Nelson, British Columbia, Canada, is a charming and picturesque town nestled in the Selkirk Mountains, offering a delightful blend of stunning natural landscapes, historical charm, and a vibrant arts scene. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a history buff, or a lover of arts and culture, Nelson has something to offer for everyone. Here are some of the best places and things to do in Nelson:
1. Kootenay Lake
The town is situated on the shores of Kootenay Lake, a magnificent body of water surrounded by mountains. The lake offers opportunities for boating, fishing, kayaking, and swimming during the warmer months. In the winter, the frozen lake becomes a playground for ice skating and ice fishing.
2. Baker Street
Image Source: https://www.nelsonkootenaylake.com/listing/baker-street
This iconic street is the heart of Nelson and is filled with historic buildings, boutique shops, restaurants, and cafes. Stroll along the picturesque street and explore the various unique shops and galleries, including local art, crafts, and souvenirs.
3. Kaslo Sourdough Bakery
Take a short drive to the nearby town of Kaslo to visit the famous Kaslo Sourdough Bakery. They offer a mouthwatering selection of organic bread, pastries, and other baked goods. It’s worth the visit for any food lover.
4. Nelson Streetcar
Hop aboard the Nelson Electric Tramway, a heritage streetcar that takes you on a journey through the town’s history. Learn about Nelson’s past while enjoying the scenic views along the way.
5. Pulpit Rock
Pulpit Rock, a renowned trail in Nelson, BC, offers hikers breathtaking panoramic views of the town and Kootenay Lake. The moderately challenging hike leads through lush forests and rocky terrain, culminating in a rewarding vista at the summit. This popular trail provides a perfect opportunity for outdoor enthusiasts to connect with nature and capture stunning vistas of the surrounding Kootenay mountains and waterways.
6. Nelson Museum, Archives & Gallery
Dive into the local history and arts scene at this fascinating museum. It showcases the region’s cultural heritage through various exhibitions and interactive displays.
7. Whitewater Ski Resort
Image Source: https://skiwhitewater.com/
For winter sports enthusiasts, Whitewater Ski Resort is a must-visit. Located just outside Nelson, it offers excellent skiing and snowboarding opportunities amidst breathtaking mountain scenery.
8. Nelson Brewing Company
Beer lovers should check out this local brewery that produces a wide range of craft beers. Take a tour, sample their creations, and learn about the beer-making process.
9. Cottonwood Falls Park
This peaceful and beautiful park is a great spot for a leisurely stroll or a relaxing picnic. The park is home to the famous “Big White” water spout, a unique natural feature that adds to its charm.
10. Art Walk
Nelson has a thriving arts community, and a stroll through the town will lead you to various public art installations and murals. Keep an eye out for the many talented artists’ works that adorn the streets.
11. Kootenay Co-op
If you’re a fan of organic and locally-sourced products, visit the Kootenay Co-op. It’s a community-owned grocery store offering an array of fresh, healthy, and sustainable products.
12. Ainsworth Hot Springs
A short drive from Nelson takes you to Ainsworth Hot Springs, a relaxing oasis nestled amidst the mountains. Enjoy a soak in the healing mineral waters of the natural hot springs, which are housed in a unique cave-like setting.
13. Kootenay Lake Ferry
Take a scenic journey across Kootenay Lake on the Balfour-Kootenay Bay ferry. This free ferry ride offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and the crystal-clear waters below.
14. Nelson Whitewater Rafting Co
Nelson Whitewater Rafting Co offers thrilling river adventures in Nelson, BC. With experienced guides, state-of-the-art equipment, and a focus on safety, visitors can enjoy exhilarating whitewater rafting experiences on the scenic Salmo and Slocan rivers. Whether seeking adrenaline-pumping rapids or a family-friendly outing, this company provides an unforgettable way to explore the natural beauty and excitement of the Kootenay region’s waterways.
15. Balfour Golf Course
Golf enthusiasts can tee off at the Balfour Golf Course, a picturesque 18-hole championship course with stunning lake and mountain views. It’s a great way to spend a day in the great outdoors.
16. Nelson Farmer’s Market
The Nelson Farmer’s Market is a vibrant and diverse gathering in Nelson, BC, offering a bounty of locally grown produce, artisanal crafts, and delectable treats. Held in a charming outdoor setting, the market provides a lively atmosphere where visitors can connect with local vendors and immerse themselves in the region’s culinary and creative offerings. It’s a must-visit destination to experience the community spirit, fresh flavors, and unique creations of the Kootenay region.
17. Kokanee Creek Provincial Park
Located a short drive from Nelson, this park offers a beautiful sandy beach along Kootenay Lake, perfect for swimming, picnicking, and sunbathing. The park also features several hiking trails and camping facilities.
18. Silver King Campus
History buffs will appreciate a visit to the Silver King Campus, which was once a school for miners’ children during the silver rush era. Today, it serves as an educational center with exhibits on mining history and the area’s heritage.
19. Kaslo Jazz Etc. Festival
If you’re visiting Nelson in the summer, consider taking a short drive to Kaslo to attend the renowned Kaslo Jazz Etc. Summer Music Festival. This annual event features a diverse lineup of live music performances in a stunning outdoor setting.
20. Nelson & District Community Complex
If you’re visiting Nelson with family, head to the community complex, which features an indoor pool, skating rink, and various recreational activities. It’s a great spot to stay active, especially during the colder months.
21. Nelson International Mural Festival
If you have an appreciation for street art, plan your visit during the Nelson International Mural Festival, an annual event that brings talented artists together to paint captivating murals across the town’s walls.
22. Kaslo May Days
If your visit coincides with the end of May, you’ll have the chance to participate in Kaslo May Days, a lively community celebration with parades, live music, artisan markets, and a variety of family-friendly activities.
23. Sailing on Kootenay Lake
If you’re a sailing enthusiast or simply looking for a unique experience, consider chartering a sailboat to explore Kootenay Lake from the water.
24. Pilot Bay Provincial Park
Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pilot_Bay_Provincial_Park
A short ferry ride across Kootenay Lake from Balfour takes you to Pilot Bay Provincial Park. This serene park offers hiking trails, picnic areas, and a peaceful ambiance, perfect for a day trip or a weekend camping getaway.
25. Baldface Lodge
If heli-skiing or snowboarding appeals to you, consider a trip to Baldface Lodge. Located in the mountains near Nelson, this exclusive lodge offers incredible backcountry skiing and snowboarding experiences.
26. Polka Dot Dragon Lantern Festival
The Polka Dot Dragon Lantern Festival in Nelson, BC, is a mesmerizing celebration of light, art, and community. This annual event features enchanting lantern displays, live performances, and cultural festivities, creating a magical atmosphere for visitors of all ages. As twilight sets in, the park transforms into a dazzling realm of illuminated art, fostering a sense of wonder and unity in a unique and memorable experience.
27. Nelson Nordic Ski Club
In the winter, indulge in cross-country skiing and snowshoeing at the Nelson Nordic Ski Club’s well-maintained trails.
28. Kaslo River Trail
For a peaceful and leisurely walk, consider exploring the Kaslo River Trail. This easy-going trail follows the tranquil Kaslo River and offers a chance to observe local wildlife and enjoy the soothing sounds of nature.
29. Kootenay School of the Arts Gallery
Visit the Kootenay School of the Arts Gallery to see exhibitions and displays of work by local and emerging artists.
30. Kokanee Mountain Zipline
For an adrenaline-filled adventure, try ziplining through the treetops at Kokanee Creek Provincial Park. Soar above the forest and enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes.
31. Gyro Park
Gyro Park, nestled in the heart of Nelson, BC, is a cherished urban oasis offering relaxation and recreation. With its lush green spaces, playgrounds, and beach access to Kootenay Lake, it’s an ideal place for picnics, family outings, and waterfront leisure. The park’s stunning views, well-maintained facilities, and vibrant atmosphere make it a favorite gathering spot for both locals and visitors seeking a slice of nature within the charming town.
32. Kokanee Glacier Resort
Image Source: https://kokanee-glacier-resort-nelson.ibooked.ca/
For an alpine escape, consider staying at the Kokanee Glacier Mountain Resort, a cozy lodge offering stunning views and access to outdoor activities year-round.
33. Salmo River
Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salmo_River
The Salmo River, near Nelson, BC, beckons visitors with its serene beauty and outdoor adventure opportunities. Flowing through picturesque landscapes, the river offers fishing, kayaking, and tubing for water enthusiasts. Its lush surroundings and peaceful ambiance make it a perfect spot to unwind, connect with nature, and enjoy the tranquility of the Kootenay region.
34. Explore Ymir
Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ymir_Mountain
Explore Ymir, a quaint village near Nelson, BC, offers a delightful escape into history and nature. With its well-preserved heritage buildings, artistic community, and scenic surroundings, visitors can enjoy a charming blend of culture and outdoor exploration. From leisurely walks to immersive arts experiences, Ymir provides a unique and peaceful retreat for those seeking a taste of authentic Kootenay mountain life.
35. Cody Caves Provincial Park
Embark on an unforgettable underground adventure by exploring the Cody Caves. Join a guided tour to venture into the subterranean world of stalactites, stalagmites, and unique cave formations.
36. Prestige Lakeside Resort
Relax and unwind at the sandy beach of the Prestige Lakeside Resort in Nelson. Lounge by the lake, take a refreshing swim, or rent a paddleboard or kayak to explore the water.
37. Hume Hotel & Spa
Image Source: https://www.booking.com/hotel/ca/hume.html
Hume Hotel & Spa, a historic landmark in Nelson, BC, offers a blend of timeless charm and modern comfort. This boutique hotel provides elegant accommodations, a relaxing spa, and a vibrant restaurant and lounge. Nestled in the heart of town, it’s an ideal base for exploring Nelson’s attractions and enjoying a luxurious retreat in the picturesque Kootenay region.
38. Golfing at Granite Pointe Golf Club
Golf enthusiasts can tee off at the Granite Pointe Golf Club in Nelson, offering challenging holes and beautiful views of the Kootenay River.
39. Visit the Harrop Ferry
Take a short ferry ride across the Kootenay River to the tiny community of Harrop for a peaceful escape and a chance to explore its beautiful surroundings.
40. Torchlight Brewing Co.
Image Source: https://www.torchlightbrewing.com/homepage
Torchlight Brewing Co., located in Nelson, BC, offers a distinctive craft beer experience for visitors. With a focus on innovation and quality, the brewery produces a range of unique and flavorful brews. The cozy taproom provides a relaxed setting to savor these handcrafted beers while enjoying the town’s artistic and outdoorsy vibes, making it a memorable stop on your Nelson adventure.
41. Backroads Brewing Company
Image Source: https://www.terracestandard.com/life/on-tap/
Backroads Brewing Company, nestled in Nelson, BC, is a must-visit destination for beer enthusiasts. This local brewery crafts a diverse selection of high-quality, small-batch brews that showcase the region’s flavors. With a welcoming atmosphere and a commitment to community, visitors can enjoy a taste of Nelson’s craft beer culture while soaking in the laid-back ambiance of the Kootenay mountains.
42. Oxygen Art Centre
Oxygen Art Centre in Nelson, BC, is a dynamic hub for artistic expression and cultural engagement. This innovative center hosts exhibitions, workshops, and events, fostering a vibrant community of artists and art enthusiasts. Visitors can immerse themselves in diverse contemporary art, participate in creative workshops, and experience the town’s thriving arts scene firsthand.
43. ViewPoint Art Gallery
ViewPoint Art Gallery, situated in Nelson, BC, is a captivating space that showcases local and regional artistic talent. With rotating exhibitions and a diverse range of artworks, it offers visitors an opportunity to explore various creative perspectives. The gallery’s welcoming atmosphere invites art enthusiasts to appreciate and connect with the vibrant arts community of Nelson while discovering unique and thought-provoking pieces.
44. Nelson Visitor Centre
The Nelson Visitor Centre serves as a welcoming gateway to explore the charming town of Nelson, BC. Here, visitors can obtain essential information, maps, and local insights to enhance their experience. The center offers guidance on must-visit attractions, outdoor activities, cultural events, and dining options, ensuring a well-informed and memorable stay in this picturesque Kootenay region destination.
Places and Things To Do