70 Things to Do in Victoria, BC this Summer
Renowned for its breathtaking beauty, walkable streets, and preserved historical elegance — this compact urban hub is rife with things to do. While Victoria’s mild climate lends it to year-round exploring, the city shines during the summer — and not just in the picturesque downtown, where floatplanes land in the harbor and whale watching tours depart.
The rich diversity of British Columbia’s capital glows among its neighborhoods, stretching up the coast and into the interior of Vancouver Island. It is a captivating mix of cultures, from Canadian and First Nations to Chinese and European. Castles. Wineries. Totems. Wildlife. Views. There are more than 70 unique and exciting things to do in Victoria this summer (and throughout all of Vancouver Island)! So whether you make it a Victoria day trip, weekend or extended stay, you’re sure to have fun.
Classic Things to Do in Victoria BC
Founded in 1843 by the Hudson’s Bay Company, Victoria’s initial footprint was little more than a trading post and fort at the location the Lekwungen People called “Camosack” meaning “Rush of Water.” But it wasn’t until the Gold Rush of 1858 when gold was discovered on the mainland of British Columbia, that the city really began to grow. And with the city’s growth followed many of the city’s iconic buildings and gardens, including the BC Parliament Buildings, the Fairmont Empress, and The Butchart Gardens.
1. Visit The Butchart Gardens
It doesn’t matter the season, The Butchart Gardens are a stunning sight to behold. Between 1906 and 1929, The Gardens were designed and expanded by Jannie and Robert Butchart. Jannie’s passion project, the end result was 55 acres of finely manicured flowerbeds and floral displays. The most famous of the displays is undoubtedly the Sunken Garden — a massive man-made valley that was originally dug when the Butchart’s were mining limestone deposits. A large rock mound at its center offers a lockout point, while walking paths wind past the Ross Fountain and peaceful Bog Garden.
2. Sip Tea at the Empress
While tea at the Fairmont Empress has been regarded as the epitome of Victorian class in the British Columbia capital, it was given a facelift in 2017. The Lobby Lounge, the site of this iconic ritual, was remodeled in 2017. The classic elegance was given a sophisticated update that gives it an ethereal feel while still retaining the building’s original architecture.
The tea menu features 21 loose leaf tea blends sourced from throughout the world. And as no afternoon tea would complete without a nibble (or a few), the Empress’ Lobby Lounge serves a mouthwatering selection of finger sandwiches, scones, and tarts.
3. Tour the BC Parliament Buildings
Nestled beside Victoria’s Inner Harbor, the Parliament Buildings are one of the most dominant features of the downtown core. The neo-baroque design sits on a 12.5-acre spread and is adorned by 33 copper bones. The elaborate buildings feature vaulted ceilings, marble floors, and grand archways.
Daily tours are available seven days a week May 23 through September 5, during which a scavenger hunt will help you uncover often overlooked architectural and décor details. (Have you seen the ram fighting a buck? A killer whale [or orca] trapped in glass? Or a Grizzley bear in the press box?)
Plus, you can watch laws take shape. Visitors are welcome to observe proceedings throughout the day from the public galleries when the Legislative Assembly is sitting.
4. Royal BC Museum
The interactive visits at the Royal BC Museum immerse you into Vancouver Island’s storied past. Stand face-to-face with a woolly mammoth (affectionately known as Woolly). Experience life beneath the sea in a Victorian-era submarine. And learn about how the earth’s atmosphere is predicted to change in the coming years.
5. Explore Victoria’s Historic Chinatown
More than 150 years ago, Chinese immigrants brought their rich culture and traditions to this slice of the Olympic Rain Shadow. In those early days, the blocks near Fisgard Street were little more than a crude collection of wooden shacks.
As the neighborhood (and the means of its residents) grew, it evolved into a beautiful space full of wonder. Today it’s Canada’s oldest Chinatown, and the second oldest in North America. In 1995 it was designated a National Historic Site, ensuring that important historical landmarks, like the Gates of Harmonious Interest which mark Chinatown’s entrance, will be cared for and preserved.
6. Wander Down Fan Tan Alley
In a class all its own, Fan Tan Alley is one of the historic landmarks in Victoria’s Chinatown. The pedestrian pathway is the narrowest street in the city, spanning just three feet in some sections. It runs from Fisgard Street to Pandora Avenue (formerly Comorant Street). Though it has a colorful past (that includes opium dens and gambling joints), today it is a hub for restaurants, galleries, and novelty shops.
If you want to continue your ally wandering ways, pop across Fisgard to Fan Tan’s lesser-known sister — Dragon Alley— located just across the street. Not quite as narrow, it’s every bit as charming.
7. Watch the Pickle Boat “Water Ballet”
The Victoria Harbour Ferries (known as Pickle Boats) were brought to the Inner Harbor in 1990 to shuttle passengers from dock-to-dock throughout the city’s watery interior. Their skippers, being quite skilled at maneuvering the small vessels, decided to test their abilities by creating a synchronized performance.
The water ‘ballerinas’ performance was so beloved that it has become a common sight in the Inner Harbor. April through October, you can catch the show for free. Check the latest schedule on the Harbour Ferry website.
8. Admire the Totems at Thunderbird Park
Small, but mighty, Thunderbird Park is tucked beside the Royal BC Museum. Established in 1941, it displays an impressive selection of totem poles from the provincial museum. A pole restoration program was initiated in 1952 by Anthropology Curator Wilson Duff. They hired Kwakwaka’wakw master carver, Mungo Martin, as the chief carver for Thunderbird Park to help protect these beautiful artifacts.
Top Things to do with Kids in Victoria this Summer
The age-old joke that Victoria is the land of the “newlywed and nearly dead,” has long since lost its punchline. The city is rife with fun things to do with kids, making it an ideal family getaway.
9. Miniature World
Let your little feel like a giant at Miniature World. Featuring more than 85 different dioramas and displays, this exciting recreation of real-world events and historical moments allows kids young (and young at heart) to explore and learn. Several push-button actions, including turning on lights and activating trainsets, create an interactive environment that grabs kid’s attention and imagination.
10. Victoria Butterfly Gardens
Roughly 30 minutes north of Victoria (and on the way to The Butchart Gardens), the Victoria Butterfly Gardens & Insectarium is home to thousands of butterflies. Roughly 70 different species can be seen flying throughout the fully enclosed atrium. Additionally, the lush landscape is home to carnivorous plants, giant koi fish, free-flying birds, large iguanas, frogs, and tortoises.
In the insectarium you’ll find a collection of insects in their natural habitats — including a Leaf Cutter Ant colony transporting food and debris. (Don’t worry. Their habitat are contained.)
11. Victoria Bug Zoo
Do your kids love creepy crawlers? Double down on your visit to the Butterfly Gardens with a trip to the Victoria Bug Zoo. This must-visit micro-zoo allows your kids to get hands-on with some of the critters under the supervision of the zoo’s knowledgeable staff. Among the specimens on display, you’ll fee giant walking sticks, praying mantis, tarantulas, and glow-in-the-dark scorpions.
12. Kinsol Trestle
Located near Shawnigan Lake, BC, the Kinsol Trestle is one of the largest and most spectacular rail trestles in the world. Standing 44 meters above the Koksilah River, it spans 187 meters and sports a 7-degree curve. Located on the Cowichan Valley Trail, it’s the largest of eight trestles along this path.
It’s most easily accessed from the Kinsol Trestle Parking Lot, just a flat and extremely well-maintained 1.2-kilometer walk to the south side of the trestle. For those who want to hike down to the river’s edge, there are trails located on the north side. The descent and ascent is quite steep and may not be suitable for small children.
13. Beacon Hill Children’s Farm
Victoria’s farm within a city is located on the 740,000-square-meter parkland in the heart of downtown Victoria. Home to pigs, donkeys, chickens, goats, and peacocks, the Beacon Hill Park lets your kids get up close and personal with the animals. During the summer season, visit at 10:10 AM and 5:10 PM for the “Running of the Goats,” when the petting area’s goats stampede!
14. Take a Carriage Ride
Want to see your kiddos put down the phone and be in awe of the real world? Take them on a carriage ride. This old-school mode of travel offers a fun and exciting way to see the city. Carriages can typically be found on the west side of the BC Parliament Buildings. Tours typically last 30 minutes and take you through some of Victoria’s oldest neighborhoods.
15. Children’s Prince & Princess Teas
Don’t assume tea at the Empress is reserved just for the adults. The Empress has created a children’s tea specially designed to suit the state of their tiniest visitors (aged five to twelve).
16. Visit the National Toy Museum of Canada
Do your kids believe you were actually a kid way back when? Take them on a trip down memory lane, as you explore the toys you grew up with at the National Toy Museum of Canada. It’s loaded with toys from the 1960s to the 1990s.
Plus, the museum is located above Cherry Bomb Toys, a quaint toy shop where you and your littles may want to hunt for a new treasure.
Thrilling Victoria BC Activities
What’s an adventure without a little thrill? While Victoria is well-known for its slower, idyllic pace, there’s certainly some excitement to be found. This collection of exciting things to do in Victoria takes you high above the treetops, gets you out on the water, and more!
17. Malahat SkyWalk
This completely accessible 600-meter TreeWalk takes you through an arbutus forest on an elevated boardwalk. Along the way, a fun scavenger hunt encourages you to keep your eyes out for any number of wildlife, including a sasquatch! But the crown jewel of the is attraction is undoubtedly the 32-meter spiral ramp lookout tower.
This impressive structure is intriguing in and of itself, but it also boasts an adventure net — a sturdy net strung 84-meters above the ground (275 feet) — a 20-meter spiral slide (66 feet), and jaw-dropping views.
18. Kayak Discovery Island
Sitting just off Oak Bay, Discovery Island is known for its terrific paddling and pristine landscape. However, the open waters from Cattle Point, where kayakers tend to launch, can be treacherous, as strong currents and frequent winds create dangerous conditions. Ocean River Sports solves this problem, with the ‘Discovery Shuttle,’ a 30-foot landing craft that safely takes paddlers of all abilities to the beautiful shoreline at Discovery Island. Once there, you can easily board your kayak and explore with an experienced guide.
19. Golfing at Bear Mountain Golf Club
Home to two of the most highly-awarded golf courses in Canada, Bear Mountain Golf Club offers panoramic ocean and mountain views. Choose between the rugged (and more challenging) Mountain Course or the serene Valley Course. Then unwind with a bite in the Masters Lounge, where handcrafted cocktails and light snacks are the perfect solution for those who need to refuel.
20. Zip Line Adventure
Soaring 150 feet above the ground through the Sooke rainforest is sure to get your heart pumping. These thrilling adventures led by AdrenaLINE Zipline Adventure Tour are approximately two hours and include eight ziplines, ranging from 150 feet to 1,000 feet in length. Plus, experience the forest canopy a bit slower as you traverse the 100-foot suspension bridge.
21. Paddle Boarding
Not only is stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) an excellent low impact workout, it allows you to explore Victoria from a different perspective — the sea! Ocean River Sports offers rentals, tours, and courses.
22. Bicycle Tour of Castles, Hoods & Legends
Looking for a land-based bit of sightseeing exercise? The Pedaler offers guided bicycle tours of downtown Victoria. These unique tours allow you to see the city’s historic sites, unique neighborhoods, and iconic landmarks. Bikes range from hybrid bikes and electric bikes to city cruisers and electric tandem bikes.
23. Watch the Wind & Kite Surfers
Adrenaline junkies can be seen giving birds a run for their money off the coast of Victoria. From Beacon Hill’s waterfront, you can see wind and kite surfers ride the waves of wind and water in the blustery waters of the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
24. Whale Watching
Departing directly from Victoria’s Inner Harbour, the whale watching tours with Prince of Whales takes you into the Strait of Juan de Fuca, where transient and resident pods are commonly seen hunting and playing. In addition to seeing Orcas, you may see humpbacks, sea lions, seals, bald eagles, and more!
25. Ghostly Walks
It’s believed that some of Victoria’s oldest residents haven’t quite said farewell to the city. Rather they are lingering in some of their favorite haunts. During a guided ghost tour with Ghostly Walks, you’ll visit some of the city’s spookiest places and learn about its dark history.
26. Surfing Lessons
While the drive may is a bit long to get to Tofino (roughly 4.5 hours), the views are exceptional and the surfing is world-class. The quaint town at the end of the road boasts a handful of surf schools that cater to those ranging from beginners to advanced. One of the most popular is the woman-owned Surf Sister Surf School, which is dedicated to helping empower women to grab a board and ride the waves.
27. Floating Wood-Fired Sauna
Steamy heat. Icy plunge. Repeat. Anchored in a remote section of Clayoquot Sound, the traditional territory of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation, Tofino Resort and Marina’s float wood sauna is a quiet respite heavy on the thrill. It’s outfitted with a rope swing, fire pit, and Adirondack chairs. It’s low on the cell reception (there is none), making it the perfect excuse to unplug. And did we talk about the views? They’re exceptional.
28. Visit Tofino’s Carving Shed
While you’re in Tofino, make sure to stop by the Carving Shed at the Wickaninnish Inn. It was originally built by Henry Nolla, an iconic Tofino carver. He built the cabin on the McDiarmid property in exchange for a custodian of the area. Today, his spirit lives on through master caver, “Feather” George Yearsley.
Henry Nolla — an iconic Tofino carver — built his cabin on the McDiarmid property at Chesterman Beach in exchange for being a custodian of the area.
Victoria BC Castles, Gardens, Lighthouses & More
As Victoria and its surrounding regions grew, the landscape became rich with elegant architecture, buildings, and eclectic people. The combination is one that’s created a culture that promotes creativity, while still embracing time-honored traditions.
29. Craigdarroch Castle
Completed in 1890, the Craigdarroch Castle has been carefully restored and maintained. It features 39 ornate rooms that will make you feel like you stepped back in time as one of Victoria’s elite. Today, the castle houses a rich collection of preserved Victorian-era furnishings, vintage photographs and some of North America’s most beautiful stained glass.
30. Government House
Built in 1860, the Government House is located on the traditional territory of the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations. The official residence of the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia. While tours have been suspended, the 36-acre grounds, including numerously finely-manicured flower beds, are free to the public from dawn to dusk daily.
31. Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse
Built by the British in 1860, the Fisgard Lighthouse was the first on Canada’s West Coast. Though still operational, it hasn’t had a lighthouse keeper since 1929 when the light was automated.The lighthouse marks the tip of this waterfront sight. At its backside is Fort Rodd Hill, built by the British in the 1890’s as a coast artillery fort. Designed to defend Victoria and the Esquimalt Naval Base, today visitors can tour the secret bunkers and military command posts.
32. Emily Carr House
Emily Carr’s paintings of the west coast’s First Peoples and the coastal environment have earned her a place among the leading artists in Canadian modernism. Through her simplification of detail a variety of brush marks she brought a dreamy element to the scenes she captured. You can learn more about Carr and her work at her childhood home — a sunny yellow house with large arched windows. Throughout the front yard, a vibrant garden grows that compliments the vivid colors Carr infused in her work — leading one to wonder if they were her first inspiration.
33. The Teahouse at the Abkhazi Gardens
Created by the Georgian Prince and Princess Abkhazi in 1946, the lush one-acre grounds are known as, “the garden that love built.” The couple, having survived captivity during World War II, relocated to Victoria (by way of New York). The garden became their primary focus as they worked to explore its possibilities. Plants were carefully chosen to enhance the plot’s natural beauty, sourced from the finest nurseries of the day. Garry oaks. Japanese Maples. Splendid rhododendrons.
For over 40 years the Prince and Princess practiced constant refinement — a dedication to which Princess Abkhazi later admitted was like, “the garden became our child.” Today, you can see the Abkhazi’s love still thriving when you visit for tea.
34. Trial Islands Lighthouse
Along Victoria’s northern shoreline, east of downtown, the Trial Islands Lighthouse sits on the Trial Islands Ecological Reserve. It can most easily be seen from Clover Point or Beacon Hill Park’s waterfront.
The ‘apple-core’ design (the white, cylindrical shape mimics an apple core) was built in 1970. It replaced the original lighthouse that was erected in 1906. In 2015, the lighthouse was granted heritage status, thanks to the work of Oak Bay Heritage Foundation and the vocal support of the public.
35. Gonzales Observatory
Spanning nearly 4.5 acres, the Gonzales Hill Regional Park is one of the smallest in the greater Victoria area. But what it may lack in footpaths, it more than makes up for in views. The Gonzales Observatory, which served as a weather station for 75 years, is home to jaw-dropping views of Victoria, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Olympic Mountains, Sooke Hills, and the Salish Sea.
36. Ogden Point Breakwater
One of the most popular walks near downtown Victoria, the Ogden Point Breakwater starts near Dallas Road and juts out 800 meters through the sea. True to its name, it was constructed to provide relief from the punishing waves that would otherwise slam into the nearby Odgen Point piers. It’s considered one of the best places to watch the sunset, capture the perfect selfie, and watch as seaplanes and boats approach Victoria.
37. Mount Washington
While Mount Washington is a bit of a jaunt outside the city (roughly three hours), it is home to a wonderful mountaintop ski resort. During the summer, the grounds are ideal for hiking, mountain biking, and zipline tours.
38. Hatley Castle
If one castle is good, two is better. (Or three. Or four. Victoria is heavy in the castle department and we’re not complaining.) Originally, the accommodations served as the cadet dormitory for the Royal Roads Military College. Today, it’s considered one of the most Instagram-worthy destinations in Victoria, thanks to its appearance in popular movies such as X-Men and Deadpool.
When not staged for Hollywood, it serves at the administrative center for Royal Roads University. Daily guided tours are available, allowing you to see the lavish interior.
39. Christ Church Cathedral
While Christ Church Cathedral looks like it was built by a 14th century Parisian architect, it was in fact constructed in 1929. Its stone structure is an impressive sight to be sure, both inside and out. From inside, you can fully appreciate the elegant stained glass windows as Biblical scenes are illuminated by the sun. A massive free-standing organ frames the lower half of the cathedral’s rose window. Plus, the church’s exterior rounds include a unique seven-circuit labyrinth. Located on the south lawn, it’s said walking the labyrinth can help spark creativity and focus the mind. (Tours are available seasonally.)
40. Mile “0”
The Trans-Canada Highway stretches 8,000 kilometers (4,860 miles) across the entire length of Canada. It is the fourth-longest highway in the world and is speckled with quirky roadside attractions. And it begins in Victoria!
Mile ‘0’ of the Trans-Canada Highway is located next to Beacon Hill Park, where you’ll also find a statue of Terry Fox. Terry lost his leg to cancer when he was just 18-years-old. Outfitted with a prosthetic leg, he ran the entire length of the cross-Canada highway to raise money for cancer research.
41. Royal Theatre & McPherson Playhouse
Designed in 1912, the Royal Theater and McPherson Playhouse has been called a ‘heritage jewel,’ thanks to the preserved elegance of its Rococo/Renaissance Revival style décor. From the eye-catching diamond design on the front entrance to the ornately decorated stage, it’s as beautiful as the performances it hosts are impressive.
42. St. Ann’s Academy
Though not as well-known, St. Ann’s Academy is actually older than the Fairmont Empress and the Parliament Buildings. The academy’s cathedral was constructed in 1858. In 1886, it was moved to its current location, at which time a school was added. This historic treasure boasts ornate gold-leaf detailing, original oil paintings, and stained glass windows. While it’s said to be haunted, we’ve yet to meet an other worldly spirit during a visit.
43. Dallas Road Waterfront Trail
The Dallas Road waterfront Trail is a 7.1-km (roughly 4.5 miles) out and back trail. It generously spans most of Victoria’s northern shoreline, from Clover Point to Ogden Point Breakwater. Waterfront views abound during this walk or ride!
44. Victoria Food Tour
Eat your way through Victoria on a guided food tour. Considered one of the best culinary destinations in Canada, the British Columbia capital is filled with epic bites. A Taste of Victoria has been named among Canada’s Top 10 Experiences on TripAdvisor for six years in a row. Each two-hour tour includes some of Victoria’s best-known and hidden gems, allowing you to fully immerse yourself (and your taste buds) into the local culture.
45. Cowichan Valley Wine Country Tour
To those not in the know, Cowichan Valley is best described as the Napa Valley of Vancouver Island. And the number of those not in the know is quickly dwindling as Cowichan Valley wine has made a name for itself. Though the vineyards here are relatively new, the oldest dating back less than 50 years compared to the oldest n the world which are more than 1,150 years old, it was distinguished as its own unique wine region in 2020.
The secret sauce in the combination of rich soil and a cool, mostly dry region, that seldom freezes. The region is particularly well known for its Pinot Noir, which thrives in the cooler climate.
Scattered throughout the region, you’ll find a plethora of delicious and delightfully beautiful spots to visit. For a leisurely afternoon spend enjoying good drinking wine, fabulous appetizers, and an incredible view — head to Averill Creek Winery. The beautiful tasting room and exquisite patio are pet friendly. Plus, the guided tasting flight allows you to embrace (or discover) your inner wine nerd.
For a more humble and down-to-earth experience, book an appointment at Alderlea Vineyards. A micro-winery, it’s owned and operated by husband-wife dup Julie and Zac Powell. The couple took over the vineyard in 2017. Since then they’ve won multiple awards, thanks to the dry, crisp, clean, and aromatic wines.
46. Victoria Public Market at the Hudson
Located in the former HBC department store, the Victoria Public Market at the Hudson is home to a rich mix of artisan foods, coffee, locally crafted wares, and a hot yoga studio. While the soaring concrete ceilings of the ground floor were once adorned by hats and perfume, they now set the stage for events, classes, and informal gatherings.
47. Victoria Food Trucks
Looking for a bite that’s a little less brick-and-mortar? Victoria’s food scene on wheels is rolling bit of goodness. For the untraditional taco head to Taco Justice where seared rock fish is topped with pickled Thai chilies and cilantro-lime vinaigrette and deep-fried avocado is rounded out with charred tomato salsa. Want a morning fill? Morning People is serving up a selection of breakfast sandwiches that’ll stick to your ribs in all the ways that’ll make you happy (and want a nap). And for a burger you’ll talk about tomorrow, and next year, hunt down Deadbeetz who’s amping up their patties with everything from bourbon bacon jam and fried eggs to house pickled beets.
48. Thetis Lake and Matheson Lake
Is there anything better than a cool dip on a hot day? We think not. And Victoria offers the perfect central hub for a lake day. Rent a bike and head for one of the local hot spots, including Thetis Lake and Mathewson Lake. Just be sure to grab some accouterments before you hit the road, as there aren’t any shops.
Up for a bit longer ‘trek’ — Shawnigan Lake is exquisite. Head to the Lakehouse At Shawnigan, where the food is deliciously fresh and the diners are encouraged to go for pre-meal and post-meal swims. This is also conveniently just minutes from the Kinsol Trestle trailhead.
49. Point Ellice House
Located on the George Waterway, the Point Ellice House is the largest surviving natural and heritage landscape along the Victoria Harbour. It is also home to one of the most complete collections of late-Victorian and early-Edwardian objects in an original, untouched Victorian home. Officially a National Historic Site, the O’Reilly family sold it to the Province of British Columbia in 1875, 108 years after the family first purchased the property.
50. Mount Finlayson
Looking for a hike with a definite incline and a definite view? Mount Finlayson fits the bill perfectly. The 4 km round-trip adventure offers stunning ocean views and some steep elevation gain.
51. Elk & Beaver Regional Park
Just north of Victoria, you’ll find a local favorite: Elk and Beaver Lake Regional Park. Hiking here abounds. So too does swimming, canoeing, kayaking, and water skiing. Plus, there are plenty of sandy beaches for relaxing without the punishing heat of the sun.
52. Lone Tree Hill
Lone Tree Hill is blessed with one of the best viewpoints on Vancouver Island. The vista includes downtown Victoria and the Olympic Mountains, Malahat, the Highlands, and the surrounding hillsides. Keep an eye out for wildlife too, as bald eagles, ravens, and turkey vultures can often be seen.
53. Westsong Walkway
The West Song Walkway runs along the west side of the Inner Harbour to the West Bay Marina. It’s a fabulous location for watching seaplanes, ferries, and the Victoria Clipper come to port. From downtown, take the Johnson Street Bridge — an event in and of itself and follow the path as it curves along the water’s edge.
54. Johnson Street
LoJo (short for lower Johnson Street) is Victoria’s shopping hub for the latest fashions. It also happens to offer some of the best places to capture the perfect profile picture, thanks to the candy-colored storefronts and unique architecture.
55. Still Life
This local gem is one of Victoria’s best-known retailers for the fashion-forward. It carries a boutique collection ‘for him’ and ‘for her’ — serving as the city’s go-to source for cutting-edge trends.
56. Visit Fisherman’s Wharf
Just around the corner from Victoria’s Inner Harbor (a 20-minute walk or a Water Taxi ride away), Victoria’s Fisherman’s Wharf is a quaint and quirky floating community. In addition to the colorful array of houseboats, it has a fabulous selection of walk-up eateries, an outdoor fish shop, and a sweets shop!
57. Go Hiking (in the city) at Beacon Hill Park
Spanning 200 acres, Beacon Hill Park is the largest city park in Victoria’s downtown core. It offers dozens of trails and viewpoints and wonderful picnic spots. Plus, it connects to several of the major public walkways along the coast, allowing you to extend your adventure.
58. Indulge in Eggs Benedict
Victoria has been unofficially dubbed the ‘Brunch Capital of BC.’ And while restaurants serve a variety of sweet and savory selections that are sure to satisfy, none is more popular than eggs Benedict. Fondly known by locals as ‘Bennies,’ these poached egg and creamy-sauce combos come in a wide variety of flavor profiles ranging from classic ham and lemon hollandaise to more exotic fried chicken with bacon and jalapeno jelly.
Discover the best Bennies in Victoria!
59. Take a DIY Pub Crawl
As the city grew thanks to the gold rush, pubs became a staple on many a corner throughout Victoria. They served as restaurants and gathering places. Acquaint yourself with some of the oldest joints (and newest) in town by taking a DIY pub crawl. What we particularly love about this adventure is that you can go at your leisure. Hit as many (or as few) spots as you like. Linger when the mood suits you and move on when you’ve had your fill.
60. Willows Beach
Craving a white sandy beach? Want to skip the crowds? This Victoria gem doesn’t seem to attract tourists, but offers everything you’d want in a bit of ocean-side fun.
61. Seafood. Seafood. Seafood.
In Victoria, the farm-to-table revolution oftentimes comes with a bit more salt water. Seafood here is paramount. And there is little surprise as to why. Chefs can get the freshest of the fresh. Informal haunts, like the walk-up window at Red Fish Blue Fish are frying up some of the best fish and chips in the city. Blue Crab has earned a reputation for its fresh seafood and stunning waterfront views. And for the sustainably sourced, organic fare, Fishhook is giving seafood a local and international spin that’s downright scrumptious.
62. Ross Bay Cemetery
A cemetery may not be what you typically have in mind for a beautiful stroll. But the grounds of Ross Bay Cemetery are stunning. Just keep in mind, the grounds are believed to be haunted. Keep an eye out for ethereal spirits.
63. Noodle Bowls, Bao Buns & Sashimi
Visiting China’s own is one thing. Eating your way through Chinatown, now that’s a delight of an entirely different nature. Hit up Pho Vy for a flavor-loaded. Stop by Bāo for some of the fluffiest bao buns of your life. And if you’re in the mood for sushi, NUBO Kitchen + Bar doesn’t disappoint. Even their lunch specials are even worth writing home about.
64. Mill Hill Regional Park
Would you prefer a hike that’s not quite so popular, but not too far out of town? The Mill Hill Regional Park isn’t well-known, but it offers meadows filled with wildflowers, downtown Victoria, and the Esquimalt Harbour. Plus, it’s only a 200-meter elevation gain!
65. Oat Milk Lattes
In recent years, oat milk has gained popularity thanks to its creamy consistency and low allergen profile. In and around Victoria, it’s become a staple on menus that serve to cater to a wide array of dietary restrictions. Plus, it’s downright delicious.
Among the best coffee shops in Victoria serving up oat milk, you’ll find: Milano, Shatterbox, and Habit Coffee.
66. Cruise around in a Hot Tub Boat
Cruise around the Upper Harbour and George Waterway in warm style. The Hot Tub Boat Victoria offers a rentable vessel that has a hot tub at its core. Heated by an onboard stove while underway, it’s equipped with a Bluetooth speaker so you can rock some tunes as you laze the day away.
67. Inner Harbour Causeway
Located at the southernmost corner of the Inner Harbour, directly across the street from the Fairmont Empress, the Inner Harbour Causeway is one of the most beautiful marinas in the world. It’s the perfect place to stroll, watch boats come in to dock, and see seaplanes dock. It also happens to be a prime place to watch the sunset.
68. The Raptors
See raptors up close, really close at The Raptors. Located in Cowichan Valley, offers interactive experiences with a wide range of birds of prey. How would you like to hold an owl on your arm or be face-to-face with a hawk?
69. Discover ‘Your’ Scent at Zingaro Floral Perfumery
Step into Zingaro Floral Perfumery and let yourself be transported into another world, where flowers are lush and memories are preserved by scent. In addition to shopping for all the nicknacks, let the shop owner guide you through exploring her collection of parfums — as you find the one that speaks to you.
70. Tour a Working Cider Distillery
Wander through the apple orchards at Merridale Cidery & Distillery, which bloom in spring and grow heavy with fruit throughout the summer. During the spring, a chorus of buzzing bumblebees can be seen and heard flying throughout. Fairies are rumored to flirt through the fields, so be on the lookout.
Take the self-guided tour of the farm, complete with a pitstop at the working distillery. Then head to the tasting room, where decadent flights of cider and farm-to-table cuisine can be purchased. Choose to eat in the dining room or grab a picnic bench outside to be among the flowering trees.