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Nelson
Travel Guide

This picturesque town in the foothills of the Selkirk Mountains has superb ski resorts, watersports, heritage architecture and a thriving arts scene.

Nelson is a pretty and laid-back town that combines stunning natural scenery and outdoor adventures with Victorian-era heritage and a vibrant arts culture. From skiing and watersports, to galleries, museums and boutique shopping, the town has a wealth of varied attractions. Nelson sits on the west arm of Kootenay Lake and at the base of British Columbia’s Selkirk Mountains.

The pedestrian-friendly streets of downtown Nelson are enjoyable to explore on foot. Discover more than 350 well-preserved Victorian buildings on the self-guided Heritage Walking Tour. Spot 19th-century shop fronts and historical landmarks such as the early 1900s Court House. Go to Baker Street to find a range of independent boutiques, galleries, cafés and pubs.

Learn about the town’s history, First Nations people and early settlers at the Touchstones Nelson: Museum and Art Gallery. Attend concerts, musical and plays at the Capitol Theatre or take a tour of the Nelson Brewing Company.

Walk to the waterfront, where the town meets the glorious Kootenay Lake. During the summer months the lake hosts many watersports, including boating, kayaking, fishing and scuba diving. Enjoy a scenic waterfront ride on the historic Streetcar No. 23. Stroll along the waterfront trail to Lakeside Park, a popular recreational area with sport’s courts, a maze, a beach and safe swimming.

When the snow falls Nelson becomes a paradise for wintersports. Just a short drive from downtown Nelson is Whitewater Ski Resort, which has 81 ski runs and 9 miles (15 kilometers) of Nordic trails spread over the Selkirk Mountains. On the opposite side of Kootenay Lake is Baldface Lodge, home to 32,000 acres (12,950 hectares) of backcountry skiing terrain.

Nelson is almost halfway between Calgary and Vancouver. It’s well-connected by intercity buses, although getting here is most convenient via rented car. Nelson is a gateway to British Columbia’s striking Kootenay region. Bike or hike along the Great Northern Rail Trail, a 30-mile (48-kilometer) long trail that passes rugged landscapes and small villages. Go hiking in Kokanee Glacial Provincial Park and relax on the unspoiled beaches of Kokanee Creek Provincial Park.

Prestige Lakeside Resort, BW Premier Collection
Prestige Lakeside Resort, BW Premier Collection
3.5 out of 5
701 Lakeside Drive, Nelson, BC
The price is ¥16,252 per night from Mar 8 to Mar 9

Located in the heart of Nelson, this spa hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Columbia Mountains, Kootenay Lake, and Nelson & District Community Complex. Touchstones ...

4.4/5Excellent! (422 reviews)

"Property was really nice and right on the water. We really liked that it was kind of out of the way, but also within walking distance to downtown."…"

Reviewed on Feb 22, 2021

Prestige Lakeside Resort, BW Premier Collection
Hume Hotel & Spa
Hume Hotel & Spa
3.5 out of 5
422 Vernon St, Nelson, BC
The price is ¥13,689 per night from Apr 4 to Apr 5

Located in the heart of Nelson, this spa hotel is steps from Columbia Mountains, Touchstones Museum, and Baldface Lodge. Nelson & District Community Complex ...

4.6/5Wonderful! (827 reviews)

"Not my first time at the Hume but an wonderful experience as usual."…"

Reviewed on Feb 14, 2021

Hume Hotel & Spa
Prestige Inn Nelson
Prestige Inn Nelson
3 out of 5
1301 Front St, Nelson, BC
The price is ¥8,775 per night from Apr 2 to Apr 3

Situated in Nelson, this eco-friendly hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Columbia Mountains, Lakeside Park, and Nelson & District Community Complex. Kootenay ...

3.7/5Good! (567 reviews)

"Location was great walking distance to most things"…"

Reviewed on Feb 18, 2021

Prestige Inn Nelson
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.
Nelson Beachside Retreat
Nelson Beachside Retreat
Nelson, BC

Nestled on the beach, this Nelson cabin is just steps from Columbia Mountains and Kootenay Lake. Kokanee Creek Provincial Park is 1.1 mi (1.7 km) away.

4.9/5Exceptional! (17 reviews)
Incredible Beach Setting!

"What a great week....ideal family accommodations, and all the desired amenities for this incredible lake setting. Walk, paddle, swim, enjoy evening campfires, dark sky star gazing, abundant clean sandy beaches, this is the perfect combination for an outstanding, memorable vacation! Convenient access ..."…"

Reviewed on Oct 11, 2020

Nelson Beachside Retreat
Beautiful And Private Mountainside Log Cabin - Hot Tub And 10 Min From Nelson
Beautiful And Private Mountainside Log Cabin - Hot Tub And 10 Min From Nelson
Nelson, BC

Situated in Nelson, this historic chalet is 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from Columbia Mountains and within 6 mi (10 km) of Whitewater Ski Resort and Kuba's Corners. Sproulers ...

4.9/5Exceptional! (57 reviews)
Whitewater paradise

"This spot is beautiful! The chalet is lovely, has everything you need, and is hidden away from the world in the trees. We had a lovely weekend."…"

Reviewed on Feb 11, 2021

Beautiful And Private Mountainside Log Cabin - Hot Tub And 10 Min From Nelson
Cozy Log Cabin in Pristine Nature
Cozy Log Cabin in Pristine Nature
Nelson, BC
The price is ¥11,551 per night from Mar 21 to Mar 22

Situated in a rural location, this historic cabin is within 2 mi (3 km) of Columbia Mountains, Cottonwood Falls Park, and Kootenay Lake. Granite Pointe Golf ...

5/5Exceptional! (3 reviews)
Great little getaway

"Clean, cozy, well appointed. Awesome host."…"

Reviewed on Mar 1, 2021

Cozy Log Cabin in Pristine Nature
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Popular places to visit in Nelson

Reviews of Nelson

4.6

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
51
5 - Excellent 64.55696202531645%
4 - Good
24
4 - Good 30.379746835443036%
3 - Okay
3
3 - Okay 3.7974683544303796%
2 - Disappointing
1
2 - Disappointing 1.2658227848101267%
1 - Terrible
0
1 - Terrible 0%

4/5 - Good

Verified traveler

Mar 4, 2020

We will be back to check out the area.

5/5 - Excellent

May

Feb 11, 2020

Huge variety of restaurants to choose from...not all created equal but highly recommend Yum Son Viet-Modern and Celestial Scoop Cafe (don't let the store front fool you, it's amazing vegan ice cream!)

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Sep 14, 2019

Loved Oso Negro Coffee!

4/5 - Good

Anonymous

Sep 10, 2019

Nelson was a beautiful city and I had a great time at the event I traveled for. My hotel stay was rough, but I’d visit the city again if I stayed elsewhere.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Aug 30, 2019

Love Nelson, will go back, but probably will stay at another property.

5/5 - Excellent

Cindy

Aug 13, 2019

Eat at The Hume Hotel, stay there if you can, excellent dining staff and food (breakfast) and nice hotel. Eat at West Coast Grill, beautiful out door dining area on the water. Buffet dinner has everything you need. Baker Street is the place to shop

Cities near Nelson