Before August 2021, the most time I’d ever spent in Revelstoke was a very hot and boring summer afternoon in the 1960s when our old Pontiac Stratochief broke down on a family vacation.
While my dad stayed with the car at the repair shop, my mom trotted my sister and me around the town’s few shops, pausing at a hardware store to buy a camping kettle. Other than that one time, Revelstoke for me was a place to buy gas, find a somewhat clean washroom, and continue south to the Okanagon or west to Vancouver.
My, how times have changed this little community.
Revelstoke has made itself over into a tourist destination. It punches way above its size in its selection of things to do, places to eat, and accommodation choices. If you live in Alberta or BC and want a short getaway in this still COVID-tinged summer, I’d highly recommend a visit. Here are a few things to keep you entertained while you’re there.
1. Drive up the Meadows in Sky Parkway
A twisting 26 kilometer stretch of highway takes you through lush, shady forests of cedar, hemlock, spruce, and fir to a wildflower meadow at the summit of Mount Revelstoke. Along the way, you can stop at viewpoints and explore trails.
Advice if you go: Be prepared to pay the standard Parks Canada fee, since the parkway is located in Mt. Revelstoke National Park. Also, even if it’s warm in Revelstoke, it’s a lot cooler at the summit so take along a jacket and long pants to wear for the 20 minute walk from the parking lot up to the meadow. As of this writing, the summit shuttle bus was not running, so if you’re not dressed for the weather (like us) or you’ve got mobility issues, you’ll miss out on the summit views.
2. Visit the Revelstoke Railway Museum
For the train nerd, the railway history buff, or anyone fascinated by the power and romance of bygone rail travel, this museum offers a couple of great hours of browsing. There are indoor and outdoor exhibits, a display by the local miniature train club, and a chance to drive a train using a computer simulator. Whoo whoo!
Advice if you go: Have a few twonies in your pocket to operate the simulator (we didn’t and missed our chance at the controls).
3. Browse the shops and eat at the restaurants in the historic downtown.
If you’re looking for clothing, footwear, a vintage movie theater, or just a place to sit with a coffee and watch the world go by, you’ll find a grouping of cute shops along Mackenzie Avenue and its adjacent streets. Our favorite restaurants were The Taco Club and The Craft Bierhaus on Second Street.
Advice if you go: The Craft Bierhaus serves fantastic local ales and the best brisket. The Taco Club is not just your average taco place; its flavors are unique. Popular with locals and tourists, especially on Taco Tuesdays. It only takes walk-up reservations, so if you want to sit outside, prepare to wait for a table for up to an hour. Closed Wednesdays.
4. Watch some glassblowing at Big Eddy Glassworks .
A quick trip over the Columbia River will take you to Big Eddy Glassworks. You can watch the process of a glass item being blown and fired and otherwise transformed into a piece you might like to buy in their shop.
Advice if you go: Check out their workshop schedule for some hands on experience.
5. Browse the Revelstoke Museum and Archives and Heritage Gardens
This sweet little museum will help you understand more about Revelstoke’s history. Nicely curated exhibits on two floors cover the town’s story from its Indigenous roots to the present day. Exit through the gift shop.
Advice if you go: The gift shop and the heritage gardens are free to visit without museum admission.