Greater Kelowna is a big, sprawling place that has engulfed both sides of Okanagan Lake, but the sights of most interest are contained in a relatively small area. And that's good, because traffic in Kelowna can be vexing. Beware of the heavily traveled Harvey Street and the Okanagan Lake Bridge; the latter has been rebuilt but is still prone to jams.
Downtown is a pleasant retail area that retains a number of older buildings that now house shops, galleries, and cafes. The main commercial strip is Bernard Street. The showpiece of Kelowna is lovely City Park, which flanks downtown and the bridge's east side and has over half a mile of wide, sandy beach. At the north edge is a marina where you can rent boats and recreational equipment, or sign up to learn to water-ski and parasail. Here, too, is where you board the MV Fintry Queen, which offers boat tours of the lake.
Continue north through the busy marina to Waterfront Park, with an island band shell and promenades along the lakefront and lagoons. The Grand Okanagan Lakefront Resort towers above the park, and it's worth a stop to step inside the opulent lobby, or to enjoy a drink beside the pool.
The Rotary Center for the Arts, 421 Cawston Ave. (tel. 250/717-5304), is a multipurpose venue with a 330-seat performing arts theater, plus two art galleries and a number of open studios for artists and craftspeople. It's a fun place to wander, watching artists at work, and you may find a gift to buy or a piece to add to your collection. The center also contains a lunchtime cafe with soup and sandwiches.
Touring The Wineries
Just north of city center, Calona Wines, 1125 Richter St., Kelowna (tel. 250/762-3332; www.calonavineyards.ca), offers tastings in western Canada's oldest and largest (since 1932) winery. Many antique winemaking machines are on display, alongside the state-of-the-art equipment the winery now uses.
North of Kelowna is Gray Monk Estate Winery, 1055 Camp Rd., Okanagan Centre (tel. 800/663-4205 or 250/766-3168; www.graymonk.com). Noted for its pinot noirs, Gray Monk has a patio lounge and gives winery tours daily. The tasting room is open daily year-round. The winery's Grapevine Restaurant offers serious Continental cuisine in its lake-view dining room, which is open for lunch daily from Easter weekend through October; nightly dinner service begins on May 1.
South of Kelowna on the east side of the lake is Cedar Creek Estate Winery, 5445 Lakeshore Rd. (tel. 250/764-8866; www.cedarcreek.bc.ca). Cedar Creek produces notable pinot noir, chardonnay, and meritage blends. The Terrace Restaurant is open for lunch daily.
Across Okanagan Lake from Kelowna is Westbank, home to Mission Hill Wines, 1730 Mission Hill Rd. (tel. 250/768-7611; www.missionhillwinery.com), one of the most architecturally eye-catching wineries in the Okanagan. The tasting room is open daily, except for major winter holidays; check the website for tours.
An experience worth savoring even if you're not an oenophile is the Quail's Gate Estate, 3303 Boucherie Rd., Westbank (tel. 250/769-4451; www.quailsgate.com), famous for its ice wines, marvelous chenin blanc, and rich merlot. The Old Vines Patio Restaurant, with marvelous views of vineyards and the lake, is open daily for lunch and dinner, save for a staff holiday the first 2 weeks in January.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.