Things to do in Victoria, British Columbia

Victoria, British Columbia,  on Vancouver Island, is always in season! Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, has the mildest weather in Canada and is a place so green all year that flowers fall out of the sky and even the lamp posts bloom. It is no wonder that it is also known as The Garden City! The wild beauty of the Pacific coast and the adventure of the great outdoors are within the city limits and ocean and mountain panorama will follow you anywhere you go in Victoria.

skyline capital Victoria BC
Capital Building, Victoria, BC

Victoria remembers its colorful history with First Nations totem poles, heritage architecture, and afternoon tea, and bustles with the energy of a university town, having the University of Victoria all within its limits.

Victoria, British Columbia is a year-round tourism destination that offers a welcoming, safe, beautiful haven for all visitors. Getting here is very easy, and, once here, you will feel a million miles away. With a clean environment and charming ambiance, it is no surprise that Victoria, BC is one of the world’s favorite destinations.

Victoria Attractions and Things to do

Victoria, the largest city on Vancouver Island and the capital of BC, offers innumerable things to do. From art galleries and museums to castles, gardens and zoos, from golf to mountain biking you’ll never run out things to do.

Be sure to check them out at the Butchart Gardens, a 130-acre country estate that has something going on every season of the year. Or check out the flora and fauna below the ocean’s surface at the Pacific Undersea Gardens, located in the picturesque inner harbour. This energetic city remembers the past of both its Native and transplanted citizens, and a quick stroll along Government Street will reveal storefronts packed with British imports alongside Aboriginal crafts. Discover the history of planet earth at the renowned Royal British Columbia Museum, also located near the inner harbor. Victoria is just a short ferry ride from the city of Vancouver and is easily accessed from the Gulf Islands.

Shop windows are full of British imports, Native art, and all the newest trends. Restaurants and cafés serve exquisite cuisine. The harbor is alive with the romance of a period when tall ships moored alongside the wharf and evenings glitter as lights twinkle and cast their magic from atop the landmark British Columbia Legislative Buildings.

Ogden Point Breakwater
Ogden Point Breakwater, Victoria, BC

Pacific Opera Victoria

Performs three entire productions per theater season at Victoria’s Royal Theatre accompanied by members of the Victoria Symphony.

Royal British Columbia Museum

Founded in 1886, this museum houses three permanent galleries: natural history, modern history, and local First Nations’ history, and contains roughly 7 million objects, archival records, artifacts and specimens. Through three unique galleries, the Museum showcases the human and natural history of British Columbia and features periodic exhibitions of international renown. Highly realistic and inviting displays, such as the Ice Age and Coastal Forest dioramas, provide visitors with a sense of having truly experienced the authentic settings of many exhibits.
Address: 675 Belleville Street Victoria  BC  V8W 9W2

IMAX Victoria

Found in the Royal BC Museum, this is the largest IMAX in Western Canada with 61 feet tall x 85 feet wide (18.59m x 25.9m) screen.  Website

Parliament Buildings

Explore the historic Parliament buildings in Victoria at 501 Belleville Street. Regularly scheduled tours are available and visitors are encouraged to explore the buildings on their own. During the summer months, the Parliament buildings are open 7 days a week. The rest of the year they are open Monday to Friday between 8:30 AM 5:00 PM. Website

Parliament Buildings Victoria
BC Parliament Buildings, Victoria BC

Butchart Gardens National Historic Site

Fifty-five acres of floral finery offering spectacular views along the paths and expansive lawns. In 1904, the Butchart Gardens began as an effort by Jennie Butchart to beautify a worked-out quarry site on the 130-acre estate of her husband, industrial pioneer R.P. Butchart. Her endeavor was passed on to her grandson, Ian Ross, who preserved and elaborated the gardens while converting them into a commercial operation. The gardens were designated as a National Historic Site of Canada in 2004. Open daily. Address: 800 Benvenuto Ave Brentwood Bay  BC  V8M 1J8

Inner Harbour

As well as serving as a harbour this area of Victoria serves as a seaport and seaplane airport as well as being a cruise ship and ferry destination. The inner harbour is a wonderful, vibrant, energetic area full of vendors selling interesting wares and cultural foods with buskers performing every day. Prepare to spend at least several hours exploring and people watching.

Downtown Victoria British Columbia
Inner Harbour, Victoria BC

Dolphin and Whale Watching

Whale watching season in Victoria runs from about April until October. During this period there are 4 main species of whale, two species of porpoises and one species of dolphins that call these waters home. There are numerous whale watching tour operators that are available in Victoria with the Prince of Whales, SpringTide and Eagle Wing Tours coming highly recommended.

Empress Hotel

Probably Victoria’s most famous hotel, the Empress is a National Historic Site of Canada. It has the distinction of being honored by Travel + Leisure as a top Canadian hotel. The hotel is famous for its classic Victorian afternoon tea service. The cost is approximately $60 per person, and reservations are often required several weeks in advance. Website

Empress Hotel Victoria
Empress Hotel, Victoria, BC

Miniature World

Located at 649 Humboldt St. and open from 9 AM – 9 PM, Miniature World offers 85 unique little attractions that include the world’s smallest operational sawmill, one of the longest model railways, and two of the largest dollhouses. Website

Miniature World Victoria
Miniature World, Victoria BC

Victoria Bug Zoo

A family-friendly mini-zoo offering a unique collection of live tropical insects from all over the globe. The mini-zoo currently has the largest collection of tropical bugs in North America with over 50 different species.  Website

Pacific Undersea Gardens

Explore the world under the sea. Pacific Undersea Gardens, located in Victoria’s inner harbour, offers visitors a look at marine life by visiting a display that is 5 metres (15 feet) underwater where more than 5,000 animal species inhabit.
Address: 490 Belleville Street Victoria  BC  Canada  V8V 1W9

Victoria Butterfly Gardens

One of the largest butterfly conservatories in Canada with over 1,000 square meters of garden. Observe beautiful butterflies, luscious gardens, and friendly birds. The Gardens import, breed and release butterflies back into their environments. Educational and exciting. Address: 1461 Benvenuto Ave Brentwood Bay  BC  V8M 1R3

Government Street

This busy street, which leads visitors to the attractions-packed Inner Harbour, is home to an eclectic mix of shops and boutiques. Each Sunday, from April to September, the Government Street Market takes place.

Royal London Wax Museum

The Royal London Wax Museum features life-like wax figures of famous characters and items, ranging from royalty to rogues and the renowned. The museum offers a number of permanent and visiting exhibits, including figures of past and present Prime Ministers and Presidents. Educational and thematic tours are also offered by the museum.
Address: 470 Bellville Street Victoria  BC  Canada  V8V 1W9

Craigdarroch Castle

Completed in 1890, Craigdarroch Castle reflects the huge wealth amassed by the Dunsmuirs from the coalfields of Vancouver Island. This 20,000 square foot historic house has four floors containing exquisite stained glass and lavish Victorian-era furnishings. Low season: 10 am to 4:30 pm, Extended hours June 15 to Labour Day 9 am to 7 pm. Address: 1050 Joan Cres. Victoria  BC  V8S 3L5

 

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