December in Kelowna

While winter doesn’t officially arrive until late December, the holiday cheer and snowy mountaintops mean it's time to say goodbye to fall and embrace all that winter in Kelowna has to offer. Read on to learn more about what you can discover and what to expect in and around Kelowna when visiting this time of year.


Have Snow Much Fun Outdoors

Cross-Country Skiing at Kelowna Nordic Centre (2)

Kelowna Nordic Centre. Photo by: David Vassiliev

Kelowna’s four-season playground turns into a winter wonderland come December, with the snow-covered mountains surrounding the city home to all sorts of outdoor adventures.

Less than an hour from downtown sits Big White Ski Resort, which offers an array of winter activities, including Alpine and Nordic skiing, fat biking, snowshoeing, and ice skating on Canada’s highest outdoor skating rink. Those new to skiing and snowboarding can take advantage of the resort’s beginner lessons, while experienced skiers and boarders can set out on 118 designated Alpine trails. The resort also offers Adaptive Ski Programs for guests with physical, cognitive, and sensory challenges, thanks to its partnership with People in Motion.

Outside of Vernon, just over an hour from Kelowna, is SilverStar Mountain Resort, with its European-inspired village where you’ll find several dining and shopping options. Along with 132 marked Alpine runs, SilverStar is also home to a vast network of groomed Nordic trails. For a unique experience, check out the resort’s Snow Cat Tours, including a trip to Paradise Camp, located on the backside of the mountain, to enjoy a 3-course, lantern-lit dinner.

Other uniquely Kelowna winter activities include skating alongside Okanagan Lake on the ice rink in Stuart Park, hiking or snowshoeing along the Myra Canyon Trestles Trail, and winter wine touring, where you’ll get to admire area vineyards blanketed in snow.


Soak up the Holiday Cheer

Quails' Gate Estate Winery - Winter Scene (3)

Quails' Gate Winery. Photo credit: Wines of British Columbia

The holiday season kicks off in late November, but December is when the spirit of the season is in full swing.

The annual Downtown Kelowna Winter Street Market & Light Up takes place in early December—this year on December 2 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.—with free, family-friendly entertainment and activities, including photos with Santa. Dozens of local artisans and market vendors will be set up for you to find unique gifts for everyone on your list. Be sure to stick around for the tree light-up, which takes place at 5:30 p.m.

December also means it’s time for Craft Culture’s Holiday Market, the largest in the Okanagan. More than 175 vendors will be set up in Prospera Place from December 1 to 3, selling an array of goods, including handmade, one-of-a-kind pieces. Visit our online events calendar for info on other craft and holiday markets throughout the month.

The end of the month means it’s time to usher in a new year. Kelowna’s annual family-friendly celebration, New York New Years, is back with indoor and outdoor activities at the Kelowna Community Theatre and Stuart Park, including fireworks over Okanagan Lake, which take place at 9 p.m. to align with New York’s time zone so the little ones can take part, too. Stay tuned to our events calendar for more ways to celebrate NYE in and around Kelowna.


Local Events

Mission Hill Holiday Event

Festival of Trees at Mission Hill Family Estate. Photo by: @hashtagmeag

Holidays Events
  • The Festival of Trees is an annual holiday event raising funds for the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation. Local businesses, families, and groups have sponsored and decorated each of the trees on display, which will be set up at Mission Hill Family Estate and Delta Hotels by Marriott Grand Okanagan Resort until early January 2024.
  • On December 3 and 9, Ethereal Afternoon Tea and Desserts is hosting Holiday High Tea at Benvoulin Heritage Park, where guests will enjoy a 3-course afternoon tea service. Reservations are required.
  • Priest Creek Family Estate Winery welcomes Jolly Ol’ Saint Nick to take family photos on several dates in December. On December 3, the winery will host a Holiday Market with local vendors and live music.
  • Join Hotel Eldorado at Eldorado Resort for its 3rd Annual Tree of Dreams Christmas market on December 5 and 6, 2023. 
Theatre and Performing Arts
  • Have some holiday fun at New Vintage Theatre's presentation of Elf, The Musical, with daily showtimes from November 30 to December 6, 2023. 
  • Kelowna Actors Studio and Dinner Theatre is bringing The Wizard of Oz to the stage on select dates between November 29 and December 17, 2023.
  • The Canadian School of Ballet once again presents The Nutcracker, a family favourite for the holiday season. Performances will occur December 8–10, 2023, at the Kelowna Community Theatre.
  • The family-friendly Yuletide Ukelele will be presented by the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra, with guest performers James Hill and Anna Janelle, on December 15, 2023. 
Comedy and Live Music

For more events taking place in and around Kelowna, visit our online Calendar of Events.


Weather

While the snow accumulates quickly in the mountains surrounding Kelowna, there tends to be less snow on the ground right in the city—when the snow does fall, it typically doesn’t stick around long thanks to Kelowna’s milder winter climate. December and January are typically the coldest months of the year in Kelowna, with average temperatures for both months at 1°C / 34°F on the high end and -6°C / 21°F on the low end. You’ll want to make sure you pack appropriately if you plan on spending a lot of time outdoors, especially near the lake and at higher elevations where the temperatures will be cooler. December is one of the more overcast and cloudier months of the year, though you can often get above the clouds up at the ski hills thanks to inversion. You can monitor current conditions through the live webcam at the Kelowna Visitor Centre


Helpful Planning Resources

Eldorado_Front_Christmas_Lights

Hotel Eldorado at Eldorado Resort 

Plan a purposeful and rewarding trip to Kelowna by using the resources available on our website:

Have more questions about your trip to Kelowna? Connect with our team at the Kelowna Visitor Centre.

Be sure to follow us on TikTokInstagram, and Facebook for more inspiration and share your adventures using #exploreKelowna.

 

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