20 Issues to do in Victoria, Canada

Positioned on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, the charming metropolis of Victoria is among the oldest cities within the Pacific Northwest. It’s additionally town the place we met over 15 years in the past throughout our college days (examine our love affair with Victoria right here). At this time, we’d prefer to share a few of our favorite issues to do in Victoria with you.

It’s no shock now we have a mushy spot for Victoria. We attempt to go to no less than every year and we’re continuously recommending Victoria to readers of this journey weblog. 

Victoria is situated solely 100 kilometres (62 miles) from each Vancouver BC and Seattle WA, making it the right weekend getaway for vacationers and residents who dwell on the mainland.

That stated, don’t make the error of considering you possibly can correctly do Victoria in at some point (except you are taking a float aircraft from Vancouver to Victoria). We suggest you spend no less than two days in Victoria, ideally three days in case your itinerary permits it.

With that in thoughts, we’ve put collectively this listing of issues it is best to do in your subsequent journey to Victoria.

The Greatest Issues to do in Victoria, BC

Please be aware – leisure journey for non-Canadian residents continues to be restricted as a result of ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Issues are continuously altering, so ensure you do additional analysis earlier than making journey preparations to Victoria. 

1. See Orca Whales on a Whale Watching Tour

Vancouver Island is house to among the finest whale watching in Canada. The very best place to identify orcas of their pure habitat is the Salish Sea and Strait of Juan de Fuca. Whales, sea birds and different marine animals are drawn to the realm to feed, leading to a 95% success charge on whale watching excursions.

Whereas it’s doable to see whales any time of the 12 months, the height Victoria whale watching season is in the summertime months, from Could to October through the salmon migration.

Victoria whale watching excursions depart from the Interior Harbour. Excursions depart a number of instances per day. We went on a tour with Prince of Whales and would suggest them. You may ebook whale watching excursions on-line forward of time or just present up and leap on the subsequent departing boat. 

We hit the jackpot on our tour and noticed over 25 orca whales! We couldn’t have scripted a greater whale watching expertise. The water was calm, the solar was shining and we witnessed a brilliant pod. 

Examine our whale watching expertise right here. E-book a tour right here.

Associated – The Greatest Street Journey from Vancouver for first timers

2. Take a Victoria Horse Carriage Tour 

A novel technique to uncover this historic metropolis is by horse-drawn carriage. The enjoyable and informative horse-drawn carriage excursions enable guests to see town’s sights in type, whereas touring via previous residential neighbourhoods, scenic waterfront roads and the second oldest Chinatown in North America.

In case you’re within the temper to show up the romance, most operators mean you can open a bottle of champagne or wine whilst you tour town by evening.

We suggest utilizing Victoria Carriage Excursions. The horse carriage will choose you up instantly out of your resort or restaurant. You can too set up your journey instantly from the horse carriage operators, situated beside the British Columbia Parliament Buildings. Excursions vary from half-hour to an 1.5 hours.

E-book your Victoria horse carriage tour right here.

3. Experience a Harbour Ferry round Interior Harbour

A enjoyable technique to get round Victoria’s Interior Harbour is to take a small Harbour Ferry. The little ferries depart from numerous factors across the harbour, so you possibly can bounce across the harbour and switch this handy mode of transportation right into a mini boat cruise. 

You may cease off at Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub and seize a refreshing pint of craft beer or go to the Fisherman’s Wharf and pattern the world well-known fish and chips at Barb’s Fish and Chips.

Tickets for the Victoria Harbour Ferry might be bought as a Harbour Tour ($30), Gorge Cruise ($30) or one-way fares ranging from $7.00 per particular person.

Search for the ‘Ferry Cease’ indicators at main waterfront places across the harbour.

4. British Columbia Parliament Buildings

The long-lasting British Columbia Parliament Buildings are one of many star sights in Victoria’s Interior Harbour. The architectural type of those spectacular buildings has been described as a mix of Neo-baroque and Romanesque. 

Development of the Parliament Buildings started in 1893 and so they had been formally opened in 1898. Different notable landmarks on the grounds are the Cenotaph (bronze Conflict Memorial to the Unknown Soldier), Queen Victoria Statue, Douglas Obelisk, Data Totem Pole, Communicate Chair, Entrance Fountain and the Premier’s Rose Backyard.

Guests have the choice to discover the within of the BC Parliament Buildings. Door are open to the general public Monday to Friday, between the hours of 8:30 am to five:00 pm.

You may be part of a regularly-scheduled guided excursions or discover the buildings on you personal. Guided excursions are free and final approx half-hour. 

The above photograph is the fountain behind the BC Parliament Buildings.

Seek for Victoria lodges and lodging right here.

5. Experience bikes alongside Dallas Street 

Guests to Victoria will discover that almost all of its well-known landmarks and vacationer sights are inside strolling distance to the BC Parliament Buildings and Interior Harbour.

To see what’s past the downtown core, lease a motorcycle and cruise down Dallas Street to Beacon Hill Park, Clover Level Park and Ross Bay. The ocean views on Dallas Street are unbelievable, particularly at sundown.

Begin your bike experience within the residential space of James Bay. It’s a quiet space with among the most lovely heritage houses on Vancouver Island. James Bay’s declare to fame is that it’s stated to be the oldest neighbourhood on the West coast of North America that’s north of San Francisco. Say that ten instances quick.

After a short cease at Fisherman’s Wharf, proceed using south on Dallas Street in the direction of Ogden Level (the large pier the place the cruise ships dock). Proceed alongside the waterfront highway in the direction of Beacon Hill Park. You may experience your bike across the park or proceed to Ross Bay and Gonzales Seaside.

If bike using will not be your factor, you may also stroll on the Dallas Street Waterfront Path and go to Holland Level Park, Fonyon Seaside, Finlayson Level and Spiral Seaside.

6. Go to the Royal BC Museum and IMAX

Positioned between the Empress Lodge and the BC Parliament Buildings, the Royal BC Museum makes a speciality of British Columbia’s human and pure historical past. 

The frilly galleries supply totally different environments, making it a terrific museum for all ages and preferences. There’s a First Peoples Gallery, Fashionable Historical past Gallery, Pure Historical past Gallery and totally different touring exhibitions. Our favourites are the life measurement woolly mammoth and the unbelievable assortment of totem poles.

Plan to spend no less than 3 hours on the museum, particularly if you wish to catch an IMAX movie.

Royal BC Museum Hours of Operation might be discovered right here. Pre-purchase tickets right here.

When you’re within the neighbourhood, take a look at Thunderbird Park, situated instantly beside the Royal British Columbia Museum. Thunderbird Park is house to many totem poles and First Nation monuments.

Above – the woolly mammoth exhibit on the Victoria museum.

7. Discover Beacon Hill Park in Victoria

Positioned alongside the shore of the Juan de Fuca Strait, Beacon Hill Park is the biggest and most treasured park in Victoria. The 200 acre park is inside strolling distance to most downtown Victoria lodges, so it’s simply accessed by foot or bike. 

There are many issues to do in Beacon Hill Park, together with a stroll via its superbly manicured gardens and weeping willows at Goodacre Lake, feed the goats on the Beacon Hill Youngsters’s Farm, {photograph} the peculiar Moss Woman sculpture and admire the world’s tallest free-standing totem pole.

You may entry the Dallas Street Waterfront Path from Beacon Hill Park. Stroll in the direction of Finlayson Level and seek for little crabs on the rocky seashores. Have a seat on some driftwood and scan the ocean horizon for breaching whales and marine wildlife.

Take a deep breath and absorb these beautiful Pacific Northwest views! 

8. Play Seaside Volleyball on a Rooftop Bar

Have you ever performed seashore volleyball on the rooftop of a restaurant within the metropolis? We’re guessing you haven’t as a result of the Rooftop Surf Membership on the Strathcona is house to the world’s solely rooftop seashore volleyball courts.

We fondly keep in mind our college days consuming pints with classmates and enjoying seashore volleyball on the Strathcona rooftop. In case you’ve bought the time and want, we suggest you give it a attempt!

If seashore volleyball will not be your factor, get pleasure from a pint on the Sticky Wicket or Large Unhealthy John’s, certainly one of Victoria’s finest dive bars. The Strathcona has been a downtown Victoria landmark with roots relationship again to the historic gold rush period within the early 1900’s.

With 7 venues, 5 ranges, 5 various eating places and 1,200+ seats, it’s the right place to unwind after a day of sightseeing. It’s additionally an excellent place or crank it up and paint the city purple.

9. Hatley Park Nationwide Historic Website

Positioned in Colwood, about 20 minutes west of Victoria, the Hatley Park Historic Website is house to Hatley Citadel (pictured above) and delightful gardens, together with the Japanese Backyard and Rose Backyard. 

Since 1995, the mansion and property have been used for Royal Roads College, which is the place Cameron went to college (extra on that story right here).

You may take a tour of the citadel and gardens, wander across the college grounds, hike via the forest and snap a photograph with one of many resident peacocks (simply don’t get too shut, a number of of them have tempers).

Hatley Citadel has been featured in lots of blockbuster motion pictures, together with X-Males 2, X-Males: Final Stand, Deadpool, and Arrow. See the listing of flicks filmed at Hatley Citadel right here.

10. Fort Rodd Hill & Fisgard Lighthouse

After visiting Hatley Park Nationwide Historic Website, take a look at close by Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse Historic Website, the primary lighthouse on Canada’s west coast that’s nonetheless in operation.

The Fort Rodd Hill Nationwide Historic Website permits guests to see the 100-year-old coastal gun batteries, camouflaged searchlight emplacements, command posts, guardhouses and barracks.

These two nationwide historic websites in Victoria are situated on the identical website. 

11. Stroll the Interior Harbour Pathways

Victoria’s picturesque Interior Harbour is certainly one of Victoria’s most celebrated landmarks and sights.

It’s typically labelled as one of the lovely harbours on this planet. We agree.

The most well-liked part of Victoria’s Interior Harbour is the marina in entrance of the Fairmont Empress and British Columbia Parliament Buildings (image above). In the summertime, this esplanade is full of retailers, artists, avenue performers and meals vehicles.

Though the promenade in entrance of the Empress Lodge is the preferred, there are a number of pathways across the Interior Harbour, together with the David Foster Harbour Pathway and Songhees Walkway. These pathways are the right place to observe the float planes take off and land on the bustling harbour.  

Stroll the Songhees Walkway for a unique perspective of town.

To get the this waterfront path, cross the brand new Johnson Road Bridge and move the Delta Ocean Pointe Resort. The three km path is flat and paved, so it’s superb for child strollers, wheelchairs and bikes. 

Views of Victoria Interior Harbour on the waterfront Songhees Walkway.

The previous Johnson Road Bridge within the distance. It was changed in 2015.

12. Go on a Brewery Pub Crawl

Downtown Victoria is the right location for a brewery pub crawl. Victoria could be very walkable and most of the brewpubs, bars and micro-breweries are situated inside strolling distance to one another.  

Our favorite brewpubs and breweries in Victoria 

  • Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub
  • Swans Brewery and Pub (pictured above) 
  • Irish Instances Pub
  • Bard & Banker
  • CANOE Brewpub
  • Driftwood Brewery
  • Vancouver Island Brewing
  • Phillips Brewing Tasting Room
  • Hoyne Brewing Firm

In case you’ve bought the stamina, you possibly can go to the entire above breweries and brewpubs by foot. They’re situated inside a couple of 2-3 km radius. 

Right here’s an interactive Victoria map with lodges, eating places and sights.

Spinnakers Brewery is a very long time favorite of ours. It’s situated on Songhees Walkway.

Above is a flight of beer at Irish Instances pub in Victoria. 

13. Craigdarroch Citadel 

The Victorian-era Craigdarroch Citadel is one other Nationwide Historic Website in Victoria. In-built 1890 by a rich coal baron, through the reign of Queen Victoria, this fairy-tale citadel has over 20,000 sq. toes of inside house. Be taught extra about this historical past of the citadel right here.

Ticket worth to enter Craigdarroch Citadel:

  • Adults – $14.60
  • Seniors – $13.60
  • College students – $9.50 (13+ with Legitimate ID)
  • Youngsters – $5.10 (6-12)
  • Household – $36.00 (2 Adults/Seniors and a pair of College students/Youngsters)

Craigdarroch Citadel hours of operation are from 10:00 AM to 4:30 PM day by day.

14. Go to the Victoria Bug Zoo 

In case you’re travelling to Victoria with youngsters, we suggest a go to to the Victoria Bug Zoo, also called the Bug Museum. It’s a two-room mini-zoo situated in downtown Victoria, one block north of the Fairmont Empress Lodge.

The zoo creates a chance so that you can view and expertise dwell tropical bugs from around the globe. It has approx 50 totally different species, together with large strolling sticks, praying mantis, glow-in-the-dark scorpions, bushy tarantulas, and Canada’s largest ant colony.

Victoria Bug Zoo hours of operation and charges might be discovered right here.

15. Really feel enormous at Miniature World Victoria

After you go to the Victoria Bug Zoo, stroll one block south and take a look at Miniature World, one of the standard vacationer sights in downtown Victoria.

Miniature World is trademarked at “The Biggest Little Present On Earth!” It has over 85 miniature dioramas and shows, together with the World’s Smallest Operational Sawmill and one of many longest mannequin railways. 

Miniature World hours of operation and charges might be discovered right here.

16. The Maritime Museum of British Columbia

After your go to to Miniature World, cross the road and go to the Maritime Museum of British Columbia. Right here you can find historic objects, artwork, images & fashions showcasing the maritime historical past of the Pacific Northwest.

Maritime Museum of British Columbia hours of operation right here.

17. Squeeze via Fan Tan Alley in Chinatown

Chinatown Victoria is the oldest Chinatown in Canada and the second oldest in North America after San Francisco. You’ll wish to begin your go to to Chinatown at The Gate of Harmonious Curiosity, an ornately adorned arch on the entrance to Chinatown on Fisgard Road. 

Fan Tan Alley is a well-liked Chinatown vacationer attraction.

As soon as house to brothels and opium dens, Fan Tan Alley is known as after the Chinese language playing sport Fan-Tan.

At this time, its house to greater than a dozen regionally owned retailers promoting every part from classic information to hand-crafted jewellery to natural treats. 

Fan Tan Alley’s modern-day declare to fame is that it’s stated to be the narrowest avenue in Canada. We love the distinctive structure and purple brick buildings that line this historic alley. 

Right here’s a Victoria Chinatown map.

The Gate of Harmonious Curiosity in Victoria’s Chinatown.

18. Eat fish and chips at Fisherman’s Wharf 

Victoria’s Fisherman’s Wharf is a enjoyable place to spend an hour or two. Take pleasure in Barb’s well-known fish and chips on the pier and watch the playful seals swim across the vibrant floating village. 

You’ll discover quite a lot of retailers and meals kiosks on the pier, together with freshly caught seafood, ice cream and milkshakes, candy mini donuts, pizza and genuine Mexican delicacies. 

Fisherman’s Wharf is finest reached through an Interior Harbour water taxi (see level #3). You can too stroll or experience bikes alongside the the scenic Harbour Pathway. It’s a straightforward 15 minute stroll from the BC Parliament Buildings to the Fisherman’s Wharf. 

Whereas it might be tempting, don’t feed seals or marine wildlife from the pier at Fisherman’s Wharf.

Many journey websites will suggest feeding the seals, nevertheless it’s now banned by the Higher Victoria Harbour Authority. A scary incident occurred with a seal that was fed on the Steveston dock in Richmond, BC.

Watch the seal assault video right here.

Nicole and a really younger Braydon watching the seals at Fisherman’s Wharf.

Barb’s well-known fish and chips on the pier at Fisherman’s Wharf.

19. Odor the roses at The Butchart Gardens

The Butchart Gardens has develop into certainly one of Victoria’s most visited vacationer sights with over 1 million guests per 12 months. As soon as a limestone quarry, these lovely gardens have now been designated a Nationwide Historic Website of Canada.

The Butchart Gardens are situated half-hour drive north of Downtown Victoria. In case you should not have a automobile you possibly can be part of an organized tour that runs day by day journeys from Downtown Victoria to Butchart Gardens. Extra information on methods to get to Butchart Gardens right here.

Butchart Gardens hours of operation for the summer season are from 8:45 AM to 9:00 PM. Christmas hours of operation are from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM.

The very best time to go to Butchart Gardens is earlier than 10:30 AM or after 3:30 PM. Not solely is the pure gentle higher at the moment, however you’ll keep away from the big crowds and bus excursions that go to mid-day.

For up to date ticket charges, go to the Butchart Gardens web site right here. You can too buy a tour to take to you to Butchart Gardens right here.

The Butchart Gardens fireworks occur on Saturday evenings through the summer season, beginning finish of June and ending the final Saturday in August. 

Right here’s an interactive map of Butchart Gardens.

20. Hike at Goldstream Provincial Park

Goldstream Provincial Park is situated solely 16 km north of Victoria but it feels far faraway from the city sprawl of downtown Victoria. The park is house to a number of mountaineering trails for all ranges, starting from a straightforward forest stroll to the more difficult Mount Finlayson path to the best level in Higher Victoria . 

Goldstream Park is understood for the annual chum salmon runs within the Goldstream River that occur within the fall. Tons of of bald eagles congregate to the park to feed on the lifeless salmon. Learn extra about this spectacular pure phenomenon right here.

The park can be house to Niagara Falls. Not the Niagara Falls in Southern Ontario, a smaller model that flows from Niagara Creek and drops 48 meters. The waterfall might be reached through a brief 1.3 km round-trip hike (extra information right here). The opposite waterfall, Goldstream Falls, is situated within the southwest nook of the park, close to the campground.

One other standard hike is the Goldstream Railway Trestle Bridge. The three km hike takes about 2 hours spherical journey. Though it might be tempting, do NOT stroll on the trestle bridge. There aren’t any security sidings and spacing between beams is inconsistent and might be fairly slippery.

Parking at Goldstream Park might be chaotic on the weekends. To keep away from the crowds, plan to reach earlier than 10:00 AM within the morning or after 3:00 within the afternoon. 

This Goldstream Park map exhibits the mountaineering trails, parking heaps and campgrounds. The Goldstream Park campground replenish quick, so that you’re finest to make reservations effectively upfront.

The place to remain in Victoria?

We’ve stayed on the Magnolia Lodge, Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort, Fairmont Empress and Greatest Western Carlton Plaza and we’d suggest all of them. They’re centrally situated and household pleasant.

Different household pleasant lodges in Victoria:

  • Days Inn by Wyndham Victoria Uptown
  • DoubleTree by Hilton Lodge & Suites Victoria
  • Inn at Laurel Level
  • Greatest Western Plus Interior Harbour

Seek for extra Victoria lodges right here.

There may be an growing provide of brief time period house leases in Victoria. Staying in a furnished house is handy and inexpensive, particularly should you’re touring with a big household. Seek for Victoria house leases right here.

The beautiful Fairmont Empress resort in Victoria is acknowledged by Nationwide Geographic Traveler journal as one of the Iconic Lodges within the World. 

The place to eat in Victoria?

You’ll not go hungry in Victoria. There are infinite choices for each sort of delicacies. Being on the west coast, we’d suggest you dine at a seafood restaurant. The west coast can be recognized for high quality sushi and Japanese delicacies.

  • Contemporary oysters and share plates at 10 Acres Commons
  • Fish tacos and fish & chips at Crimson Fish Blue Fish
  • Patio with waterfront views at LURE Restaurant & Bar 
  • Fashionable Brew pubs – Spinnakers, Swans Brewpub and CANOE brewpub
  • Different favourites – Bard & Banker, Nautical Nellies and Irish Instances

How one can get to Victoria from Vancouver

Most individuals will catch the ferry that departs from Tsawwassen BC Ferries Terminal (and vice versa). You can too catch a bus from downtown Vancouver that can drop you off in downtown Victoria (ticket consists of the ferry crossing).

Plan to reach on the ferry terminal no less than one hour earlier than your departure time. It’s sensible to ebook a reservation forward of time as a result of it will probably get fairly busy over a vacation weekend. In case you miss the ferry it is going to be no less than 2 hours earlier than the subsequent one.

The ferry will take about 4 hours, together with drive time and ready to board the ferry. Every ferry crossing from Vancouver to Victoria will take about 1.5 hours. The drive from Vancouver to the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal takes about 45 minutes, relying on visitors. The drive from the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal to downtown Victoria takes about half-hour. 

You can too take a float aircraft or Helijet from downtown Vancouver, which is lots of enjoyable. In case you’ve solely bought at some point to spend in Victoria, the float aircraft or helicopter is the quickest and most handy possibility. 

Have you ever visited town of Victoria?

Share your suggestions for issues to do in Victoria within the feedback part beneath.

Learn extra posts from British Columbia:

  • 25 Superior Day Journeys from Vancouver
  • Issues to do at Harrison Scorching Springs with youngsters
  • 20 Issues to do in Whistler this Summer time 2021 
  • 25 FREE Issues to do in Vancouver
  • Greatest Issues to do Alongside the Sea to Sky Freeway

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