Arts & Culture

Kelowna's Cultural Mile: Exploring the District's Key Attractions

a totema hanging on a wall in a museum display case with a glass case holding it in the shape of a totema
Kelowna Art Gallery


Kelowna's Cultural District stands as evidence of the city's commitment to the arts, history, and community. Once the epicenter of the Okanagan's fruit-packing industry, this area has blossomed into a six-block radius pulsating with galleries, theatres, and museums, interwoven with stunning public art. It's a place where the past meets the present, where local and international creativity converges, creating a unique culture that enriches the city.

Kelowna’s Artistic Identity

The transformation of Kelowna’s Cultural District is a story of vision and dedication. It's not just about the conversion of space but also a narrative of community evolution. From its industrial roots, the District has emerged as a hub for artistic and cultural activities, buoyed by the passionate arts community and strategic municipal planning. Wandering through the district, one encounters an array of public art, including 21 pieces that add a visual richness to the streetscape, reflecting both local and international artistic flavours.


In the Kelowna Art Gallery, Canadian art finds a dynamic showcase. Visitors can immerse themselves in permanent exhibits and rotating galleries. Family-friendly activities on Sundays transform art viewing into an interactive experience. At Hambleton Galleries, contemporary art takes centre stage, offering a blend of local and national artists' works. Meanwhile, Gallery 421 entices art enthusiasts with its diverse collection of contemporary pieces, alongside art consultations and restoration services. The Rotary Centre for the Arts, with its artist studios and educational programs, epitomizes the spirit of community engagement in art. For those with a penchant for Canadian oil and acrylic paintings, Tutt Street Gallery presents an exquisite selection.


The Kelowna Community Theatre, including the intimate Black Box Theatre, is a cornerstone of the district's performing arts scene. It hosts a myriad of events - from music festivals to comedy, dance, and theatre productions. The Mary Irwin Theatre, within the Rotary Centre for the Arts, adds another dimension to Kelowna’s theatrical landscape, showcasing local and touring performances. These venues are not just stages; they are cultural catalysts, sparking conversations and fostering a community bound by the love for performing arts.


At the Okanagan Heritage Museum, the natural and human history of Kelowna comes alive. Visitors can explore the biodiversity of the Okanagan Valley, learn about the lives of the syilx/Okanagan people, and revisit the historical Chinatown through vivid displays. Current exhibitions, like "La Nostra Famiglia Italiana: Our Legacy in Kelowna", display the diverse cultural influences shaping the city. The museum's transformation, guided by the vision of syilx/Okanagan Elders and other community members, makes each visit a fresh and enlightening experience. The Okanagan Military Museum adds another layer to the historical narrative, showcasing the region's military history.

Future Plans and Initiatives

Kelowna’s Cultural District is not static; it's a canvas of continual evolution. The city's plans to enhance the district align with the Official Community Plan, aiming to provide distinct benefits to the community. The 2020-2025 Cultural Plan plays a pivotal role in this vision, fostering accessible, diverse, and inclusive experiences in the arts and culture sphere. This forward-thinking approach ensures that the district remains a bright and integral part of Kelowna's identity.


The Cultural District in Kelowna is more than a collection of venues; it's a living, breathing entity that encapsulates the city's artistic soul. It invites locals and visitors alike to explore, engage, and be inspired. It illuminates the city's commitment to nurturing and celebrating its cultural heritage.