(This story is sponsored by Tourism Kamloops.)
If you’re the type who appreciates a springtime getaway filled with craft beer, film screenings, delicious food, local art, and wine—then it’s time to plan a trip to Kamloops.
Located only a three-and-a-half hour drive from downtown Vancouver, the Interior city makes the perfect destination for a couple’s getaway, weekend with friends, or family trip.
From March 5 to 14, the 24th annual Kamloops Film Festival returns to its downtown core. The festival will include screenings of more than 20 Canadian and international films, two of which were shot in Kamloops as the picturesque city is a popular filming destination.
To pique your interest even further, some of the films have been described by critics as “a full blown, supernatural, mindf*ck” and “touching, heartbreaking, and dangerously thought-provoking”.
(For the sake of the children attending the event, the critics were not describing Frozen 2 Sing-a-long, which will also be playing on the big screen.)
The festival takes place at the Paramount Theatre and visitors are encouraged to take part in other popular events, like Flavours & Flicks. This gives festivalgoers the opportunity to explore the local food scene and the Kamloops Wine Trail by partnering with three highly regarded restaurants.
The participating restaurants are three of Kamloops’ finest: Cordo Resto + Bar, Forno on 5th, and The Noble Pig Brewhouse. All eateries have developed tasting menus and local wine pairings that highlight the fresh flavours of Kamloops. Beer lovers will likely be impressed with the Noble Pig in particular, as it happens to be the city’s first microbrewery.
For visitors who don’t want to commit to a pre-set menu, there are many notable restaurants within walking distance from the theatre.
Visitors can fill their getaway with other activities that don’t require any pre-booking or pre-planning before they arrive. This is a godsend for busy families or weekend warriors who prefer to wing it.
“What’s nice about Kamloops is that you never have to plan much to have a memorable experience,” says Monica Dickinson, director of communications at Tourism Kamloops and a proud resident for more than 20 years. Kamloops’s laidback vibe allows for spontaneous, in the moment experiences—no reservations required.
For those interested in arts and culture, the Kamloops Art Gallery will be worth their while.
“Kamloops’s vibrant art scene is truly unexpected and would come as a surprise to many from the Lower Mainland,” says Dickinson, “and the caliber of talent and expertise our artists hold is extraordinary.”
If the sun is shining, art enthusiasts can embark on a self-led walking tour where they can admire all 30 of the murals that can be found within the downtown area. The mural map can be found here.
Kamloops is home to a handful of quaint shops that can also be found downtown. “There are about four or five blocks along Victoria Street that offer that boutique flare,” says Dickinson. “A lot of them have local perspectives in what they carry.” Returning home without a couple souvenirs will be near impossible.
Visitors with a taste for beer and wine can plan a DIY brewery tour between all five of the city’s ale-making establishments. For those who prefer a delicate glass of Riesling to a pint of beer, stopping at the Monte Creek Ranch Winery for a wine tasting is a must.
Night owls can visit the Commodore Grand Cafe & Lounge or The Blue Grotto for a drink after film screenings. Both establishments stay open way past midnight for visitors who rightfully value a good time over sleep.
Outdoorsy visitors can also stop at Harper Mountain for downhill skiing, snowshoeing, tubing, and a bite to eat at the rustic lodge.
“If you’re feeling adventurous and want to stretch your legs, Kamloops has some great hiking trails in the area,” says Dickinson. “If winter weather prevails, the snowshoeing and Nordic skiing at Stake Lake is about a 15-minute drive from Kamloops.”
Sightseers who would rather stay within the city of Kamloops can stretch their legs by walking along the paved Rivers Trail. To complete the experience, local coffee shops The Art We Are and Caffe Motivo make warm drinks and baked goods that pair well with a nature stroll.
To purchase your tickets to the Kamloops Film Festival, visit www.kamloopsfilmfest.ca/tickets/.