The most effective issues to do in Victoria, British Columbia for first time guests

Inner Harbour Victoria Capital building, things to do in Victoria for tourists

Victoria may simply be essentially the most charming capital in Canada

Situated on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, the town of Victoria is without doubt one of the oldest cities within the Pacific Northwest. Right now, we’d prefer to share a few of our favorite issues to do in Victoria with you.

It’s no shock we’ve a delicate spot for Victoria. That is the place the place we met over 20 years in the past. It’s the place our story started. Because of this, we attempt to go to a minimum of yearly. 

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

That mentioned, don’t make the error of pondering you possibly can correctly do Victoria in someday (except you are taking a float aircraft from Vancouver to Victoria). We suggest you spend a minimum of two days in Victoria, ideally three days in case your itinerary permits it.

The Finest Issues to do in Victoria, BC

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things to do in Victoria British Columbia, Orca Whale, Whale Watching

1. See Orca Whales on a Whale Watching Tour

Vancouver Island is residence to a few of the finest whale watching in Canada. The most effective 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 interested in the realm to feed, leading to a 95% success price on whale watching excursions.

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

Victoria whale watching excursions depart from the Inside Harbour. Excursions depart a number of occasions per day. We went on a tour with Prince of Whales and would suggest them. You possibly can e-book whale watching excursions on-line forward of time or just present up and soar on the following 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 an excellent pod. 

Ebook your Victoria whale watching tour right here. Or be part of a zodiac tour right here.

Victoria whale watching tour, orca whales, British Columbia

Victoria Horse Carriage Tour, British Columbia

2. Take a Victoria Horse Carriage Tour 

A singular solution to uncover this historic metropolis is by horse-drawn carriage. The stress-free and informative horse-drawn carriage excursions permit guests to see the town’s sights in type, whereas touring by means of 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 permit you to open a bottle of champagne or wine whilst you tour the town by night time.

We suggest utilizing Victoria Carriage Excursions. The horse carriage will decide you up immediately out of your resort or restaurant. You may also arrange your journey immediately from the horse carriage operators, positioned beside the British Columbia Parliament Buildings. 

Excursions vary from half-hour to an 1.5 hours.

Ebook your Victoria horse carriage tour right here.

water taxi in Victoria Inner Harbour, British Columbia Canada

3. Experience a Harbour Ferry round Inside Harbour

A enjoyable solution to get round Victoria’s Inside 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. 

Cease at Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub and seize a refreshing pint of native craft beer. Or, go to the colorful Fisherman’s Wharf and take a look at Barb’s Fish and Chips.

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

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

Inside the Victoria Harbour Ferry in Inner Harbour

4. British Columbia Parliament Buildings

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

Building of the Parliament Buildings started in 1893 they usually have been formally opened in 1898. Different notable landmarks on the grounds are the Cenotaph (bronze Struggle Memorial to the Unknown Soldier), Queen Victoria Statue, Douglas Obelisk, Information Totem Pole, Converse 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 possibly can be part of a regularly-scheduled guided excursions or discover the buildings on you personal. Guided excursions are free and final approx. half-hour. 

Associated – The Finest Street Journey from Vancouver for first timers

fountain at the back of the BC Parliament Buildings Victoria

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

Discover offers on Victoria resorts utilizing or

scenic ocean views from Dallas Road in Victoria British Columbia Canada

5. Bike journey 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 Inside 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 journey within the residential space of James Bay. It’s a quiet space with a few of the most lovely heritage properties on Vancouver Island. James Bay’s declare to fame is that it’s mentioned to be the oldest neighbourhood on the West coast of North America that’s north of San Francisco. Say that ten occasions quick.

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

If bike using just isn’t your factor, you may as well 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

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

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

Plan to spend a minimum of 3 hours on the museum, particularly if you wish to catch an IMAX movie.

Royal BC Museum Hours of Operation right here

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

Totem poles, First Peoples Galley, Royal BC Museum, Victoria, British Columbia

7. Discover Beacon Hill Park in Victoria

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

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

You possibly can entry the Dallas Street Waterfront Path from Beacon Hill Park. Stroll in 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 gorgeous 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 Patio on the Strathcona is residence to the world’s solely rooftop seashore volleyball courts.

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

If seashore volleyball just isn’t your factor, get pleasure from a pint on the Sticky Wicket or Massive Unhealthy John’s, one in all Victoria’s finest dive bars. The Strathcona has been a downtown Victoria landmark with roots relationship again to the gold rush period within the early 1900’s.

With 7 venues, 5 ranges, 5 numerous eating places and 1,200+ seats, that is the proper place to unwind after a day of sightseeing. 

9. Hatley Park Nationwide Historic Website

Situated in Colwood, about 20 minutes west of Victoria, the Hatley Park Historic Website is residence to Hatley Fort (pictured above) and exquisite 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 possibly can take a tour of the citadel and gardens, wander across the college grounds, hike by means of the forest and snap a photograph with one of many resident peacocks (simply don’t get too shut, a couple of of them have tempers).

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

royal roads university castle, things to do in Victoria British Columbia

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 positioned on the identical website. 

Victoria Inner Harbour waterfront, things to do in Victoria Canada

11. Stroll the Inside Harbour Pathways

Victoria’s picturesque Inside Harbour is one in all Victoria’s most celebrated landmarks and sights.

It’s typically labelled as one of the vital lovely harbours on the earth. We agree.

The preferred part of Victoria’s Inside Harbour is the marina in entrance of the Fairmont Empress and British Columbia Parliament Buildings (image above). In the summertime, this esplanade is crammed with retailers, artists, road performers and meals vans.

Though the promenade in entrance of the Empress Resort is the most well-liked, there are a number of pathways across the Inside Harbour, together with the David Foster Harbour Pathway and Songhees Walkway. These pathways are the proper place to observe the float planes take off and land on the bustling harbour.  

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

Views of Victoria Inside Harbour on the waterfront Songhees Walkway.

the old Johnson Street bridge in Victoria British Columbia. blue steel bridge connecting downtown Victoria that was replaced in 2015

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

things to do in Victoria British Columbia, go on a pub crawl and visit the Victoria breweries tour

12. Go on a Brewery Pub Crawl

Downtown Victoria is the proper location for a brewery pub crawl. Victoria may be very walkable and lots of the brewpubs, bars and micro-breweries are positioned 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 all the above breweries and brewpubs by foot. They’re positioned inside a few 2-3 km radius. 

Right here’s an interactive Victoria map with resorts, eating places and sights. In case you favor a guided tour look right here or right here.

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

Flight of beer at Irish Times pub in Victoria British Columbia

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

13. Craigdarroch Fort 

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

Ticket value to enter Craigdarroch Fort right here

Craigdarroch Fort 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, take into account a brief go to to the Victoria Bug Zoo, also referred to as the Bug Museum. It’s a two-room mini-zoo positioned in downtown Victoria, one block north of the Fairmont Empress Resort.

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

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

15. Really feel big 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 vital common vacationer sights in downtown Victoria.

Miniature World is trademarked at “The Best 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 may 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 will see that historic objects, artwork, images & fashions showcasing the maritime historical past of the Pacific Northwest.

Maritime Museum of British Columbia hours of operation right here.

fan tan alley china town Victoria British Columbia

17. Squeeze by means of 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 on the Gate of Harmonious Curiosity, an ornately adorned arch on the entrance to Chinatown, positioned on Fisgard Avenue. 

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

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

Right now, its residence to greater than a dozen domestically owned outlets promoting the whole lot from classic data to hand-crafted jewellery to natural treats. 

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

Gate of Harmonious Interest in Victoria's Chinatown, Victoria British Columbia Canada

The Gate of Harmonious Curiosity in Victoria’s Chinatown.

floating homes at Fisherman's Wharf Victoria BC

18. Fisherman’s Wharf 

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

You will discover quite a lot of outlets 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 by way of an Inside Harbour water taxi (see level #3). You may also stroll or journey 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, DO NOT FEED seals or marine wildlife.

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.

Barbs fish and chips, Fisherman's Wharf Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

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 turn into one in all Victoria’s most visited vacationer sights with over 1 million guests per yr. As soon as a limestone quarry, these lovely gardens have now been designated a Nationwide Historic Website of Canada.

The Butchart Gardens are positioned half-hour drive north of Downtown Victoria. Extra data on the best way to get to Butchart Gardens right here.

In case you don’t have a automobile you possibly can be part of an organized tour that runs day by day journeys from Downtown Victoria to Butchart Gardens. 

Butchart Gardens hours of operation for summer time are 8:45 AM to 9:00 PM. Christmas hours of operation are 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM. These occasions are topic to vary. Go to web site for up-to-date hours.  

Right here’s an interactive map of Butchart Gardens.

You possibly can be part of a Butchart Gardens tour right here.

20. Goldstream Provincial Park

Goldstream Provincial Park is positioned solely 16 km north of Victoria but it feels far faraway from the city sprawl of downtown Victoria. The park is residence to a number of mountain climbing trails for all ranges, starting from a straightforward forest stroll to the tougher Mount Finlayson path to the very best level in Higher Victoria . 

Goldstream Park is thought for the annual chum salmon runs within the Goldstream River that occur within the fall. A whole lot 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 also be residence to Niagara Falls. Not the Niagara Falls in Southern Ontario; a smaller model that flows from Niagara Creek and drops 48 meters. The waterfall may be reached by way of a brief 1.3 km round-trip hike (extra data right here).

The opposite waterfall, Goldstream Falls, is positioned within the southwest nook of the park, close to the campground.

One other common 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 may be fairly slippery.

Parking at Goldstream Park may 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 reveals the mountain climbing 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 Resort, Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort, Fairmont Empress and Finest Western Carlton Plaza and suggest all of them. They’re centrally positioned and household pleasant.

Different household pleasant resorts in Victoria:

Seek for final minute offers on Victoria resorts utilizing or

There’s an rising provide of quick time period house leases in Victoria. Staying in a furnished house is handy and inexpensive, particularly for those who’re touring with a big household. Seek for Victoria house leases right here.

The gorgeous Victoria Fairmont Empress resort is acknowledged by Nationwide Geographic Traveler journal as one of many most Iconic Inns within the World

The place to eat in Victoria?

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

photo of BC Ferries big ship crossing from Vancouver to Victoria

Easy methods to get to Victoria from Vancouver

Most individuals will catch the ferry that departs from Tsawwassen BC Ferries Terminal (and vice versa). You may also 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 a minimum of one hour earlier than your departure time. It’s sensible to e-book a reservation forward of time as a result of it may well get fairly busy over a vacation weekend. In case you miss the ferry will probably be a minimum of 2 hours earlier than the following 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 site visitors. The drive from the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal to downtown Victoria takes about half-hour. 

You may also take a float aircraft or Helijet from downtown Vancouver. In case you’ve solely bought someday to spend in Victoria, the float aircraft or helicopter is the quickest and most handy choice. 

Have you ever visited the town of Victoria?

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

Fairmont Empress hotel view from Victoria Inner Harbour

Learn extra posts from British Columbia:

Landscape view of Victoria Parliament Buildings at night with full moon

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