As summer evenings turn to crisper days and golden hues fill the sky, we Seattle dwellers are looking for an easy weekend getaway loaded with color, tasty bites, fun activities, fabulous libations, and great views. Here in the Pacific Northwest, there’s no better place than Victoria, B.C. Just a 45-minute flight from downtown Seattle, the B.C. capital offers a mix of old world charm, contemporary convenience, and lush foliage.
Discover 61 unique reasons to fly to Victoria and fill your weekend with color this fall!
1. Relish Fall’s Colors at The Butchart Gardens
The Butchart Gardens offer year-round beauty, but fall is one of the absolute best times of year to visit. The vibrant foliage seems to fill nearly every corner of the gardens with bright color. The Japanese maples, in particular, become a scarlet, burgundy, yellow extravaganza that’s simply breathtaking.
2. Wander Through a Castle
Victoria’s streets are lined with stunning 19th century homes, but no two are more impressive than Craigdarroch Castle and Hatley Castle.
3. Savor Fall-Inspired Local Brews
In Victoria alone, there are more than five local breweries, several of which are offering seasonal varieties. Pumpkin beer lovers will especially dig Phillips’ Crooked Tooth pumpkin ale.
4. Visit Victoria’s First Gastropub – Spinnakers
Victoria’s original gastropub, Spinnakers set the bar for the city’s love of full-flavored craft beer paired with farm-to-table cuisine.
5. Score New Finds at the Victoria Public Market at the Hudson
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Conveniently located in the heart of downtown Victoria, vendors at Victoria Public Market at the Hudson showcases everything from fresh seafood to handmade pies. This indoor market is delightful rain or shine, though it’s particularly delightful on a sunny day when you can pick up the fixings for a picnic.
6. Sip Tea Like a Local
It’s no secret that High Tea at the Fairmont Empress is a classic. However, if you’re looking for the everyday ‘locals’ experience, you may want to check destinations like Murchie’s. (Discover the 9 best places to sip tea in Victoria.)
7. Learn About Local History at Victoria’s Renowned Royal B.C. Museum
The Royal B.C. Museum is home to an impressive collection of life-like exhibits. Designed to be an immersive experience, you can wander through Victoria during the ice age, the region’s rainforests, its industrial revolution, and more!
8. Visit Roost Farm Centre
In the heart of North Saanich pastoral lands, the Roost spans 10 lush acres. The working farm is also home to an exquisite bakery and bistro, which are primarily supplied with goodies from the grounds.
9. Walk the Breakwater at Ogden Point
Located on the Juan de Fuca Strait, the Breakwater at Ogdon Point is a man-made marvel. The cement structure stretches from Dallas Road to the entrance of Victoria’s busy harbor, where a lighthouse is positioned. It’s a great place to watch the sunrise and sunset, see the seaplanes come and go, and catch ships as they come back home.
10. Immerse Yourself in Over 14 Acres of Corn
The Pendray’s Corn Maze spans over 14 acres and features some of the tallest corn on Vancouver Island. And, don’t forget your camera for this adventure. At the center of the maze is a large tower, allowing you to climb above the crazy to enjoy the sweeping views.
11. Sample Victoria’s Growing Wine Scene
Vancouver Island’s gentle climate has allowed wine enthusiasts to cultivate unique flavor profiles. Explore the region’s best on your own or sign up for one of the many wine tours.
12. Take a Seasonally-Themed Cooking Class
The Fickle Fig Market in North Saanich offers seasonally-inspired cooking classes. Class topics range from pasta making to cheese making.
13. Pedal the Galloping Goose Trail
The Galloping Goose Trail runs for 34-miles along a former railway line. It winds past urban streets, under lush tree canopies, and all the way to Leechtown.
14. Eat Farm-to-Table Cuisine
With Victoria’s lush countryside, its chefs have access to a regular supply of fresh ingredients. Discover the exquisite delight of dining farm-to-table at destinations like Nourish Kitchen & Café, where the focus is on showcasing natural ingredients through classic culinary techniques.
15. Find Your Pumpkin at Galey Farms
Galey Farms is a family owned and operated farm just north of Saanish. During Pumpkinfest it features a large corn maze, hay rides, haunted houses, pumpkin picking and more!
16. Toast to Local Cider
Few beverages highlight the bounty of fall better than a crisp cider. Crafted from Vancouver Island’s best varieties, Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse offers toast-worthy pours!
17. Go for an ‘Urban Hike’ in Beacon Hill Park
Don’t assume you have to leave Victoria to stretch your legs and soak in some stunning views. Located on Victoria’s southern edge and tucked along the Juan de Fuca Strait, Beacon Hill Park offers 75 acres of stunning natural landscape perfect for exploring during the fall.
18. Get to Know the Local Sea Life at Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea
Just 30 minutes north of downtown, the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea is home to 160 species of marine life. Make sure to leave plenty of time for the touch pool, where you’re able to actually get your hands on some of the slowest of ocean creatures.
19. Meet Local Spirits on a Ghostly Walk
Ghosts don’t scare you? Perfect! Because you might very well meet one (or a few) on the Ghostly Walks through Victoria’s most haunted streets, corners, and alleys.
20. Visit a Cemetery
Tours aren’t your thing? You can find several of Victoria’s spirits lurking around Ross Bay Cemetery.
21. Spot the Spirits at Roger’s Chocolates
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Not up for the cemetery? Rumor has it, you can find a spirit at the original Roger’s Chocolates on Government Street. And if not, you can definitely find some not to be missed Victoria Creams.
22. Sample a Bit of Everything
When you’re visiting a new place it can be tough to try a bit of everything. That’s why a food tour is so great. The folks in the know take you to the best spots, for a small bite from each — which is exactly what you’ll get when you explore the BC Capital with A Taste of Victoria.
23. Get a Jump Start on Holiday Shopping
Make this year’s holiday season a breeze. Cross your loved ones off your shopping list early and save! Those of us south of the border enjoy a great exchange rate while we’re in Canada. (Discover some of our favorite Victoria shops.)
24. Visit Fisherman’s Wharf
Fisherman’s Wharf tends to be more popular during the summer months. However, we often like this outdoor marine destination better during the fall when the crowds have thinned and the sun is still shining.
25. See Where Laws are Made
Nestled beside the Inner Harbour, Victoria’s iconic Parliament Buildings are a must-see. Free guided tours are available. If you time your visit right, you may also be able to catch a debate from the Public Galleries.
26. Learn About Victoria’s Rich Maritime History
Ships were at the heart of Victoria’s development, providing the necessary transportation to bring goods in and take goods out. Learn about the crucial role these boats and their captains played at The Maritime Museum.
27. Meet Your Favorite Creepy Crawlers
The Victoria Bug Zoo features roughly 50 different species from all around the world. There are walking sticks and praying mantis. There are glow-in-the-dark scorpions, hairy tarantulas, and Canada’s largest ant colony! You’ll see exotic beetles and rare butterflies. You may even have the opportunity to hold a few bugs!
28. Stroll the Causeway
As the name would suggest, The Inner Harbor Causeway is located along the Inner Harbour. It’s constructed out of granite retaining walls, which allow the ‘lower causeway’ to run right along the water’s edge.
29. Feel Like a Giant
Featuring more than 85 dioramas and displays, Miniature World is a kid-friendly Victoria activity that the whole family will love. It showcases everything from the Great Canadian Railway and the knights of King Author’s round table to fairytales and outer space.
30. Indulge in a Benny
Unofficially dubbed the ‘Brunch Capital of BC,’ Victoria’s chefs know a thing or two about how to make the best eggs Benedict.
31. Enjoy Tip-Top Views at Gonzales Regional Hill Park
Previously a weather station, Gonzales Regional Hill Park is the highest point of land on the south coast of Vancouver Island. It offers a scenic destination for those in Victoria, providing sweeping views of the Olympic Mountains, Strait of Jan de Fuca, and Salish Sea. During the fall, this is particularly a good location to watch the waves swell and the skies change.
32. Find a New Read
A book-lovers haven, Russell’s Books is a favorite destination for those looking for a new or new-to-you read.
33. Learn the Art of the Cocktail
A yearly event, the Art of the Cocktail features dozens of exhibitors and spirits, cocktail demonstrations, masterclasses, and more!
34. Indulge Guilt-Free
Have your burger. Skip the guilt. At Big Wheel Burger, you can enjoy sustainably-sourced burgers and fries that still deliver the same great flavor from your hometown joint!
35. Watch the Running of the Goats
At Beacon Hill Park you’ll find the Beacon Hill Children’s Farm. Open daily, one of the favorite sights is the daily Goat Stampede which happens at 10:10 AM and 4:10 PM.
36. Take an Epic Selfie
Want to up your Instagram game this fall? Make sure to visit one of Victoria’s most Instagramable destinations for the perfect selfie!
37. Enjoy a Cup at the Abkhazi Gardens
Perhaps one of Victoria’s best-kept secrets, the Abkhazi Gardens feature a finely manicured garden and well-loved teahouse.
38. Take a Scenic Drive
The Scenic Marine Route winds through downtown Victoria and stretches nearly 180-miles along Vancouver Island’s coastline. It offers stunning scenery along the way, including tree-lined streets and sweeping seaside views.
39. Watch the Salmon Run at Goldstream Provincial Park
From mid- to late-October through early December, the Chum Salmon return each year to spawn. The fish fighting their way upstream is a sight to behold. So too are the various other wildlife attracted to the yearly migration, such as bears and eagles who prey on the tired fish.
40. Pretend to be a Butterfly
The Victoria Butterfly Gardens are home for thousands of tropical butterflies from up to 70 different species. The large indoor garden spans almost three full-size basketball courts. As you wander through this tropical paradise, you’re likely to forget where you are.
41. Visit the Moss Lady
Victoria’s sleeping giant lays under a blanket of green moss, her hips growing and changing with the season. During the fall, you can expect the greenery to start taking on deep hues.
42. Stein and Dine
Hosted by the Roast Meat and Sandwich Shop, Stein and Dine features traditional Octoberfest foods, craft beer from BC, and a variety of lively entertainment and games!
43. Grab a Gourmet Slice at The Joint
Love a good slice of pizza? Want something a little untraditional. The Joint is just the spot for you. While their menu caters to the late-night and dietary-restricted crowds (including vegans, vegetarians, and gluten-intolerants), what makes this pizzeria particularly special is its untraditional menu. Flavor combinations, like their Thai Peachnut, put an untraditional spin on the everyday pie.
44. Celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving
Take a moment to consider what you’re thankful for over a warm meal designed to share. At 10 Acres Bistro + Kitchen + Commons +Farms, you’ll find a family-style feast perfect for toasting with loved ones.
45. Shop on Fort Street
Unofficially dubbed the main street of Victoria, Fort Street is home to some of the trendiest shops and best bites. During fall, retailers stock up of cozy sweaters and cute hats, perfect for staying toasty while exploring outdoors.
46. Get Your Caffeine Fix & Learn About the Roasting Process
Committed to ethically sourced beans and an artisan methodology, The Coffee Lab in Victoria offers visitors an inside look at how their small batch process works. The roaster is located at the center of the café!
47. Watch the Seaplanes Dock
Visit the Victoria Seaplane Terminal (which you can do when you fly to Victoria with Kenmore Air) to watch the seaplanes dock and depart.
48. Ride the Victoria Harbour Ferry
Want to see the seaplanes from the water and explore the Inner Harbour? The Victoria Harbour Ferries offer a unique and exciting way to travel by water throughout Victoria’s downtown.
49. Nourish Your Taste Buds with a Fall-Inspired Menu
Throughout Victoria chefs are flexing their culinary muscles to highlight the best the region has to offer. One of the best places to discover a seasonally inspired menu is OLO. This quaint eatery is tucked into Victoria’s Chinatown. It’s warm and rustic interior sets the stage perfectly for its comforting flavors and inspired combinations.
50. Play a Game at the Victoria Board Game Cafe
Looking to take a break from the outdoors, but still want to have some fun? Duck into the Victoria Board Game Café, where you can enjoy hundreds of games ranging from traditional to strategy-based.
51. Learn to Make the Perfect Celebratory Meal
Want to make this holiday season the best yet? Get the inside scoop on how to make a meal that will delight and satisfy your guests. At The London Chef in Victoria, cooking classes are fun, educational, and delicious.
52. Sip a Custom Cocktail
Want a libation made just for you? Saddle up to the bar at Clive’s. While their extensive, seasonal menu of drinks will most likely have something worth ordering, the bartenders are well known for their ability to create custom drinks that satisfy. Simply tell them your liquor and flavor profile of choice. Then sit back and watch the magic happen.
53. Treat Yourself to Something Sweet
Let your sweet tooth go wild at La Roux Patisserie, where a regular menu of scrumptious croissants, cakes, and cookies are impossible to resist. They also feature seasonally inspired specials, so be sure to drop by for what’s new during the fall!
54. Get Your Sweat On
Who says a weekend getaway can’t include a little (or a lot) of fitness. Victoria is home to some of the best workout studios and fitness classes around. One of our favorites is Studio Fitness, where the Bungee Fitness classes are so fun you might forget you’re working out.
55. Visit Point Ellice House
A bit of a hidden gem, the Point Ellice House is located in an industrial area near downtown. The enchanting home and museum is loaded with Victorian furnishings and possessions from the O’Reilly family. It’s like stepping back in time.
56. Don’t Forget the Donuts
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Scratch made from high-quality ingredients, Empire Donuts offers up hand-held treats that’ll make you weak in the knees.
57. Tour the Emily Carr House
The quaint butter-yellow Victorian house tucked near the Inner Harbour was once home to Emily Carr, one of Victoria’s most famous natives. It’s now a museum/shrine to Carr’s work and life.
58. Get Your Wood-Fired Bread Fix
Fol Epi’s bakery makes tangy, chewy baguettes and rye country boules in a brick oven. They’re so good, it’s hard to make it out of the store without having ripped off a piece.
59. Take a DIY Pub Crawl
Explore the city on foot, one pint at a time.
60. Stroll Along Dragon Alley
Victoria’s Chinatown is well-known for Fan Tan Alley. But the famous pedestrian passageway’s lesser-known alley, Dragon Alley, is equally as fun to explore.
61. Relish a Sunset Cocktail
At the end of the day, head to the 18th floor of the Chateau Victoria. There you’ll find Vista 18, a fabulous restaurant and bar that offers stunning views of the bustling inner harbor, Strait of Juan de Fuca, and the Olympic Mountains.