Located on Lake Okanagan, Kelowna is a popular destination right in the heart of British Columbia’s Wine Country! During the summer it is a popular getaway destination for those looking to enjoy the boating and watersports facilities. It is also close to a popular ski resort during the winter season.
As a relatively small destination, figuring out where to stay can be trickier than it seems at first. The town stretches along the waterfront, and for certain travellers it might be better to consider elsewhere on the lake.
That’s why we created this guide! We’ve figured out the five best neighborhoods in and around Kelowna and categorised them based on who they are best for.
So let’s just get started!
Quick Tips – Where to Stay in Kelowna
- Cultural District – Best neighborhood in Kelowna for your first time
- South Central – Where to stay in Kelowna close to everything
- Downtown – Where to stay in Kelowna for nightlife
- West Kelowna – Best neighborhood in Kelowna for wine
- Penticton – Best neighborhood in Kelowna for families
Where to Stay in Kelowna
Looking for a specific place to stay? These are our highest recommendations for places to stay in Kelowna.
Best Hostel in Kelowna
As the best-rated hostel in the area, Samesun Kelowna takes the crown for best backpacker accommodation in the city! It comes with fantastic social facilities and is well located for exploring all of the main attractions in Kelowna. They offer a free breakfast every morning, as well as private parking.
Best Budget Hotel in Kelowna
Located right next to the bridge connecting Kelowna and West Kelowna, this bed and breakfast is well priced and perfect for those hoping to travel around the region by car! Rooms come with marvellous views of the lake, as well as some views towards the city. A complimentary breakfast is included, which also comes with vegetarian choices.
Best Splurge Hotel in Kelowna
Located right on the lakeside, this magnificent five star resort is truly the highest level of luxury available in the Lake Okanagan area! It comes with two pools – one indoor and one outdoor – as well as a casino and an expansive spa on-site. Rooms come with both baths and showers, and bicycle rental facilities are available.
Kelowna 5 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in
Let’s take a look, in more detail, at the five best neighbourhoods in Kelowna. Each caters to different interests, so be sure to pick the neighbourhood that’s right for you.
(Best neighborhood in Kelowna for your first time!)
- COOLEST thing to do in Cultural District – try your luck at Playtime Casino Kelowna, the most popular in the city
- BEST place to visit in Cultural District – Okanagan Wine and Orchard Museum has a great rundown of the history of the industry in the region
Kelowna’s Cultural District is where you will find most of the tourist attractions in the city! This area is packed with museums, beautiful green spaces and breathtaking views across the lake. As the main cultural hub, it also comes with plenty of fantastic art galleries and theatres just waiting to be discovered.
The Cultural District is located just above Downtown, so you are well connected with the city centre. Whilst the city is notoriously expensive, restaurants and bars in this area tend to be cheaper than other parts of Kelowna! There are also some fantastic, well-priced, distilleries where you can discover local wine, cider and beer culture without breaking the bank.
- Waterfront Park is a popular public space with great views across the lake as well as well-equipped recreational facilities and walkways
- Kelowna Art Gallery has an ever-changing series of exhibits dedicated mostly to contemporary art – it is quite small, but well worth a visit
- The Rotary Centre for the Arts is another popular cultural site – with regular live performances happening within the theatre as well as throughout the grounds
- Tree Brewing Company is a small craft beer brewery where you can take a tour of their facilities, as well as sample their product in the neighboring bar
- Urban Distilleries and Winery, on the other hand, focusses on wines and spirits and is great for those on a strict budget that want to discover local viticulture
- For fantastic cuisine, you can’t miss out on OAK + CRU – a local social project that houses upscale menus, cooking classes and a great wine selection
Best Hotel for Backpackers Cultural District
Though more of a mid-range hotel, the Royal Anne is a great option for backpackers that simply want to kick back and relax in the heart of wine country! This makes it a great choice if you are including Kelowna as part of a larger itinerary. There are two saunas on-site, and a continental breakfast is included in the price.
Canada is amazing! And the best hostels in Toronto will blow you away!
Best Budget Hotel in Cultural District
Whilst there aren’t really any budget friendly hotels in the area, those looking to stay in the Cultural District whilst still saving some cash can opt for an apartment instead! This two bedroom apartment is perfect for groups of up to six people – and comes with unbeatable views across the lake.
Best Splurge Hotel in Cultural District
This magnificent five star resort is truly the pinnacle of luxury in the Lake Okanagan region! Located right on the waterfront, it comes with mesmerising views of the lake and easy access to both the Cultural District and Downtown. There is an outdoor pool on-site, as well as a highly rated restaurant and wine bar.
Recommended Article: Looking for the best hostels in Banff? Check out our EPIC Guide!
(Where to stay in Kelowna close to everything!)
- COOLEST thing to do in South Central – discover local cuisine and wine with a tour package from Roots & Vines
- BEST place to visit in South Central – Osprey Park is surrounded by upscale boutiques and independent art galleries
South Central is located just south of Downtown and is a much more peaceful area within the city centre than the others! This makes it a great choice if you want to be centrally located but want to avoid the heavy tourist crowds. It also provides easy access to the bus terminus, as well as the main road through the city.
Whilst it doesn’t have much to offer in terms of tourist attractions, South Central has a lot of local charm that will give you a more authentic experience in Kelowna! Stretching from the lake to the Central City district, South Central has a diverse range of dining and shopping destinations to keep you entertained.
- Head to Gallery 421 – an upmarket art gallery offering a great selection of pieces from local, national and international artists
- Guisachan Heritage Park is a historic garden that is the perfect spot for a relaxing stroll to unwind from a long day of exploring
- Lebanese Cuisine offer cooking classes where you can learn to cook dishes from the small Levantine nation – a great example of multicultural Kelowna
- Millbridge Park lines the river in the north of the area and is a popular spot for locals looking to enjoy a calm stroll in the city centre
- Based in Millbridge Park, Desert Salmon Charters offer boat tours along the river, as well as boat hire and fishing equipment facilities
- Head to the Waterfront Cafe and enjoy a sumptuous breakfast using locally sourced ingredients with views across the lake
Best Hostel South Central
This popular hostel gives you easy access to both South Central and Centre City – perfect for getting around the main attractions! They offer free make-your-own pancakes every morning, as well as a pasta dinner every Tuesday. There are regular social events – perfect if you want to mingle with other travellers during your stay.
Come to Canada! And visit these places while you’re here!
Best Budget Hotel in South Central
As the name suggests, this bed and breakfast is located right next to the bridge across Lake Okanagan – giving you easy access to South Central, Downtown and even West Kelowna! Rooms are basic, but well equipped for a short stay in the city. Air conditioning is available throughout, as well as complimentary high-speed WiFi access.
Best Splurge Hotel in South Central
This five star bed and breakfast truly epitomises class and style – and is perfectly located for exploring the major city sights! Rooms come with private hot tubs, located within the large ensuites that also come with showers and luxury toiletries. An American style breakfast buffet is included in the rate.
(Where to stay in Kelowna for nightlife!)
- COOLEST thing to do in Downtown – head to City Park in the winter to enjoy their ice rink, and in the summer for their waterfront skatepark!
- BEST place to visit in Downtown – Okanagan Heritage Museum displays the region’s history and natural beauty in a series of well-curated exhibits
Downtown Kelowna is the heart of the city and where you will find most of the entertainment and nightlife venues! Though the city isn’t really much of a nightlife destination, there are still plenty of interesting bars and clubs – especially along Lawrence Avenue. This area comes alive on the weekends as locals let their hair down after a busy week.
Even if you aren’t into nightlife, there are still plenty of fantastic attractions in Downtown. It is home to the largest park in the city which has some fantastic facilities to delight a wide variety of guests! Downtown is also home to the city’s culinary scene, where you can sample dishes from across Canada and the world.
- Visit Sapphire Nightclub, the most popular nightlife venue in the city with regular DJ nights and great prices on drinks
- For something a little more upmarket, head to Liquid Zoo – they’re known for their fantastic cocktails and ambient vibes
- At the Downtown Merina, you can enjoy magnificent views across the lake, as well as hire boats, kayaks and watersports equipment
- The gorgeous Kasugai Japanese Garden is one of the most authentic gardens of its kind in Canada and has an incredibly relaxing atmosphere
- Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery is a fantastic activity for larger groups that want to learn about alcohol production and sample some of the finest liquor in the city
- Most of the best restaurants are based along Water Street – we recommend Raudz Regional Table to get a good idea of the city’s international flair
Best Hostel Downtown
The most centrally located hostel in the city, this is the perfect choice for those that want to easily get around the main attractions! It has a very social atmosphere, and during the summer the outdoor patio becomes a popular hangout spot. They also offer discounts with local tour providers and restaurants.
Best Budget Hotel in Downtown
Though the rooms are fairly basic at this small hotel, there are some great shared facilities that make you feel like your money is going further! There’s an indoor pool, as well as hot tub facilities where you can relax after a long day of exploring. They also provide a Canadian style breakfast every morning.
Best Splurge Hotel in Downtown
This four star hotel is part of the BW Premier Collection – a true testament to the above and beyond levels of service exhibited by staff! Rooms come well equipped with modern technology and designer furnishings. There is also a balcony in every room, giving you great views across the city and the lake.
Will you also visit Niagara Falls? Check out where we like to stay in Niagara Falls!
(Best neighborhood in Kelowna for wine!)
- COOLEST thing to do in West Kelowna – climb up Mt Boucherie for magnificent views across Lake Okanagan and towards Kelowna
- BEST place to visit in West Kelowna – Beaumont Family Estate Winery is one of the largest vineyards in the area – perfect for first timers
No trip to the heart of British Columbia’s Wine Country would be complete without a trip to a vineyard – and West Kelowna is the place to be to dive deep into viticulture in the region! Though technically a separate city, West Kelowna is connected with Kelowna proper by bridge, traversing the entire width of Lake Okanagan.
As a fairly remote part of the city, West Kelowna has a more laid-back atmosphere and is a great place to soak up the beautiful nature that the Lake Okanagan region is known for! There are plenty of excellent hiking trails throughout the town, and the restaurants have a much more local feel than those in Kelowna.
- Mission Hill Family Estate Winery is another fantastic wine facility – located right on the side of the mountain, they offer some fantastic wine tasting experiences
- Head to Paynter’s Fruit Market to pick up some bargains on local produce whilst you mingle with locals and other travellers alike
- Pritchard Park is a vast green space that connects West Kelowna with Westbank – perfect for soaking up the fresh air and beautiful lakeside scenery
- Westbank Museum and West Kelowna Visitor Centre details the history of this region – from it’s farming roots to the modern wine culture
- Truck 59 Ciderhouse is a great break from all the wine tasting – check out their huge orchards and learn about the burgeoning cider industry
- Terrace Restaurant offers magnificent views across the mountains and an upmarket menu – perfect for couples in the area
Best Hotel for Backpackers West Kelowna
Whilst there aren’t any hostels on this side of the lake, Super 8 are known for their budget friendly comfort across North America and their West Kelowna offering is no different! It is located just off the main highway that connects the two cities – perfect for easily exploring the main attractions across the region.
MUST READ! We’ve organized the best places to stay in St. John’s for all types of trips!
Best Budget Hotel in West Kelowna
Best Western are also known for their budget friendly comfort – but this hotel is definitely a little more of an upgrade! It comes with an indoor pool and a huge water slide, as well as high speed WiFi access and a complimentary breakfast every morning. Rooms are well equipped with modern technology and luxury toiletries.
Best Splurge Hotel in West Kelowna
The name says it all – this is one of the best B&Bs in the region if you are looking for spectacular views across the lake! This four star B&B is particularly well favoured by couples visiting the area thanks to the romantic atmosphere in each of their rooms. They also provide a complimentary breakfast and parking facilities.
(Best neighborhood in Kelowna for families!)
- COOLEST thing to do in Penticton – learn how to wakeboard with Wake Up Water Sports, located right on the lake
- BEST place to visit in Penticton – the S.S. Sicamous Inland Marine Museum has some fantastic exhibits about marine culture along Canada’s lakes
Nestled on the southern tip of Lake Okanagan, Penticton is a completely different city from Kelowna – however still remains well connected to the city, as well as to the surrounding towns in the region. This makes it an ideal option for families looking for a relaxing getaway in the Lake Okanagan area.
What also makes it appealing for families is its diversity of attractions! Whilst there are still plenty of vineyards to explore, Penticton also offers some great alternatives for those that are here for the scenery and adventure activities. With a little something for everyone, all kinds of travellers will be able to enjoy a quick getaway to Penticton.
- Penticton is known as the home of golf in the Lake Okanagan area, with multiple courses available – our favourite is Pine Hills
- Skaha Climbing Bluffs offer some fantastic rock climbing opportunities for experienced climbers – and local tour guides offer lessons for those new to the adventure activity
- River Channel is the main waterway running through the city – hire a boat and take a leisurely ride down the river whilst taking in the sights
- Bonitas Winery is the main vineyard in the area – though there are several others offering tours, tastings and even cultural events
- You can’t miss Hooded Merganser, a local restaurant that is located out on the lake, with its own private walkway – they are known for their seafood
- Munson Mountain Park is filled with great hiking trails – with some simple paths for families with young kids, and more adventurous treks for experienced hikers
Best Hostel Penticton
Hostelling International are a popular brand across North America with backpackers – and their Penticton offering is a great choice for those wanting to unwind in the Lake Okanagan region. They offer a variety of guided tours at discounted rates – including wine, bike and hiking tours. They also provide breakfast.
Need to save money? Check out the cheapest hostels in Toronto!
Best Budget Hotel in Penticton
This basic motel might only come with two stars – but it has some fantastic facilities, great guest ratings and unbeatable views of the surrounding mountains! It is only a short walk away from the waterfront, giving you easy access to all of the main attractions in Penticton. They also provide free WiFi and private parking.
Best Splurge Hotel in Penticton
This four star hotel is located right on the waterfront – perfect for families that want to sit back, relax and soak up the chill atmosphere of Penticton! It also comes with a private beach where you can enjoy the seaside facilities without the business of the public beaches. A full Canadian style breakfast is provided every morning.
Traveling on a budget? Have you seen our cheap hostel recommendations for Vancouver?
Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Kelowna?
Kelowna is an interesting city that provides travellers with the perfect gateway to British Columbia’s Wine Country and the beautiful scenery of the Lake Okanagan area! Often missed by foreign visitors, it is well worth considering on your Canada itinerary if you want something laid back, though with plenty of adventure options available.
For the best area, we are going to go with Downtown! Well connected with all other parts of the Lake Okanagan region, it also comes with some fantastic attractions in its own right and is by far the liveliest part of the area.
That being said, each neighborhood mentioned in this guide has its own charms. We hope we have helped you to plan your upcoming trip to Kelowna.
Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments!
***Disclaimer*** Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you book your accommodation through the site, One Weird Globe will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Your support helps me keep the site going :)