Favorite things to do in Victoria BC: See historical sights, Provincial Parks, gardens, museums, and incredible natural and marine beauty seen from tours by foot, auto, boat, bus, and air.
What can you do in Victoria? There's everything from hiking, biking, kayaking; tours from history and heritage to hysterically haunted; helicopter tours, whale watching tours, aerial tours, car tours, double-decker bus tours, pedi-cab or horse drawn carriage tours, all amidst fabulous architecture, wine tasting, beer tasting, restaurants, cider houses, cafes, coffee shops, bakeries, museums, theatre, movies, and gardens.
Such incredible natural beauty surrounding the city and such amazing variety within the city! There will certainly be things to do in Victoria BC that will please you.
Here are some of our favorite things to do in Victoria BC, but there is of course so much more to see and do than we could possibly list here.
Pictured: Take the thoroughly enjoyable stroll through Laurel Point Park. If you want to keep going, Fisherman's Wharf is just minutes away on foot.
1050 Joan Crescent, Victoria, BC V8S 3L5
Built by business tycoon, Robert Dunsmuir, in 1887, in the "Richardsonian Romanesque" style, this beautiful castle is filled with incredible stained glass and highly detailed woodwork typical of the 1880's. For architectural fans and history buffs this may be one of the impressive things to do in Victoria. Well worth a visit.
Afternoon Tea at the Empress Hotel
721 Government St., Victoria, BC
Yes, Afternoon Tea IS an event at the Empress. It is elegant and scrumptious. The setting is amazing, the service is impeccable. For an afternoon you are a celebrity.
This is a popular event despite the cost (CAD$82/person); reservations will probably be essential.
Royal BC Museum
675 Belleville St., Victoria, BC
(Ranked #1 of things to do in Victoria)
Founded in 1886, this very thorough museum, several stories high, contains numerous galleries featuring natural history, first peoples, modern history with native plant gardens and current exhibitions. See website for past, current and upcoming exhibitions. This is another great family venue, well worth the modest entry fee.
In the Royal BC Museum, 675 Belleville St., Victoria, BC
Great IMAX venue for a thoroughly enjoyable, supremely super-large-screen Hollywood and educational movie experience. Located within the Royal BC Museum. Check website for current shows and times.
Inner Harbour Tours
792 Government Street, Victoria BC V8W 1W5
It's an unforgettable perspective to see Victoria BC from the water. At the same time you'll learn some of Victoria's history and other information from knowledgeable captains functioning as tour guides. Besides, the boats are so cute!
The Harbour Tour season extends from March through October. Check the website for details.
Victoria is happily an excellent spot from which to go whale watching. It is usually a brief sail to whale feeding grounds off the shores of Victoria and around the San Juan Islands, and the chance of seeing any of multiple whale species is very good.
BC Provincial Legislature Buildings
501 Belleville Street, Victoria BC V8V 1X4
Victoria BC is the capital of the province of British Columbia, and the Provincial legislature buildings are right downtown bordering the Inner Harbour. Built in 1897, the beautiful and elegant architecture is representative of old Victoria.
Tours are free. Request a tour here, or call the number above. Besides public or group tours, you can also follow a self-guided tour (available in 13 languages).
Christ Church Cathedral
501 Belleville Street, Victoria, BC V8V 3V5
The Anglican Christ Church Cathedral has seen 3 iterations, the first dating to circa 1850. The gothic architecture in the current cathedral is remarkable, and well executed. The interior measures 93 x 140 feet; the towers reach to 122 feet above street level.
The church is open for tours; entrance is free, though there is opportunity to make a donation should you care to do so (no pressure at all).
Beacon Hill Park
Douglas Street and Dallas Road, Victoria, BC
Situated along the Strait of Juan de Fuca lie 200 acres of gardens, woodlands, walking trails, playgrounds, a petting zoo, water park and ponds. This is a great family-outing location, perfect for catching a sunset or the spectacular views south to the Olympic Mountains of Washington State. Cameron Bandshell, located in the park, hosts a variety of summer music, dance and theatre events.
Stroll (and shop) along Government Street
Downtown Inner Harbour area of Victoria BC
Depending on the season and weather, a stroll along Government Street may be more entertaining than normally anticipated. Besides a multitude of restaurants, shops, First Nations crafts and souvenirs, you might find free viewing of chalk art (pictured - donations welcome, of course!), musicians (some with talent, some not so much), booths with handicrafts of all sorts, and more.
Here is where you'll find the prerequisite $15 t-shirt, and for the less budget-constrained, exquisite jewelry, carvings, heirloom quality photos, handicrafts, and more.
Fisgard Street south of Government Street
Authentic and the oldest Chinatown in Canada, though not as large as others in, say, San Francisco or Vancouver. It is definitely worth a trip through the Gates of Harmonious Interest, down Fan Tan Alley and up and down either side of Fisgard Street. It's a historical area with interesting buildings, formerly housing gambling clubs and opium dens, now filled with shops and restaurants.
1 Dallas Road, Victoria, BC
To get to Fisherman's Wharf, enter off St. Lawrence Street from the south shore at the entrance to the Inner Harbor, or catch a Harbor ferry near the Empress Hotel.
This is a fun place to take the family. Formerly a serious working wharf with eccentric characters roaming the docks (well, there's still that at the other end of the wharf), it's now surrounded by resorts and condos and full of colorfully painted floating homes and houseboats where you can feed the seals and enjoy great seafood chow.
Get the highly touted fish-n-chips at Barb's, or snag an ice cream or mocha at Moka Joe's on the ground floor of the beautiful Shoal Point condo building. Check the website for other food and seafood offerings on Fisherman's Wharf.
Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites
603 Fort Rodd Hill Road, Colwood BC V9C 2W8
Fort Rodd Hill and the Fisgard Lighthouse is located just 15 minutes west of Victoria, in the town of Colwood. Fort Rodd is a 100-year-old coastal artillery fort. There is so much history here! Old bunkers and barracks to explore, and the views are spectacular. Entry is free during the off-season, and negligible otherwise.
The Fisgard Lighthouse, Canada's oldest west coast lighthouse, is accessible as part of the Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site.
Goldstream Provincial Park
Trans Canada Hwy (Hwy 1), Langford, BC
If you're looking for things to do in Victoria, we highly recommend a drive to Goldstream Provincial Park, which is just 17 km (10.5 miles) to the north of downtown Victoria.
Goldstream River drains steep mountainsides and then empties into an estuary (Finlayson Arm) at the tip of Brentwood Bay. Besides being incredibly scenic, the Park is a spawning area for salmon and contains huge old-growth cedars, fir and spruce that are typical of a temperate rain forest.
800 Benvenuto Ave., Brentwood Bay, BC, V8M 1J8
+1-250-652-4422; Toll-Free: +1-866-652-4422
Of all the things to do in Victoria, one that takes my breath away is a visit to Butchart Gardens.
Jennie Butchart's vision of creating something beautiful from an exhausted limestone quarry is exquisitely fulfilled in flowing fountains, bountiful flowers and themed gardens. The Gardens are open year round.
A visit to Butchart Gardens is a must-do, in my opinion. You would not regret re-visiting these 55 acres of horticultural amazement during each of the four seasons, if possible.
1461 Benvenuto Avenue, Brentwood Bay, BC
The Butterfly Gardens are located in the middle of the Saanich Peninsula very near Butchart Gardens. Walk among tropical plants and butterflies. Stand still long enough and one might land on your nose. This is a charming, gentle and beautiful garden. Both kids and adults will be delighted.
It'd take years to run out of things to do in Victoria BC.
Still have time? Vancouver Island is full of other fascinating sights, Provincial and regional parks, fishing villages, beaches, and remote wilderness.
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