Is Kelowna a Good Place to Live, or Visit as a Tourist?
Is Kelowna a good place to live? That’s a question you will ask yourself if you are thinking of moving here. Of course, I’m biased, so the answer is yes!
It’s one thing to visit as a Tourist and fall in love with the Lake, Wineries and Golf Courses, isn’t it? But I know you want a deeper dive into the positives and negatives!
I moved from the UK in 2005, and still love it! These are my personal views of the positives and negatives of living here.
Positives of living in Kelowna
- Our Lakes – are beautiful to look at, and great places for Boating, Kayaking, Fishing and Swimming.
- Outdoor activities – if you enjoy an outdoor lifestyle then Kelowna and the surrounding area are for you. Golfing, Hiking, Biking, Camping, Rock Climbing, Picnicking, Mountain Biking, Skiing, Snow Boarding, Ice Skating, Tubing, Snow Shoeing, & Snow Mobiling.
- Fresh Produce – During the summer months it is so nice to visit Farm Shops. We can buy all the fruits and vegetables that are locally grown here.
- Getting around – while we do have more traffic during the summer months. Generally, getting around is still relatively easy, compared to bigger cities. Nowhere is typically more than 30 minutes away.
- The Weather – We get Four Seasons. During the winter, we do get snow, but with the relatively dry conditions here. This makes for some great powder skiing, and generally, temperatures are milder than in other areas of the country. In the summer months, temperatures tend to get up to the mid to high 30s with plenty of sunshine.
- Airport – we do have an airport. Although we only limited international destinations it is easy to access, the hubs in Vancouver, Toronto, & Calgary.
- Retirement Communities – Kelowna is a popular area for retirement, due to our climate & amenities. This has resulted in a wide variety of adult-living and gated communities for people to choose from.
- Entertainment & Restaurants – Kelowna has a wide range of Restaurants, several cinemas, smaller theatres, and an Art Gallery. T he main space for concerts is at Prospera Place. This provides a wide range of eateries & cultural entertainment.
- Wineries & Craft Breweries – as we live in a wine-growing country, we have lots of choices for local wines. Some wineries have fine dining available with beautiful views and offer concerts during the summer months. There is also a growing craft beer scene here as well as Cideries.
- Access to Beaches and Parks – we have great access to beaches and parks, with many not charging for parking
- Season Work – Kelowna is a good place to find seasonal work. In the winter months at the ski resorts, and in the summer months, at fruit picking and restaurants as the city swells with summer visitors.
Negatives of Living in Kelowna
- Housing – the cost of buying a home is quite expensive (compared to income), so trying to find an affordable rental is tough.
- Crime & Safety – as Kelowna is a rapidly growing City, we are going through ‘growing pains’. Issues such as crime & homelessness have been increasing. It is a ‘hot topic’ here & the Government, Municipality, RCMP, Social Services & local business partners are continuing to work hard to find solutions. Keeping things in perspective, Kelowna still feels like a safe place to live and walk around in. We just don’t leave doors & possessions unlocked anymore & are more aware of our surroundings.
- Forest Fires & Floods– as it does tend to get very dry here in the summer, we are prone to forest fires. Some years this can result in smoke affecting the City during the summer months. During the spring runoff, some areas, around the creeks and Lakes, are at a higher risk of flooding.
- Grey Days – during the winter months it can stay a little cloudy and grey in the valley. So you may need a trip to one of the ski resorts to get above the clouds or a winter vacation if you need lots of sunlight!
- Car Reliance – while we do have a rapid transit system and bike lanes, shopping and amenities are spaced out in the City so many people are still car reliant.
- Shopping for larger items – Choices can be quite limited here. For example, if you’re looking to shop for things, such as furniture and fixtures and fittings for a home, or the latest high fashion. So be prepared to head to bigger cities or to shop online.
- Lack of large Concert Venue – you still have to travel to cities, like Vancouver, should you want to see “A List’ concerts, Sporting events and larger Theatre Productions.
- Limited high-paying jobs – unless you can work remotely, there are limited high-paying jobs.
- Sunshine Tax – salaries are often perceived to be lower than the national average, and costs of living higher than the national average, due to our desirably temperate climate.
- If you are a night owl – people in Kelowna tend to eat earlier ( 5 to 6 p.m.), so things are often winding down by 10 PM. There are, of course, more places that tend to stay open later in the downtown Kelowna area, such as pubs and nightclubs.
- Finding Tradespeople – there’s a lot of development going on in and around the Kelowna area so it can be difficult to find tradespeople. So, bear in mind, when you find them, you can often find yourself on a long waiting list.
- Shortage of Childcare – if you’re moving to Kelowna with children, it is important to work out childcare, as it remains in short supply.
- Shortage of Doctors – make sure you go on the waitlist as soon as you get here. The chances of finding a family doctor straight away are virtually impossible.
Is Kelowna a good place to live – Useful Links
Schools Information – School contacts
Childcare Resources – Childcare Resources
Searching for a Home in Kelowna – Home Search Tool
Kelowna Real Estate Information Updates – Kelowna Blogposts
Outdoor Recreation Kelowna Outdoors
BC Wildfires Map Latest Updates
Find a Family Doctor Kelowna Find a Doctor
What’s On in Kelowna What’s On
About the Author
Trish was Born & raised in the UK, has a background in Finance & Banking, & emigrated to Kelowna in 2005. She’s been in your shoes!
She is now a Residential Real Estate Agent working in Kelowna & the surrounding Okanagan Valley with Coldwell Banker Horizon Realty. For 18 years, she has been building a successful Real Estate business & has established a reputation for being a highly respected & professional local Agent. She has helped many Clients, over the years buy & sell properties in the area. One of her passionate beliefs is that clients should be well-informed, in making their Real Estate decisions, and writes regular blog posts about the local Kelowna Real Estate Market.