The Magic of Christmas Lights Display. Photo Provided by The Butchart Gardens
The Magic of Christmas. Photo Provided by The Butchart Gardens
The Magic of Christmas. Photo Provided by The Butchart Gardens

The Butchart Gardens didn’t earn its rank among the top display gardens in the world during the cool months of winter. But should you happen to be in Victoria, the quaint British Columbia capital at the southern tip of Vancouver Island during the dormant ‘off-season,’ The Gardens are well worth a visit.

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happy couple winter cider

Some might ask, “Why visit Victoria this winter?” But don’t let this northern gem fool you into thinking it has closed up shop. While the hanging baskets are stored for the season, there are still a plethora of fun things to do in Victoria this winter.

Sure, you’ll want to pack a good jacket. But don’t worry that exploring will put you at risk of frostbite, as it will throughout much of North America. The BC Capital is tucked at the edge of the Olympic Rain Shadow, making winters relatively mild and an early spring a common occurrence. And with the Victoria Inner Harbour and Victoria International Airport being just a short flight from the Emerald City, this is arguably the easiest Seattle weekend getaway around.

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Hiking at sunset. Photo by Destination BC and Hubert Kang
A couple on a hike during sunset at Gonzales Hill Regional Park. Photo by Destination BC and Hubert Kang.
A couple on a hike during sunset at Gonzales Hill Regional Park. Photo by Destination BC and Hubert Kang.

Thanks to its old-world elegance, walkable streets, and temperate weather — Victoria oozes romance. Here, mundane tasks, like grocery shopping, can feel like a date. But it’s not just the city’s day-to-day living that’s filled with couple-worthy activities. There’s an impressive selection of romantic things to do in Victoria, BC.

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Gates of Harmonious Interest in Victoria by Destination BC and Tanya Goehring
Gates of Harmonious Interest by Destination BC and Tanya Goehring
Photo by Destination BC and Tanya Goehring

Standing 38 feet tall and spanning a full city street, the Gates of Harmonious Interest is an eye-catching red and gold beauty. Featuring three arches, each of the pedestrian pathways is guarded by a stone lion. It was erected in 1981 and marks the entrance to Victoria, B.C.’s Chinatown. 

However, the historic destination wasn’t always so ornately decorated and lovingly maintained. Chinatown was founded in 1859 by Chinese merchants from San Francisco. They’d come north for the Fraser River Gold Rush, building simple wood shacks that served as homes and businesses. Initially, the new settlers were connected to the city center by three narrow footbridges that spanned the Johnson Street Ravine — a natural waterway that was used for waste disposal. 

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Executive Chef David Healey
Executive Chef David Healey of Wind Cries Mary
Photo by Andréa Conforti 

Wind Cries Mary is truly a hidden gem in Victoria. Opened in 2019, just eight months before the Covid shutdown, the restaurant has become both a favorite for locals and a destination for those traveling to Victoria. Located downtown in Bastion Square, Wind Cries Mary is in the downstairs of the historic Law Chambers building. 

Once you descend down the stairs you’re met with a dark and moody candlelit space. The canopied bar at the center of the room filled with local and international wine and spirits lets you know that this is the right place to come for a good drink. Explore farther into the restaurant and you’ll find an even cozier brick-walled room that, for some, will bring back memories of Camille’s, a Victoria staple that occupied the space for 27 years. 

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Victoria BC in the Fall 70 things to do
Victoria BC in the Fall

While the days grow shorter and the mornings crisp, fall may very well be the best time of year to visit Victoria, BC. Colorful leaves, mild weather, and stunning autumn blooms minus the summer crowds make this stunning seaside city an excellent choice for a quick and relaxing getaway.

Whether you choose to hop a flight direct from downtown Seattle to Victoria’s Inner Harbour or take our wheeled plane service from Paine Field, Boeing Field or Friday Harbor airport, zipping up to Victoria is an easy international escape.

Ready to get planning? Discover 70 unique and exciting things to do in Victoria, BC this fall, ranging from the best places to grab a bite to can’t-miss iconic landmarks!

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Klahoose Wilderness Resort
Klahoose Wilderness Resort
Image provided by Klahoose Wilderness Resort.

Whether it be a remote wilderness lodge, a comfortable resort on the beach or a refined hotel in the city, there is getting away and then there is truly escaping. Being open to new experiences, whether that be trying new local foods, stepping out of your comfort zone by kayaking through a deep fjord or being brave and pulling up a chair to connect with strangers over a shared meal are all certain to make your experiences richer.

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Victoria Hot Tub Boats
Victoria Hot Tub Boats in the Inner Harbour

Despite Victoria’s sunny weather, you might think twice about donning your swimsuit for a dip in the B.C. capital’s Inner Harbour. Even during August, the average water temperature is around 52.7°F (11.5°C). But those who want to take a dip (while skipping the cold plunge) can take heart. You can rent a Hot Tub Boat to enjoy a warm, scenic float. 

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The Teahouse at Abkhazi Garden in Victoria BC
The Teahouse at Abkhazi Garden

While coffee is the ‘get up and go’ boost that starts many a day, tea invites the mid-day respite from the hustle and bustle. This afternoon practice brings with it a sense of calm and luxurious indulgence. It speaks to a time when life was slower and device free — as it was when the Prince and Princess Abkhazi began cultivating their stunning estate in the mid-1940s.

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Boating in the Salish Sea by Vancouver Island
Boating in the Salish Sea

There are hundreds of islands in Puget Sound, the San Juans, and Canada. The Straits of Juan De Fuca divide Washington from Vancouver Island, Canada and connect to the Pacific Ocean 60 miles west. The islands form a protected inland arm of the ocean that covers over 1,000 square miles called the Salish Sea. Astounding water depths dropping over 900 feet fill gaps between the rocky islands. Over a trillion gallons of water move during each tide refreshing the sea every day and providing a home for myriads of sea life.

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