Nelson’s history dates back to the late 1880′s when the town grew quickly out of mining wealth into a thriving centre.  The railways, forestry and later a university followed.  The economic downtown and restructuring of the 1980′s saw the town fall into decline until a restoration project of some of the 350 Victorian buildings helped Nelson turn the corner to once again become the Queen City of Kootenays, attracting visitors from around the world.   Revisit the past and ride Streetcar #23, a restored street car that travels along the beautiful waterfront park during summer, or take a self guided walking or driving tour to get a closer look at Nelson’s Victorian heritage.  Contact Nelson Visitors Centre for more information.


Renowned as Canada’s #1 Small Arts Town, Nelson has an array of local galleries and artist co-operatives, as well as two galleries within Touchstones Museum. where you can also learn more about Nelson’s history.  Art comes alive throughout Nelson each summer during the local arts council’s Art Walk.  Check out the Nelson Arts & Culture Events Calendar for more local arts and cultural events.  Nelson has been the setting for several films most notably: Roxanne,  back in 1986, and more recently scenes for the 2007 snowboarding film Optimistic? by Absinthe Films. For art on four wheels come and check out the annual Road Kings Car Show.  Nelson also boasts several live theatre venues including The Capitol.  For all the latest on local culture and new and views check out


From the sophisticated to the eccentric Nelson has it covered.  Stroll along Baker Street and you’ll find everything from high fashion boutiques to outdoor gear equipment to new age supplies, as well as a large range of services.  At Lakeside you’ll find Chahko Mika Mall with a variety of stores.  For a grass roots alternative check out Nelson’s laid back local markets where farmers and artisans sell homegrown wares and local musicians provide free entertainment.  For details see West Kootenay Ecosocietey.


The music scene in Nelson is always happening.  Great live music shows at local pubs and clubs including The Royal Hotel,  The Spririt Bar & Library Lounge at The Hume Hotel , Finley’s Hotel, cafes, intimate restaurants, Ellison’s Market and the Capitol Theatre .   The local jam sessions often bring out some serious talent.  Nelson is also the perfect base for nearby music festivals in Nakusp,  Kaslo,   Crawford Bay and the famous Shambala in nearby Salmo.


The selection and quality of  restaurants in town is astonishing. And Nelson’s compact downtown means virtually everything is within walking distance.  Cafes too abound, the most famous being Oso Negro which also has its own roastery.  It`s all available from local, family run, one of a kind establishments (sorry, you won`t find a MickeyD’s here!).  Nelson even has its own micro brewery, The Nelson Brewing Company, with a seasonal range of organic beers.  When you’re staying in to cook Nelson has 2 organic  food stores: Kootenay Co-op, Ellison’s Market, and three grocery stores, including one in the next block from us!

Learning & Health

The city of Nelson is home to 3 campuses of Selkirk College, including Kootenay School of the Arts, as well as the Academy of Classical Oriental Medicine.  There are many other classes and workshops available covering anything from Art Therapy and African drumming, to Woodworking and Yoga. Drop in yoga classes are widely available including Shanti Yoga and The Yoga Loft.   Shape up at Nelson & District Community Complex or Summit Gym, with certified CHEK trainer.   Have a spa day!  There are wonderful spas in town including the Mountainwaters Spa.


People from Nelson are an interesting lot.  They tend to be creative, love the outdoors, are down to earth and are very friendly.  People smile as they pass one another in the street!  They still have that pioneering spirit, love an adventure, and on the whole are just happy to be here!  The town seems to be a magnet for artists, hippies, sports enthusiasits, alternative lifestylers, masseuses, mountain bikers, film makers, vegans, musicians, backpackers, entrepreneurs, draft dodgers, skateboarders and philosophers, to name but a few.