Things to do in Victoria, Canada
The Greater Victoria is known as the capital city of the of British Columbia, Canada. It is located at the southern tip of Vancouver Island in western Canada. It was Named after Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom back in the day when this place was known as British North America. Due to the historical significance with British Empire, the city has retained a large number of its historic buildings. The Empress Hotel and Legislative Assembly of British Columbia are the notable old architectural buildings in Victoria. This city has a beautiful Edwardian style skyline which is a unique charm. It is rated among the top 20 cities of the world for quality of life and has the population of 85,792 people according to Wikipedia. Victoria has mild winter with a lot of rain. Summers are better and you can get the most sun here in Victoria than the rest of Vancouver. The city is widely famous for its beautiful landscapes, beaches, historical significance among the old and young generation. Let’s check out the best Things to do in Victoria, Canada in this article.
#1 of 24 Things to do in Victoria, Canada – Roam around the Victoria City on Bike
Victoria is one of the bike-friendly cities. You can rent a bike and roam around into the city easily. The city is full of old and modern touches. You can start from museums at Inner Harbor and the go to the beaches on a bike.
You can walk, rent motorbikes and use public transport as well here in Victoria, British Columbia.
#2 of 24 Things to do in Victoria, Canada – Visit the Area of Inner Harbour
The Inner Harbour is considered as the Victoria city’s heart. It is a bit touristy neighborhood because of its important attractions. The Inner Harbor area itself is home to many colorful floating homes and fishing boats. It has wide pedestrian streets which gives the special feeling of being in marvelous town. This area has Royal British Columbia Museum, the Empress Hotel, and the Parliament Buildings from the old era. There are plenty of local cafes and restaurants on the sidewalks. You can have a cup of coffee or lunch here for more enjoyment. There are many shops if you want to buy some souvenir.
Also, the open water here has lively views of whales playing. Spend an afternoon there with your family and it will be worth it.
#2 of 24 Things to do in Victoria, Canada – Visit the British Columbia Parliament Buildings
The British Columbia Parliament Buildings are the main attractions of Inner Harbor and are hard to miss when you are in Victoria City. These are basically neo-baroque architectures dates back to 1898. They have their impressive blue dome which is facing the Victoria’s well-known Fairmont Empress Hotel. Both buildings have state of the art architecture and backgrounds for selfies. Inside tours are also offered here for more information otherwise strolls here are fine.
While you are strolling around the British Columbia Parliament Buildings, make sure to visit the Legislative Assembly Building. It is also the Romanesque Revival and domed neo-Baroque architecture which is considered as the distinguishing feature of Victoria’s Inner Harbor. Don’t forget to take lunch in the Parliamentary Dining Room, people say it’s mouthwatering.
#3 of 24 Things to do in Victoria, Canada – See the Iconic Fairmont Empress Hotel
The Fairmont Empress Hotel is considered one of the old buildings in British Columbia. It is an Edwardian Château-styled hotel and designated as a National Historic Site of Canada due to its importance. This hotel was renovated in 2017 with the estimated amount of $60 million. Now, this hotel has 8 floors, 52 suites, 412 rooms, 3 restaurants, a whirlpool, a swimming pool, and a willow stream Spa. This hotel is rated five green stars and had received many awards for its spectacular wine, Spa treatment and for the best service. This hotel had the Bengal Lounge which is now a separate lounge used for weddings and other private events. Enjoy the world-renowned Tea here with your partner or have a romantic dinner and make memories here.
#4 of 24 Things to do in Victoria, Canada – Visit the Craigdarroch Castle
If you want to explore more about the old history of Victoria then head about a mile at the east of Inner Harbor. Here, you will have an impressive site of Castle Craigdarroch. This one is also a National Historic Site of Canada. This building was built in the 1890s for coal tycoon named Robert Dunsmuir. They were a wealthy and powerful Scottish family who owned a quarter of Vancouver Island at that time. The whole place has a Great architecture. This is more of a mansion than a castle. It has 3 floors and 39 rooms are open for the public to visit. All of these rooms are well furnished with Victorian Era furniture and intricate woodwork. It has beautiful its stain-glassed windows. The views from the upper floors to downtown are great. If you have interest in history, this would be a good place for you.
#5 of 24 Things to do in Victoria, Canada – Visit the Royal British Columbia Museum
This Royal British Columbia Museum is located between the Legislature building and the Fairmont Empress hotel at the Inner Harbor. This museum has a lot of interesting British Columbia’s history, mostly from 1850 to 1920s. Everything is exhibited in a beautiful manner and it will take probably a half day to go through every portion of it. This is one of two museums in Canada which holds the ‘Royal’ designation. This museum has a charm for everyone including kids, adults, and couples.
#6 of 24 Things to do in Victoria, Canada – Relax at the Beacon Hill Park
It is one of the large parks close to downtown with trails, gardens, lakes, playgrounds and sports fields for kids and adults. At the south end of Beacon Hill Park. There is a beautiful waterfront. This place has views of Olympic Mountains and there are walking trails too. is on the waterfront, with a walking path and a view of the Olympic Mountains across the strait. Peacocks, Ducks, and herons add more nature to this area. Other highlights of this place include Beacon Hill Children’s Farm and Beacon Hill Park Story Pole. This pole is considered as the first free-standing totem pole in the world back in 1956 when it was constructed.
#7 of 24 Things to do in Victoria, Canada – Check out the Goldstream Provincial Park
Gold stream Provincial Park is enriched with a lush green array of flowers, cedar trees and with beautiful waterfalls. The whole 1200 acres are filled with the same abundance of greenery and flowers. It is located at the northwest of Inner Harbor about 11 miles away from the exact location. The reason people love to visit this park is that it has wildlife area where fishes roam freely. There are plenty species of salmon fishes including Chum, Chinook, and Coho salmon leaping around in the lake and then going to the nearby Riverside. The Freeman King Visitor Center here offers programs for the annual migration of salmon. You can even watch the fishes migrating from here in the early winter season. All walking trails in this park are along the river, giving you the opportunity to look at the fresh waterways. You can even go for hiking from this park to the Mount Finlayson, Victoria’s highest peak.
This park is popular for a family picnic and for romantic sit-over.
#8 of 24 Things to do in Victoria, Canada – Visit the Historic Butchart Gardens
These Butchart Gardens are a century old gardens and had been a must-see attraction in Victoria since 1904. The stunning gardens are located in the north of Inner Harbour approximately 14 miles away from the exact location. The gardens occupy the area of 55 acres. These large gardens were constructed and planted by Jenny Butchart on her Husband’s limestone quarry. Although the admission cost is high still about 1 million people come here to visit the property’s flower-lined paths.I guess, its worth it then. In summer season; these gardens get illuminated by lovely lights, fireworks, and some musical entertainment. On Christmas celebrations, they also lit up this place for 12 days. Visit this picturesque sight and take stunning pictures as well.
#9 of 24 Things to do in Victoria, Canada – Visit the Oldest Chinatown in Canada
Many people may not know this that this Chinatown is the oldest in the whole Canada and considered as the second oldest in North America followed by Sans Francisco. It is said that in the early 1900s, there were about 3000 people living in the narrow lanes, temples, and schools and had small theatres, businesses, and many opium dens. Well, now this place has changed greatly but you can still find the distinctive old architectural buildings in the area. Modern Chinese restaurants, cafes, Bubble tea shops, and fruits and vegetables markets have taken over this place. Other highlights in this area include The Gates of Harmonious Interest located at the corner of Fisgard & Government and the other is Fan Tan Alley known as Canada’s Narrowest Road.
#10 of 24 Things to do in Victoria, Canada – Roam into the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria
This Art Gallery in Victoria offers great works of British Columbia’s artists. This gallery features the Emily Carr’s work in detail. It also holds the largest collection of Asian Art in Canada. At the outside of this building, there is an Asian Garden along with the authentic Japanese Shinto Shrine in North America.
#11 of 24 Things to do in Victoria, Canada – See the Emily Carr House
Emily is known as the great and most loved artists of Victoria, Canada. This was her childhood home, now it serves as the National Heritage Site. The home is filled with her writings, paintings, and life history. It is located at a walking distance from the south end of Inner Harbour.
#12 of 24 Things to do in Victoria, Canada – Visit the Maritime Museum of British Columbia
It is a small museum in greater Victoria. It has many exhibits related to the maritime history of British Columbia. A few modeled ships and related things are available at the workshop associated with the museum.
Credit: Colin Knowles
#13 of 24 Things to do in Victoria, Canada – Go to the Miniature World
Miniature World is an interesting and must-see place to visit in greater Victoria. This museum has dozens of miniature displays and dioramas. This is equally interesting for both kids and adults. Notable miniatures include Wonderful World of the Circus, the world of Dickens, Space 2201 A.D. and Canadian Railway Model. It also has the miniature landscapes of many cities. The details of these miniatures models are also given.
#14 of 24 Things to do in Victoria, Canada – Enjoy at Victoria Bug Zoo
In case you are traveling with your kids to Victoria City then you must visit this Victoria Bug Zoo. This one is also located a few steps north of Inner Harbor. It is a small place but it is filled with many creepy insects’ creatures. You can see the 6 and 8 legged bugs, gigantic walking sticks, glow-in-the-dark scorpions, and furry tarantulas face to face through the glass. You are allowed to hold some of the less dangerous insects here which are a plus side for kids. The Staff here will answer if you have any questions regarding these insects.
#15 of 24 Things to do in Victoria, Canada – Get Lost in Beauty at the Victoria Butterfly Gardens
This is an indoor facility for about 3000 butterflies. It is located near Victoria International Airport in Brentwood Bay. Butchart Gardens are nearby to this place. These are at least 12 miles north of the Inner Harbor. These butterflies are spread around the 12000 square feet area. The area of tropical and wetland attracts many butterflies here. The whole place is full of flora and vibrant colorful butterflies. Butterflies here are not the only attractions as this Victoria Butterfly Garden host variety of fishes and birds too. The flamingos and koi fish are the highlights here.
#16 of 24 Things to do in Victoria, Canada – Stroll in the Abkhazi Gardens
Romantic Histories are associated with this lovely garden. The Love story of Prince and Princess Abkhazi resulted in a great garden at the Victoria. It is said that the Prince and Princess along with architecture named John Wade came together here and created a garden that took over 40 years to complete. Now, these Abkhazi gardens are placed on a beautiful property watching the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Olympic Mountains. There’s a teahouse located here which offers afternoon tea and light lunches for its visitors.
#17 of 24 Things to do in Victoria, Canada – Go for Evening Strolls at the Cadboro Bay Beach
This one is popular beach park with sandy beach, playground, tennis courts, play sculptures, picnic tables, and a small zip-line. The views of this bay are pretty stunning. The park has both beached and park vibe. On clear days, you can see across to the Olympic Mountains in Washington State. Enjoy the evening strolls here.
#18 of 24 Things to do in Victoria, Canada – Go to the Oak Bay Village
Oak Bay is considered as the older suburb area located at the east of downtown Victoria. The architecture here is a mixture of Tudor-style buildings, restaurants, boutiques, and the Pub. The whole town has a charm of Old England. It is a good place if you love history and classic cultures. Stroll around the streets and see the old-style shops here.
#19 of 24 Things to do in Victoria, Canada – See the Willows Beach Park
It is the popular hangout place located in Oak Bay Village. The water level here is pretty low and Willow beach provides great views of Discovery Island and Mount Baker when skies are clear. The park has lots of grass, a small playground, a few picnic tables, and a tea room.
#20 of 24 Things to do in Victoria, Canada – Enjoy Whale watching
Just like the many places in Vancouver, Greater Victoria also offers awesome whale watching at the waterfronts. It is also a popular activity among locals and tourists. You can see the Killer Whales, Humpback Whales, Grey Whales, and minke Whales. The Killer whales consider these areas of Victoria to mainland as their feeding grounds. You can also watch these whales migrating from here through the Georgia Strait. Many companies here offers whale watching tours for tourists too.
#21 of 24 Things to do in Victoria, Canada – Go for Long Walks of Hiking in Victoria, BC
The Greater Victoria is an amazing place to explore if you have love for natural spots. You will have long ranged multipurpose trails in Victoria to Sooke and the Saanich Peninsula. The North of Victoria is known as Saanich. This place has many great parks that are popular spots for hiking. Enjoy hiking in this beautiful old city.
#22 of 24 Things to do in Victoria, Canada – Explore the Eateries in Victoria, BC
Victoria has many restaurants, all of the serves the best meal. The waterfront tourist area is basically known as the best spot to for variety of restaurants and cafes. There you can have several English-style pubs to drink from. Fish and Shepherd Pies are known well here. You can also roam around the city to find the best eateries including Chinatown. You can enjoy nightlife in downtown area of Victoria but this is a small area and police is strict about driving and drinking. Use the cab after drinks. Cabs are also cheap here in comparison to other places.
#23 of 24 Things to do in Victoria, Canada – Visit the Cowichan Valley
The whole British Columbia is dotted with many vineyards. Within the Vancouver Island, the Cowichan Valley is located approximately 35 miles northwest of Victoria. The Cowichan Valley is a popular place to a variety of different wineries and tasting rooms. Do check out the Cowichan Valley’s different vineyards and then taste their royal flavors of wine. You can bring along some of the bottles too.
Apart from the wineries and wine tasting, there are several outstanding golf courses, art galleries, and hiking trails. Feel free to visit the area on a bike here.
#24 of 24 Things to do in Victoria, Canada – Visit the Sooke Area
The Sooke area of Victoria is located 26 miles of Southwest of main Victoria. The Sooke area of Victoria is kind of different as there are many fishing boats on the harbor. A waterfront of this area offers many water activities including real fishing, sailing, and whale watching. This area is quiet and has lovely parks which are great for hiking, walking, biking and horseback riding. The town also has many art galleries and shops.
Also check out our other articles on Vancouver, Richmond, Banff, and Toronto.