Victoria, BC, located on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada, offers a wealth of experiences and attractions for visitors. From its stunning Inner Harbour to its picturesque gardens, this charming city has something for everyone. Whether you're interested in history, nature, or simply enjoying the vibrant atmosphere, Victoria won't disappoint. In this article, we'll explore the 12 best things to do in Victoria, BC, ensuring you make the most of your visit.
1. Explore Inner Harbour
- 1.1 Visit the iconic Empress Hotel Victoria's Inner Harbour is home to the historic Fairmont Empress Hotel, an architectural marvel that has welcomed guests since 1908. Step inside this iconic landmark and marvel at its grandeur and elegant interior.
- 1.2 Stroll along the Inner Harbour Pathway Take a leisurely walk along the Inner Harbour Pathway, which offers stunning views of the harbor, Parliament Buildings, and the surrounding mountains. Enjoy the vibrant atmosphere and watch as seaplanes take off and land on the water.
- 1.3 Take a harbor ferry tour Hop on a harbor ferry and explore the Inner Harbour from the water. These charming boats provide a unique perspective of Victoria's landmarks, and you can easily hop on and off at various stops along the way.
2. Visit the Royal BC Museum
- 2.1 Discover British Columbia's history Immerse yourself in the rich history of British Columbia at the Royal BC Museum. Explore captivating exhibits that showcase the province's indigenous cultures, natural history, and fascinating stories of its past.
- 2.2 Explore fascinating exhibits From life-sized replicas of indigenous villages to immersive displays of dinosaur fossils, the museum offers a diverse range of exhibits that cater to all interests. Learn about the local flora and fauna, early settlers, and significant historical events.
- 2.3 Experience the IMAX theater Enhance your visit to the Royal BC Museum by catching a film at the IMAX theater. Watch breathtaking documentaries on a massive screen that transports you to different worlds, from underwater realms to the vastness of space.
3. Explore Butchart Gardens
- 3.1 Admire beautiful floral displays A visit to Victoria wouldn't be complete without exploring Butchart Gardens. This world-renowned attraction showcases meticulously manicured gardens and vibrant floral displays that change with the seasons.
- 3.2 Discover various themed gardens Wander through the Sunken Garden, the Rose Garden, the Japanese Garden, and other themed areas within Butchart Gardens. Each garden offers its own unique beauty and ambiance, providing a feast for the senses.
- 3.3 Enjoy live entertainment During the summer months, Butchart Gardens hosts live concerts and performances in its open-air amphitheater. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the harmonious blend of music and nature in this enchanting setting.
4. Take a Whale Watching Tour
- 4.1 Encounter majestic marine wildlife Embark on a thrilling whale watching tour from Victoria and get up close with these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat. Keep your eyes peeled for orcas, humpback whales, sea lions, and other marine wildlife.
- 4.2 Learn from knowledgeable guides Experienced guides will provide insightful commentary about the whales and the surrounding ecosystem, enriching your understanding of these incredible animals. They'll also ensure a responsible and respectful approach to wildlife viewing.
- 4.3 Experience an unforgettable adventure The sheer beauty and excitement of observing whales in the wild is an unforgettable experience. Feel the exhilaration as these majestic creatures breach and dive, creating memories that will last a lifetime.
5. Visit the Craigdarroch Castle
- 5.1 Step back in time Explore the majestic Craigdarroch Castle, a Victorian-era mansion that offers a glimpse into the opulent lifestyle of the past. Marvel at the stunning architecture, intricate woodwork, and lavish furnishings.
- 5.2 Explore the grand architecture Take a guided tour through the castle and discover its many rooms, including the imposing ballroom, the breathtaking staircase, and the serene rooftop garden. Learn about the castle's history and the influential family that once resided here.
- 5.3 Enjoy panoramic views Climb to the top of the castle's tower and be rewarded with panoramic views of Victoria, the surrounding neighborhoods, and the sparkling ocean. Capture stunning photos and take in the beauty of the city from this elevated vantage point.
6. Explore Beacon Hill Park
- 6.1 Relax in nature Escape the bustling city and unwind in the tranquil surroundings of Beacon Hill Park. This expansive green space offers walking paths, beautiful gardens, and open fields perfect for picnics and leisurely strolls.
- 6.2 Visit the Children's Farm Bring the whole family to the Children's Farm in Beacon Hill Park, where kids can interact with farm animals such as goats, rabbits, and miniature horses. It's a delightful experience that educates and entertains.
- 6.3 Explore the rose garden Don't miss the rose garden in Beacon Hill Park, which boasts an impressive collection of roses in various colors and fragrances. Take a moment to breathe in the delightful scents and appreciate the beauty of these blooms.
7. Discover the Inner Harbour District
- 7.1 Shop and dine at Fisherman's Wharf Visit Fisherman's Wharf, a vibrant waterfront community filled with colorful floating homes, restaurants, and unique shops. Sample freshly caught seafood, browse through local crafts, or simply enjoy the lively atmosphere.
- 7.2 Visit the Maritime Museum of BC Delve into Victoria's maritime history at the Maritime Museum of BC. Learn about the city's connection to the sea, explore exhibits on navigation and shipbuilding, and even step aboard a replica of a historic sailing vessel.
- 7.3 Explore Market Square Wander through the historic Market Square, a vibrant hub of shops, boutiques, and eateries. Discover local artisans, browse through unique gifts and souvenirs, and savor delicious cuisine from around the world.
8. Enjoy Afternoon Tea at The Fairmont Empress
- 8.1 Indulge in a Victorian tradition Treat yourself to a quintessential Victorian experience by enjoying afternoon tea at The Fairmont Empress. Delight in a selection of finely brewed teas, delectable finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream, and a variety of sweet treats.
- 8.2 Savor delicious treats Relish the delicate flavors and elegant presentation of the tea service, as the attentive staff ensures your experience is nothing short of extraordinary. Immerse yourself in the refined ambiance of this iconic hotel.
- 8.3 Admire the elegant ambiance As you sip your tea, take in the breathtaking views of the Inner Harbour from the Empress's tea room. The elegant decor, plush seating, and soothing atmosphere create a truly memorable setting for this indulgent ritual.
9. Explore the Victoria Bug Zoo
- 9.1 Get up close with fascinating insects For a unique and educational experience, visit the Victoria Bug Zoo. Discover an extraordinary array of live insects and arachnids, including tarantulas, beetles, walking sticks, and even a praying mantis.
- 9.2 Learn about insect biology Engage with knowledgeable staff who will share intriguing facts about these fascinating creatures. Gain a deeper understanding of their importance in the ecosystem and appreciate their intricate adaptations.
- 9.3 Interact with knowledgeable staff If you're feeling brave, you can even hold some of the friendly bugs under the guidance of the Bug Zoo's staff. It's a hands-on experience that's sure to leave a lasting impression.
10. Visit the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria
- 10.1 Appreciate diverse art collections Immerse yourself in the world of art at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. Explore a wide range of collections that encompass historical and contemporary works from local and international artists.
- 10.2 Explore historic Emily Carr House Adjacent to the gallery is the Emily Carr House, the childhood home of renowned Canadian artist Emily Carr. Take a guided tour through this historic site and learn about Carr's life and artistic journey.
- 10.3 Attend engaging art events Check the gallery's calendar for special events, exhibitions, and workshops. From artist talks to interactive art installations, there's always something happening at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria to spark your creativity.
11. Take a Horse-Drawn Carriage Tour
- 11.1 Experience a romantic ride Step back in time and embark on a horse-drawn carriage tour through Victoria's charming streets. Snuggle up with your loved one as you leisurely explore the city and take in its architectural delights.
- 11.2 Learn about Victoria's history Your knowledgeable carriage driver will regale you with fascinating stories and historical anecdotes about Victoria's past. Listen as they share tales of the city's pioneers, landmarks, and hidden gems.
- 11.3 Enjoy a leisurely pace Sit back, relax, and enjoy the rhythmic clip-clop of the horses' hooves as you soak in the sights and sounds of Victoria at a leisurely pace. It's a nostalgic experience that adds a touch of romance to your visit.
12. Explore the Inner Harbour by Kayak
- 12.1 Paddle through scenic waterways For a unique perspective of Victoria's Inner Harbour, embark on a kayak adventure. Glide through calm waters and navigate your way around the harbor, taking in the breathtaking views of the city skyline.
- 12.2 Experience a unique perspective As you paddle, marvel at the coastal landscapes, spot wildlife such as seals and seabirds, and feel a sense of tranquility as you connect with nature in the heart of the city.
- 12.3 Discover hidden coves Explore hidden coves and secluded spots that are only accessible by kayak. Take your time to fully appreciate the natural beauty and serenity that Victoria's Inner Harbour has to offer.
In conclusion, Victoria, BC, is a city brimming with remarkable attractions and experiences. From the iconic Inner Harbour and the historic landmarks to the stunning gardens and immersive cultural institutions, there's no shortage of things to do and see. Whether you're a history enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply looking to indulge in Victorian charm, Victoria has it all. Plan your visit to this enchanting city and embark on a memorable adventure that will leave you with lasting memories.
- What is the best time to visit Victoria, BC? The best time to visit Victoria, BC, is during the summer months of June to August when the weather is pleasant and outdoor activities thrive. However, Victoria's mild climate makes it a year-round destination, and each season offers its own unique charm.
- Are there any free attractions in Victoria, BC? Yes, there are several free attractions in Victoria, BC. Some notable ones include exploring the Inner Harbour, visiting Beacon Hill Park, and strolling through the downtown area to admire the historic architecture.
- Can you recommend a family-friendly activity in Victoria? The Victoria Bug Zoo is a fantastic family-friendly activity where kids can learn about insects and interact with them in a safe environment. The Children's Farm in Beacon Hill Park is also a great option for children to get up close with farm animals.
- How can I get to Victoria, BC? Victoria is easily accessible by air or ferry. The city has its own international airport, Victoria International Airport (YYJ), which offers direct flights from major Canadian and US cities. Alternatively, you can take a ferry from Vancouver or Seattle to Victoria's Swartz Bay terminal.
- Are there any outdoor adventure activities in Victoria? Absolutely! In addition to kayaking in the Inner Harbour, you can also enjoy activities such as hiking, cycling, and whale watching tours. The surrounding natural beauty provides ample opportunities for outdoor adventures.