What are some of the best things to do in Nelson, BC (British Columbia)?
After all, when you think about the city of Nelson in British Columbia, what typically comes to mind?
Well first of all, the city of Nelson is located in the Selkirk Mountains on the West Arm of Kootenay Lake in the Southern Interior of British Columbia. The city was named after Hugh Nelson back in 1888, who was the former Lieutenant-Governor of the province. As of the year 2016, it has a population of about 10,664 people living inside it.
The area of Nelson was also found to be a treasure trove for Gold and Silver which were found in the area back in 1867. It was because of this discovery that the town boomed pretty quickly which lead to its incorporation during the year of 1897. And because of its location near the transportation corridors, the city of Nelson quickly grew to supply the local mining activity and eventually became a transportation and distribution center for the region.
But aside from all of this, what else do we know about this amazing city?
The city of Nelson is also known as the “Queen City”, and acknowledged for its amazing collection of restored heritage buildings from its glory days during the silver rush era.
It also consists of an abundance of big city cosmopolitan amenities, coupled with an authentic small town charm. Visitors who come here will be able to feel the funky vibe and authenticity and entrepreneurial spirit following a quick stroll along the historic Baker Street.
Not only that, but visitors will also be able to find a plethora of fine dining and international fares, retail fashion and new wares, nights out on the town or even relaxing and enjoying all the beautiful things this city has to offer. It’s truly a wonderful place to visit that will have you out and about all day long.
So if you’re wondering what exactly you are able to do in this amazing city, then you are in the right place.
In this post, we’ll be detailing all the best things to do in Nelson, BC (British Columbia).
So if you’re ready, lets get started!
- Things To Do In Nelson, BC (British Columbia)
- Visit Rotary Lakeside Park
- Have Fun At Whitewater Ski Resort
- Check Out The Historic Baker Street
- Visit The Touchstones Museum of Art and History
- Go On A Heritage Walking Tour
- Play Some Golf At Granite Pointe Golf Club
- Hike The Pulpit Rock Trail
- Have Some Fun With Whitewater Rafting
- Ride The Old Streetcar
- Check Out The Murals Around Town
- Go Ziplining Along Kokanee Mountain Zipline
- Get Some Brew At Nelson Brewing Company
- Enjoy Some Water Activities At Kootenay Lake
- Take A Soak In The Ainsworth Hot Springs
- Take A Trip And Visit The S.S. Moyie
Things To Do In Nelson, BC (British Columbia)
In no particular order, here are the best things to do in Nelson, BC (British Columbia).
Visit Rotary Lakeside Park
If you’re interested in having fun in the outdoors, then one place you should definitely visit is a place called Rotary Lakeside Park.
This Rotary Lakeside Park is a waterfront park that is located on the shores of the West Arm of Kootenay Lake. It is one of the most popular community parks to visit here in Nelson as many locals and tourists alike all love heading to this place for its abundance of things to see and do.
Visitors who come here will see that the entire park is connected to a paved Waterfront Pathway that is popular for many activities. Things like jogging, walking, rollerblading, sightseeing and more are common things people tend to do here. And because the park is by the water, visitors can also do a bunch of different water activities like swimming, boating, sailing, canoeing, kayaking, and anything else they could think of.
There’s also plenty of green space which are lined with sitting benches that overlook the lake and sandy beach. And all throughout the park you can find things like stone statues, a totem pole, monument dedications, flower gardens and picnic tables located all around.
Plus the park also has many different areas where you can play some sports as well. From things like tennis courts to soccer fields or even frisbee, the possibilities are endless.
Overall, it is a fantastic place to enjoy life in the outdoors where you can enjoy a peaceful time having fun in the park. It’s definitely one of the best things to do in Nelson BC.
Have Fun At Whitewater Ski Resort
If you didn’t know, the city of Nelson and the area around it is world renowned for its fantastic skiing and boarding conditions. Mainly because this place gets an insane amount of deep, pure powder snow that is perfect for any kind of winter activities.
And one place to enjoy all these types of activities is at Whitewater Ski Resort. This resort which is located about a 20 minute drive from town gets about 40 feet of perfectly nice powder snow each and every season.
Visitors who come to this resort will be able to find over 623 meters / 2044 feet of steeps, deeps, chutes, bowls, and glades for them to try and explore. It’s the perfect place to visit as this place is suitable for people of all skill levels and experiences. Plus the resort is also famous for being host to a range of different festivals and events both on or off the mountain all throughout the year.
Not only that, but the Whitewater Ski Resort is also an part instructional school where they offer many different classes to teach people how to ski or snowboard. From beginner lessons to private lessons or even group lessons and more, if you are wanting to learn how to ski or snowboard, they got you covered.
Visitors can even find a shop on site where you can rent any kind of sporting equipment available to use. They also provide repair services incase you run into any trouble with your equipment. All of which makes the experience so much more enjoyable.
So if you’re looking for a fun and thrilling adventure out in the Winter season, then the Whitewater Ski Resort is definitely the place to visit.
Check Out The Historic Baker Street
Wandering down the streets of the historic Baker Street is one of the best things you can see and do here in the city of Nelson BC.
After all, the reason it is called the “Historic Baker Street” is because this area was originally founded as a mining town during the late 19th century. Many of these buildings have been preserved to showcase its long standing history in this town. For instance, you can see things like the “Railway Station”, “Courthouse”, “Firehall” and more are all readily on display for you to see.
In fact, one of the most popular things you can do here is to simply go on a walking tour of the entire area to check out all the amazing historical buildings that are still standing. It doesn’t take long either as most of these buildings are in relatively close distance to each other.
Plus aside from all the historical buildings, this place is also filled with various kinds of artisan shops, boutiques, cafes and restaurants for you to visit and enjoy.
Visitors who are wanting to explore the Historic Baker Street should set aside a good few hours as there will be many things that’ll catch there eyes as they roam around and see everything that the street has to offer. Plus it also makes for a good opportunity to take pictures as many of these locations make for a fantastic backdrop for any kind of picture you want.
So if you have the time to spare and want to see some really interesting historical buildings or maybe just want to explore what the town has to offer, then visiting the Historic Baker Street area is definitely the place to start.
Visit The Touchstones Museum of Art and History
Do you love history? What about learning about different cities culture and history?
If that sounds like you, then one place you definitely have to visit is the Touchstones Museum of Art and History. This museum is the premiere place to visit if you are wanting to learn about the history and culture of the city of Nelson and its surroundings.
For instance, when visitors come here, they can find a variety of exhibits to see. Some of the exhibits includes things like “The First People (Sinixt and Ktunaxa Nations) as well as the information about Nelson’s mining history and the development of the first hydroelectric power plant in the province.
Aside from the exhibitions, the Touchstones Museum of Art and History also plays host to a variety of different programs all throughout the year. For instance, some of the programs includes book readings, maybe a day out at a park crafting things, or even a youth arts hub where the youngsters and learn and explore art in a more detailed manner.
Visitors who are interested in coming to this museum will have to pay an entrance fee that is around $8 dollars, but that is a small price to pay for the amount of things you can see and do here in this museum.
It’s one of the more interesting things you can do here in the city of Nelson BC. So if you have the time to spare, the Touchstones Museum of Arts and History is definitely worth a visit.
Go On A Heritage Walking Tour
If you love going on different types of tours, then one thing that might be of interest to you is to do a walking tour.
And here in the city of Nelson BC, you are able to go on one of the best walking tours available. The Heritage Walking Tour takes you through over hundreds of different buildings in the city of Nelson and allows you to see them in all their glory.
Most of these buildings were built during the late 19th century and have been carefully preserved so that people who visit can see and learn about them in full detail. There are about 350 different heritage buildings in this city, which is an incredible amount for a town of this size.
Visitors who are interested can pick up a map that is put out by the “Touchstones Museum of Art and History”, which describes 33 buildings with the vast majority of them being located on Baker street between Kootenay and Hall Streets.
You’ll be able to see so many different types of architectures that make these buildings so amazing. You’ll be able to stroll past buildings from the Victorian era and the Roaring Twenties and into an era when the shopping local was simply just called “Shopping”. It’s literally an experience unlike any other as you’ll travel through different time periods seeing so many interesting things.
It’s definitely a different type of tour than most people are use to as everything is done by themselves, but it is a fun tour nonetheless and offers a very deep and historical insight into this amazing city.
Play Some Golf At Granite Pointe Golf Club
The area of Nelson and Kootenay Lake is quite a mountainous region, which makes it the perfect place to do some golfing.
And here in this area, you will find plenty of high-quality golf courses for you to play golf at. Which means any avid golf enthusiasts will definitely have a really fun time here as it literally offers everything they can ever ask for.
For instance, in the city of Nelson, you can find a golf club called “Granite Pointe Golf Club“, which has its own 18-hole course and offers expansive views of the entire region. While playing golf, you’ll be able to have things like Kootenay Lake and the famous Kokanee Glacier surrounding you which makes the entire experience so much more enjoyable.
They also have a driving range available for people who are not wanting to go out onto the golf course and be able to practice some swings alone. Plus if you are new to the sport of golf or know somebody who is, you’ll be happy to know that this place also offers golf lessons at an affordable rate which will teach you all the things you need to know about the sport of golf.
And unlike some other golf courses around the world, Granite Pointe Golf Club has 10 RV sites available for rentals. These sites are located conveniently within the steps of the pro shop, driving range, practice green ,tennis courts and club house. So if you are looking for a place to park your RV and golf at one of the best courses available in Nelson, then this place is definitely for you.
So overall, with plenty of room to swing your golf clubs and a beautiful scenic views that surrounds this area, it translates to a place any golfer would love to play at.
Hike The Pulpit Rock Trail
If you love going on hikes and seeing all kinds of amazing views that the area has to offer, then one trail you must go on is the Pulpit Rock Trail.
This trail is one of the most popular trails to go on and locals and tourists alike all make it a point to go on this trail. This trail is a 3.6 km trail round trip that takes about an hour each way and leads visitors to Pulpit Rock.
It’s not exactly the easiest hike, but is definitely very rewarding.
The trail starts at the parking lot on Johnstone Road. Visitors will need to follow the trail all the way up to the top and be rewarded with some of the most stunning views overlooking the lake, airport and even the entire town of Nelson. Visitors who are doing this hike will need to ascend approximately 340 meters but is totally worth it.
Plus if you need it, there are even a few hiking sticks left at the beginning of the trail to help you along the way.
And if you want, you can even ascend an additional 315 meters which will take you to Flagpole. The round trip to Flagpole is about 5.8 kilometers and takes about 3 hours in time.
Hiking the Pulpit Rock trail is definitely a must-do activity when visiting the city of Nelson. It’s an experience unlike any other and one you definitely have to try.
Have Some Fun With Whitewater Rafting
If you love thrill seeking adventure and a passion for fun, then one of the best things you can do is something called whitewater rafting.
And here in Nelson, there is a company called “Nelson Whitewater Rafting Co” that offers people all kinds of whitewater rafting adventures they can ever want.
Nelson White Water Rafting Co offers visitors two different type of adventures. One is where you’ll be going down the rapids of the Slocan River and lasts around three and a half to four hours in length. While the other one is a scenic float tour where you’ll be able to float around and see all the beautiful things surrounding you.
Both of which offers a really insightful experience that will have you talking about it for years to come.
And best of all is that the rates for doing these adventures are all really affordable. For instance if you want to try out the rapids adventure, then you’ll only have to pay around $79 dollars for adults and $59 dollars for youths. The scenic float tour is a a little cheaper in price for the adults and the same price for youths.
But this place isn’t just a whitewater rafting company. In fact, they also do rentals too for things like kayaks and paddle boars as well. The price to rent is pretty affordable and you can rent by the hour or by the day.
So if you want to have some amazing fun here in the city of Nelson, then whitewater rafting is surely something you should do. It is definitely one of the best things to do in Nelson BC.
Ride The Old Streetcar
If you’re new to the city of Nelson BC, then one way for you to explore the city and most of its surroundings in full detail is to ride on a really old streetcar.
This street car was formerly the backup streetcar for the defunct Nelson Street Railway and was once in use here in Nelson during the first half of the 20th century. It’s a fully functional streetcar that has been restored and is able to take visitors all around the surrounding areas to see and explore many different things..
Visitors who ride this street car will be able to savour the views of the West Arm of Kootenay Lake as they travel along its shore to the beautiful Lakeside Park. Routine stops include things like the Hall Street, Chahko Mika Mall and Lakeside, with flag stops available at the Lyle Ward Memorial Car Barn, the soccer fields and the power shed.
Riding the streetcar is actually a pretty cheap thing to do. The price for adults typically runs around $3 dollars and for youths is under $2 dollars.
Overall if you are wanting to tour the region in a unique way and enjoy all the beautiful surroundings that the area has to offer, then riding this streetcar is definitely one of the best things you can do.
Check Out The Murals Around Town
The city of Nelson BC is a very artsy place as you can find a lot of things here that deals with art.
Which is why one of the best things to do in Nelson BC is to simply roam around the city exploring the many different murals drawn around town.
Many of these murals are very unique and interesting and also tells a certain story depending on what mural you see. Also every year during the month of August, there is a festival called the “Nelson International Mural Festival” where new murals are painted around town by many renowned local and international artists.
And best of all is that these murals stay up all year round so no matter when you decide to come visit this city, you will always be able to find plenty of murals to see.
Which is also why there are quite a bit of photographers who love to visit this city as well. Many of these murals make for a really nice backdrops for taking pictures with. They are bright and colorful, many of them have patterns or pictures that are perfect for any Instagram worth shots.
Definitely one of the more fun ways to explore the town and have a whole lot of fun.
Go Ziplining Along Kokanee Mountain Zipline
One of the most fun and entertaining things you can do here in Nelson BC, is to simply go ziplining!
And here at Kokanee Mountain Zipline, you can find one of the best ziplining areas in the entire area of British Columbia for you to go ziplining.
Visitors who come will be able to soar high up into the forest canopy and experience a bird’s eye view of the beautiful natural environment surrounding the area. You’ll be able to soar above the canyon at Kokanee Creek Provincial Park on six awe-inspiring ziplines.
You’ll be in the hands of trained guides that will take care of everything from transporting you up to the launch platform and making sure you leave with an unforgettable time. The entire thing lasts around 1 and a half to two hours long and is totally worth it as the experience is out of this world.
No matter if you are a beginner to the entire thing or a seasoned pro, the zipline adventures being offered here are perfect for anybody of any levels. It’s a great way to have fun as you’ll have winds blowing through your hair while seeing some of the most scenic views this area has to offer.
Get Some Brew At Nelson Brewing Company
If you love drinking all kinds of craft brew, then one place that might be of interest to you is a place called “Nelson Brewing Company”.
Nelson Brewing Company is the premiere place to get all your craft brewing needs as they are a favorite among many locals and tourists alike.
They have been brewing craft beer all the way since 1991, and is an independently owned, award-winning craft brewery that is focused on quality, excellence and bringing people together. In fact, when visitors come here, they’ll be surprised to see that their beers are all organic as they guarantee that the beer and its ingredients were produced without the use of any synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, or genetic engineering.
Visitors who come will be able to enjoy beers like Harvest Moon, which is a Kolsch style ale that is cold conditioned on something that the locals call Kootenay time. Or you can try the Bent Pole beer which is an unfiltered Northwest IPA that has a light malt body and is bursting with citrus and pine aromas. They even have beers called Hooligan Pilsner, Wild Honey, After Dark and more all made fresh and ready for you to enjoy.
Plus they also have a tasting room where visitors can experience fresh, limited edition craft brews that is available exclusively here in their tasting room. They offer 10 taps of craft beers that rotate regularly between small batch brews and their classic lineup, as well as offering an assortment of snacks for you to enjoy.
With their many different kinds of craft beers, beer drinkers can rejoice as they will feel right at home here sipping on some cold and refreshing drinks in a warm and comfortable atmosphere.
Enjoy Some Water Activities At Kootenay Lake
As you know, the city of Nelson lies on the banks of the west arm of Kootenay Lake.
This lake is a water lovers dream come true as there are countless amounts of sandy beaches up and down this 144 kilometer lake. It also has many open areas where you can go have some fun in the waters without having to worry about a lot of people being in your way.
For instance, this lake is a perfect spot for visitors to do some kayaking or paddle boarding as the waters are perfectly calm and soothing. Plus you’ll also find a lot of people coming here to swim as the waters are also cool in temperature and makes for a perfect way to have to some.
And if you are needing equipment then you’ll be happy to know that there are a few shops around that will happily rent or sell some water equipment for you to use at a reasonable price.
But that’s not all!
In fact, when you come here, you’ll also notice that there is a ferry crossing the lake from time to time. This ferry is the world’s longest FREE ferry and carries people between Kootenay Bay and Balfour Bay. It is open year round and offers an amazing experience as you’ll be able to see some impressive views of the lake on board the ferry.
Visiting Kootenay Lake is definitely one of the best things to do in Nelson BC as there is simply so many things for you to see and do. Whether you want to have fun in the waters or just play in the sand and more, this lake is the perfect spot for you to enjoy a fun and entertaining day.
Take A Soak In The Ainsworth Hot Springs
Although not exactly in the city of Nelson, The Ainsworth Hot Springs Resort is only a short drive away which makes for a perfect day trip type event to do.
Located about 50 kms northeast of the city of Nelson right on Kootenay Lake, the Ainsworth Hot Springs Resort is one of the most popular attractions to visit. Locals and tourists from all over the world make it a point to visit this amazing spot, with many of them returning year after year.
It is here where you can find some of the best hot springs available in all of British Columbia. The hot springs actually originate around the Cody Caves, above and to the ease of the resort. It is widely believed that the waters here provide a type of healing affect for the body as the waters contain many types of minerals and properties that can be used to heal our body.
Plus what makes this hot spring so great is that they have an added feature that isn’t normally seen anywhere else. In fact, visitors who come are able to swim through caves which are located adjacent to the main pool.
But aside from all of that, the Ainsworth Hot Springs resort also has a feature called the “Spirit Water Spa”, where you’ll be able to get a full body massage and a variety of other treatments that include things like detoxifying clay applications and relaxing body wraps, which can make your spa experience so much more enjoyable.
It’s one of the best things to do near Nelson, BC as you’ll be able to soak your body in the natural hot springs, all while enjoying a nice day of pampering that will have your body feeling like new again.
Take A Trip And Visit The S.S. Moyie
One of the best things to do near Nelson BC, is simply paying a visit to the S.S. Moyie, which is the oldest passenger sternwheeler in the world.
It’s located about 70 kilometers away from the city of Nelson BC in the area of Kaslo which makes for a great day trip experience for anybody wanting to explore some historical things.
The S.S. Moyie was a paddle steamer sternwheeler that worked on Kootenay Lake many years ago from the years of 1898 to 1957. During its long history, it carried railway passengers from Kootenay Landing to the towns of Nelson and Procter. However as lake traffic being reduced, and a major overhaul due in 1957, the S.S. Moyie was retired from service and eventually became the museum you see here today.
Visitors who come here will be able to explore the ship in full detail as you’ll be able to see thousands upon thousands of historical objects that make this museum visit authentic inside and out. For instance, you can peek into the cabin, check out the cargo and vintage carbs, learn about the mechanics of a working sternwheeler and more.
Plus if you are lucky enough, you might even be able to blow the original steam whistle (if weather permits).
Overall it is a fantastic place to see and learn about many historical things. If you ever have the time to spare, I would highly suggest everyone to pay a visit to this amazing attraction.
Overall, the city of Nelson in British Columbia is definitely one of the most interesting places you can ever visit. Once you come, you’ll notice that this city offers a plethora of different things for you to see and do.
So hopefully this post about the “15 Best Things To Do In Nelson, BC” was able to help you out in some sort of way. This way if you ever find yourself visiting the city of Nelson in British Columbia, you will know exactly what things you are able to do for some fun.
Also if you are interested in reading some of my other posts about traveling, you can do so by clicking these links:
- Essential steps for planning a trip
- How to find cheap flights
- There is no such thing as a perfect time to travel
Or you can check out all my blog posts by click this link.
Have fun traveling and let me know how it goes~