Essential Kelowna: Things Every New Resident Should Know

A group of people hiking in a forest, with the person in front pointing ahead.


Kelowna is marked not only for its breathtaking nature and climate but for its thriving arts scene, delectable food and wine, and warm, inviting community. If you are one of the lucky ones planning to call Kelowna home, there's plenty you should know before settling down.

1. Embrace the Great Outdoors: Pristine nature at your doorstep

New Kelowna residents will soon find that life here is deeply intertwined with the natural surroundings. The city is known for its outdoor recreational activities, from hiking and biking in Knox Mountain Park to water sports on Okanagan Lake. During winter, the nearby Big White Ski Resort provides numerous opportunities for skiing and snowboarding, and Myra Canyon is a year-round delight for hiking, biking, and snowshoeing with historic railroad trestles and tunnels. The city itself is dotted with green spaces, such as Waterfront Park and Mission Creek.

2. Celebrate Local Cuisine: Food and wine that captures the terroir

The fertile Okanagan Valley has earned a reputation as Canada's food and wine heartland. Kelowna is home to over 40 wineries with world-class offerings. Both wine novices and connoisseurs will enjoy wine tours showcasing varietals that have helped Okanagan wines claim countless international awards. Farmer's markets are also a common sight, most notably the Kelowna Farmers and Crafters Market, where residents can buy the freshest local produce directly from farmers. The dining scene in Kelowna is equally exciting, with a focus on farm-to-table dining, utilizing local ingredients to their fullest.

3. Cultural Hub: An arts and heritage scene that enriches daily life

Kelowna is a cultural hotspot where residents can explore numerous galleries, like the Kelowna Art Gallery, which showcases local and international art. The Kelowna Museum Society provides a deeper understanding of the city’s history, while the BC Orchard Industry Museum and BC Wine Museum highlight specific aspects of local heritage. Theatre lovers will find a home in Kelowna, as the city boasts an array of live performance venues, including the Kelowna Community Theatre.

4. Community Events: An action-packed calendar keeping residents entertained

Kelowna hosts numerous festivals and events throughout the year, providing entertainment and fostering a strong sense of community. New residents should not miss events like the Okanagan Wine Festival, which showcases the best of local wine and food. The Downtown Kelowna Block Party is also a highlight, with live music, stalls, and street performances. Notably, the city's cultural festivals celebrate Kelowna's diversity, as seen in the popular Métis Rendezvous and PowWow.

5. Nurturing Innovation: Thriving industries and entrepreneurship opportunities

Kelowna is more than just a beautiful city; it’s also an economic powerhouse with numerous thriving industries. The technology sector is particularly worth mentioning, with many tech startups choosing to base their operations in Kelowna due to the city’s resources, including the UBC Okanagan Innovation Hub. Other major sectors include healthcare, tourism, and agriculture.

6. Enjoy Healthy Living: A core focus on wellness

Kelowna is a health-conscious city with an abundance of resources promoting a balanced lifestyle. Outdoor activities, healthy eating, and overall wellness are foundational aspects of life in Kelowna. Yoga studios, fitness centres, and health-focused eateries are abundant. Besides, the city is home to the Kelowna General Hospital, one of BC's most comprehensive healthcare facilities, along with numerous other health and wellness services.


Being a new resident in Kelowna equals starting a journey filled with exceptional experiences, from outdoor leisure and world-class gastronomy to lively cultural activities and a robust economy. Kelowna is a city that constantly evolves while maintaining a firm grasp of its roots and traditions. It's a city where people cherish their environment and embrace a community spirit that keeps them connected. Kelowna is a place you will soon be proud to call home.