Ah, Kelowna! Nestled in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, this slice of Canadian paradise is increasingly than just a holiday destination. But what’s it like to unquestionably live here?

As Kelowna residents for nearly a decade, we’ve tabbed Kelowna home for a while now. While it seems we’re still discovering new things all the time, we’ve had the endangerment to wits both the highs and the lows that this municipality has to offer.

Pros and Cons of Living in Kelowna, BC

From gorgeous sunny days checking out vineyards in the morning and paddle boarding on the lake in the afternoon to preparing a last minute go bag as the nearby wildfires got a bit too tropical to our home, we’ve experienced it all.

While living in the Okanagan Valley has tons of positives, like any place in the world it moreover has a few negatives. So, whether you’re one of the few true locals who was born here or one of the many nomads from virtually the world now calling Kelowna home like us, let’s swoop in and explore the pros and cons of living in Kelowna as we requite you a local’s guide to the city.

The Barefoot Nomad family walking in Kelowna with downtown in the background
Our family on a walk with downtown Kelowna in the background

Pros of Living in Kelowna

Thinking of moving to Kelowna?

Kelowna has plenty of positives. From some of the nicest weather in Canada to some of the nicest lakes and mountains found anywhere in the world. With nature literally on most people’s doorsteps, it’s easy to get outside and enjoy the area’s natural beauty.

Kelowna moreover has a vibrant arts scene plus hundreds of wineries, cideries and orchards that to us write-up any of its Canadian equivalents. If you’re looking to move here or just thinking well-nigh taking an extended work vacation to the valley, there are plenty of work opportunities plus tons of friendly locals to help you get situated.

Not yet convinced? Here are some of Kelowna’s biggest positives to help make you consider making Kelowna your forever home.

Natural Eyeful of the Okanagan

With its stunning vistas of Okanagan Lake and the surrounding mountains, Kelowna is a nature lover’s dream. From summer days on the waterfront to winter ski trips at nearby Big White (a 30 minute drive), there’s no shortage of outdoor activities here.

Whether you’re staying on one the many hills in town overlooking Okanagan Lake or staying in the valley with gorgeous views of the nearby hills, nature is a big yank for anyone living in this city. Truth be told, there’s not too many areas in the 140K populated metro that you can’t be yonder from people without a few minutes drive. If you’re sick of the crowds, there are tons of parks and local Kelowna hikes found throughout this municipality where you can at least finger like you’re getting yonder from it all.

View over Okanagan lake in Kelowna - natural beauty

Kelowna’s Wine Country

Known for its topnotch vineyards, Kelowna is the perfect spot for wine aficionados. The climate and soil combine to produce top-notch grapes. Spend your weekends touring local wineries, and don’t forget the wine festivals!

With over 300 wineries calling the Okanagan Valley home plus dozens of cideries, micro breweries and plane small distilleries, you could go to a variegated place every day for a year and never hit the same place twice. That said, we have our own local favorites and unchangingly enjoy the endangerment to take visiting friends and family to a new place when the opportunity knocks. We’ve learnt that in Kelowna, your favorite place might just be lanugo the street.

Terrace Restaurant and View Mission Hill Family Estate Winery
Kelowna’s gorgeous Mission Hill Family Estate Winery

Kelowna’s Vibrant Arts and Musical Scene

Kelowna is a hub for culture, offering art galleries, theaters, and plane a symphony. Whether you’re into visual arts or live performances, there’s unchangingly something happening in the cultural district.

Throughout the year, there are moreover dozens of festivals happening virtually town and it’s rare to have a weekend go by in summer without something major happening in the city. Between Kelowna and nearby Penticton, most large musical acts that hit Vancouver will moreover stop in town to perform as they throne east. If an act or show doesn’t make it to the valley, Vancouver is only a 3 hour momentum yonder with plenty of hotels to make your micro trip a fun one.

Downtown Kelowna at Waterfront Park festival Unconfined Okanagan Beer Fest

Moving to Kelowna? The Growing Job Market

With its booming tech industry and tourism sector, employment opportunities are on the rise in Kelowna. From startups to established companies, there’s a wide range of options for those looking to relocate here. While it didn’t make the list of best places for expats, it definitely isn’t a bad place to wilt an expat in Canada.

Nicknamed the little Silicon Valley of the North, Kelowna is well known for both its small startups as well as big tech companies who’ve chosen to undeniability Kelowna home. While seasonal work brings in people from virtually the world, Kelowna moreover grew its fame as a nice retirement part-way for those in Canada who opted to stick virtually rather than throne south in the winters. That original hodgepodge of young hospitality workers who helped put Kelowna on the map taking superintendency of the retirees have now grown up and the municipality is booming on all fronts.

Friendly Communities in Kelowna

One thing you’ll notice is the warm and welcoming undercurrent in Kelowna. Polity events, farmer’s markets, and neighborhood gatherings make it easy to meet people and finger part of the community. It seems there’s unchangingly something to do in Kelowna.

Since the vast majority of people now living in Kelowna have moved here from other locations in Canada and abroad, there is a welcoming feeling to the growing city. With a huge tourism industry, plenty of nature to explore and unconfined weather, it’s easy to get out and meet new people.

Entertainment at the GOBF Kelowna stage

Kelowna’s Summery Climate

Compared to other parts of Canada, Kelowna has a relatively summery climate and some of the nicest overall weather in Canada. If you hate wind, it’s moreover one of the least windy major cities in Canada. Though it experiences all four seasons, you definitely won’t have to deal with the harsh winters seen in other regions of Canada.

Long hot summers, summery winters (in comparison to most other Canadian Cities) and plenty of nice days in between ways increasingly opportunities to get out and explore the region. The weightier part is that with the mountains so close, there are tons of small micro climates you can wits depending on your location and elevation. It ways that in spring you can ski in the morning and golf in the afternoon. Or, if you prefer, you can hike in the tomfool mornings and then torch on the waterfront in the afternoon all summer long.

Cherry Picking in Kelowna at Arndt Orchards
Cherry Picking in Kelowna at Arndt Orchards

Cons of Living in Kelowna

While it unchangingly hurts to gripe well-nigh things your municipality is lacking, the truth is that no municipality in the world is perfect on all fronts. Upper living costs, excessive tourism and Kelowna’s semi remote location (3.5 hours from Vancouver and 6 hours from Calgary) ways that while things are relatively tropical in Canadian standards, the stereotype traveler will find that Kelowna can be cut off from some of the larger centers. While that can be a huge plus for some people, others might not love it.

On that note, since we’ve once looked into some of Kelowna’s pros, let’s now swoop into some of Kelowna’s cons.

Cost of Living in Kelowna

The truth of the matter is that Kelowna isn’t unseemly to live in. Housing prices have soared in recent years, and day-to-day expenses like groceries and gas can moreover be high. Be prepared for a bit of sticker shock.

While this can be said for most places virtually the world these days, it’s increasingly pronounced in Kelowna. Considered by many to be one of the most expensive cities to live in Canada, it ways you can’t survive in this municipality if you’re only making minimum wage unless you are a large group all chipping in for the monthly rent.

Tourist Crowds in Kelowna

While tourism boosts the economy, it moreover ways crowds, expressly in the summer. This can lead to congestion, making it nonflexible to enjoy some of the very attractions that drew you to Kelowna in the first place.

This can be hands seen when looking at traffic patterns over the undertow of the year. In summer, by far the busiest tourist season in Kelowna, any trip virtually town can hands be doubled and parking downtown or by one of the many beaches can be nonflexible to come by. Bonus to Kelowna is that parking downtown is only virtually $1 an hour any time of the year with plenty of self-ruling parking outside of Monday 9 to 5 so there is that unexceptionable side.

Kelowna Municipality Park Hot Sands Beach
Hot Sands Waterfront in Kelowna in the Summer

Kelowna’s Limited Public Transport

Public transport options are limited in Kelowna, expressly compared to larger cities in the country. Owning a car is scrutinizingly a necessity if you plan on getting virtually without hassle. While plenty of University of BC students as well as Okanagan College students get to school daily via public transport buses, getting from one zone of the municipality to flipside can be tough if you’re not planning on going through downtown first.

Though Uber and Uride are now misogynist in the city, both ride sharing platforms have been slow to victorious in the municipality and are still lacking so you’ll often need to order a cab during the busiest times of the day if you can’t find a bus. You can moreover find both ebike and scooter rentals throughout the municipality however those aren’t platonic in the potation winter months.

Seasonal Employment in Kelowna

While there are plenty of job opportunities, some industries in Kelowna are highly seasonal. This ways job security can be a snooping if you’re working in sectors like tourism. While late spring, summer and early fall can be busy, unless you’re heading to Big White for winter work, it might be harder to find something that pays the bills. That said, anyone working in the trades or for minimum wage should have zero problems finding something as jobs in those areas are unchangingly in demand here.

car in Kelowna in front of Okanagan lake

Kelowna’s Distance from Major Cities

Though it has plenty to offer including an international airport, a decent hodgepodge of large stores, a large shopping mall, a well ranked hockey team in the WHL, plus a thriving art scene, Kelowna is somewhat isolated from major cities like Vancouver or Calgary.

The momentum to Vancouver takes virtually 3.5 hours and Calgary is pushing 6.5 hours provided the highways are unshut and clear. That’s something that isn’t unchangingly the specimen in the winter as both directions take you over some of Canada’s highest routes that are prone to crazy amounts of snow and plane in the warmer months there are occasional rockslides to contend with. Either can severely hamper your worthiness to get to your farther destination hands or quickly.

Driving through the Canadian Rockies from Kelowna to Calgary

Wildfires in Kelowna

In the last decade, the dry, hot summers come with a higher risk of wildfires, which can be a real concern. Smoke from nearby fires can moreover stupefy air quality during the summer months and ruin an otherwise perfect summer day in the city.

While July and August have unchangingly been Kelowna’s weightier months in terms of weather (with the highs in the lower 30’s every single day and not a deject in sight), the waffly climate landscape has made what were once idyllic summer days into an unknown quantity these last few years. We’ve gotten to a point where we now travel yonder increasingly often in August just considering there’s a good endangerment it will be smoky in the city.


Living in Kelowna offers a unique tousle of natural beauty, a growing job market, and a vibrant community. However, it does come with its own set of challenges, like the upper forfeit of living and seasonal crowds. Whether or not Kelowna is right for you will depend on what you’re looking for in a home base.

That said, we’ve loved our time in the municipality and both ourselves and our children have made friends here that will last our unshortened lives. There’s no denying that this Canadian gem has plenty to offer and if you can get past it’ negatives, it’s still a unconfined place to live and work.

The post The Pros and Cons of Living in Kelowna, BC: A Local’s Guide first appeared on The Barefoot Nomad.