One of the best issues to do in Victoria, British Columbia for first time guests


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Victoria would possibly simply be essentially the most charming capital in Canada

Positioned on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, the town of Victoria is without doubt one of the oldest cities within the Pacific Northwest. At this time, we’d wish to share a few of our favorite issues to do in Victoria with you.

It’s no shock we’ve a tender 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 no less than annually. 

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 stay on the mainland.

That stated, don’t make the error of considering you may correctly do Victoria in sooner or later (until you are taking a float aircraft from Vancouver to Victoria). We advocate you spend no less than two days in Victoria, ideally three days in case your itinerary permits it.

The Finest Issues to do in Victoria, BC

Skip forward utilizing the Desk of Contents above.

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

1. See Orca Whales on a Whale Watching Tour

Vancouver Island is house to a few of the greatest whale watching in Canada. One of the 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 interested in the world 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 Could to October through the salmon migration.

Victoria whale watching excursions depart from the Internal Harbour. Excursions depart a number of occasions per day. We went on a tour with Prince of Whales and would advocate them. You may e-book whale watching excursions on-line forward of time or just present up and leap 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 a 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 approach to uncover this historic metropolis is by horse-drawn carriage. The stress-free and informative horse-drawn carriage excursions enable guests to see the town’s points of interest in type, whereas touring by means of outdated residential neighbourhoods, scenic waterfront roads and the second oldest Chinatown in North America.

For those who’re within the temper to show up the romance, most operators can help you open a bottle of champagne or wine when you tour the town by night time.

We advocate utilizing Victoria Carriage Excursions. The horse carriage will decide you up instantly out of your lodge or restaurant. You can too set up your journey instantly 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. Trip a Harbour Ferry round Internal Harbour

A enjoyable approach to get round Victoria’s Internal Harbour is to take a small Harbour Ferry. The little ferries depart from varied factors across the harbour, so you may 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 could be bought as a Harbour Tour ($30), Gorge Cruise ($30) or one-way fares ranging from $7.00 per individual.

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

Inside the Victoria Harbour Ferry in Inner Harbour

4. British Columbia Parliament Buildings

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

Development of the Parliament Buildings started in 1893 they usually 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, 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 may be a 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 Highway Journey from Vancouver for first timers

fountain at the back of the BC Parliament Buildings Victoria

The above picture is the fountain in the back of the BC Parliament Buildings.

Discover offers on Victoria motels utilizing or

scenic ocean views from Dallas Road in Victoria British Columbia Canada

5. Bike journey alongside Dallas Highway 

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

To see what’s past the downtown core, hire a motorcycle and cruise down Dallas Highway to Beacon Hill Park, Clover Level Park and Ross Bay. The ocean views on Dallas Highway are unimaginable, 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 stunning 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 occasions quick.

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

If bike using will not be your factor, it’s also possible to stroll on the Dallas Highway 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 focuses on British Columbia’s human and pure historical past. 

The flowery galleries supply completely different environments, making it an excellent museum for all ages and preferences. There’s a First Peoples Gallery, Fashionable Historical past Gallery, Pure Historical past Gallery and completely different touring exhibitions. Our favourites are the life dimension woolly mammoth and the unimaginable 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 right here

When you’re within the neighbourhood, try Thunderbird Park, positioned instantly beside the Royal British Columbia Museum. Thunderbird Park is house 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

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 motels, 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 superbly manicured gardens and weeping willows at Goodacre Lake, feed the goats on the Beacon Hill Kids’s Farm, {photograph} the peculiar Moss Woman sculpture and admire the world’s tallest free-standing totem pole.

You may entry the Dallas Highway 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 take in 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 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. For those who’ve bought the time and want, we advocate you give it a strive!

If seashore volleyball will not be your factor, get pleasure from a pint on the Sticky Wicket or Massive Unhealthy John’s, one in all Victoria’s greatest dive bars. The Strathcona has been a downtown Victoria landmark with roots courting 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

Positioned in Colwood, about 20 minutes west of Victoria, the Hatley Park Historic Website is house to Hatley Fort (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 fortress 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 number 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 record 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, try 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 web site. 

Victoria Inner Harbour waterfront, things to do in Victoria Canada

11. Stroll the Internal Harbour Pathways

Victoria’s picturesque Internal Harbour is one in all Victoria’s most celebrated landmarks and points of interest.

It’s usually labelled as probably the most stunning harbours on the planet. We agree.

The preferred part of Victoria’s Internal 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, road performers and meals vehicles.

Though the promenade in entrance of the Empress Lodge is the preferred, there are a number of pathways across the Internal Harbour, together with the David Foster Harbour Pathway and Songhees Walkway. These pathways are the proper place to look at 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 fantastic for child strollers, wheelchairs and bikes. 

Views of Victoria Internal 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 outdated 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 most 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

For those who’ve bought the stamina, you may 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 motels, eating places and points of interest. For those who 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. In-built 1890 by a rich coal baron, through the reign of Queen Victoria, this fairy-tale fortress has over 20,000 sq. toes of inside house. Study extra about this historical past of the fortress right here.

Ticket worth to enter Craigdarroch Fort right here

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

14. Go to the Victoria Bug Zoo 

For those who’re travelling to Victoria with children, think about a brief go to to the Victoria Bug Zoo, often known as the Bug Museum. It’s a two-room mini-zoo positioned in downtown Victoria, one block north of the Fairmont Empress Lodge.

The zoo creates a possibility so that you can view and expertise stay tropical bugs from around the globe. It has approx. 50 completely 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 could be discovered right here.

15. Really feel large at Miniature World Victoria

After you go to the Victoria Bug Zoo, stroll one block south and take a look at Miniature World, probably the most common vacationer points of interest in downtown Victoria.

Miniature World is trademarked at “The Greatest Little Show 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 could 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 discover 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 need to begin your go to to Chinatown on the Gate of Harmonious Curiosity, an ornately embellished arch on the entrance to Chinatown, positioned on Fisgard Avenue. 

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 all the things from classic data 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 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. Take pleasure in Barb’s well-known fish and chips on the pier and watch the playful seals swim across the vibrant floating village. 

One can find a wide range 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 greatest reached by way of an Internal Harbour water taxi (see level #3). You can too stroll or journey bikes alongside the the scenic Harbour Pathway. It’s a simple 15 minute stroll from the BC Parliament Buildings to the Fisherman’s Wharf. 

Whereas it could be tempting, DO NOT FEED seals or marine wildlife.

Many journey websites will advocate feeding the seals, nevertheless it’s now banned by the Larger 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. Scent the roses at The Butchart Gardens

The Butchart Gardens has turn out to be one in all Victoria’s most visited vacationer points of interest with over 1 million guests per yr. As soon as a limestone quarry, these stunning 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 easy methods to get to Butchart Gardens right here.

For those who don’t have a car you may be a part of an organized tour that runs every 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 may be a 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 house to a number of mountaineering trails for all ranges, starting from a simple forest stroll to the more difficult Mount Finlayson path to the best level in Larger Victoria . 

Goldstream Park is understood for the annual chum salmon runs within the Goldstream River that occur within the fall. Lots 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 could 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 could be tempting, do NOT stroll on the trestle bridge. There are not any security sidings and spacing between beams is inconsistent and could be fairly slippery.

Parking at Goldstream Park could 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 tons and campgrounds. The Goldstream Park campground refill quick, so that you’re greatest to make reservations properly prematurely.

The place to remain in Victoria?

We’ve stayed on the Magnolia Lodge, Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort, Fairmont Empress and Finest Western Carlton Plaza and advocate all of them. They’re centrally positioned and household pleasant.

Different household pleasant motels in Victoria:

Seek for final minute offers on Victoria motels utilizing or

There may be an rising provide of quick time period house leases in Victoria. Staying in a furnished house is handy and reasonably priced, particularly in the event you’re touring with a big household. Seek for Victoria house leases right here.

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

The place to eat in Victoria?

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

photo of BC Ferries big ship crossing from Vancouver to Victoria

The best way to 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 clever to e-book a reservation forward of time as a result of it might probably get fairly busy over a vacation weekend. For those who miss the ferry will probably be no less than 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 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. For those who’ve solely bought sooner or later to spend in Victoria, the float aircraft or helicopter is the quickest and most handy possibility. 

Have you ever visited the town of Victoria?

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

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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