Things to Do in Victoria, BC
There are plenty of fun things to do in Victoria, British Columbia. We have a little bit of everything; from sightseeing, shopping, and dining experiences to local events - we’ve got it all.
If you’re searching for things to see in Victoria, look no further. Here are some of our most popular tourist attractions. Browse through them and contact us if you have any further questions on what to do and see in beautiful Victoria, BC.
Located in the heart of downtown Victoria, B.C. The ceremonial entry arch welcomes visitors to the original site of old Fort Victoria. In 1963 Bastion Square was developed as part of the modern scheme for Centennial Square. View Street was closed off, and a pedestrian area was created, set off by restored historic buildings on three sides and a view across the harbour on the fourth. The square looks out on the Inner Harbour and boasts the finest restaurants, pubs, and cafes in Victoria. In the summer, its seasonal artisan market and many outdoor patios make it an ideal spot to visit!
The Bay Centre is a “must stop to shop” destination and is in the heart of Downtown Victoria’s shopping and business district. Known for their architecture and urban atmosphere, it has a mix of over 90 street front and interior shops covering an entire full city block featuring Hudson’s Bay, Johnny Rockets, Pandora Shop at Ann-Louise Jewellers, Earls Kitchen + Bar, Eco Chic Aveda Salon & Spa, Purdy’s Chocolatier, Sport Check, The Tuscan Kitchen and so much more. It is approximately three blocks from the Inner Harbour and our hotel.
BEACON HILL PARK
This beautiful park is easy walking distance from our hotel. The park boasts 200 acres and there is so much to see and do here. It has a petting zoo for all to enjoy, by donation, including goats which are tons of fun especially when the babies. Two water parks that are open daily from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. throughout the summer. You will also see many ducks, peacocks, and ponds within the park. It also has an important status of Mile “0”. Another tradition is the ice cream at the Drive-In located in the park, but they do have a full menu to sooth any cravings.
BC FERRY CONNECTOR
Enjoy the trip between downtown Victoria and downtown Vancouver. Daily year-round scheduled service is convenient, affordable and hassle free. Walk-on passengers requiring bus service between Vancouver and Victoria (or reverse direction), can purchase tickets onboard BC Ferries. Please note that BC Ferries Connector ticket counter aboard the ferries is open for ticket sales the first 30 minutes of the sailing only. Reservations are required, onboard ticket purchases are subject to availability. They cannot guarantee that a seat will be available unless a prepaid reservation has been made.
Discover the sights of Victoria on one of their open-air buses or classic turn of the century trolley bus. Offering a 90-minute Hop-On Hop-Off Tour of the city, Big Bus Victoria will take you to all the best destinations in Victoria. They make sure their drivers are always on time at each of their stops. And they have Combo Deals with some attractions including The Robert Bateman Centre, Springtide Whale Watching, The Craigdorroch Castle, Butchart Gardens and The Royal BC Museum. Pickups and drop-offs throughout the city.
THE BUTCHART GARDENS
Beautiful in every season, this stunning garden has grown into one of the world’s premier floral show gardens. The gardens are 55 acres with over 900 bedding plants throughout walkways and displays. They have 26 greenhouses with 50 full time gardeners to maintain them. Summer brings fireworks nights and winter brings Christmas festivities. In December 2009, the Children's Pavilion and the Rose Carousel were opened. With family-friendly features, evening concerts, fine dining, cosy coffee shops and more, you will love getting lost among the flowers. The gardens are approximately a 40-minute drive from the hotel and several tour buses go there throughout the day.
A very short drive takes you back in time for a glimpse at the lavish lives of the Victorian era at Craigdarroch Castle, a National Historic Site. It was constructed in the late 1800s as a family residence for the wealthy coal baron Robert Dunsmuir and his wife Joan. Craigdarroch Castle is believed to have cost as much as $500,000 when it was built, and included granite from British Columbia, tile from San Francisco, and an oak staircase prefabricated in Chicago. When originally constructed Craigdarroch stood in grounds comprising 28 acres of formal gardens in Victoria's Rockland neighbourhood.
From the end of the Second World War to about 1990 the Wharf was the heyday of the fishing fleet. Fishing vessels were tied to every dock, except for two docks at the east end. These two “live aboard” docks were home to a diverse, and often eccentric, community from the 1970s right up until 2000. Many colourful characters roamed the docks and rubbed shoulders with the fishermen. Now fresh seafood, funky boutiques, much-deserved ice cream and several marine adventure outfitters call Fisherman’s Wharf home. Just around the corner from us on the Inner Harbour, this is a waterfront treasure.
When planning your stay in Victoria, British Columbia, be sure to include time to explore the grounds and wonders of Hatley Park, a National Historic Site and home to Royal Roads University. Learn more about the history and mystery of Hatley Castle or opt to self-explore the gardens at your leisure to captivate the senses while soothing your soul. An Edwardian castle; a history of academic excellence; Rose, Italian, and Japanese gardens; a biologically diverse lagoon; trails throughout over 565 acres – there is truly something for everyone.
Engaging people with the maritime culture and history of the Pacific Northwest through rotating exhibits, educational and community-based programs, research services, and more. They have a rich collection of some 35,000 artifacts includes 800 models of ships and items. There is also a reference library of 6,000 volumes including a collection of 200 titles of historical significance, an archival collection of records of local ship-owning and shipbuilding firms, logbooks, naval records, ships' plans of 1800 vessels, maps and charts, an art collection, and approximately 36,000 photographs. The exhibit space is used to interpret selected items from the permanent collection and travelling exhibits.
VICTORIA INNER HARBOUR
The very heart of Victoria, especially during the spring and summer months, the Inner Harbour is a thriving waterfront promenade filled with street food vendors, jugglers, portrait artists, live entertainment acts, musicians, artists, and more. Find grass lawns and sightseeing benches for resting, patios for dining and entertainment in every direction along the horseshoe-shaped Inner Harbour. The harbour also serves whale watching and ecotourism businesses, float planes, an International Ferry terminal with connections to Port Angeles, Bellingham and Seattle, and a water taxi service for tourists and visitors alike. All just outside our hotel doors!
ROYAL BC MUSEUM AND IMAX THEATRE
Steps from our hotel, the Royal BC Museum is one of Canada’s greatest cultural treasures, a place of discovery, housing permanent and temporary exhibitions that highlight inspiring stories of British Columbia and the rest of the world beyond our coast. Through three unique galleries, the Museum showcases the human and natural history of the province in a realistic and inviting display. You can also enjoy fascinating and exciting IMAX films showing on the province’s largest IMAX screen with crystal clear images and wraparound digital surround sound. Six stories high and 81-feet wide, the screen pulls you in. Both are only seconds away from our hotel.
It is the greatest little show on Earth ... literally! Located in downtown Victoria, this small wonder is filled with more than 85 exciting miniature dioramas and displays, all with astonishing detail. Experience the Great Canadian Railway, Canada's National Wonder of the 1880s and one of the World's Largest Model Railways. Visit the Wonderful World of the Circus and feel the magic, the wonderment of the Grand City Parade, the Big Top, the Wild Beasts, and the death-defying High Wire Acts. Your visit here will be a memorable experience for years to come and it’s all within walking distance of the hotel.
ROBERT BATEMAN CENTRE
Experience the magic of nature. His realistic and evocative painting style reflects his deep understanding and appreciation for nature, featuring wildlife in its natural habitat and encouraging the viewer to closely observe the natural world. Robert Bateman is also a spokesman for many environmental and preservation issues, using his art to raise millions of dollars for these causes. The paintings, drawings, sculptures, etchings, and lithographs are a refreshing and inspiring view of natural and man-made heritage. Open daily: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Public Tours Every Tuesday and Saturday 2 p.m. (with exceptions over Christmas) and it’s located just across the street from us.
Take a ride through Victoria or the along the city’s waterfront in a sparkling white-and-red carriage. Let them introduce you to travel via a majestic horse-drawn carriage and become enchanted by the rich architecture of the Victoria Parliament Buildings and historical surroundings. Hear stories of the lives of Victorians while travelling through the charming heritage district of James Bay or escape the hustle and bustle of the city’s core and relish in the tranquillity of Beacon Hill Park with its immaculately manicured gardens and natural meadows. They’re waiting for you at the corner of Menzies and Belleville Street – just seconds from us!
VICTORIA BUG ZOO
Big bugs, little bugs, red bugs, blue bugs! Learn everything there is to know about the world’s tiniest - and strangest - creatures at the amazing Victoria Bug Zoo, only about a 10-minute walk from our hotel. Discover fascinating species including giant walking sticks, glow-in-the-dark scorpions, praying mantis, tarantulas, and Canada’s largest ant colony. Guides will introduce you to the wonderful world of bugs, give information about the animals, and provide a safe bug handling experience for those that want to be hands on. No need to be shy, none of their critters are going to hurt you and don’t forget your camera!
VICTORIA BUTTERFLY GARDEN
This is a unique opportunity to experience the beauty and peace of a tropical jungle, up close and personal. Located near Butchart Gardens, this butterfly garden in Victoria is a gorgeous oasis features rescued tropical animals of all kinds, including flamingos, rare tropical birds, iguanas, dart frogs, tortoises, turtles, giant Koi, and thousands of free-flying butterflies (over 70 species). All within a building the size of almost three basketball courts! Stroll through and marvel at lush gardens including tropical flowers, carnivorous plants, and fruits of the world. And their newest exhibit, the Insectarium, has an array of impressive insects and invertebrates from all around the globe.
VICTORIA’S MARKET SQUARE
A town square and shopping centre in our beautiful city. There are more than 35 shops, restaurants, and clubs in the square. If you’re looking for local boutiques that offer one-of-a-kind merchandise – you’ll find the latest fashion trends; home accessories; locally made jewellery; fun gift ideas and more in this square. Choose from a variety of tasty dine-in and take-out restaurants, as well as authentic Belgian waffles, a vegetarian buffet, a Neapolitan pizzeria, curries, Mexican, Indonesian, a coffee shop and craft beer eatery.
VICTORIA PUBLIC MARKET
This downtown market is located in the historic Hudson building in downtown Victoria and features include locally-produced cheese, local meats, farm-fresh groceries, handmade pies, a French bakery, oils and vinegars, fresh flowers, specialty retail, and gourmet food service offerings! There is a day vendor program that features even more of Vancouver Island’s artisans and makers. The market provides residents and visitors alike with convenient doorstep access to shops, services, leisure, and wellness activities. Victoria Public Market is a bustling community gathering place and offers a hub of food, art, and entertainment all under one roof!
EAGLE WING WHALE & WILDLIFE TOURS
Eagle Wing Tours is proud to be Canada’s first award-winning whale-watching company to become carbon neutral and support 1% for the planet. With more comprehensive tours, longer tour times, custom boats and experienced crew, their commitment to sustainability is unsurpassed. Explore the Salish Sea, at the centre of the world’s highest concentration of orca, with guaranteed whales and adventure. For travellers demanding more, Eagle Wing Tours is a Trip Advisor’s top-rated whale-watching experience in Victoria since 2007. As industry leaders, Eagle Wing Tours inspires the conservation of the marine environment with a thrill!
FIRST STAR WHALE WATCHING
Five Star is Victoria’s longest running and most respected marine Eco Tourism company. We have two purposes, build boats and practice respectful and responsible wildlife viewing. Our expert staff strives to educate and inspire while promoting sound environmental stewardship. We are a family owned and operated, award winning whale watching company since 1985.