Vernon is the population centre of the North Okanagan, being midway between Kelowna and Highway 1 to the north. The city lies on a broad agricultural plain between the Okanagan Lake and Shuswap Lake, though not as hot and dry as the southern Okanagan. Vernon has a strong diversified economy, including forestry, manufacturing, tourism and agriculture. Its manufacturing head offices include Kal Tire, Tolko Industries, and Far West Industries. Vernon has a small airport to the southwest for small aircraft though the Vernon-Kelowna Regional airport has regular daily service by both Time Air and Air BC.
Homes in the area average $150,000. New homes are being built around Predator Ridge Golf Club, and deluxe condos are being built at Ironwood and Hillview Meadows.
Vernon's school district serves both Vernon and Lumby (to the east), and has 15 elementary and 5 secondary schools. The Okanagan University College, a degree-granting institution, has its Kalamalk Campus just south of downtown and offers extension programs for both Simon Fraser University (Sfu) and University of British Columbia (UBC).
The city has several shopping malls stretching along 32nd Street (Highway 97). There is a nice shopping district on 30th Avenue (Main Street) downtown.
Vernon offers a wide range of recreational activities, being right between Okanagan Lake and Kalamalka Lake with several popular beaches to the south. In the winter time, Silver Star is only 25 km to the east, and there are another 3 ski hills in the Okanagan Valley. The Shuswap lake recreational area (world famous for its houseboating) is about a half hour drive to the north.