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Nelson (British Columbia)

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Nelson is a charming mountain town in southeast British Columbia, Canada. The 1987 film Roxanne starring Steve Martin was filmed in this town.

Get in[edit]

Nelson's Baker Street

Nelson is located on hwy 3A about 657 km (a 9 hour drive) from Vancouver and 624 km from Calgary. It is also 237 km from Spokane, WA, 496 km from Banff and 454 km from Kamloops.

  • Air Canada, [7]. Offering daily flights from Vancouver and Calgary to Castlegar Regional Airport, (40 km away), with shuttle service to Nelson provided by Queen City Limo. It is recommended to book shuttle in advance. Budget and National car rentals are also available in the Castlegar Regional Airport.
  • Greyhound, [8]. Offering twice daily bus service to towns and cities throughout BC. Buses from Vancouver and Calgary take approximately 12 hours in total, including stops.
  • BC Transit, [9]. Offering a regional bus service throughout BC, apart from the Greater Vancouver region.
  • Nelson Municipal Airport, offers a 3100x75 asphalt runway for private aircraft only. No commercial flights land here.

Get around[edit]

The downtown core of Nelson is very compact and walkable. The main streets stretch a few blocks up the hillside away from the lake, and along the contours of the hillside. You don't need a car to get between downtown businesses, but you might need one to get to housing away from the centre. It's a ten minute uphill walk from the airport to the heart of downtown, though the railroad track just inland of the airport is a slight obstacle.

  • Budget car rentals are located a block west of the Prestige Lakeside Resort on Lakeside Dr.
  • Kootenay Carshare Co-operative is a carsharing service that will also sign up short-term visitors. Vehicle fleet includes four-wheel-drive pick-up trucks for mountain roads and full-electric vehicles. Vehicles are located across the city and can be rented in 15-minute increments for up to several weeks at a time.
  • Rent-a-wreck are located by Nelson Municipal Airport.
  • BC Transit, see above.

See[edit][add listing]

  • Museum of Art & History, 512 Vernon St. Tel: 250-352-9813, [10]. Displaying the culture and history of Nelson and District in its museum, archives and art gallery.
  • Nelson Mining Museum. Features thousands of rock, gem, fossil and mine core specimens from the West Kootenays and British Columbia. An extensive collection of books, mining publications and maps, both new and old, are available for public use. The facility is open year-round – check for daily and seasonal hours. Located at 215 Hall St. Tel: 250-352-5242
  • Nelson & District Visitor Info Centre, 225 Hall Street, Nelson, BC V1L 5X4. Telephone: (250) 352-3433 Fax: (250) 352-6355 Toll Free (877) 663-5706. Open year round.
  • Streetcar 23. Open weekends and all summer. Historic restored streetcar that used to run down Baker Street now runs from Lakeside Park to Chahko Mika Mall and beyond along the lakeside.

Do[edit][add listing]

Nelson is an great base to explore the lakes, mountains and rivers of the surrounding area. The west arm of the Kootenay Lake flows past Nelson with several dams just below Nelson. The big orange bridge (known locally as BOB) is a local icon connecting the north shore to Nelson. Lakeside Park is a mix of grass and shade trees and sandy beach.

  • Spa/Retreat, [11]. Mountainwaters has many Spa services, treatments and packages. Also does weddings, wedding receptions and some accommodation. Located on the outskirts of Nelson, about 10 mins from downtown.
  • Yoga There are several yoga studios in Nelson, perhaps the biggest is Trinity Yoga, [12] who run yoga teacher training courses across Canada, as well as Yoga classes in Nelson. Shanti Yoga [13] are also worth noting and they run Yoga classes in town.
  • Kootenay School of the Arts [14], study fine craft production in clay, metal, jewelry and small object design or fibre. Community classes as well as two year Diploma programmes.

Enjoy the scenery of Nelson, go for a hike, snowshoe, or glacier swim!

  • Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park, [1]. can be accessed from the north shore (about 20 km from Nelson towards Balfour and the Kootenay Lake Ferry). Getting to the main trailhead into the park requires a steep 13 km drive to Gibson Lake.  edit

Buy[edit][add listing]

  • Chahko Mika Mall, Located on the lake front., [15]. Contains approx 30 stores/services including restaurants, clothing, supermarket, Wal-Mart, newsagent, book store etc.
  • Still Eagle Planetary Persuasions, [16]. British Columbia's first hemp store and one of the largest distributors of hemp, organic and fair-trade clothing products in Canada.
  • Culinary Conspiracy Specialty Food Store, 610 Baker Street (corner of Josephine & Baker Street beside the Main Street Diner), 250 352-9966, [2]. 10 am-5 pm. A great selection of specialty gourmet food items such as hard to find spices, oils, vinegars, sauces and more. moderate.  edit
  • Annie's Boutique, 106 - 402 Baker Street (Downtown just off the corner of Stanley & Baker), 250-354-2000, [3].  edit

Eat[edit][add listing]


Fast Food[edit]

Quizno's, KFC, A&W and Edo Japan are all located in Chahko Mika Mall, see above.

A&W, 512 Railway St.

Subway, Baker Street.


  • Max and Irmas -- wood fired pizzas, Italian california
  • Outer Clove -- everything garlic
  • Mike's -- Something for everyone
  • KC'S Kitchen -- The only good sushi in town, the Chinese is a miss
  • Jackson's Hole -- Dixie's Cafe in the movie Roaxanne, Something for everyone
  • Redfish Grill -- eclectic and conventional food (currently closed due to fire)
  • Bite [17] -- The fry truck from March to October on Baker - the very best burgers, fries, organic poutine, fries, wraps, salads and more.
  • Baker Street Cafe -- Great fish and chips, greek meals, burgers, meals, draft on tap.
  • Bogustown Pub -- A great atmosphere, daily specials. The patio is a great place to be rain or shine.
  • The Preserved Seed Café, 202 Vernon Street (west of Kootenay Street, up a covered stairway), +1-250-352-0325 (), [4]. Mo-Th 7:30am–9pm, Fr 7:30am-6pm, Sa–Su closed. Wholesome ingredients at an affordable price, in an atmosphere that is warm and nourishing. "True food". Sandwiches, salads, rice bowls, desserts, coffee & teas. Plenty of vegetarian options. Free wifi. Balcony dining areas tucked into the sides of a hillside house. Cash and local cheques only. They have another branch in Chilliwack. Lunch $6-10.  edit


  • All Season Cafe Where the locals go for a special dinner. Great wine list.
  • Fusion 301 French and Fusion Bistro in a trendy atmosphere
  • Bibo New restaurant to Nelson, beautiful patio, fantastic food and wine.

Drink[edit][add listing]

  • Bogustown Pub -- A relaxed atmosphere including an enjoyable patio, daily drink specials, and great service.
  • Spirit Bar located in the Hume Hotel, mixed crowd with DJ's on weekends and the occasional live act
  • The City of Nelson has its own brewery, The Nelson Brewing Company.[18].
  • The Library the lounge in the Hume Hotel, relaxing atmosphere, good food and drink, fireplace in Winter and live music in evenings
  • Louie's Steakhouse and Lounge, 616 Vernon St, 1 250 352 7211, [5]. Located in the renovated New Grand Hotel, Louie's serves up an enticing array of signature martinis, cocktails, and other libations in an elegant, relaxing atmosphere.  edit
  • Finley's Irish Bar & Grill. offers live entertainment, karaoke, live DJ. The kitchen is open until 2AM.  edit
  • Uptown Tavern.  edit
  • Jackson's Hole. Restaurant/bar with a friendly atmosphere, good comfort food, and great beer on tap. Sun-lovers will love the summer patio. Family friendly.  edit

Sleep[edit][add listing]



  • Kokanee Creek Provincial Park 20km from Nelson BC. [19] With a large sandy beach, adventure playground, hot showers and a host of other amenities you’re sure to be comfortable and find plenty to do for you and your family. Open May 1-Sep 30.
  • Nelson Municipal Campground Centrally located within walking distance of downtown and Lakeside Park, the municipal campground makes an ideal base. RV and tent spots are available. Open 1 May to 30 September. See City of Nelson website for more details.


There are currently three hostels in Nelson all of which are in good downtown locations, close to bars, restaurants and stores.

  • Dancing Bear Hostel [20]. Clean and quiet. Rates (2006) $22 to $50. Also group rooms at $68 to $152 per night, sleeping between 4 and 8 people.
  • New Grand Hotel and Hostel, [21]. Recently refurbished, it is located downtown on Vernon St. Has some private budget rooms available at (2009) $42 to $47 per night.
  • The Whitehouse Backpacker Lodge, [22]. Renovated grand Victorian building, it is located at the quiet end of Vernon St. Rooms are $25 - $30 pp/night (2007)


  • Solterra Guest House[23] Beautiful private setting, close to downtown and the Burlington trail.
  • New Grand Hotel, [24]. In the same building as the 'New Grand Hostel', see above. Located downtown on Vernon St. Rates (2009) $79 to $109 per night.
  • The Prestige Inn, [25] Located by the lake shore on Front St. Rates (2006) $100 to $250 per night.
  • The Hume Hotel, Vernon St. (downtown), [26]. Rates (2006) $80 to $140 per night.
  • Best Western Baker Street Inn, [27]. 153 Baker St, just a few minute's walk from the attractions on the rest of Baker St. (250)352-3525
  • Ainsworth Springs Guest House, 3620 Highway 31, Ainsworth Hot Springs - 60 miles from Nelson, [28]. Rates (2009) $84 to $113 per night.


  • Prestige Lakeside Resort, 701 Lakeside Drive, [6]. $180 to $290 per night.  edit


There are many locations where the traveler can access wireless Internet, including the following: Safeway, Nelson Public Library, Best Western Baker St Inn, and many restaurants in town.

Get out[edit]

  • Ainsworth Hot Springs, [29]. Located approx. 47 km north of Nelson on Hwy 31. This resort is open for day visits ($5 to $11) and also has rooms (approx. $100 to $200, depending on season) and a restaurant. Rates are 2006 prices.
  • Whitewater Winter Resort, [30]. Located just 10 miles from Nelson and boasts 20 km of cross country trails, groomed and track set for all abilities. Average snowfall is 45 feet. Rates (2020) $89 per day for adults.

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