Heritage, Adventure and Community Spirit Welcome You
Nelson is one of Canada's hidden gems. Nestled in the Selkirk Mountains along the West Arm of Kootenay Lake, the vibrant mountain town of approximately 10,000 residents features a special combination of heritage, recreation, culture and creativity. It's been called North American's best ski town and Canada's best small arts and culture town for good reason. Nelson's Baker Street is full of art, in shops, galleries, and even on the streets and in the alleys.
Nelson has a vibrant and carefully restored downtown shopping area, and a busy social scene with live performances, arts and music nearly every night of the week.
The legacy of the past, evident in the more than 350 preserved heritage buildings, mixes with a dynamic modern arts and culture scene. The huge variety in recreational activities in winter and summer attracts outdoor enthusiasts year round. Creatives, entrepreneurs, and urban refugees will find that Nelson has more to offer than most cities twice or three times the size.Known as the “Queen City” for over one hundred years, Nelson has more lovingly restored heritage buildings per capita than anywhere else in the province.
History and Heritage
With over 350 heritage buildings, Nelson has earned a reputation as one of the finest heritage cities in Canada. Dating back to the late 1800s, most historical buildings are within walking distance of each other, so strolling through town is like opening the history books.
There are two self-guided heritage tours available, including a Heritage Walking or Biking Tour and Mural Tour. Details and maps are available at the Nelson Visitor Centre.
The Nelson Museum, Archives & Gallery is also well worth the visit. The changing exhibition offers visitors a range of themes including contemporary art and pop culture. Learn about the region’s rich cultural heritage in the modern and interactive museum. Local art and crafts and literature are also available for sale in the gift shop.
Dining in Nelson BC
Nelson is reputed to have more restaurants per capita than Manhattan or San Francisco. It's also home to multiple coffee roasters, sourdough bakeries, and a thriving cafe scene.
Three craft breweries call Nelson home, and you'll find over 100 beers on tap in pubs, bistros, taprooms and restaurants within the downtown core.
Summer markets feature locally grown produce, while the Kootenay Co-Op (Canada's oldest food cooperative) features a wide selection of organic and natural foods.
Shopping in Nelson
Specialty stores, farmer’s markets and clothing shops are just a few of the shopping opportunities in Nelson’s heritage downtown core on Baker Street, Victoria Street and Herridge Lane. There are antique, boutique and art stores so you can find that ‘one of a kind’ local gift. Outdoor stores are on every block, selling an array of sports gear for adventure seekers, all year round.
Accommodation in Nelson
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The sky’s the limit when it comes to outdoor activities in and around Nelson all year round.
Winter brings impressive snowfall, earning Nelson the crown as the Best Ski Town in North America. And whether you’re kayaking on the lake, cycling a pine-topped ridge or hiking our lush forests, Nelson is a gateway to the backcountry.
Mountain Biking in Nelson
Nelson is a mountain biking paradise that attracts riders from all over with its exceptional trails and breathtaking scenery. Nestled amidst the stunning Selkirk Mountains, Nelson offers a diverse range of mountain biking experiences for riders of all skill levels. From thrilling downhill descents to exhilarating cross-country trails, there is something for everyone. The extensive trail network spans through lush forests, meandering rivers, and panoramic mountain vistas, providing an unforgettable backdrop for every ride. With the support of passionate local riders and organizations like the Nelson Cycling Club, the mountain biking community in Nelson continues to thrive, making it a must-visit destination for any avid mountain biker.
Read our visitors guide online or order a copy of the official visitor's guide and map for our region.