It’s no secret that Kamloops is an amazing place to be. Many people visit the city every year, and for good reason – it offers a vast array of things to do. Whether you’re visiting for business or leisure, we have put together all the information you need in order to plan your trip! We’ll discuss what day trips are worth taking, where you should stay and eat, the best things to do in Kamloops BC, as well as some of our favourite things to do in this beautiful city.
About Kamloops, British Columbia
Kamloops is a city in the Thompson Valley of BC located at the junction of the North and South Thompson Rivers. It has a population of 90,000 people and growing.
This pleasant city features bike and wildlife parks, hiking paths, along with other interesting places vying for your attention. Kamloops is known as a destination for outdoor enthusiasts and sportsmen. Activities such as hunting, fishing and camping are popular in this area of BC.
This city is also a spot for cycling enthusiasts because there’s an extensive network of greenways throughout Kamloops that make it easy to navigate the hilly terrain.
Kamloops offers all sorts of activities to please visitors: golfing, hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, waterskiing, boating and so much more.
Kamloops is known as the Tournament Capital of Canada. The city hosts more than 100 tournaments each year at facilities such as the Tournament Capital Centre, McArthur Island Sports and Events Centre and Tournament Capital Ranch.
Where is Kamloops, BC?
Kamloops is located on the Thompson River in the interior of British Columbia, Canada. In 1873, settlers established a town site on the banks of the Thompson River. It is believed that they chose this location because it had an excellent water supply and fertile land nearby.
Kamloops is located in the Thompson-Nicola Regional District, whose regional offices are based here. The surrounding region is more widely known as the Thompson Okanagan.
What is Kamloops’ population?
Kamloops has grown to have a population of just over 90,000.
How to Get to Kamloops
Kamloops is a major highway intersection serving the interior of British Columbia. Highway 1, 5 and 97 intersect in the city, providing different options to travel north or south from Kamloops.
Driving time to Kelowna is two hours, Vancouver can be reached in 3.5 hours, Jasper is a five-hour drive and Revelstoke is 2.5 hours away.
Three Airlines fly into Kamloops Airport: Air Canada, West Jet and Central Mountain Air.
There are two Bus companies, Ebus and Rider Express, that provide service to and from Kamloops.
If you are looking to take the train to or from Kamloops, Via Rail and Rocky Mountaineer both offer various routes to choose from.
When is the Best Time to Visit Kamloops?
The best time of year to visit Kamloops is between the months of May and September to enjoy the beautiful spring and summer season. However, the winter months provide the best skiing and snowboarding at nearby Sun Peaks Resort or Harper Mountain.
What are some of the Best Things to do in Kamloops?
The best thing to do in Kamloops to really get a sense of the city is to head straight to Riverside Park. This park offers a great place to enjoy the outdoors complete with an outdoor splash pool, tennis courts and children’s playgrounds- it also has walking trails around its perimeter that give visitors a chance to experience nature up close.
A great way to enjoy the outdoors without having to drive anywhere is by taking a walk along the river trail. This path runs right along the Thompson River and gives visitors outstanding views as well as plenty of chances for bird watching or simply enjoying nature’s beauty.
There has been an exciting addition to Riverside Park this summer of 2021. The Concession at Riverside Park offers food trucks, kayak rentals, water bike rentals and lawn games.
The Concession at Riverside Park operates from June 25 – September 7 and follows the hours of 12:00pm – 8:00pm.
Monte Creek Winery
Kamloops largest winery, Monte Creek has been open for five years with plans of expansion to continue the growth of this very popular vineyard. It is the perfect spot for wine tasting, offering you a beautiful wine shop with farm products, natural honey, a selection of gift items, books and, of course, bottles of wine.
During the summer you can enjoy lunch at The Terrace Restaurant or enjoy a picnic on the lawns of this stunning ranch.
This boutique winery was voted as Kamloops’ best wedding venue and wine tasting spot in 2020. The stone building architecture is stunning, with vineyard views and landscape to match.
Kamloops Wildlife Park
The BC Wildlife Park is a non-profit organization that rescues injured wildlife. The park showcases our iconic animal species including bears, elk, bobcats, arctic wolves and cougars. The park has 209 animals, including Clover, the only Kermode Bear in human care in the world.
Check the Daily Activity Schedule online for seasonal activities like feed talks, animal encounters, Bird of Prey flight demonstrations and Nature Express miniature train rides.
If you plan to visit in winter be sure to book an interactive VIP Wildlife Experience or Wildlife Encounter. Admission cost is $14.95 per adult and $10.95 per child or $45.95 for a family of four. The park is open daily from 9:30am until 5:00pm.
The Kamloops Wildlife Park is located east of the city at 9077 Dallas Dr, which is approximately a 20-minute drive from downtown Kamloops.
Sun Peaks Resort
Sun Peaks Resort is a 45 minute drive from Kamloops. Sun Peaks Resort is Canada’s second-largest ski area and with three mountains surrounding this European-style village, your options to spend your time here are endless.
Sun Peaks is a four-season resort so you will find plenty of things to do any time of year. During the summer you can go hiking, play a round of golf, go mountain biking or simply relax poolside at the Sun Peaks Grand Hotel.
If you’re looking for an escape from the city or just need some relaxation Sun Peaks Resort is the perfect destination. The European-inspired village has restaurants, shopping and even an outdoor covered ice rink.
Kamloops Heritage Railway
The Kamloops Heritage Railway is an extremely popular attraction in the area and this railroad raises a lot of curiosity. It’s an old steam train with a fascinating history.
The train that serves as a tourism attraction is Canadian National Railway #2141, nicknamed the “Spirit of Kamloops.” The 2141 is unique because it still functions and has been made operational over a decade-long restoration process.
The Guided Backshop Tour will take you on a journey into its history and show you some of the decommissioned cars, as well as steam locomotive 2141. The museum presents the history of the railway in Canada from its humble inception to its role in national infrastructure.
The Guided Backshop Tour is available by appointment only, is $10 per person with tours at 10:30am or 1pm from Tuesday through Sunday.
McArthur Island Park
The McArthur Island Park is a nine-acre park on the shores of the Thompson River. The beautiful trees and shoreline make it an ideal spot for walking, picnicking or just relaxing in the shade. There are many benches throughout the area to sit back and enjoy nature’s beauty with your loved ones.
McArthur Island Park is a must-see for the active traveler. The soccer, baseball, and lawn bowling matches are all visible from the paved walking trail around the park.
Within the bounds of the 3.1km paved walkway, one can walk or jog on a flat and safe surface that connects various natural areas to each other.
Kids can enjoy 2000 square meters of concrete paradise, including quarterpipes which line the upper decks for maximum speed and flow. The plethora of obstacles will keep them busy all day.
The McArthur Island Sports and Events Center is a multi-purpose venue. It includes both NHL and Olympic sized ice rinks with a sitting capacity of 1200. As well as 9 full-size soccer fields, 2 baseball fields, 1 rugby pitch and 2 lawns for field sports.
Kenna Cartwright Park
Kamloops has some outstanding hiking trails in a number of parks. Kenna Cartwright Park is one of the most popular in Kamloops with its location near town and extensive trail network ranging from easy to strenuous trails, including some that are wheelchair accessible.
The Tower Trail is an easy 3.4 kilometre hike that is perfect for families and can be accomplished by young children. The trail is dog-friendly so feel free to bring your pooch along with you. This trail has a moderate incline all the way to the lookout so be prepared to take breaks if needed along the way. In the summer it is completely exposed so bring water for a more enjoyable experience.
This amazing park is a short drive from downtown Kamloops. Choose to access the trail from either Home Depot Park or Hillside Drive entry.
It’s difficult to find trails that are just right for rookies, and those looking to build their fitness skills. The Tower Trail provides a great mix of easier terrain and steep slopes, making it perfect for beginners as they ascend the trail while enjoying incredible views from different vantage points. In the summertime when sun-seeking hikers take to this hike it can get busy on the trail.
There are so many other hiking and biking trails at Kenna Cartwright Park with commanding views out over Kamloops. So take a few minutes to study the trail map and pick one that is best suited for you.
Kamloops Art Gallery
The Kamloops Art Gallery is home to an impressive permanent collection of over 3000 pieces. The gallery has been a thriving part of the region for more than 40 years and offers visitors from near and far a chance to experience exceptional exhibitions by both emerging artists, as well as established names in Canadian art.
The Kamloops Art Gallery offers a transformative experience to art lovers of all ages. The Gallery offers more than 12 exhibitions every year, providing a wide range of accessible and affordable experiences including talks, tours, and studio-based programming for people of all ages.
Breakfast at Hello Toast
A visit to Kamloops wouldn’t be complete without having breakfast at the local favourite, Hello Toast. Located on Victoria Street, a meal at Hello Toast easily makes the list as one of the best things to do in Kamloops!
Hello toast is a popular breakfast and lunch restaurant in downtown Kamloops. It has been a part of the community for over 20 years and was founded by friends, family, and loved ones. They pride themselves on being a place where you can relax with friends or catch up on work while eating an all-day breakfast or one of their delicious home-cooked lunch items.
If you plan to go for Sunday Brunch, make sure you arrive early as there is always a lineup. Even during weekdays, there can be a lineup but the service is fantastic so you won’t be waiting long. During warmer months, there is both indoor and outdoor seating. If you sit indoors, you will see all the photos of family members on the walls of the restaurant which is a nice touch and a nod to the long history of the family-run business.
Secwepemc Museum & Heritage Park
The Secwepemc Museum & Heritage Park is located on the bank of the South Thompson River in Kamloops, BC. Visitors can enjoy both indoor and outdoor views of Indigenous culture at this establishment.
The Secwepemc Museum is an institution that represents the collective efforts of the Secwepemc nation in preserving the history, language and culture of the Secwepemc. The museum is a cultural treasure as well as a unique experience with permanent exhibits portraying their history, temporary or travelling exhibits depicting Aboriginal themes such as traditional games.
The Secwepemc Museum is one of the best things to do in Kamloops. Visitors can enjoy a rich history of both Secwepemc histories from an oral perspective, as well as on-screen with its DVD. Visitors are then enabled to immerse themselves in beautiful artefacts and displays within the four galleries that are available.
Kamloops Bike Ranch
The Kamloops Bike Ranch is an excellent place to go bike riding. The bike ranch is located between the Valleyview and Juniper Ridge neighbourhoods, spanning 18 hectares. The area features terraced silt bluffs of pine trees, sagebrush, and open grasslands and has an elevation change of 132 m over its 1.2 km length.
This bike ranch is perfect for all ages and skill levels. There are bike trails for young toddlers as well as seasoned adults. The Kamloops Bike Ranch has a variety of trails that will fulfil any adrenaline rush goals, from beginner to advanced.
The Kamloops Bike Ranch is a bike riders dream and with the surrounding natural beauty, it should be on the checklist for every visitor!
Enjoy a Beer at Bright Eye Brewing
Bright Eye Brewery in Kamloops opened to much fanfare, and their focus on quality and community is evident. Bright Eye Brewery is an up and coming success story, located right here on the North Shore in Kamloops.
Bright Eye Brewing offers an impressive variety of beers, ciders, wines and so much more! It’s easy to spend hours at their tasting bar sampling their craft beers and they should also be enjoyed paired with the delicious food from the kitchen.
Bright Eye Brewery is a great place to go with friends for an afternoon of tasting and socializing. It’s also the perfect spot for those who just want to relax on the patio.
Battle Bluff Hike
The Battle Bluff Hike is a 4.8 km hike up to the most beautiful cliff face in Kamloops BC, overlooking the city and river valley below. The hike features various terrain with both steep and gradual inclines but offers amazing views at the top!
If you are looking to get some fresh air and exercise and see the city of Kamloops from a different perspective, the Battle Bluff hike is a perfect adventure. Ask any Kamloops local what their favourite Kamloops hike is and nine times out of ten they will say Battle Bluff.
The trail is quite moderate most of the way but it does become a steep, rocky single track as it seesaws up to the summit. The majority of the trail is exposed so be sure to bring water, especially in the summer and just take your time along the way if needed. The trail is dog friendly and is possible to do with kids but make sure to keep them close when you arrive at the Bluffs because there are cliffs all around with steep drop-offs.
At the top of the summit, there is a book that hikers can sign and it gives a little history of the Battle Bluff trail.
One aspect of doing the Battle Bluff hike is the drive to the start of the trail. You will drive past the Kamloops Airport, along the Thompson River and out past the old Tranquille Sanatorium/Padova City.
To access the Battle Bluff Hike, drive on the Tranquille – Criss Creek Road past Tranquille and turn left onto Frederick Road. Follow this dirt road for 1.5 km until you reach a pullout area with ample parking; there are several along here.
Erin Valley Stables
Country Fun and Horsemanship Lessons. Erin Valley Riding Stables is a family-run business that was founded in 1986! They offer trail riding, horsemanship lessons for all ages and levels, as well as a variety of summer camps for kids.
Erin Valley Stables is located in Barnhartvale, just twenty minutes from downtown Kamloops and located right across from Eagle Point Golf Course.
All of the trails are guided by an experienced wrangler, so you can enjoy Kamloops’ best riding tours. They have a wide variety of horses and different trail rides to meet both beginner and advanced needs.
Pricing is $75 per hour and reservations are required.
Play a Round at Tobiano Golf Course
The golf course at Tobiano is a beautiful championship course. It’s an 18-hole, par 72 layout that will thrill any golf enthusiast. Located on the shore of Kamloops Lake, Tobiano Golf Course is one of the most picturesque courses in Canada. Visitors will enjoy beautiful views from every hole, dramatic elevation changes, and fairways with natural grasses and smooth undulating greens.
The Tobiano Golf Course offers some of the best views in BC for golfers with spectacular mountain scenery throughout the scenic desert terrain. The course was designed by golf course architect Thomas McBroom and the championship layout is sure to challenge your game with many water hazards, sand traps, and elevation changes that will keep you on your toes for every shot.
Prime summer rates at the Tobiano Golf Course are $130 for weekday tee times and $150 for weekend tee times. Tobiano provides golfers with green fees, practise greens, and a GPS equipped power cart.
Kamloops Wine Trail with DiVine Tours
The Kamloops wine trail consists of 4 licensed wineries and 125 acres of vineyards. The best Kamloops wines and wineries are waiting for you. Explore the scenic vistas of this semi-arid wine region as you take in local flavours, enjoy a delicious meal or just relax with friends. Choose from one of four award-winning wineries along the Kamloops Wine Trail.
DiVine Tours is an authorized tour operator for the Kamloops Wine Trail and offers many options for wine tours, the hardest part will be choosing which one. They offer the following Kamloops wine tours:
- Kamloops Wine Trail
- Wineries and Wildlife Tour
- DiVine Craft Beer & Wine Tasting Tour
The Kamloops Wine Trail Tour is a half-day tour to three different local wineries. The tour runs from 11:30 am to 3:30 pm, includes an experienced driver and all tasting fees. The driver will pick you up at your home, hotel or office to begin the tour.
If you would like to add the fourth winery, it will simply add an extra hour to the tour with a small additional fee. One of the best things about Kamloops wine tours is that everything is arranged for you, the Kamloops wineries are there to welcome you and your driver will load any wine purchases that you make into the shuttle for you.
Catch a Movie at Paramount Theatre
The Paramount Theatre in Downtown Kamloops is one of the best places to feel nostalgia and watch a movie with friends or family. It’s been around for nearly 60 years, having opened its doors back in 1955, housing two cinemas: Theater 1 seats roughly 500 people while Theater 2 seats about 270. This historic theatre gives you feelings that are only possible at such an iconic venue!
The Kamloops Film Society (KFS) operates and maintains a variety of events including their Thursday Nights film series, annual March Kamloops Film Festival, as well as an independent short shorts festival. Recently in 2019 The Kelson Group purchased Paramount Theatre from Landmark Cinemas and leased it out to the KFS so they can continue operations uninterrupted by acquisition.
Back Alley Art Gallery
One of the best ways to explore Kamloops’ art and culture is by taking a stroll. The Back Alley Art Gallery showcases over 30 unique murals downtown, all of which can be found by walking through Kamloops back alleys. There is some street art in the back streets of Victoria Street, but most of it is located in the alleyways from Lansdowne Street to Victoria Street and Seymour Ave.
Walk along Victoria Street and then go to the alley on its North side, at 2nd Avenue. Continue until you get to 6th Avenue and do the same with the Southern alley too.
You will be absolutely amazed at the incredible works of art you will see and you will understand why the Back Alley Art Gallery makes our list of best things to do in Kamloops.
Have Dinner at Peter’s Pasta
Peter’s Pasta is a popular restaurant in Kamloops that is a family-run business and they have some of the best pasta in town. They specialize in fresh, made-to-order pasta dishes that will delight any visitor.
Peter’s Pasta originally opened with, you guessed it, owner Peter at the helm. He recently retired and now his daughter and her husband run the restaurant, but the tradition of fresh, made-to-order pasta is still alive and well.
The restaurant has a cosy Italian vibe with warm wooden tables in the dining room and an open kitchen to get a peek of your meal being prepared.
Peter’s Pasta offers some classic dishes like spaghetti bolognese and fettuccine alfredo but there are many options on the menu. From salmon to vegetarian dishes, there is something for everyone.
The only tricky part can be getting a table! I would call this restaurant in Kamloops a hidden gem, except that everyone and I mean everyone knows about it. There is usually a lineup at 5 pm when they open but it is your best chance at getting a table without much of a wait.
Would you like to try some of the best pasta in town? Visit Peter’s Pasta.
Tubing at Harper Mountain
Located just outside of Kamloops, this is an easy way to enjoy the outdoors in the wintertime. It’s a quick drive, approximately 25 minutes and you can spend as much time tubing on the mountain as you’d like. The staff are great and the experience is a lot of fun.
Bring your own hot chocolate to keep warm or roast hot dogs by the fire. The nighttime tubing at Harper Mountain is one of the best things to do in Kamloops because it isn’t as busy as a weekend and the lights at night are so pretty as you go racing down the mountain.
Make sure you come prepared by dressing warm and wear appropriate winter boots to keep your toes from getting cold. Depending on when you go, there may be lineups to stand in but if you love the adrenaline and the experience, it is worth waiting.
The Best Day Trips from Kamloops
While we love all of the places on our best things to do in Kamloops list, there are many amazing places that are great for day trip excursions. There is so much beauty and adventure surrounding Kamloops and we want to share some of the best day trips from Kamloops that you can easily squeeze into your itinerary:
With tremendous scenery around us that can take your breath away, living in the interior of British Columbia we are lucky to have mountains and lakes. Johnson Lake BC is known as the “Caribbean of the North” for its fantastic water (you have to see it in person), and incredible blues and greens.
We have an entire post that will help guide you on a day trip to Johnson Lake from Kamloops. It is packed with great information on how to get there, the best time to go and what to do when you arrive.
Johnson Lake is a hidden gem in our area of British Columbia and you will not be disappointed if you make the effort to go there.
Whitecroft Waterfalls & Heffley Lake
If you are looking to combine two amazing activities in one day trip, consider hiking to Whitecroft Falls and then paddleboarding on Heffley Lake on your way back to Kamloops.
The hike to Whitecroft Waterfalls is a quick and relatively moderate hike and can be done with small children. Heffley Lake is just a few minutes down the road and is a perfect spot to cool off and enjoy a relaxing time on your paddleboard.
Wells Gray Provincial Park
Expansive Wells Gray Provincial Park in the Cariboo mountain range is one of British Columbia’s most spectacular parks. Helmcken Falls, one of Canada’s third-highest waterfalls and several other natural wonders make this a must-visit for all visitors.
If you are a more adventurous person or looking for some longer hikes, visit Wells Gray just north of Kamloops. The park has something to offer for all types of visitors and is listed as one of the top 10 best provincial parks in British Columbia.
Stop at the Painted Turtle Restaurant either on your way to the park or stop there when you leave. This restaurant in Clearwater, at the entrance to the park, is situated in the middle of a beautiful natural setting. The restaurant offers local and organic produce, wild game dishes as well as favourites such as burgers and fries.
If you are visiting Kamloops and looking to get away from it all but not too far, Wells Gray Provincial Park is your best bet!
Outdoor Winter Ice Skating
If you want to experience a classic Canadian outing, grab your skates and head to Inks Lake for some pond hockey. You can also skate along the perimeter of the lake as people usually go to great efforts to clear off the trail.
There are also many places to make a fire and roast hot dogs and marshmallows or just to simply sit around to keep warm. Inks Lake is a quick 20 minute drive from Kamloops and is quite popular with the locals so don’t be surprised to see a parking lot full of vehicles. But don’t worry, Inks Lake can handle a large number of groups without feeling crowded.
Where to Stay in Kamloops
Choosing where to stay in Kamloops is a big decision for those visiting the city and it is important to understand the main areas of the hotels:
Hotels in Downtown Kamloops
The first thing you need to know for all hotels in the downtown area of Kamloops is that there are active train tracks running along the river through the entire city. While the soundproofing of many of the hotels is great, if you aren’t used to it, it may disturb your sleep.
- Sandman Signature Kamloops Hotel
- Double Tree by Hilton
- Delta Hotels by Marriot
- Thompson Hotel & Conference Centre
- The Plaza Hotel
- Scott’s Inn and Restaurant
- Best Western Plus (this hotel is located in Sahali and not near the train tracks)
Hotels in Aberdeen
The hotels located in the Aberdeen area of Kamloops are easily accessible from the highway and provide a convenient location at an affordable price.
- Coast Kamloops Hotel & Conference Centre
- Holiday Inn Express
- Hampton Inn by Hilton
- Best Western Premier Aberdeen
- Travelodge by Wyndham Mountview
- Pacific Inn & Suites
- The Hue Hotel
- Windgate by Wyndham
- Quality Inn Kamloops
Where to Eat in Kamloops
While there are many options for places to eat in Kamloops, we will break down our suggested restaurants by location in Kamloops:
Restaurants in Downtown Kamloops
- Brownstone Restaurant
- Krob Krua Thai
- Hello Toast
- Peter’s Pasta
- Pizza Pi
- Maurya’s Restaurant & Bar
- Cordo Restaurant & Bar
- The Noble Pig
- Mitzz Kitchen
- Jacob’s Noodle & Cutlet
- Casa Azul
- Klasske’s Bistro
- Moxie’s Grill & Bar
- Shark Club Sports Bar & Grill
- Papa G’s Cafe
- ahhYay Wellness Cafe
- The Art We Are Cafe
- Passek’s Classics Cafe
- The Raj Indian Kitchen
Restaurants in Aberdeen
- ROMEO’S Kitchen & Spirits
- Twisted Olive
- ATLAS Steak & Fish
- MATCH Eatery & Public House
- Cora’s Breakfast & Lunch
Restaurants in Sahali
- Tiger Ramen
- Browns Social House
- Earls Kitchen & Bar
- Bold Pizzeria
- The Wakayama Ramen Bar
- Oya Japanese Restaurant
Restaurants on the North Shore
- Minos Greek Restaurant
- Jamaican Kitchen
- Bright Eye Brewing
- Red Beard Cafe
Restaurants in Valleyview
- Amsterdam Restaurant
- Sushi Valley
- Harold’s Restaurant
Shopping in Kamloops
For those who love shopping, there’s no shortage either. The city has its own mall, the Aberdeen Mall. There are over 75 stores and it is conveniently located just off the highway at the Hillside Drive exit.
The mall has a large selection of stores and you can find anything from clothes to home decor, electronics, etc. There are also restaurants in the food court if you want to take a break or have lunch while shopping.
If your tastes vary then head over to downtown Kamloops where there are a number of boutique shops. You’ll find everything from vintage clothing to handmade jewellery.
A few of the popular shops downtown are Castles and Cottages, which has a wide range of products to help you decorate your home, fashion the clothes in your wardrobe, or anything else. Jardines Domaine offers ladies and men’s fashions where you will find more amazing brands.
The Kamloops Farmers Market on Saturday mornings during the warmer months is also worth mentioning for those who want to buy fresh produce or find delicious treats like honey from local beekeepers. It is located in the 200 block of St Paul Street and runs from 8:30am to 12:30pm during the months from April to October.
Wineries in Kamloops
The best Kamloops wines and wineries are waiting for you. Explore the scenic vistas of this semi-arid wine region as you take in local flavours, enjoy a delicious meal or just relax with friends. Choose from one of four award-winning wineries along the Kamloops Wine Trail.
- Monte Creek Winery
- Harper’s Trail Estate Winery
- Privato Vineyard & Winery
- Sagewood Winery
Kamloops is a great place to spend your day or even your week. There are so many things to do in Kamloops. From the outdoor adventures and wildlife at Wells Gray Provincial Park to the wine tasting tours of some of BC’s finest wineries, Kamloops has something for everyone. What are you waiting for? Start packing!