Pam Sawatzky grew up in Kelowna, Joe Roberts is originally from England. Recently, the two of them joined forces to explore their own backyard with a downtown staycation. While they both thought they knew the area well, it turns out they were in for a few surprises. Here are their top recommendations:
A colourful stay at Hotel Zed
As young photographers, Hotel Zed was the perfect backdrop to base their staycation. With fun amenities like a ping pong table, bike and roller skate rentals, outdoor rooftop patios, and a hot tub and pool (opening in the summer), there's enough to keep a person busy just staying at the hotel!
A top tip, don't miss out on grabbing some snaps for Instagram of the mural on the back of the building in the alleyway.
Health & safety - When staying at the hotel, masks are required in all indoor spaces, and group sizes are limited to ensure proper physical distancing. Ask the hotel staff for more information on health and safety protocols when you check-in.
Tasty eats abound
There are plenty, and we mean plenty, of dining options in downtown Kelowna. One can spend a week trying all the amazing eateries within walking distance of Hotel Zed, but Pam and Joe chose two that they hadn't tried before and were most impressed.
A vegan restaurant just two and a half blocks from Hotel Zed, making it a convenient option. The menu options are hearty, portion sizes are generous, and it's all plant-based and not at all greasy. If you normally have a go-to meat dish when you dine out, ask the staff what might be comparable on their menu, you'll likely be pleasantly surprised to find you don't miss the meat!
A well-known local spot for breakfast, lunch, and brunch downtown. They have a classic menu, with a few twists added in, including housemade strawberry jam that is divine. The staff is super friendly and the boho vibe makes it a relaxing option for any meal.
Health & safety - all restaurants require a mask to be worn by customers when not seated at a table and staff wear masks at all times. Tables can accommodate up to six guests and hand sanitizing stations are readily available.
No end to photography opportunities
Downtown Kelowna is a photographer's dream, almost everywhere you turn there's something interesting, beautiful, or exciting that can make a great photo, including colourful murals. If you stay at Hotel Zed, make sure to walk through the back alley to see the murals on the back of their building, plus right across the way, Batman is featured on the outer wall of Sapphire Nightclub. For more murals to check out around downtown and other areas, click here.
A classic downtown Kelowna activity is a walk along the waterfront boardwalk. From City Park to the Rotary Marsh, you'll pass beaches, statues, restaurants, green spaces, hotels, and so much more. Try walking it at different times of day for a variety of colours bouncing off the mountains and the lake, particularly at sunrise or sunset.
Kelowna Art Gallery has four exhibition spaces to explore including the fascinating Nothing to be done by Melany Nugent-Noble (who was recently chosen as the City of Kelowna's first Artist in Residence) in the outdoor exhibition space and Goin' Where the Climate Suites My Clothes by Melanie Daniel featured inside.
Refresh with a local beverage
Visit the Kelowna Beer Institute for a comfortable and casual outing paired with great craft beer. Kelowna Beer Institute has been crafting unfiltered beer that is served tank-to-tap, making it as fresh as possible. Stop in the next time you're in the Cultural District, their entrance is along Water Street on the south-east corner of the Delta Grand Okanagan by Marriot Resort building.
Pam Sawatzky is 27 years old from Kelowna BC. She has always had a passion for photography and started out capturing beautiful Okanagan sunsets. Three years ago she started a lifestyle photography page, shooting weddings families couples and newborns. For more information:
Joe Roberts is 28 years old, originally from England, living in Kelowna for two years since falling in love with British Columbia. His passion is photography and capturing unique, dynamic images for people to enjoy. Fore more information: