Castlegar is a wondrous place that boasts some of the most beautiful views in the province: the Columbia and Kootenay Rivers, the mountains, the valley. Sometimes, though, it can be hard to see all these things. When the clouds are low and the rain is falling, for example, it’s a good time to do something fun indoors. Or, as has been the case the past few Augusts, if the skies are smoky and views are obscured then below are some excellent ideas for inside activities.

Before you set off to these locations though, be sure to download the Castlegar Explorers App. It’s not only a way-finding tool but also a game that rewards people for visiting local points of interest, shops and cultural sites. The app’s “Explore” button takes users to a map of Castlegar and District, which has pins indicating unique points of interest from cultural sites to places for outdoor recreation. Clicking on each pin on the map gives more information about that place. Locations are assigned a point value. Pushing the “Collect Points” button while physically visiting a location will add the location’s points to a user’s point total.

Points accumulated with the Castlegar Explorers app can be redeemed for goods or services at any of the Rewards locations listed in the app. Rewards locations include such places as Central City Shoes, Mothers Natures, Mallards Source for sports and Crumbs Bakery, just to name a few. Download the free app today from the iTunes App Store or Google Play.

Once you have the app, here are 8 fun indoor ideas in Castlegar when it’s raining or smoky.

Train Station Museum

The CPR Station Museum, or Railway Museum as it’s come to be called, is housed in a century-old station, and visitors can easily envision what the hustle and bustle must’ve been like when passengers boarded the trains during the 1900s. There is a station agent’s residence on the upper floor and one of the most popular onsite attractions is the perfectly-preserved caboose – a relic of a time when crew members lounged in the last car of the train awaiting their next duties.

Coffee Shops and Restaurants

Castlegar has a Tim Hortons, for those who prefer a double-double to get through their day, as well as other options for aficionados who prefer a more boutique café experience. We wrote about our favourites in “The 10 Best Coffee Shops in Castlegar” and each one is a great option for spending time inside. Likewise, Castlegar boasts a plethora of restaurants from fast-food favourites to international cuisine eateries. You can learn more about all of them in our article, “14 Best Dinner Restaurants in Castlegar.”

Doukhobor Discovery Centre

Castlegar is one of only a few cities in the world where the unique Doukhobor culture has been meticulously documented and where it still thrives today. A religious group of Russian origin, the Doukhobors fled the Czarist government in the late 1800s and, with the help of the Canadian government, settled in Western Canada. The Doukhobor Discovery Museum is a wonderful place to learn more about the culture that has so profoundly shaped what the city is today. Home to ten historical buildings on ten acres of land, the Doukhobor Discovery Museum has successfully recreated the sights and sounds of Doukhobor life in south-central British Columbia from 1908 to 1938.

Tailout Brewing Events

Located at 1810 8th Ave, Tailout Brewing is Castlegar’s first craft brewery where locals and tourists can relax and enjoy a cold pint or flight. Opened in late 2019, the brewery offers a spacious, open setting and custom art that reflects the staff’s love of fishing. It also has open mic nights on Mondays and Trivia Tuesday between 6pm and 8pm.

Kootenay Gallery Of Art

The Kootenay Gallery of Art History and Science is located on the grounds of the Doukhobor Discovery Museum just outside of downtown Castlegar. It is a public art gallery that offers a variety of programming and displays for all ages, from rotating art exhibitions and movie nights to the only Butterfly Gardens in the region.

Castlegar & District Recreation And Aquatic Centre

The Castlegar & District Community Complex is a multi-purpose facility that houses an Arena, a 6 lane, 25 meter pool and leisure pool, whirlpool, weight room, fitness studio, meeting rooms, banquet facility, kitchen and senior centre. Adjacent to the facility are four tennis courts, soccer/football field, ball diamond and skate boarding park.

Movie Theatres

How can you go wrong with a movie on a rainy day? The Kootenay Centre Cinemas are comfortable and modern with just a touch of down-home hospitality. Grab some popcorn and watch the latest Blockbuster with your friends or family. [Update: The Old Theatre downtown is currently closed.]


Just like the old days, the Castlebowl bowling alley is a fun place where family and friends can go and enjoy good times. But there are some new twists here such as bumper bowling for the little ones that keeps the ball out of the gutter. There’s also music and lights to rock the night away, and a great licensed lounge. And the price is always right! [Update: Castlebowl is open on weekends and will be relaunching league play in September.]

Bonus: Arrow Lakes Dance Studio

After we posted this article, we heard back from the Arrow Lakes Dance Studio that they’re starting their indoor toddler drop-in program. It’s open to ages 0-6 years and there’s a bouncy castle on site, concession, colouring and lots of ways to use up energy. The studio is located at 191 Columbia Ave.