Charming, historic and artsy, Nelson is a popular stop on the edge of Kootenay Lake. Bursting with craft shops, galleries and heritage buildings, it’s also a gateway to gorgeous hikes in the surrounding mountains.
For an easy day out, head for the trails in lakeside Kokanee Creek Provincial Park. For more challenge, tackle an alpine route in Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park. Post-hike, relax at Ainsworth Hot Springs and wander through a cave where hot mineral water surfaces from the earth and stalagmites form in abundance.
Every Saturday in the summer, Nelson’s Cottonwood Falls Market is the place to be. Set in Cottonwood Falls Park, a city park complete with a waterfall, this outdoor market offers everything from woodworking crafts to home baking, live music and organic food.
Organic, regional fare also features in local restaurants. Have coffee with charm in Nelson at Oso Negro or the Kootenay Bakery Café, or savour a pasta dinner while listening to live music at Max & Irma’s. The All Seasons Café features seasonal menus showcasing local ingredients. Pizza connoisseurs will appreciate the made-from-scratch pies at Thor’s Pizza – especially the Apollo’s Harvest pizza; it’s loaded with fresh local veggies and roasted garlic.
Thor’s is just a few blocks from the Dancing Bear Inn, one of the cozy and places full of character to stay in Nelson. It’s a hostel, but with private (as well as shared) rooms, hardwood floors and duvets, taking budget travel up a notch.