Written by Tory Black, Irish-born content creator and lover of all things Okanagan
Vernon, BC is one of those quaint little towns that is hiding a huge amount a charm. I’ve included a few of my favourites here, but this is only a taste of what there is to do and see. With a lot of fantastic coffee shops, local shops, and incredible viewpoints, parks, and hidden beaches, Vernon packs it all in.
Breakfast Spots In Vernon
While the weekends offer a wider selection of brunch options, Vernon has some gems that do breakfast every day of the week. Eatology is famous for their eggs benedict but they offer an amazing unlimited waffles option too. Arcadian Kitchen is a vegan café, but patrons have the option of adding eggs and meat to dishes. They offer indoor and outdoor curbside seating and, for anyone with more specific dietary options, they’re very accommodating and the local vegan cheese they use is the best I’ve ever tasted! The Pineapple Express at the Eat Good Market is another great, healthy breakfast option. They have acai bowls, vegan breakfast wraps, smoothies, and daily homemade vegan treats. If a traditional greasy spoon style with big portions and great value for money is more up your alley, Diner On Six ticks all the boxes. If you can’t decide on what to choose, you can always order half portions.
Local Shops in Vernon
Shopping in and around downtown Vernon is largely locally owned and focused. Carousel Consignment is a great place for bargain hunters. Cento Wear is a women’s boutique stocking a range of contemporary fashion. Expressions Of Time is an eclectic mix of books, both new and antique, rock crystals, and jewelry. If you need a quiet zen moment, the back left corner has a reading chair and table. Beachcomber Home Leisure is a local, third generation indoor and outdoor furniture, home decor, and hot tub store. They have a huge range of products in both their Vernon and Kelowna store. Olive Us offer an olive oil and vinegar tasting room as well as tasty products for sale.
Explore Downtown Vernon For Free
Vernon’s murals are scattered around walking distance. At various times throughout the year a walking tour is offered by the Downtown Association for a small fee, but you can do a free self-guided tour any time. The Civic Plaza is a great place to sit and relax by the water fountain or catch one of the free concerts in the summer months. It’s beside the Greater Vernon Museum and Archives which has featured exhibitions. Polson Park is a beautiful place to sit by the water or wander in the gardens. The playpark is ideal for entertaining kids. Vernon Public Art Gallery has a featured exhibition which changes regularly. Afterwards, check out their gift shop full of local artisan products.
Find Okanagan Produce and Artisans
A great place to grab lunch and find a unique purchase is the Vernon Farmers Market (summer and winter locations differ). In summer, you’ll find it outside at Kal Tire Place and it is a showcase of local produce and artisans. Davison Orchards is also unmissable! It’s just a few minutes drive from downtown and you’ll find farm animals, play areas, a local café and market, and orchards to explore. One of the most fun ways to experience the farm on their “Johnny Popper Train” for tractor rides around the property.
Take in Some Spectacular Nature Views
Kalamalka Park has a mix of bike and walking trails and small beaches. Pack a swimsuit and a picnic and take in the spectacular colours of the lake. Kin Beach is a small, hidden gem from downtown. For the bikers, the scenic Okanagan Rail Trail connects all the way to Kelowna from Vernon. For a short hike (a few kilometers) with views over all of Vernon, Middleton Mountain should be your go to. You’ll often spot deer later in the evening and the sunset views are stunning. Don’t forget Silverstar Mountain Resort. Even if you’re not skiing or biking, there are walking trails, a gondola beside the village, and an ice rink in winter. Bugaboos Café is a favourite with their pastries and Long John’s is a cozy pub.
Best Coffee Breaks In Vernon
There are a lot of great coffee shops in Vernon but make sure to check out Ratio Coffee and relax on the patio. You might even catch the train passing. If you’re lucky you’ll overlap with donut Fridays, and pizza on Friday and Saturday nights. Try their London fog and Ratio cookie – a perfect combo! The Fig Bistro is another great local eatery using local ingredients. Try the chocolate espresso dipped shortbread with your coffee. Triumph Coffee has dangerously good gooey brownies and for the mountain bikers, you can sip at peace by bringing your bike inside.
Something Stiffer To Drink
Beautiful apple orchards can be found at the BX Press Cidery and Orchard along with a gift shop and tasting room. Their seasonal cider blends are very worth tasting. There are occasional events, music and pizza nights so check out their calendar ahead of your trip. Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery offer a tasting tour. Marten Brewpub is a craft beer microbrewery that also serves food. Planet Bee Honey and Meadery offers tastings of their honey and honey wines, as well as a viewable glass observatory bee hive.
Dinner In Vernon
For dinner in Vernon, the Phoenix Steakhouse has an outdoor rooftop patio. Their prime shires – mini yorkshire puddings with shaved beef and gravy – are recommended. Kawakubo has sushi and homemade desserts. Midtown Bistro serves local, Canadian food. Fresh Lemongrass is a Vietnamese restaurant with big portions, offering good value and great spring rolls.
Evening Entertainment In Vernon
A really quaint, retro building is the Vernon Towne Cinema. It has a classic concession stand and doesn’t offer blockbusters so movies are very affordable. The interior is elegant and historic. Record City often has a variety of affordable shows in an intimate setting. Typically they are music acts with occasional comedy and open mic nights. The Green Pub has weekend music and fusball and pool tables. A wide variety of talented acts and shows come to the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre. Check out their website to see what is current.
Tory is a native of Ireland but relocated to Vernon, BC two and half years ago and hasn’t looked back since. She works locally in content and marketing and spends her time outside of that enjoying all the Okanagan has to offer in food, the Arts, and the many incredible nature viewpoints. Her favourite thing about the Okanagan is having outstanding scenery right on your doorstep and the welcoming, friendly personality of everyone who lives there.
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