Three-Day Getaway: Kelowna

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Kelowna is more than a pretty face. Sure, the Okanagan city is thick with vineyards and sunny vantage points; it climbs along verdant, rolling hills and embraces the eastern shoreline of Okanagan Lake.

But there’s much more here to tempt, whether you seek urban delights or adventurous play. Here’s how to do it all—or at least scratch the surface—in just three days.

BC Map 200 km 124 mi Kelowna Kelowna Vancouver Vancouver
Myra Canyon trestle bridge | Kari Medig

See

Sign up for a Cultural District Tour and delve into the history of the city’s downtown core, once home to canneries, railways, a packinghouse, and a cigar factory. Okanagan Foodie Tours leads the way during this three-hour exploration of museums and galleries, public art, and a waterfront park. Bonus: you’ll stop at five restaurants to sample local menus along the way.

Amp up the adrenaline with a walk or cycle along Kelowna’s boardwalk, a 2.2-kilometre (1.2-mile) waterfront stretch that showcases the beauty of Okanagan Lake.

For more, head further afield and two-wheel along the Myra Canyon, a scenic stretch of the Kettle Valley Railway (KVR). Just 40 minutes from Kelowna, start at the Myra Station and wend along the steep-walled canyon that showcases two tunnels and 18 trestle bridges. Or sign on for a guided excursion with Monashee Adventure Tours or Cheers! Okanagan Tours and discover the trials and triumphs of this historic pathway.

The vines overlooking Okanagan Lake | Andrew Strain

Sip

Fertile soil and ample sunshine make for ideal growing conditions. Translation: Kelowna is prime real estate for stellar wineries. Visit First Nations-owned and -operated Indigenous World Winery where vintages, produced with respect for the land, pair nicely with Indigenous-inspired fare, including seared bison flat-iron steaks and bannock bread plates, served at the winery’s Red Fox Club.

Organic and biodynamic wines define Summerhill Pyramid Winery—that, and a pyramid-shaped cellar. Order a sparkling wine at their Sunset Organic Bistro, and ask about the star-aligned cellar’s invisible energy and its all-important life force.

While summers are hot, plunging winter temperatures promise excellent conditions for Icewine production. At Grizzli Winery, set at the base of Mount Boucherie, you can taste the fruits of winemakers’ labours, thanks to an Icewine lineup that includes the light and bright flavours of Sauvignon Blanc alongside the full fruity richness of a Merlot.

Tree Brewing Co. | @kattancock via Instagram

Craft beer more to your liking? You’re covered in Kelowna. Sample the seasonal selection—from Pilsners to Porters—at Tree Brewing Co., where small-batch brewing is elevated in a decidedly laid-back environment. Continue sampling what’s on tap at two other favourites: Red Bird Brewing, in the downtown core, and Kettle Valley Brewing Company, a nano brewery at the north end of the city.

Few spots offer the casual coolness of BNA Brewing Co. Order a tasting flight at the former cigar factory and sip favourites like the smooth blonde ale Pamela and the hoppy Don’t Lose Your Dinosaur IPA. (Opt for BNA’s seasonal, boozy frozen drinks for something a little different.) Sink into the abundant oversized seating, and consider pairing your pulls with the kitchen’s baked meatballs, fish tacos, and fried cauliflower. Or take in a few frames at BNA’s brand new 10-pin bowling lanes.

Downtown Kelowna | Kari Medig

Sample

Elevate your edible experience at Perch. In the Innovation Centre’s open-air, rooftop patio restaurant, you can pair housemade, shareable eats—like the roasted sockeye and maple-syrup-and-cinnamon donut balls—with local wine and craft beer.

Lakeside views meet luscious menus at OAK + CRU Social Kitchen & Wine Bar at the Delta Hotels by Marriott Grand Okanagan Resort. With more than 300 Okanagan labels on offer, you’ll be spoilt for choice when selecting your wine by the glass—all the better to sip alongside OAK + CRU’s sharable menu of wood-fired Selva prawns, chicken satays, lamb meatballs, and more.

RauDZ Regional Table | tourismkelowna.com/RauDZ and David Mcllvride

The long communal table at RauDZ Regional Table provides a great vantage point to check out farm-fresh dishes as they make their way to diners. Here, amid a friendly, sharing atmosphere, offerings include chicken leg confit poutine, oat-crusted Arctic char nestled on a potato and spinach sauté, and handmade parmesan gnocchi topped with burnt leek cream. Save room for the stellar double-chocolate mashed-potato brioche—a RauDZ signature.

Aerial view of Delta Hotels by Marriott Grand Okanagan Resort | tourismkelowna.com/Shawn Talbot Photography

Sleep

All that fresh air is bound to tucker you out—or at least make you eager to retreat to your evening abode. Sleep tight at the Delta Hotels by Marriott Grand Okanagan Resort, a prime locale for spectacular sunrises and sunsets over Okanagan Lake.

Postcard-pretty Hotel Eldorado also makes the most of its Okanagan Lake address. A mainstay since 1926, the hotel’s waterfront restaurant and spacious balconies encourage you to take it all in, and toast your good fortune.

If adventure ranks as high as thread count, stay at Myra Canyon Ranch. Twenty minutes from the city, this vacation rental lodge, with its self-contained units, offers access to outdoor fun, including guided horseback rides along the Okanagan’s hilly, panoramic expanse.

Featured image: Aerial view of Okanagan Lake, with Kelowna in the distance | Andrew Strain

 

Updated from original publication September 22, 2017.

POSTED BY: Carla Mont

From: Vancouver
Carla Mont is a former Prairie girl who lives by the ocean. A full-time DBC staffer, she is passionate about Canadian authors, artists, and designers—not to mention chefs. A fan of fantastic food, Carla can often be spotted sampling the latest offerings at local kitchens, preferably with a glass of BC bubbles.

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