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The very best issues to do in Victoria, British Columbia for first time guests

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

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

Situated on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, the town of Victoria is likely one of the oldest cities within the Pacific Northwest. Right this moment, 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 comfortable spot for Victoria. That is the place the place we met over 20 years in the past. It’s the place our story started. For that reason, we attempt to go to at the least every year. 

Victoria is situated 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 stated, don’t make the error of considering you’ll be able to correctly do Victoria in in the future (until you are taking a float aircraft from Vancouver to Victoria). We advocate you spend at the least two days in Victoria, ideally three days in case your itinerary permits it.

The Greatest 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 residence to a few of the greatest 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 world to feed, leading to a 95% success fee on whale watching excursions.

Whereas it’s potential to see whales any time of the 12 months, the height Victoria whale watching season is in the summertime months, from Could to October in the course of 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 advocate them. You possibly can ebook whale watching excursions on-line forward of time or just present up and bounce 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. 

E-book 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 method 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 via previous residential neighbourhoods, scenic waterfront roads and the second oldest Chinatown in North America.

Should you’re within the temper to show up the romance, most operators will let you open a bottle of champagne or wine whilst you tour the town by evening.

We advocate utilizing Victoria Carriage Excursions. The horse carriage will decide you up instantly out of your resort or restaurant. You can too manage 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.

water taxi in Victoria Inner Harbour British Columbia Canada

3. Journey a Harbour Ferry round Inside Harbour

A enjoyable method 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’ll be able to 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 particular person.

Search for the ‘Ferry Cease’ indicators at main waterfront areas 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. 

Development 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, Data 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 Greatest 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 resorts utilizing Reserving.com or Accommodations.com

scenic ocean views from Dallas Road in Victoria British Columbia Canada

5. Bike journey alongside Dallas Highway 

Guests to Victoria will discover that the majority 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, hire a motorbike 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 lovely heritage properties 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 direction of Ogden Level (the large pier the place the cruise ships dock). Proceed alongside the waterfront highway in direction of Beacon Hill Park. You possibly can journey your bike across the park or proceed to Ross Bay and Gonzales Seashore.

If bike using will not be your factor, you too can stroll on the Dallas Highway Waterfront Path and go to Holland Level Park, Fonyon Seashore, Finlayson Level and Spiral Seashore.

6. Go to the Royal BC Museum and IMAX

Situated between the Empress Lodge and the BC Parliament Buildings, the Royal BC Museum focuses on British Columbia’s human and pure historical past. 

The frilly galleries supply totally different environments, making it an incredible 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 unimaginable assortment of totem poles.

Plan to spend at the least 3 hours on the museum, particularly if you wish to catch an IMAX movie.

Royal BC Museum Hours of Operation right here

Whilst you’re within the neighbourhood, take a look at Thunderbird Park, situated instantly 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 via its fantastically 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 possibly can entry the Dallas Highway 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 Seashore Volleyball on a Rooftop Bar

Have you ever performed seaside 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 seaside volleyball courts.

We fondly keep in mind our college days ingesting pints with classmates and enjoying seaside volleyball on the Strathcona rooftop. Should you’ve bought the time and want, we advocate you give it a attempt!

If seaside 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 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 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 possibly can take a tour of the fortress 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 couple 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 record of films filmed at Hatley Citadel 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 situated on the identical web site. 

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 probably the most lovely harbours on this planet. 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 full of retailers, artists, road performers and meals vehicles.

Though the promenade in entrance of the Empress Lodge 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 look at the float planes take off and land on the bustling harbour.  

To get the this waterfront path, cross the brand new Johnson Road Bridge and go 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 Road 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 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 Occasions Pub
  • Bard & Banker
  • CANOE Brewpub
  • Driftwood Brewery
  • Vancouver Island Brewing
  • Phillips Brewing Tasting Room
  • Hoyne Brewing Firm

Should you’ve bought the stamina, you’ll be able to 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 resorts, eating places and sights. Should you favor a guided tour look right here or right here.

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

Flight of beer at Irish Times pub in Victoria British Columbia

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

13. Craigdarroch Citadel 

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

Ticket value to enter Craigdarroch Citadel right here

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

14. Go to the Victoria Bug Zoo 

Should you’re travelling to Victoria with children, contemplate a brief go to to the Victoria Bug Zoo, also referred to as 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 possibility so that you can view and expertise reside tropical bugs from all over the world. 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 may 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 well-liked 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’ll find historic objects, artwork, photographs & 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 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 on the Gate of Harmonious Curiosity, an ornately adorned arch on the entrance to Chinatown, situated on Fisgard Road. 

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

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

Right this moment, its residence to greater than a dozen domestically owned outlets promoting every thing 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 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 greatest reached by way of an Inside 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. Odor the roses at The Butchart Gardens

The Butchart Gardens has develop into one in all 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. Extra data on easy methods to get to Butchart Gardens right here.

Should you would not have a automobile you’ll be able to 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 alter. 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 situated 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 mountaineering trails for all ranges, starting from a simple forest stroll to the tougher Mount Finlayson path to the best level in Larger 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 useless 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 situated within the southwest nook of the park, close to the campground.

One other well-liked 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 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 mountaineering trails, parking tons and campgrounds. The Goldstream Park campground refill quick, so that you’re greatest 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 advocate all of them. They’re centrally situated and household pleasant.

Different household pleasant resorts in Victoria:

Seek for final minute offers on Victoria resorts utilizing Reserving.com or Accommodations.com

There’s an growing provide of quick time period condo leases in Victoria. Staying in a furnished condo is handy and inexpensive, particularly when you’re touring with a big household. Seek for Victoria condo leases right here.

The gorgeous Victoria Fairmont Empress resort is acknowledged by Nationwide Geographic Traveler journal as one of many most Iconic Accommodations 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 advocate you dine at a seafood restaurant. The west coast can also be identified for high quality sushi and Japanese delicacies.

photo of BC Ferries big ship crossing from Vancouver to Victoria

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 may drop you off in downtown Victoria (ticket contains the ferry crossing).

Plan to reach on the ferry terminal at the least one hour earlier than your departure time. It’s clever to ebook a reservation forward of time as a result of it could possibly get fairly busy over a vacation weekend. Should you miss the ferry it will likely be at the least 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. Should you’ve solely bought in the future 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 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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