One of My All-time Favorite Cities to Travel to

Who doesn’t love exploring a new place? I know I do. Today, I am going to share with you one of my all-time favorite cities that my family and I have been road tripping to since I can remember. Some of my fondest memories have been in this city and I look forward to making more. If you’re looking for a getaway, you MUST check out this city.

The place I love travelling to is Nelson BC, Canada!

nelson bc

You’re probably thinking…where the heck is Nelson? Lol. If you’ve heard of it, you’ll probably know it to be a little hipster town. Nelson is known for it’s “care-free spirit” and independently owned businesses. You won’t be finding chain restaurants or coffee shops in this downtown core – which is what makes it different! Nelson lies in the Kootenays in southern British Columbia experiencing all four seasons – a perfect place to travel to any time of year. Full of historic buildings, farmers markets in the summer, and an impeccable art scene, this is what makes Nelson so special.

nelson bc hikes

The main area is Baker Street which is in the heart of Nelson’s downtown. What makes Nelson’s downtown so unique are all the non-chain businesses and restaurants. Nelson has the most restaurants “in the world” per capita aka a foodies paradise. MY KIND OF PLACE. And most of these restaurants are easy to get to on foot from the downtown core.

There are a couple spots I really want to highlight:

One of my all-time favorite restaurants actually lies in Nelson. This Mexican restaurant is called Cantina Del Centro. The must have here are the tacos. You will NEVER eat tacos like these – even my discerning Vancouver cousins love this place and can’t wait to come back here every year. They have everything from moist braised lamb, to panko crusted avocado vegetarian tacos. The margaritas are a whole other story – 3oz of booze and exceptional in taste. Try their jalapeno cucumber one for a noteworthy spin. I recommend substituting one of their many mezcals for tequila as the restaurant has a whole variety of tequila and mezcals. And did I mention they’ve added brunch? We are guilty of taking over their patio when we visit hehe. My family and I ALWAYS make a point to come to this restaurant every time we come to Nelson. I’ve gotten all my friends hooked too so if you travel to this city – you must check out this establishment.

They also have opened up two Cantina locations in Kelowna (one in Downtown Kelowna and one at Big White), but the original one just has something about it.

Yum Son is a Vietnamese Modern restaurant that is also exceptional. But this isn’t your average pho joint. What is unique is Yum Son‘s bone broth story. Most restaurants tend to only brew their broth for 8-10 hours while Yum Son brews for 24. Can you imagine how much flavor that is? Heaven in your mouth. I’m a health nut as I’m sure most of you are so you’ll be pleased to hear that their broth uses organic chicken bones and are hormone free. In fact, the whole restaurant is MSG free and uses ethically sourced ingredients. If you’re looking for a fantastic dining experience, check out this viet-modern eatery.

After lunch at one (or both) these restaurants, I always head on over to a brewery. Breweries have taken over and are so trendy right now as they’re popping up left and right. We have quite a few in Kelowna, (the most per capita actually) but I’m always game on trying new ones. If you want to live a little, I always go for a flight so I can sample multiple beers – that’s the best way to do it right ;).

Backroads has award-winning beer with a wonderful small batch variety ranging from dark and chocolatey to hoppy IPA and lighter. The beer is brewed in the back and then flows directly to the taproom up front. Shared tables makes this a beer drinker’s paradise. They even welcome non-beer drinkers or minors with non-alcoholic beverages and beer snacks. What I love the most is the cozy atmosphere of Backroads which resembles the feeling of Nelson – a sense of community all while drinking a traditional beer. You can checkout my blog post on Backroads Brewery here.

Another favorite brewery of mine is Torchlight Brewing Co which is located near the waterfront of Nelson. I am obsessed with their rhubarbarian beer!

Photo credit: Three Owls Studio

Other notable spots I love in Nelson:

More recently in 2019, Broken Hill has opened up which is known for their beer, whiskey and smoker. I love grabbing a beer here!

My favorite coffee shop is Oso Negro. This coffee shop is quite big in size with a stunning outdoor seating area to sip on espresso. I buy their coffee beans here in Kelowna so I can brew it at home.

One of my favorite clothing stores to pop into is Bia Boro. On the higher end side, but super cute casual apparel. I always tend to buy at least one piece from here every time I go. Bia Boro also has a location in Kelowna but I love visiting the one in Nelson!

Craft Connection has really funky stuff for home décor. My parents have purchased quite a few things from here for their house.

Great places to stay are the Prestige Lakeside and Hume Hotel. Hume hotel has a great pub I like to go to called Mike’s Place. It is quite large but cozy. Every time I come to this place it’s always busy so if you’re looking for an atmospheric vibe, be sure to pop in.

If it’s summertime, I recommend some hiking up at Pulpit Rock. This is a great workout and bonus, there are stunning views of Nelson at the top. Afterwards, a nice dip at the Lakeside Park Beach will cool you off. If you’re looking for a good photo op, I always tend to take photos next to the famous orange bridge.

Now that it’s winter time, Nelson has a great ski hill called Whitewater Ski Resort. Known for skiing but also for their incredible food as Whitewater even has its own cookbook! Another awesome activity I love doing is heading up to Ainsworth Hot Springs. About 45 minutes out of town but worth it for their unique hot springs with an updated hotel – perfect for an over night getaway.

These are just a FEW of my favorite things. What makes Nelson so special to me is the uniqueness of it and all the independently owned businesses.

Next time you want to try out a new place, check out Nelson and you won’t be disappointed.

Where is your favorite place to travel to?

-Jenna xoxo

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