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July 2, 2024

Discover the Secrets of Nelson's Authentic Vibe

The lure of Nelson’s mountain culture beckons travellers from around the globe. This community’s electric pulse and exhilarating adventures just steps away command the attention of savvy travellers everywhere. Nelson unapologetically stands for three things: thrilling outdoor adventures, delectable food, and world-class coffee. This is your must-visit destination, no matter the season.

Enjoying patio weather at Backroads Brewing Company on Baker Street; photo by Kari Medig

Confidently traverse these routes and you’ll get there! Head east from Vancouver, BC on Highway 3, west from Lethbridge, Alberta following BC’s ‘Rainforest to Rockies’ or take the Highway 2 north from Spokane International Airport in Washington. Navigate these paths with certainty and you’re right on track to find these cool things to experience.

Aerial views of Nelson and Kootenay Lake; photo by Mitch Winton


The residents stand tall and proud, and they honour and appreciate the traditional lands of the Sinixt, the Syilx, and the Ktunaxa peoples. As locals we are privileged to walk and live here, alongside many indigenous personas including the Inuit and Metis. 

Experience the majestic healing powers of nupika wu’u, Spirit Water, at Ainsworth Hot Springs Resort . As leaders in rejuvenating and relaxing experiences since the 1930s, the Lower Kootenay Band of Creston, proudly own and operate this unrivaled resort. With their mineral springs pool and cave, the Spirit Waters Spa and Ktunaxa Grill they ensure each visit is rejuvenating.   

Bathers enjoy swimming at Ainsworth Hot Springs with a view of Kootenay Lake; photo by Kari Medig


Start your day with a signature java blends at one of the many coffee shops and end your day savouring the flavours of the unique craft breweries. One sip and you’ll be hooked.

With over two decades of expertise, Oso Negro distinctly preserves the originality of their artisanal coffees and fosters a rich sense of community within their café. Confidently serving locals and visitors with excellence, fuelled by passion and tradition.

Fresh Coffee at Oso Negro Cafe in Nelson; photo by Steve Ogle

For the past three decades, they’ve been promoting exciting new chapters to their illustrious tale that first unfolded in 1897 at the original Nelson Brewing Company (NBC). They’ve carved their legacy in the very same seat of history that played host to the town’s very first brewery a full century prior. Interestingly, this iconic building, standing tall since the 1800s, brings an added dash of undeniable allure to NBC’s brand. Six metres (20 feet) beneath the ground level, deep in their beer cellar, you’ll find the Ward Street Creek flowing at the centre. This isn’t just history, it’s their brewing heritage!

Nelson, also with its vibrant shoreline communities of Kootenay Lake, proudly boasts more restaurants per capita than either San Francisco or Manhattan, a testament to their local entrepreneurs’ passion and skill.

Nelson’s ultimate culinary paradise awaits you; photo by Steve Ogle


Immerse yourself in a cultural treasure trove as you explore Nelson, the undisputed heritage capital of British Columbia! With over 350 architectural wonders to marvel at, the vibrant town is waiting for you to explore. From our rainbow-hued downtown to our precious heritage sites, you’re in for an unforgettable journey into history. Come and experience it firsthand!

Every year, the Kaslo Jazz Festival captivate your senses. Launching from their standalone floating stage nestled within the bay and set against an awe-inspiring mountain backdrop. From there, you’re poised on the beach, enthralled by every beat in this spectacular setting while listening and dancing to world-class performances.

Aerial view of the Kaslo Jazz Festival; photo by Don Weixl

Nelson boasts a creative art scene that’s powered by its vibrant and innovative inhabitants. It’s more than expected from this community town with artistic brilliance. Local, national, and international muralists are invited to come share their craft and beautify Nelson’s alleys during the Nelson International Mural Festival.

Mural in one of Nelson’s downtown alley; photo by Mitch Winton

Nelson’s rich heritage speaks volumes of their enduring and multifaceted past and mirrors the dedication and affection of the community that enhances its beauty. An epitome of this is Streetcar #23, a legend in its own right, operating with vigour in the Kootenays since 1924.

Nelson’s Streetcar #23; photo by Field & Forest

Witness the alliance of art and music at the renowned Tiny Lights Festival in Ymir. This event magnetically attracts an exceptional lineup of musicians annually, accompanied by spoken-word performances, poetry recitations, and beyond. Moreover, the festival stands as a pioneer in promoting environmental conservation.

Photo courtesy of the Tiny Lights Festival


Get ready to fuel your adventure spirit in Nelson and the Kootenay Lake area. It’s an outdoor paradise with endless activities. Take on the exhilarating Pulpit Rock Trail, tackle the thrilling Log Jam Trail on your bike to revel in the breathtaking view of the community. Indulge in a sailing or paddling adventure on Kootenay Lake, try out caving, soak up in hot springs or enjoy a memorable fishing experience.

A mountain biker on the Log Jam trail overlooking Nelson & Kootenay Lake; photo by Kari Medig


Nelson’s Sustainability doesn’t just preach about eco-friendliness; they’re living it. They’re spearheading the charge toward sustainable living, inspiring businesses to adopt green practices, and valiantly battling climate change. Their focus on energy efficiency, waste diversion, and transportation-related emissions delivers true impact. And they’re not about vague promises: they have laid down precise goals and are diligently tracking their performance.  

Views of the Rotary Lakeside Park from BOB (the Big Orange Bridge); photo by Dave Heath

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