I’ve now lived in Kelowna, BC for 5 years and although I’m still exploring this beautiful valley, I feel firmly rooted here. There are just too many darn things to do, places to see, activities to take in, and restaurants to enjoy. The warmth of the people in the Okanagan Valley is only surpassed by the lovely weather we have in the summer.
Here is your ACN-Approved Healthy City Guide to the best vibrant living Kelowna, BC has to offer!
Whether you’re looking to sit peacefully by one of the many lakes, ski on one of two world-class ski hills, or hike some of their many trails, Kelowna is an excellent place to honour the health of your mind and body with some fabulous culinary-approved locations. Kelowna is not called “Kelownafornia” for nothing.
Where to Eat
Glow Juicery. With 4 thriving locations in Kelowna, you will be treated to some awesomely hand-crafted vegetable and fruit juices along with a multitude of raw food options. If you’re up for a detox cleanse, they even offer raw food takeaway packages to get you going. I love their philosophy that our “well-being is determined by the foods we eat and the attitudes we carry.”
RauDZ Regional Table. “Fresh. Local. Comfortable.” That’s their tagline and I can’t believe it took me four years to find this restaurant that does an amazing job of sourcing ingredients and wines locally. Food advocate, co-owner and head chef Rod Butters, author The Okanagan Table, firmly supports the farm-to-table movement and you’ll be most very delighted by the inspired cuisine of this celebrated Canadian chef. Every effort will be made to keep your meal gluten-free. Try the Cocoa Braised Bison Short Rib with swiss chard, mushrooms and maple-glazed parsnips and plums.
Gratitude Café. Charming is what I’d call this tiny little restaurant that serves a 100% vegan and gluten-free menu of some of the most unique dishes I’ve ever eaten. Some of the delicious fare you can enjoy: the all-raw “I am honest kale and spinach tahini seedzar salad”, “I am incredible cashew cheezy spaghetti with zucchini, cucumber and kelp noodles,” “I am creating lentil veggie curry, drizzled greens, chips, salsa, guacamole” or the “I am curious yam and pineapple pierogi calzone with balsamic artisan greens.” With affirmations and great healthy wholesome food, you’ll walk out feeling completely rejuvenated. Located in the Lower Mission, this café is environmentally-conscious producing only one bag of garbage per week.
Marmalade Cat. This stellar café located in the Lower Mission boasts its gluten-free bakery as the best in Kelowna. Don’t miss the Friday night acoustic sets by some of Kelowna’s most talented musicians. It’s always good for the digestion to enjoy pleasant music while you eat a scrumptious meal! Their “made from scratch” style cooking and baking has evolved over the years and now includes numerous lunch and breakfast options for those seeking a healthy meal. It’s quaint and you’ll have a hard time leaving once you nab that hard to get table—well worth it!
Naked Café. If 100% plant-based food is what you seek, look no further than the Naked Café that offers amazingly delicious vegan food that will please even the biggest die-hard carnivore. Serious animal lovers and owners Olivia, Teghan and Tessa Gordey had a dream “to create a vegan oasis where customers could feel comfortable and at peace when walking through the door.” They also offer 10 gluten-free options. For a bright start to your day, try the gluten-free veggie scramble with shredded non-GMO tofu, hash browns, kale, broccoli and mushroom (scrambled with love, of course), which is then topped with cherry tomato and green onion and served with gluten-free toast spread with cream cheez and a side of homemade spicy mayo.”
Summerhill Organic Winery. Canadians know they can count on BC’s Okanagan to produce world famous wine, but for me, Summerhill has something extra special and worth checking out. Besides being certified 100% organic, Summerhill winery takes their agriculture practice one step further by treating their farms as a unified whole. This method is called biodynamic farming and is essentially a closed system where nothing is extra or wasted. Not many wineries following this practice in Canada. The Summerhill Pyramid that sits on the property is an astounding feast for the eyes, a peaceful solace for the mind if inside, and transformative to the wines that are aged beneath. Don’t miss a stop at the Sunset Organic Bistro to sample their tasty offerings.
Kelowna Farmer’s and Crafter’s Market. This market goes from April through October from 8am-1pm at the corner of Dilworth and Springfield Road (across from Orchard Park Mall). Not only are there abundant vendors selling the freshest fruits and veggies, you’ll also appreciate additional vendors selling bone broth, fermented vegetables, local lavender honey, organic cleaning options and more. Visiting in the winter months? You can find all your favourite vendors in the Parkinson Recreation Center from November 18th every Saturday from 9am-1pm.
Urban Harvest. If you’re here for an extended stay, don’t miss having farm-fresh, certified organic and predominantly local produce delivered right to your door. Where you’re located determines your delivery day.
Nature’s Fare. You’ll often see me here ordering one of their many healthy smoothies, daily soups or deli items from the Apple Bistro. The staff is always welcoming and knowledgeable on the many specialized nutritional supplements they sell.
Old Meadows Organics. Open from mid-June to mid-October, here’s a business that is fully aware of all ethical and healthy farming practices: crop rotation is a must to keep the soil loaded with nutrients, composting is done on site to control the quality, and they grow their own nitrogen-fixing crops to enhance soil productivity. And did I mention their array of fruits and vegetables available? Melons and goji berries are a few of their specialty offerings.
Yoga + Fitness
Hot Box Yoga. This studio is set about 25 degrees below traditional hot yoga studios, but you get increased therapeutic detoxification from the far-infrared sauna panels. Their Power Yoga class (also known as Vinyasa Flow) is a combination of many styles designed to help you burn calories, relax, tone your body, and “electrify your mind.” They offer a number of classes including Lunch Box, Hipster, Zen, Flow, Yin, 50/50, Detox, YogaSTRONG, Team Athletica and for the dancer in you, Hip Hop Yoga to help you get your groove back. There are three locations in Kelowna.
Karma. The flow is slower in the highly restorative Hot Yoga workout, allowing you to relax completely while holding gentle postures for longer. Power and Bikram Yoga are also on the menu, as well as the non-traditional Hot Barre, which uses handlebars to develop core strength. The emphasis is on the legs and buttocks much like a ballerina. Hot Pilates is another class to happily endure.
Orange Theory Fitness. Heart Rate Based Interval Training (HRBIT) is their primary offering. This 60-minute workout is based on the theory of Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) where members burn between 500 to 1000 calories during the workout and continue burning for the next 36 hours in what is called “afterburn.” The first class is on them, so take advantage!
Oranj Fitness. This is a welcoming community-based fun studio offering many different classes for all ability levels. Spin, dance, yoga, barre, Tabata and boot camp are just a few of the classes. No membership is required if you buy a punch pass. Some of the bonuses include child-minding and a smoothie bar. About 100 classes are offered each week so you’re bound to find something that piques your mind and muscles.
Moksha Yoga. This yoga studio’s philosophy is based on the Seven Pillars of yoga: be healthy, be accessible, live green, community support, reach out, live to learn and be peace. Eleven types of classes are available including the traditional Moksha, Vinyasa and Yin as well as some very unique offerings such as Aerial Yoga, the Karma Class and Power Fuzion. Drop in is available.
Gravity Float and Wellness. Besides helping to relieve physical ailments like sore muscles and arthritis, there’s evidence that Float Therapy can help with anxiety and depression. This unique spa also offers Cryotherapy, which was first used to treat rheumatic disorders in the 70s. Cryotherapy involves exposing the skin to very cold temperatures for a few minutes to reduce inflammation and pain. Dreamwave Massage is also a highlight, where infrared sensors find areas of extreme tension and stress for a targeted therapy. Hypnotherapy and Massage round out their offerings.
Beyond Wrapture. Do your feet need a day out at the spa? Wrapture offers Gehwol Foot Care, a product line using only plant extracts, herbs and essential oils to solve your footsie’s many woes from calluses to aches to cracked sore skin. Hot Stone Reflexology, Sacred Art Hot Stone Massage and Aromatherapy are all included on the menu to round out a stress-free experience. And what’s a trip to the Okanagan’s wine country without taking in the Red or White Vinotherapy Massage, where the anti-ageing properties of grapeseed oil, shea butter and resveratrol from wine are combined and massaged into your skin to help repair connective tissue.
Stuart Park Outdoor Rink. What could be more fun during the cold months than bundling up the family and taking them skating? You can bring along your skates or rent from a vendor. In the summer, it’s all about rollerblading.
Board Walk. Sometimes the best way to enjoy a city is to just take a stroll with kids and pets in tow, but why sit down when you are in one of best tourist destinations in Canada? Downtown Kelowna is full of seasonal activities including a splash park, a Wibit water park right in the lake, plus a sports equipment rental shop providing paddle boards, jet skis, and parasailing opportunities. You can also take a Dinner Cruise and sail around the harbour.
Mission Creek Regional Park. After a busy day downtown, mellow out in this peaceful 230-acre sanctuary with over 12 km of hiking trails including the self-guiding interpretation trail. Children can even learn to compost at the Environmental Education Centre after tiring of the playground. This is Kelowna’s hub to learn about vegetation and wildlife in the Okanagan.
New Vintage Theatre. Settle down with this small group of actors who want theatre to be engaging and accessible to everyone. You can always expect a contemporary and innovative experience.
Beaches. You can’t talk about Kelowna without mentioning the many beaches. I have yet to take them all in, but my absolute favourite is the Boyce-Gyro beach with sand and grass plus a playground for my daughter. It’s unmistakable with the big red apple.
Okanagan Lavender Herb Farm. Not far off the beaten path is a quaint lavender farm that makes small batch lavender products such as soaps, balms and salves. You can even blend your own hydrosol spray at their Aromatherapy Bar. For some relaxing fun try one of their workshops including aromatherapy, body care and cooking. From May to September enjoy a guided tour around the gorgeous gardens.
Where to Stay
Eldorado. Located right on Okanagan Lake is the time-honoured Eldorado Hotel with its fabulous views of the marina. There’s also a vintage bathhouse style pool, steam room, hot tub, fitness area and tennis courts. During the summer months, you can rent a boat for the afternoon, parasail, or walk leisurely along the boardwalk. Enjoy the award-winning Lakeside Restaurant with seasonal, organic and local offerings. For a taste of history, don’t miss the traditional Heritage Tea every Saturday from 2-4pm or the Sunday Brunch.
Serenity Stay. This boutique bed and breakfast near beaches and restaurants offers a private King Suite but also the completely unique seasonal glamping experience with your own tent, but also access to a private bathroom and shared patio with BBQ. Each tent is fully equipped with power including bedside lamps, a comfortable full bed and a pull-out futon. You even have a mini-fridge with a beverage maker. If you choose the King Suite, you can wake up to your own kitchenette stocked with fresh fruit and an organic continental breakfast. Gluten and dairy-free options are available. Canoe and bike rentals are available too.
Are you from Kelowna? Taken your own healthy adventures there? What did we miss? What are your favourite health spots?