It’s happening in Downtown Kelowna! With over 700 shops, services, restaurants, theatres and nightlife Downtown Kelowna is THE place to be no matter what the season.
Set on the lakeshore of beautiful Okanagan Lake, Downtown Kelownais home to a growing Cultural District, with galleries, theatres, restaurants and trendy retail. Visitors and guests will find numerous convenient amenities including shopping, coffee shops, pubs, a library, parks and gardens. You can also bike the Kelowna lake front is is very bike friendly.
The Downtown Kelowna Cultural District is flourishing as the Rotary Centre of the Arts (RCA) celebrates their 13th Anniversary this year. Each year the RCA, a world-class venue, is home to visual and performing arts for visitors of all ages to try, learn and master their favourite.
The Kelowna Art Gallery is located next door to the Rotary Centre, in the heart of the Cultural District. One of Canada’s most respected public art galleries, this expansive facility offers four exhibition spaces as well as two classrooms. While the gallery serves the Central Okanagan Valley with a variety of local, national and international exhibitions, it also offers a wide selection of public programs for all ages.
The Kelowna Actor’s Studio, located Downtown on Ellis Street is also celebrating their 15th Anniversary will a full schedule of shows. Check out their website for all the details.
The Kelowna Museums will take you back in time to when the Okanagan and was filled with “gold trails and ghost towns.” Plan a day and take a walking tour of the Okanagan Heritage Museum, the BC Orchard Industry Museum, the BC Wine Museum and the Okanagan Military Museum. The stories, the pictures and the breathtaking exhibits will leave you amazed. You could also read about walking tour of all the museums here.
During the summer months the Cultural District is the perfect place to take a walk along the lakeside boardwalk, stopping to feed the ducks and the wildlife within the bird sanctuary. The boardwalk wraps around the waterfront, passing the Island Stage, home to a series of summer concerts, past the new Kelowna Yacht Club, Stuart Park and ending at the Sails, the most recognizable Kelowna landmark.
The Cultural District is also home to Prospera Place, home of the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League. The Rockets hosted and won the 2004 Memorial Cup which catapulted their success which continues today. A number of players from the organization have moved onto the National Hockey League including Jamie Benn, Shea Weber, Josh Gorges and Luke Schenn.
Downtown Kelowna is home to 222 retail stores, highlighting traditional and unique shopping experiences. Everything from shoes to menswear to a cocktail dress to a wedding gown, Downtown Kelowna has it all. Visitors will also find accessories, gift and specialty shops, jewelry and home décor.
Mosaic Books is the largest privately owned bookstore in the Valley and first opened their doors in 1968. From new releases, top authors, fiction, non-fiction, “how-to” books and everything in between Mosaic Books is a must stop on your walk through Downtown Kelowna.
One exciting new development is the revitalization of The Town Centre Mall into The District. Combining rustic, locally sourced elements with cutting edge design trends, it’s situated at the heart of downtown right on Bernard Avenue, be sure to check it out. Hosting clothing stores, Annegret’s Fine European Chocolates, a coffee shop and more!
With over 90 restaurants Downtown Kelowna visitors certainly have their choice of where and what they want to eat. Asian, Italian, Indian, Casual and Fine Dining are highlighted in each corner of downtown. The eateries are continuously winning awards; including Okanagan Spirits (267 Bernard Ave.) named the 2015 “Distillery of the Year,” in a worldwide competition.
Parents with hungry kids coming Downtown can rest easy with more than enough “kid friendly” restaurants, guaranteed to fill their little tummies. Boston Pizza, Kelly O’Bryans, Subway, Pita Pit, DunnEnzies Pizza, Memphis Blues BBQ are all perfect choices for an affordable family meal.
If Downtown Kelowna visitors are looking for a cold beverage, a stop at any one of the 11 pubs can help. Summer is the ideal time to sit on one of the 50 patios and watch the world go by while working on your tan. A number of pubs host bands and solo artists throughout the year to add to their unique atmosphere.
Downtown Kelowna coffee and tea houses are often filled with business people on a break or students studying for their next exam. Whether visitors to Downtown enjoy the small intimate coffee shop, or the brand name “cup of java ” with 13 different options, each place has a unique feel and atmosphere which relates to the “real” Downtown.
Two major Downtown Kelowna events will once again be featured this year. The Annual Block Party (formally known as Mari Gras) will take place in August as Bernard Avenue will be closed to vehicles from end to end and filled with activities, food, vendors, dancing and live entertainment. This huge event welcomes people of all ages to enjoy a day under the sun and walk down the newly revitalized Bernard Avenue.
The Annual Light Up! is Downtown Kelowna’s signature Christmas event. In December, a number of venues will have activities for the whole family to enjoy. Lace up the skates and zip around the outdoor rink at Stuart Park or decorate a Christmas cookie after telling Santa Claus what you would like for Christmas. Once visitors get their fill of Christmas goodies, hundreds of people gather into Stuart Park with Santa for a few carols and the Light Up of the Christmas tree.
After Light Up! Ring in the new year with the New York New Year’s Eve at Stuart Park complete with fireworks, music, skating, special lighting effects and other activities.
Small Shop promotions, the Taste of Downtown Kelowna, Rock the Lake and the Downtown After 5 business networking events are also extremely popular throughout the year.
The three Small Shop promotion days scheduled for April, June (Small Shop At Night) and October, focus on the retail portion of Downtown Kelowna. Small shops are the lifeblood of the Downtown, so make the pledge to shop small and local on Small Shop day. Participating businesses offer tremendous savings, a demonstration and/or some goodies within their stores. It’s a perfect day to walk the streets of Downtown and explore. For dates and more information visit www.downtownkelowna.com.
The “Taste of Downtown” showcases a number of the 90+ restaurants and pubs in Downtown Kelowna. Taste of Downtown visitors carry their passport from place to place sampling delicious complimentary food/drink from the participating restaurants. It’s a fun-filled day for everyone to discover their new favourite restaurants.
The Downtown Kelowna After 5s are featured typically on the last Wednesday of each month. It is the Downtown Kelowna Association’s signature business networking event. The business community comes together to network at a different location each month. Every event is filled with wine, beer and appies along with outstanding prizes. Visit www.downtownkelowna.com.
During the summer months Downtown Kelowna hosts a number of live musical performances at Kerry Park, with Festivals Kelowna’s Parks Alive. A community oriented concert series dedicated to entertaining visitors and featuring both amateur and professionals performing a variety of musical genres. See parksalive.festivalskelowna.com/ for a full schedule of music.
Downtown Kelowna is also home to hundreds of events, family fun, cultural performances, street festivals, sporting events and more! Events are added often, so keep checking www.downtownkelowna.com for the latest information.
Over $500 Million! That’s how much development money is being poured into Downtown Kelowna with current projects that have either started or have been approved.
The waterfront has gone through a dramatic change with the opening of the new Downtown Kelowna Marina. Visitors can walk onto the dock and rest their feet and boaters can dock for a short time to come ashore for lunch or an ice cream. The Kelowna Yacht Club’s major expansion is complete and there is now a Cactus Club restaurant i on the main floor.. Downtown Kelowna now boasts Canada’s largest freshwater marina.
More and more residential development is joining the stores and restaurants in Downtown Kelowna. Two large developments, of over 15 stories each are being built on Bernard, with an additional two in the Cultural District. Downtown Kelowna is open for business and play 12 months of the year. With its unique shops, fabulous restaurants and growing Cultural District, Downtown Kelowna is on the verge of something amazing so come Downtown and see what’s happening!