I have to confess, Winter is my least favourite season. I mean the holidays without snow aren’t the same but come January I am over it. It is probably one of the reasons why Taryn and I created The Okanagan Hot Chocolate Festival so that we’d have something to celebrate come the new year. Anyways, this Kelowna winter guide is, as always, a celebration of local makers and locations that make this time of year special. There is plenty of things to do in Kelowna year round!
Did you know that Big White Ski Resort is the second best North American ski resort? The first being Whistler. We are spoiled for skiing here in British Columbia! A winter in the Okanagan isn’t complete without a day trip or weekend at Big White. I do not ski nor snowboard but I am a sucker for a bonfire, hot cocoa and maybe a bit of snowshoeing. Sleigh rides are also popular and in high demand so book in advance!
I am so excited to check out Big White in Winter of 2022/2023 because there have been many change of hands within the food scene. Local restauranteurs such as the Nixons (the people behind BNA, Bernie’s and Skinny Duke’s) have purchased existing restaurants. This means a much needed facelift to the beloved resort’s food scene is coming and I am here for it!
Feeling festive? One of my favourite things to do in Kelowna is eat! During the holidays (full foodie guide coming soon!) If you’re looking to get your sweet fix we highly suggest you check out our guide to the best spots in Kelowna for a sweet tooth.
Dining in the Domes
Many of the local Okanagan wineries keep their doors open during the winter months. If you’re looking for a wine tasting guide exclusively during the wintertime please click here. Frind Winery offers dome dining during the winter months. These heated domes come with a fixed menu for either brunch or dinner. As the only winery in North America with a beach front, you’ll get a front row seat to the Okanagan Lake, the iconic mountain scenes and excellent food from Annie’s Bistro – the onsite restaurant.
If you don’t want to cross the Bennet Bridge to West Kelowna then Oak + Cru at the Delta Hotel by Marriott might be your best bet. The patio domes come with a minimum $200 spend with a view of the Kelowna Waterfront board walk.
The pandemic wiped out most of our excellent cooking classes but they’re slowly coming back around. You can find lunch and dinner cooking classes with Chef Kelsey at The Okanagan Table. Alternatively, you can head to West Kelowna for the Mission Hill culinary classes which almost always sell out.
The Okanagan Hot Chocolate Festival – Jan to Feb
The Okanagan Hot Chocolate Festival, you can’t have a Kelowna Winter Guide without hot chocolate, is an event that lasts one month. You can pop into any of the participating locations, order a hot chocolate, snap a photo for social media and enter to win some great prizes! It began as a way to help support local during a slower time of the month. Each year, a different local charity is selected to help raise money, buy local and sip on some incredible hot chocolates! It is one of the best things to do in Kelowna to beat the winter blues!
In late winter this foodie event is making a comeback in 2023! This very busy, very delicious culinary event is a roaming feast where each dish is paired with a drink. You get to vote who has the best dish, best drink and best combo pairing. I once saw Vikram Vij there and said hello!
There is no shortage of markets in the Okanagan. Each year there are more and more popping up. Each weekend you’ll find a market to attend as Christmas approaches. Check out some of our favourites including Home Grown, Rustic Reel and Craft Culture Show.
From snowshoeing at Myra Canyon on the KVR Trail to winter paddling on your SUP board, you can get as adventurous as you’d like. Winter hiking is also a popular pass time as locals and tourists are constantly seeking that great view of the Okanagan Lake and surrounding mountains no matter what time of year it is.
Hockey Night in Kelowna
You can’t visit Canada without attending a hockey game. The professional games can be rather pricy so if you’re on a budget check out the WHL teams for a more affordable evening out. The Kelowna Rockets have a great team and my favourite spot to watch the game is at the restaurant bar. For $60 (+ tax) CAD you can have the buffet dinner and one of the best views of the action at the bar seats. Looking for a price break? Check out our guide to saving money in Kelowna for date nights.