then head into nature to enjoy the picturesque Okanagan scenery.
Myra Canyon Ranch is located 20mins out of town east on June Springs Rd, next to the Myra-Bellevue Provincial Park and Kettle Valley Railway train trestles. Ride through a snowy forest on horseback or hike across the tall trail trestles of the KVR, all while enjoying stunning views over the Okanagan Valley.
Broken Rail Ranch is located 15 minutes from downtown via Bear Creek Rd in West Kelowna and offers guided horseback rides by appointment only. Their rides will take you to stunning viewpoints overlooking the city of Kelowna and Okanagan Lake.
Pegasus Riding School is located on Turnbull Rd. in Glenrosa, a West Kelowna neighborhood located 25 minutes drive from downtown Kelowna. Pegasus provides guided trail rides and riding lessons and can take you high into the mountains to enjoy stunning lake views.
Okanagan Stables is 40 minutes drive from downtown Kelowna, just outside of the town of Oyama. This family-oriented stable prides themselves on helping beginners learn to ride, and also caters to expert riders. Their stable uniquely lies on the frontier between dry grasslands and dense mountain forests overlooking Wood Lake and Winfield.
Eat, Drink, & Be Merry
Eating and drinking your way through Kelowna’s restaurants, breweries, and wineries is a winter adventure in and of itself – all while staying cozy, warm, and full of holiday cheer.
Get a warm hot chocolate or mocha at the Bean Scene on Bernard, a longstanding Kelowna coffee institution then stroll through city park or relax inside.
Our favorite fine dining spots in Kelowna are Waterfront Wines, Bouchon’s French Bistro, and Krafty Kitchen + Bar.
For casual, check out Earls on Top overlooking Kelowna CIty Park, or Cactus Club Cafe next to the Stuart Ice Rink.
For festive drinks, head to Kelowna’s best cocktail bar at Raudz, grab a brew at neighboring Micro Bites, or have an avocado margarita from Fernando’s.
Some of Kelowna’s liveliest drinking establishments over the holiday season are Doc Willoughby’s, BNA Brewing Co., and O’Flannigan’s Irish Pub.