Things to Do in Victoria
Victoria is one of the most beautiful cities in North America. Located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, it’s surrounded by ocean and mountains. The city has tons of history and interesting places to visit, but most people come here for the island’s natural beauty. If you’re looking for things to do in Victoria or wondering where to go while visiting this city, read on!
Go for a walk around the Inner Harbour.
If you’re visiting Victoria and want to get a feel for the city, then take a walk around the Inner Harbour. The Inner Harbour is a great way to start your visit as it includes lots of restaurants and shops, along with attractions like the Empress Hotel, Parliament Buildings and Royal BC Museum. It also has beautiful views of downtown Victoria where you can watch boats go by or people enjoying their day on lawns overlooking the water. This place is also very popular at sunset time, where locals come out in droves to enjoy an ice cream cone while watching the sun set over this beautiful natural harbour.
Visit the art galleries and museums.
The city of Victoria is home to several art galleries and museums, which are also great places to learn more about local history. The Royal British Columbia Museum (1323 Belleville Street) showcases artefacts relating to the First Nations peoples who inhabited the area prior to European settlement. There’s also a natural history section that highlights different types of wildlife found around the province—you’ll get a good idea of what you might encounter if you visit during whale-watching season!
The Royal BC Museum features an exhibit on Japanese-Canadian internment camps at Tashme (3500 Takahashi Road), where people were held in cramped conditions during World War II because they were seen as potential security threats due to their ethnicity. You can also check out other exhibits at this location like People & Places: Stories from Our Past or Snapshot BC: Photographs from Life in British Columbia 1900–1980.
Head over to Saanich Heritage Place (2194 Cedar Hill Road) for smaller but equally interesting displays on everything from First Nations culture to more recent historical events such as women’s suffrage movement leader Emily Murphy’s time spent in Victoria after immigrating from Ontario with her husband Charles Gorman.
Take a stroll through Chinatown.
Victoria’s Chinatown is a charming and vibrant neighbourhood, full of delicious restaurants, unique shops, and interesting historical landmarks. Visitors can explore the narrow streets and alleys, enjoy a traditional meal, or pick up a souvenir to take home. There are also several museums in the area, including the Chinese Museum and the Maritime Museum. There are many things to do in Chinatown such as:
- Visit the Empress Theatre
- Hang out at the Chinese Cultural Centre
- Eat delicious dim sum or dumplings
Go for high tea at the Empress Hotel.
One of the best experiences in Victoria is high tea at the Empress Hotel. High tea is a tradition that dates back to 1887 when it first started being served at the hotel. The hotel overlooks beautiful Victoria Harbour and has been called one of Canada’s most luxurious hotels. It was also once owned by a very famous individual: Queen Elizabeth II, who became queen only after her father died while visiting here during his coronation tour in 1939!
Eat at one of the oldest restaurants in North America.
The Union Club is the oldest restaurant in North America. It is located inside the Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria, and it’s a private club that requires membership to enter. If you’re lucky enough to have someone who is already a member invite you, they can let you know when they plan on eating there. Otherwise, if you’re just visiting Victoria and want to try out this incredible restaurant, keep your eyes open for when they’re having their annual event called “The Great Canadian Whisky Tasting” held every September! This event allows non-members to experience one of Canada’s finest culinary institutions while enjoying whisky from across our nation’s vast landmass (and beyond).
Wander through Beacon Hill Park and see the peacocks.
The Beacon Hill Park has a long history, and it was originally thought to be used by the Indigenous people of the area. It’s located in downtown Victoria, so if you’re up for some walking and exploring, there are plenty of interesting things to see here.
The park features a variety of plants and trees, including cherry blossom trees, which bloom in springtime; Japanese maples; conifers like Douglas firs; rhododendrons; magnolias; roses; dogwoods; redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens); cedars (Cedrus deodara), cypresses (Cupressus sp.), sequoias (Sequoiadendron giganteum) and other evergreens.
In addition to being home to many different types of flora, the park is also home to several species of birds including peacocks as well as swans. The peacocks have become quite famous over time because they’ve been known to wander around outside their pen looking for food while being watched closely by visitors who want some great photos!
Visit Craigdarroch Castle.
If you’re looking for a rainy day activity that’s still full of history and culture, the Craigdarroch Castle is a great choice. The castle was built in 1887 by James Dunsmuir, who was both an important figure in Victoria’s history and one of Canada’s wealthiest men at the time. He loved his home so much that he named it after himself: “Craigdarroch” is Scottish Gaelic for “Dunsmuir’s castle.” Today, it serves as Victoria’s main museum—and it offers free admission!
But what makes this place really unique are its grounds: they feature not just one but two gardens (one Japanese-inspired), each with different plants and trees that provide visitors with plenty of photo opportunities. If you’re lucky enough to visit when the weather cooperates (and if not? We’ve got some tips on how to take pictures in bad weather), there are also several tours available through which guests can gain access to parts of these beautiful gardens without going right up against walls or fences surrounding them.
Get a different perspective of Victoria from the water.
In Victoria, you’ll find many different ways to experience the city from the water. You can go on a harbour tour, or rent a kayak or paddle board and explore the ocean on your own. For an up-close look at our marine life, consider going whale watching (May through September).
Visit Moss Street Market on Saturday mornings.
If you’re into fresh, locally sourced produce and artisanal goods, then Moss Street Market is the place for you. The market is held at the Royal BC Museum’s parking lot every Saturday from 10am – 3pm (and also on some Thursdays throughout the summer). You can find local farmers selling their produce, bakers selling their breads and pastries, butchers selling their meats and fishmongers selling their seafood. You’ll also find artisans who sell handmade crafts such as jewellery and pottery.
If you’re planning on going to Victoria for a weekend or longer trip with friends or family members from out of town, consider visiting Moss Street Market as one of your stops during your stay!
So much to do in beautiful Victoria!
Whether you’re interested in history, nature, or just grabbing a drink and some food, Victoria has something for everyone
Other attractions include:
- The Butchart Gardens – this is a very popular attraction on Vancouver Island. It’s a garden with over 80 acres of flowers, plants, and trees. The scenery is beautiful during springtime when everything blooms.
- Fisgard Lighthouse – this lighthouse is in Esquimalt Harbour and it’s one of the oldest lighthouses in British Columbia. It was built in 1860 by British troops who were stationed here at the time because there were two wars going on at once between England and America (the Civil War). They had ships coming in from New York City so they wanted to make sure those boats didn’t get lost or run into rocks along this coastline. If you go inside Fisgard Lighthouse today, you’ll see old photos from back then too.
…and so much more!
Where to Stay in Victoria
Victoria is a wonderful place to visit, full of activities and beautiful scenery. If you’re looking for a place to stay in Victoria, consider the Oswego Hotel. From its prime location in James Bay, guests can easily walk to Victoria’s main attractions, including the Inner Harbour, Parliament Buildings, and exclusive shopping districts. In addition, Oswego Hotel offers luxurious suites with modern amenities, making it the perfect choice for those looking for a comfortable and convenient stay in Victoria.