Are you planning a trip to Victoria BC or perhaps your cruise ship stops here? Well here are 25 fun things to do in Victoria BC.
Some of these things include:
- fun outdoor activities
- delightful food choices
- and indoor attractions too
This article contains affiliate links. If you click a link and buy something I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. For more information please see the Disclosure page.
(Please note: This article contains some Instagram photos publicly posted by companies. If I have shared one of your photos and you don’t want the free publicity, please let me know and I’ll replace it. Thank you.)
Table of Contents
What to do in Victoria BC?
Victoria BC is a great place to visit with so much to see and do.
The Greater Victoria area has an estimated population of almost 400,000 people (reference), yet there are lots of natural places to explore where you’ll be the only one there.
You may not be able to squeeze all these activities into your trip to Victoria, but let’s start the concise list of things to do in Victoria BC.
Wander the Butchart Gardens
If you are awed by beautiful gardens you’ll love the Butchart Gardens. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Victoria area.
Among the natural treasures inside Butchart Gardens you’ll discover the Sunken Garden. The 5-acre Sunken Garden is where a quarry used to be. Now it has been converted into a lovely garden.
Plus, Butchart Gardens has a Rose Garden, an Italian Garden, a Mediterranean Garden and a Japanese Garden.
Visit the Inner Harbour
For visitors from the mainland, just being near the ocean can be a refreshing and stimulating experience. Being able to walk along the Inner Harbour in Victoria and to see all the ships bobbing on the waves is an amazing sight for landlocked tourists.
The cool vibe and appeal of the harbour attracts lots of people and it should be on every tourist’s list of things to do in Victoria.
Learn about the Lekwungen Territory
Victoria is situated on the Lekwungen traditional territory: home of the Songhees and Esquimalt peoples. (Reference)
One of the emerging activities to do in Victoria (for locals and tourists) is to learn more about the traditional Lekwungen territory.
The indigenous company Explore Songhees offers a “7 Signs of the Lekwungen Walking Tour” where you’ll see historic sites around the Inner Harbour. Put on your walking shoes and learn the history of the area.
Explore Bastion Square
If you want to grab some food or drinks while walking around downtown Victoria, take a stroll through Bastion Square.
You’ll find pubs and restaurants. Many of which have outdoor patios in the summer so you can get outside and enjoy the ocean breezes.
And for paranormal seekers, many folks claim this area is haunted.
Will you see or hear an apparition here? Come find out.
Walk through the Shops of Market Square
The old buildings that line the perimeter of Market Square were built in the 1880’s and 1890’s.
You can grab some food or drinks and sit out in the central plaza, or check out the small unique shops in the square.
Beacon Hill Park Petting Zoo
If you want a fun experience for your kids – and for yourself – check out the petting zoo in Beacon Hill Park.
The admission is by donation so it is a great economical option for the family.
I had so much fun playing with the goats…they are so hilarious. The goat in the picture above was nodding off while sitting upright…she had her underbite on full display.
For more information on the Beacon Hill Children’s Farm click here.
Royal BC Museum and Thunderbird Park
The Royal BC Museum has several natural history and human history collections for you to wander through.
Thunderbird Park, located next to the Royal British Columbia Museum features some eye-catching indigenous totem poles that locals and visitors love.
To check the museum’s hours of operation and admission prices, click here.
Victoria Bug Zoo
This attraction is best suited for young children and bonafide bug lovers.
You wander through a room lined with glass enclosures filled with exotic bugs like tarantulas, scorpions and a variety of stick bugs.
At the time we went we weren’t allowed to hold the tarantulas, but visitors over 18 years old could hold a scorpion.
Located at 1050 Joan Crescent in Victoria is the Craigdarroch Castle. It was built in the late 1880’s by the coal entrepreneur Robert Dunsmuir.
This photo doesn’t do the castle justice. You can’t see and appreciate the architecture and stained glass of this magnificent mansion.
To see better pictures and get more information, click here.
Visit the Parliament Buildings
Victoria is the capital of British Columbia. It has a beautiful Parliament building that you can tour and snap some photos of.
This magnificent looking building is located at 501 Belleville Street in Victoria right next to the Inner Harbour.
For more information on public tours, click here
Afternoon Tea at the Fairmont Empress Hotel
For a touch of elegance treat yourself to afternoon tea at the Fairmont Empress Hotel. They currently offer three seating times: 11AM, 1PM and 3PM. They highly recommend making a reservation.
Click here to get more information on experiening afternoon tea at the Empress.
(And oh yeah, bring your wallet…you’ll need it.)
Even if you don’t go there for tea, the grand building itself is worth seeing.
Stroll through Downtown Victoria
There are plenty of unique shops and boutiques in downtown Victoria.
You’ll find lots of souvenir shops selling “Canada” gifts (like maple syrup and shirts with moose and bears on them) to tourists who’ve stepped off the cruise ships from Ogden Point.
But you’ll also find cool comic book stores, toy stores, and fashion retailers.
Eat at Fisherman’s Wharf
Fisherman’s Wharf is a short and lively section of dock that houses great eateries and a marina filled with interesting ships and houseboats.
We recently ate the fish tacos at the Puerto Vallarta Amigos restaurant – they were awesome. Pirate Pizza – right next door to the mexican restaurant – offers pizza by the slice which was also tasty.
If you want some ice cream, there is a little shop selling ice cream too.
If you want a quick outing with some of great food choices, check out Fisherman’s Wharf.
(Parking can be a bit tricky though depending on what time you go.)
Wander through Victoria’s Chinatown
Victoria is home to the oldest Chinatown in Canada. And within Chinatown keep your eyes open for Fan Tan Alley: a unique alley lined with little shops squashed between two buildings.
(There is a record store in there that has humorous album covers and pictures on their display glass.)
Even if you don’t buy anything, it is worth seeing.
Go on a Whale Watching Tour
Explore the natural beauty of Vancouver Island by boat: book a whale watching tour.
Keep your eyes peeled for humpback whales, killer whales (orcas), minke whales and more.
A popular whale watching tour out of Fisherman’s Wharf is Eagle Wing Tours. It is located at 12 Erie Street.
(Unfortunately I wasn’t able to go on one of their tours during our visit, but they are a highly rated tour company.)
Right in downtown Victoria you’ll find Miniature World. The home to 85 miniature displays and dioramas ranging from a lumber yard to an out of this world space display. (Above is one of their Instagram posts showing a carefully crafted display.)
It is located in the Fairmont Empress Hotel at 649 Humboldt Street in Victoria. Below is a shot of the outside entrance to Miniature World.
If you’re a fan of dollhouses and miniatures, or you just appreciate craftsmanship, you’ll want to check out Miniature World.
Tour the Emily Carr House
For an immersion into the world of renowned Canadian artist and writer Emily Carr, you can visit and tour her home in Victoria.
It is located at 207 Government Street in Victoria.
For more information on the Emily Carr House, click here.
Hatley Park National Historic Site – the Hatley Castle
If you’re a fan of the X-men films or Wolverine movies, you’ll recognize Hatley Castle from the movies.
If superheroes and mutants aren’t your thing, you can still enjoy the incredible gardens on the Hatley Castle estate.
The castle is on the grounds of Royal Roads University in the neighborhood of Colwood just outside Victoria.
There is a Rose garden, an Italian Garden, and a Japanese Garden.
When I visited in June 2022, we weren’t allowed to go inside the castle itself, which was a bit of a bummer, but the gardens were great.
For more information on the gardens at Hatley Castle click here.
Bilston Creek Farm
Enjoy wood-fired pizza among the lovely lavender at the Bilston Creek Farm at 4185 Metchosin Road.
It’s a great place to go and enjoy Victoria at a different, more relaxed pace.
Check out their website to pre-order a pizza to pick up on Sundays.
Victoria Butterfly Gardens
The Victoria Butterfly Gardens is a place for the young and old to be delighted by the beauty of a tropical setting.
Our young daughter loved the butterflies.
And even though it is called the Butterfly Gardens, there is a lot more to look at than just butterflies. There are macaws (as seen in the picture above), flamingos, turtles and colorful poison dart frogs.
For more information on the Victoria Butterfly Gardens, click here.
Another garden making the list of things to do in Victoria BC is the Abkhazi Garden. This garden is a great example of the beautiful variety of plants you can grow on the West Coast.
This garden located at 1964 Fairfield Road is ran by the non-profit land trust TLC The Land Conservancy of British Columbia.
One of the best things to do in Victoria is to explore the beaches.
Being on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, Victoria is home to dozens of beaches and kilometers of rugged coastline.
Kids love collecting sea shells, looking for sea glass, spotting wildlife and climbing over driftwood.
It is great fun, and it’s free!
While we visited Victoria we checked out Sunset Beach (up Saanich way), Cordova Bay beach, Willows Beach in Oak Bay and Cadboro Bay beach. Another popular place to walk and explore is the beach along Dallas Road in Victoria.
We had company while walking Sunset Beach – a Great Blue Heron waded through the water.
Walk the Loop around Elk Lake / Beaver Lake
A popular recreational spot is the Elk Lake / Beaver Lake Regional Park. It features a 10 kilometer-long walking trail that circles around the lakes. The trail is cut through heavy woods and has some fragrant wild rose bushes lining the path.
Plus, there is a unique log playground for kids that you can see in the background in the photo above.
The trail may seem humdrum to people from the Pacific Northwest, but for visitors from outside this region, the large trees and dense greenery is amazing.
Click here for more information on the Elk/Beaver Lake Regional Park.
Let the Kids Play at Cadboro Beach
The Cadboro Bay beach has a fun playground with a quirky concrete octopus and great zipline that kids love.
The playground is just steps away from a wide expanse of beach where kids can run and make sandcastles.
Pack a picnic and some sand toys and have a fun day at the beach.
Cycle or Walk the Lochside Trail
The Lochside Regional Trail is a 29-km long trail that travels through a variety of landscape and comprises both off-road sections and portions that are along paved car roads.
Our young daughter enjoyed cycling along the flat off-road section of the Lochside trail just north of Lochside Park (5391 Lochside Drive). (I liked knowing that cars weren’t on this particular section of the trail.)
And after a bike ride or walk along this portion of the track, the kids can play at the playground at Lochside Park.
For more information on the Lochside Trail, click here.
I hope this list of things to do in Victoria has given you some ideas on what you want to do when you get to Victoria.
One of my favorite things to do there is to walk the beaches, and to admire the plants and massive trees that grow in the temperate climate. You can even spot some palm trees! It leaves you asking, “Is this Canada or Hawaii?”
What is your favorite things to do in Victoria? What else should be on this list?