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Experience winter bliss in Penticton, where the city's natural beauty comes alive in the colder months.
Penticton is undeniably gorgeous in the summer, combining a blend of leisure and liveliness that has travellers from all over the world returning to every year. With its inviting beaches, 2 tranquil lakes, and the ever-popular channel float, outdoor adventure is prevalent.
However, what many may not realise is that Penticton’s charm is not limited to June through September; when winter hits, the city transforms into a haven for both winter sports fanatics and those seeking a little R&R.
During the winter months, the city embraces a newfound calmness, free from busy crowds, making it the perfect time to explore and experience everything it has to offer. The best part, you can see so much more without all those wait times and reservations you would typically need to adhere to.
Penticton punches above its weight class with the abundance of fine-dining yet laid-back restaurants, like the Turkish-Inspired Elma, where complex cocktails are plentiful and an evolving menu with a few staple items (the Swordfish is legendary) keep locals and tourists consistently coming back. Then there’s the newly opened Kin & Folk, which mixes up Asian fusion with West Coast cuisine (Mr. Chan’s Fried Rice is a crowd favourite), and the hole-in-the-wall Chulo Tapas & Bar, specialising in Spanish share plates. The dining options in this city are incredibly diverse, offering visitors a chance to savour a unique culinary experience every night if desired.
Further complementing the food scene, Penticton plays host almost weekly to Winemaker’s Dinners, a collaboration between local restaurants and wineries. These events feature unforgettable dining experiences where hungry patrons indulge in farm-to-table dishes, accompanied by award-winning Okanagan wine. These dinners are especially common during the winter months when the local wineries and restaurants partner to showcase the best food and wine the region has to offer.
Winter also happens to be an optimal time to visit Penticton wineries and immerse yourself in Okanagan wine culture. Although some wineries do close their doors during the season, many are still welcoming guests, where, again, because of the lack of crowds, you’ll be treated like royalty. And while charcuterie is certainly a lovely pairing with a glass of merlot, the scenic backdrop of snow-capped mountains and sunlit vines is a beautiful addition that you’ll only experience this time of year. To make planning even easier and for a responsible driver, book a wine tour with a knowledgeable local wine tour company such as Grape Friends Lounge & Tours or Unique Blend South Okanagan Tours.
Adding even more to the city’s range of attractions, Penticton’s retail scene is home to multiple boutiques, such as The Bumwrap, known for their swimwear but also carrying bath and body care, accessories, home decor and more, AD HOC, which carries eco-conscious designer goods, and Slow Current, which also stocks their boutique with green products for both men and women. Additionally, there are local spas like Melt Mineral Spa, featuring a menu of lavish treatment options or Creme de la Creme, a combination of skin care spa and boutique.
Penticton covers all the bases for a winter getaway whether it’s for relaxing or for play, and there are plenty of accommodation options to fit every size family and every budget.
Penticton’s newest hotel, Four Points by Sheraton, features a contemporary design that combines rich woods and leathers with calming blue tones, creating a homey feel. Each room is filled with little luxuries to ensure guests are happy and well-rested—we adore the plush bedding and giant pillows, and love that they offer room service. The Sheraton keeps gym buffs happy with both an indoor pool for doing laps and a well-stocked gym, while the Palmer Steakhouse Casual, their on-site restaurant, keeps bellies full and satisfied.
Popular points of interest near the hotel include Okanagan Lake and Beach, the Penticton Visitor Centre, Penticton Trade & Convention Centre, and the South Okanagan Events Centre, home to an incredible selection of concerts, events and the Penticton Vees Junior A Hockey Team. The nearest airport is Penticton Regional Airport, just 4km or a 10-minute drive to downtown Penticton. Apex Mountain Resort, Penticton’s premiere mountain, is only 30 minutes away.
Situated just a short drive from Penticton (30 minutes) Apex Mountain Resort is acclaimed for its exceptional snow—dry and powdery—bluebird skies, and epic terrain spanning over 2000 vertical feet for all levels of skiers and snowboarders, both challenging enough to satisfy those adrenaline-seeking experts and easy enough for the kiddos just learning.
Because it’s still somewhat of a hidden gem, there’s minimal wait times at the 4 ski lifts, making it easy to get in as many laps as you can handle in a day. Plus, there’s an incredibly fun tubing park that has kids and parents screaming with laughter right from the starting line, and even a 1km skating loop which escorts you through a magical snowy forest. All of this coupled with the fact that lift tickets remain affordable (while other premiere mountains have significantly increased prices) make Apex an easy choice for both quality and accessibility.
What adds to the allure of a getaway to Apex are its fantastic selection of dining options and boutique shops. There are 4 dining options located in the village: The Edge Bistro is the place to go for your morning caffeine fix, indulgent pastry, and delicious soups and sandwiches, while Steezy Slices dishes up hot and ready slices of pizza and other on-the-go options. The Gunbarrel Saloon, an iconic on the mountain, stands in as your friendly neighbourhood pub, offers comforting food and chilled to perfection beers, and those Instagram perfect Caesars. Next door, Longshots combines fine dining with a relaxed atmosphere. Here, Chef Evan Robertson’s innovative menu pairs perfectly with complex cocktails crafted by mixologist Ashley Janz.
As for shopping, although the village may be quaint, everything you need is right on the mountain. Alongside the slopes, you’ll find a convenient grocery shop for those who prefer to cook their own meals. A mountain shop for gear tuning or picking up essentials, like that forgotten glove, rental shop, and the Artisans Den for local items such as gorgeous hand-made pottery and more. For a sweet treat, Sweet Peaks offers a delightful selection of candies that rivals a Willy Wonka factory.
Penticton is a city whose natural beauty truly shines in colder months. Where else in Canada can you sip on fine wines in the middle of winter, carve fresh tracks on the slopes after just a half-hour drive, then unwind at an incredible local eatery, and indulge in some retail therapy all within a weekend? This is a city that deserves a second-glance when choosing your next winter getaway destination.
CREATED BY BC LIVING IN PARTNERSHIP WITH Visit Penticton