A ‘Where-to-Spend-Your-Money Guide’ for tourists

A ‘Where-to-Spend-Your-Money Guide’ for tourists

Hodgepodge by Charlie Hodge

Today’s column is for tourists and not for locals or regular HodgePodge readers. Please pass this over to a friendly yet frustrated tourist near you who is obviously wondering what to do or where to go.

I have always liked to tell tourists where to go and how to get there.

Today’s column is also about a month late, but I forgive myself.

Dear Tourist,

Welcome to Kelowna in the heart of the magical Okanagan Valley. Here are a few local quirks you should be aware of before a list of my favourite places to go, see, do, or eat.

First off – Kelowna folks are a finicky bunch at the best of times. (Finicky is my polite term for ‘spoiled, a tad pompous, self-absorbed’…)

‘Kelownians’ are never fully satisfied – no matter the situation. Our biggest complaints are about the weather and tourists. (Local definition Tourist – A resident of Kelowna for less than 20 years).

Weather wise we bitch when it is too hot, we bitch when it’s too cold, too wet, too windy, too stuffy…

Tourist wise we complain when there are not enough visitors and then complain even louder when they finally arrive.

We have a useless SOV lane system running through Kelowna on Highway 97. Locals totally ignore this law but we fully expect you (tourists) to obey it. (We will honk and show you various body parts as we roar by if you do not do as you are told).

If you are lost or simply have a tourist related question do not ask someone at the beach or the table next to you in the restaurant. They are tourists. (Locals hide in their yards or secret pub from July 1 to Sept 5).

Here are a smattering of thoughts and tips for you.

  • The best ‘walking’ things about Kelowna include a casual stroll along the waterfront from City Park near the bridge to the Grand Hotel. For a more natural walk try the gorgeous ‘Mission Greenway’ which generally traverses the shoreline of Mission Creek. For a more adventures outing perhaps take a tour of the Rails For Trails, via foot bike or most non motorized methods.

    I suggest you reserve the walks for mornings or afternoons as the heat of the day can be hard on you, family members, or pets.

    The worst thing about Kelowna is parking.

  • Best combination view/food Kelowna – The Craft Beer Market; Earls on Top (would be number one, but have no elevator);  Quails Gate Winery; Pyramid Winery; the Grand; Manteo Resort; The Eldorado
  • Best combination view/food rural – Ancient Hills Winery
  • Best Kelowna restaurant for dinner – Kelly O’Bryan’s; Cactus Club; Memphis House of Blues; The Keg
  • Best Waterfront Pub/Food – Manteo; Cactus Club; The Eldorado
  • Best Regional Waterfront Food – Gasthaus on the Lake (Peachland)
  • Best Kelowna lunch: Bohemian
  • Best Breakfast – IHOP, Cora’s
  • Best Chinese Food – Yum Yum Tree at Capri Centre
  • Best Italian – Mamma Rosa
  • Best Kelowna pub McCulloch Station; Brant’s Creek Pub; the north end’s collection of brew pubs are superb and worth the adventure; the Craft Beer Market
  • Best regional pub Turtle Bay Marina – Lake Country
  • Best sports pub – 1. Dakota’s; 2. Baxter’s Pub
  • Best Take-out – Shady Rest Fish and Chips, Yum Yum Tree
  • Friendliest restaurant staff –  McCullough Station
  • Friendliest sales staff Kelowna: Extra Foods – Capri Mall
  • Best Bakery – Save On – Orchard Park
  • Best Butcher – Johnny’s Meats
  • Best Book Store –  Mosaic Books
  • Best Music Store – Wentworth Music
  • Best Clothing Store – 1. Moore’s (Spall Mall); 2. Robertson’s Clothing – south Pandosy
  • Best live Music –Blue Gator
  • Best Concert Facility – Kelowna Community Theatre
  • Best Sunday jam night – The Blue Gator
  • Kelowna hosts ongoing Music in the Park concerts at Island Stage in Waterfront Park or Kerry Park – listing on City website
  • Best walk/dog walk – Mission Creek Greenway
  • Best Place to people watch – The Sails
  • Intersections to avoid – 97 and Spall, 97 and Gordon
  • Favourite Hideaway – Maud Roxby bird sanctuary, my back yard

Locals (and happy tourists) who wish to add to my list can email me at charliehodge333@gmail.com and I will print them.

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Charlie Hodge is a best-selling author, writer, a current Kelowna City Councillor, and a Director on the Regional District of the Central Okanagan Board. He spent more than 25 years as a full-time newspaper journalist and has a diverse background in public relations, promotions, personal coaching, and strategic planning. A former managing editor, assistant editor, sports editor, entertainment editor, journalist, and photographer, Hodge also co-hosted a variety of radio talk shows and still writes a regular weekly newspaper column titled Hodge Podge, which he has crafted now for 41 years. His biography on Howie Meeker, titled Golly Gee It’s Me is a Canadian bestseller and his second book, Stop It There, Back It Up – 50 Years of the NHL garnered lots of attention from media and hockey fans alike. Charlie is currently working on a third hockey book, as well as a contracted historical/fiction novel. His creative promotional skills and strategic planning have been utilized for many years in the Canadian music industry, provincial, national, and international environmental fields, and municipal, provincial, and federal politics. Charlie is a skilled facilitator, a dynamic motivational speaker, and effective personal coach. His hobbies include gardening, canoeing, playing pool, and writing music. Charlie shares his Okanagan home with wife Teresa and five spoiled cats.


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