From light displays and gingerbread houses to horse-drawn trolley rides and carolers roaming the streets, there’s no better place to celebrate the season than the historic BC capital.
Victoria is alive and vibrant with the holiday spirit, inviting you to embrace all things sugar and spice. Here, you’ll find something for everyone. Because there’s a nearly endless selection of things to do in Victoria this season!
Holiday EVENTS, FESTIVALS & TOURS IN VICTORIA
Celebrate Victoria’s 27th annual Festival of Trees — a cherished tradition, that’s become known as the kick-off to Christmas in the capital. Each tree is sponsored and decorated by businesses and organizations throughout the region. This year it is once again being held at The Bay Center. Visitors have the opportunity to vote for their favorite tree (with a $2 donation). Funds raised from the event will support the Excellence in Child Health Fund.
Nov. 15 – Jan. 9: Christmas in Old Town at the Royal Bc museum
What was Christmas like when Victoria’s streets were cobblestone and its inhabitants (mostly) traveled by horse and buggy? Find out for yourself at the Royal BC Museum. During the holidays, the Old Town exhibit is decked in seasonal finery. You’ll even have your chance to meet Father Christmas!
NOV. 17, 2018 – JAN. 6, 2019: 10TH ANNUAL GINGERBREAD SHOWCASE
Savor a feast for your eyes at the 10th annual Gingerbread Showcase. These aren’t your everyday gingerbread houses. They are elaborate displays, better known as edible sculptures made by both professional bakers and amateur chefs! This year’s showcase is once again being held at the Parkside Hotel & Spa, where you’ll also be able to snag some tasty treats to eat, should you wish.
NOV. 24 – Dec. 22, 2018: NAUTICAL WREATH WORKSHOP
Want to channel your love of the holidays into a DIY decoration? The Maritime Museum of British Columbia’s Nautical Wreath Workshop invites you to take your skills to the next level. During the workshop, you’ll learn some vital knot tying skills, and make a beautiful wreath! (Workshops are available on Saturdays.)
NOV. 25, 2018 – DEC. 23, 2018: S’MORES ON THE VERANDA
What’s better than roasting marshmallows over an open flame? Doing so with a view! The Fairmont Empress’ S’Mores on the Veranda invites you to indulge in this wintery sensation, savoring the oodles of chocolate-loaded s’mores and a view of the Inner Harbour.
NOV. 26, 2018 – DEC. 5, 2018: ANNUAL SIDNEY NATIVITY EXHIBIT
Sidney’s annual Nativity Exhibit returns for the 12th year running. It features a collection of non-traditional and classic nativity displays. The exhibits range from whimsical to modern. Each is crated from a wide variety of materials and highlights a unique perspective and/or artistic skill.
Nov. 26 – Dec. 17: Christmas Carollers
From Jingle Bells and Frosty the Snowman to Silent Night and Hark the Herald, listen to your favorite holiday tunes live in Victoria! Throughout the season, carolers roam the streets, bringing tidings of good cheer!
NOV. 30, 2018: MARINA LIGHT UP
No Christmas in Victoria would be complete without a festive Inner Harbour. The Marina Light Up is a classic. Starting near dusk, boats and floating homes will turn on their lights. You’ll find hot drinks on the Causeway Docks in front of the Fairmont Empress. Just be sure to bring a warm coat, as it can get chilly near the water.
Nov. 30 – Dec. 1, 2018: CHRISTMAS CRAFT BEER SHOW
Cheers to the season! After a resounding success in its first two years, the Christmas Craft Beer Show is back for another round! The 3rd Annual Christmas Craft Beer Show will take place at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre.
Dec. – Jan. 14, 2018: The Bear Mountain Skating Rink
Bear Mountain pulls out all the stops for the holidays, setting up an outdoor ice skating rink near the resort’s backyard and decorating the area with festive cheer. (Please keep in mind, skating is weather dependent.)
DEC. 1, 2017 – JAN. 6, 2018: MAGIC OF CHRISTMAS at the Butchart Gardens
Carolers. Ice skating. Christmas lights galore. When it comes to the holidays in Victoria, the Butchart Gardens are all things shiny, celebratory, and bright. This season at the gardens is fondly dubbed ‘Magic of Christmas.’ And magic it is!
DEC. 1, 2018: 38TH ANNUAL DICKENS HOLIDAY FAIR
The annual Dickens Holiday Fair returns for the 38th year. You’ll have the chance to meet over 70 local artisans. A large children’s play area will be set up for the youngsters. Plus, live music and a café offer the perfect respite from shopping.
Dec. 1 – 20, 3018: Ghosts of Christmas Past
What was Victoria like at Christmas long ago? Find out during a guided tour where you’ll learn about a First Nations legend, a touching Gold Rush tale, and the frequency of Christmas Day brawls at Fort Victoria. The tour features a variety of indoor and outdoor activities.
DEC. 2, 2018: CHOCOLATE & CHURCHES WALKING FOOD TOUR
You’re in for a treat during the chocolate and church loaded walking tour. This 3-hour tour pairs the old-world beauty of Victoria’s historic churches with delicious bites of chocolate! You’ll visit three places of worship and a variety of local businesses to sip and sample chocolate.
Dec. 2 – 23, 2018: HORSE-DRAWN TROLLEY RIDES
Explore Victoria’s most festive neighborhoods by horse-drawn trolley. Every weekend, trolley rides are free, offering a unique and scenic way to take in the sights.
DEC. 7, 2018: sea of Lights — lighted ship parade
In a Sea of Lights, the Royal Victoria Yacht Club’s annual boast parade turns the waters beyond Willows Beach into a dazzling display.
DEC. 13 & 14, 2018: CHRISTMAS TEA: a British Comedy
Love the Monty Python? Think Dr. Seuss books are a hoot? You’ll be in for a treat at Christmas Tea: A British Comedy. This hilarious comedy tour features London’s 3-time IMPRESARIO award-winning comedians James & Jamesy. It’s brimming with whimsy, action, and ingenuity in a celebration of friendship at Christmas.
Dec. 14, 2018: GOVERNMENT HOUSE HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE AND CAROLING
Get ready for an evening of caroling and holiday-filled fun at the Government House. There will be refreshments and a chance to have a look around Government House, decked out in festive splendor.
DEC. 14 – 23, 2018: A CHRISMAS carol
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What better place to explore the language of Shakespeare than in a Castle! We are having a lot of fun so far with our education program for middle & high school classes. With thanks due to the Victoria Shakespeare Festival for their collaboration on this magnificent new program. @vicshakespeare #vicshakesfest #shakespeareisinthehouse #museumed #educationalfun #schooltours #drama #castlelife #historichouse #yyjarts
The timeless tale of Scrooge’s transformation is brought to life at the fabulous performance of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Held within the historic walls of Craigdarroch Castle, the setting helps bring the world of Victorian England to life.
Dec. 16, 2018: KID’S CHRISTMAS AT THE CASTLE
The Fairmont Empress’ Kid’s Christmas at the Castle is perfect for the whole family! Champagne and canapés for Mom and Dad, Christmas activities and a candy buffet for the kids. There will be crafts and holiday stories will be read to the little ones. Children can write a letter to Santa during the event and we’ll ensure Santa writes back!
Dec. 27 – 31, 2018: Shakespeare’s Will
Presented by one of Victoria’s newest theatre companies — Attitude Theatre Company — the one woman performance of Shakespeare’s Will highlights love, death, and Shakespeare.
More Fun Things to do in Victoria
Want to make this season’s holiday shopping stress-free? With a mix of big-city perks and small-town charm, Victoria is the perfect place to do just that!
Victoria, BC invites you to get lost in one another. Here street corner kisses are a natural occurrence, meals are designed to be lingered over and drinks are meant to be savored. This is a city for lovers to reacquaint themselves and new crushes to grow close. All you need is 24-hours and one great itinerary.
There’s more to Victoria than the Fairmont Empress and Parliament Buildings. While both of these iconic landmarks are certainly deserving of a visit, B.C.’s quaint capitol is loaded with Instagram-worthy destinations.