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a lit up brick alley near market street in victoria bc canada

27 Best Things to Do in Victoria

With its mild, sunny climate and world-class attractions, there’s no shortage of things to do in Victoria.

The city’s colonial charm, incredible foodie culture, and stunning scenic beauty combine to create the ultimate weekend escape from Vancouver.

So, join this former Victoria resident for a deeper look at the top Victoria BC activities.

Best Things to Do in Victoria

A Humpback Whale breaches

Embark on a Victoria Whale Watching Tour

As much as we love the whale watching tours in Vancouver, I have to admit that Victoria might be the best city in British Columbia for whale watching.

You can choose from a wide variety of Victoria whale watching tours that depart from the Inner Harbour or Fisherman’s Wharf. And unlike in Vancouver, you’re just a short run from the grounds.

Each tour allows you to see a variety of whales, including orcas, humpbacks, and gray whales. You’ll likely even spot some dolphins, seals and sea lions.

Book Your Victoria Whale Watching Tour Now  

The outside of Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria BC
Courtesy: Viator

Tour Historic Craigdarroch Castle

Craigdarroch Castle is a historic castle built in the late 19th century by wealthy coal baron Robert Dunsmuir, and it features a Victorian-style design.

Located just outside downtown, the castle is open for tours, which allow you to explore the building’s many rooms and learn its history.

Today, the castle is now a national historic site. And its complete restoration provides visitors with a quick glimpse into the privileged life of colonialists in the 1890s.

Visitors at Butchart Gardens, Victoria BC

Visit the Enchanting Oasis that is Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens is unquestionably the area’s most popular tourist attraction. So naturally, it is right at the top of our list of places to visit in Victoria.

This world-renowned botanical garden features over 55 acres of stunning floral displays, making it a must-see for any nature lover. This urban oasis’s lush greens and colourful blooms attract over one million people a year. 

The gardens are in full bloom during late spring and summer. But don’t worry—this National Historic site remains popular year-round—even during Christmas.

Visit Butchart Gardens Now

afternoon tea at the Empress Hotel, Victoria BC
Courtesy: Fairmont Empress

Have Afternoon Tea at the Empress Hotel

Want to immerse yourself in Victoria’s unique colonial charm? Afternoon tea at the Empress is the best way to do it.

At Victoria’s most iconic building, you’ll enjoy the hotel’s famous flakey scones and scrumptious pastries alongside loose-leaf tea served in royal china by Queen Elizabeth in 1939. For true decadence, finish up with a glass of Veuve Clicquot Rose.

This stately ritual has been one of the top things to do in Victoria for 114 years and counting – and it’s the ultimate in vacation pampering.

Bright flowers beside a pond, Beacon Hill Park in Victoria BC

Take a Leisurely Stroll through Beacon Hill Park

Beacon Hill Park is a 150-acre park in the heart of the Inner Harbour. This scenic spot offers stunning views of the Olympic Mountains and the Strait of Juan de Fuca, making it a great place for a leisurely stroll or a vigorous bike ride.

This ocean-front park also features a number of historical monuments, like the world’s 4th tallest totem pole (127 feet) carved by Kwakwaka’wakw craftsman Mungo Martin.

Undoubtedly, Beacon Hill Park is one of the best places to visit in Victoria for a little quiet contemplation.

Passengers on a Victoria Hop on Hop off tour, Victoria BC
Courtesy: Tourism Victoria

Take a Victoria Hop on Hop off Tour

Looking for a quick way to check off all the items on your Victoria clipboard of fun? Then I’d suggest checking out the entire city on a Victoria Hop on Hop off bus tour.

For one low price, you’ll ride a UK-style double-decker bus to 15 of the best Victoria tourist attractions. And the best part? You can jump off wherever you’d like to form your own customized itinerary.

This tour is one of the top Victoria activities for families, the elderly or hurried cruise passengers.

Book a Victoria HoHo Bus Tour Now

Fish and chips from Redfish Bluefish, Victoria BC

Savour a Bite at Local Victoria Restaurants

This charming harbour city is home to the second-highest concentration of restaurants in North America. So, if you’re looking for fun things to do in Victoria, a foodie crawl should be at the top of your list.

For a unique dining experience, I like to recommend 10 Acres Bistro. This local farm-to-fork restaurant shows off the best of ethically raised local ingredients directly from their own farm.

For something more casual, fish and chips are popular choices for visitors strolling the city. For a modern take on this traditional favourite, I like to hit up wharf-side Redfish Bluefish.

a vancouver to victoria seaplane flying over downtown victoria with the empress hotelTake a Seaplane Tour of the Coast

If you’re looking to take your holiday or special occasion day to a whole new level, then Victoria seaplane tours are quite literally the way to do it.

This 30-minute sightseeing flight offers an unparalleled birds-eye view of the Parliament Buildings, Empress Hotel, Inner Harbour, Olympic Mountains, and Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Even better, your tour is aboard the world’s first carbon-neutral airline. You’ll also receive a convenient hotel shuttle for a true door-to-air experience.

Take Off On A Victoria Seaplane Tour Now

A woman paddleboards at sunset, Victoria BC

Paddle Around the Inner Harbour

The Garden City is essentially one giant peninsula made up of the Inner Harbour and the Gorge Waterway.  Expect a series of small bays offering protected waters to be explored during the Summer months.

Add in the area’s mild climate and abundant wildlife, and you have the recipe for a killer afternoon. On a summer day, going for a paddle is one of the best Victoria activities for active travellers.

The result? A SUPing and kayaking paradise—you can rent right downtown with Victoria Kayak. Prefer a guided option? A variety of Victoria Kayaking Tours are also available.


A mother and child admire a flamingo at Butterfly Gardens, Victoria BC

Visit a Tropical Oasis at Victoria Butterfly Gardens

Located next to Butchart Gardens, the Victoria Butterfly Gardens is one of the best places for families to visit in Victoria BC.

As its name suggests, this tropical garden is home to over 500 butterflies. However, it also contains thousands of tropical birds, reptiles, turtles and plants.

The gardens also have several educational exhibits, so they’re the perfect place for your children to learn more about these amazing creatures.

Courtesy: AGGV

Visit the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

This world-renowned gallery features a collection of over 16,000 works of art, from paintings and sculptures to textiles and photographs.

Notably, the Greater Victoria Art Gallery hosts the largest collections from venerated BC artist Emily Carr.

You’ll also find one of the largest collections of Asian art in Canada, including a large Japanese-style Shinto shrine. The gallery also offers a variety of educational programs.

So, if you’re artistically inclined, the AGGV is easily one of the top attractions in Victoria, BC.

The Goldstream River near Victoria BC

Head out to Goldstream Provincial Park

A visit to Goldstream Provincial Park is one of the best outdoor activities in Victoria, BC, for visitors. Particularly those who’re looking for hiking and biking trails.

Find yourself in town between October and December? You can witness one of the highest concentrations of bald eagles anywhere in North America as these majestic creatures return to feast on spawning chum salmon.

Located 16 km northwest of the city, the park is also a great place for camping if you’re dying to spend a night or two under the stars. And there is even a beautiful waterfall!

The sunsets near Dallas Road, Victoria BC
Courtesy: Heather K. Jones Photography

Watch the Sunset from Dallas Road

Dallas Road Waterfront Trail is one of the best places to watch the sunset in Victoria.

This seaside route offers stunning views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Olympic Mountains. Stretching from Clover to Ogden Point, there is a seemingly endless selection of isolated spots to watch the sunset over the Pacific.

For this reason, it’s one of the best things to do in Victoria for couples. Make sure to head there during golden hour—you’ll thank me later.

a flight of beers at an east vancouver brewery

Sample Victoria’s Craft Breweries

Victoria may be the most important stop on BC’s Ale Trail. There are so many great breweries that it has even been dubbed ‘Canada’s craft beer capital.’

The legendary Spinaker’s Brewpub in West Victoria comes highly recommended. Need more variety? Then head to the 328 Taphouse with its 40 local taps.

Cider lovers willing to venture to Saanichton will also love the Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse. That said, my personal favourite is Hoyne Brewing, with its award-winning local beers.  

Take Me on a Victoria Craft Beer Tour

The Parliament Buildings, Victoria BC

Visit the British Columbia Parliament Buildings

It sounds almost strange to say, but if you love politics, this is hands down one of the best places to visit in Victoria.

These historic buildings house the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia and several other government offices.

The buildings are open for tours, which allow you to explore the chambers and learn about their history. But most locals prefer to use the grounds as a picnic spot due to their fantastic location at the heart of the Inner Harbour.

a family tours Fort Rodd Hill historic site, Victoria BC
Courtesy: Tourism Victoria

Check Out the Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site

Located just outside Victoria in the suburb of Colwood, Fort Rodd Hill is a National Historic Site that was formerly a fort that defended the city from a potential American attack (hard to believe, I know).

Today, this National Historic site allows visitors to tour historic battlements, weapons depots, and other displays.

Fort Rodd Hill is also right next to the Fisgard Lighthouse and Hatley Park, two more National Historic Sites, so you’ll get extra bang for your buck.

The Hatley Park National historic site, near Victoria BCHatley Park Castle / Gardens

Hatley Park has several glorious gardens that are based on international themes (Japanese, Italian, etc). The grounds also contain the beautiful Hatley Park Castle, pictured above. This building is also home to the campus of Royal Roads University.

The park also has several trails, so it’s the perfect place for a walk or a bike ride.

Furthermore, it leads down toward Esquimalt Lagoon, which houses one of Victoria’s nicest beaches.

sooke Potholes provincial park, near Victoria BC

Cool Off in Sooke Potholes 

Sooke Potholes Provincial Park is one of the best things to do near Victoria for outdoor lovers, especially those who don’t mind getting wet.

The potholes are about an hour West of Victoria near the town of Sooke. This park is home to a number of hiking and biking trails, as well as a beautiful river. 

The area’s unique rock formations were sculpted during the last ice age. Their characteristically crystal-clear pools are a terrific place to cool off in the summer heat.

a man bikes the Seaside Loop, Victoria BC
Courtesy: Jasper Garratt

Explore Victoria by Bike

BC’s capital city is renowned for its incredibly high bike participation rate. With its seemingly never-ending network of urban bike lanes and trails, the area is a true biker’s paradise.

Whether you’re looking to explore the City Centre, encircle the stunning Seaside Loop or do some hard-core mountain biking, the area is assured to satisfy anyone travelling on two wheels.

You can go it solo and rent your own bike. Or, you can opt for a guided group bike tour by using the button below.

Take Me on a Victoria Bike Tour

A parade in Chinatown, Victoria BC

Wander Through Canada’s Oldest Chinatown

Located on the Northern edge of downtown Victoria, this historic enclave of Chinese culture dates back to the mid-1800s after gold was discovered in BC’s Fraser Canyon.

The area’s beating heart is the quaint Fan Tan Alley, which is the narrowest street in Canada. Formerly chocked full of gambling and opium dens, it now houses a variety of shops, galleries and cafes catering to the tourist crowd. 

Today, the area houses a diverse mix of artists, restauranteurs, and bar owners. Overall, Chinatown has become one of the top attractions in Victoria for visitors of all ages.

Best Things to Do in Victoria FAQs

The city of Victoria, BC, is most famous for its quaint small-town charm and stunning colonial architecture. It is also a great starting point to explore the stunning beauty of Vancouver Island. And in recent years, has become renowned for its vibrant restaurant, bar, and craft beer scenes.

Victoria offers a wide range of attractions and activities. Some of the best things to do in Victoria include exploring the Inner Harbour, visiting the Butchart Gardens, exploring historic sites like Craigdarroch Castle, enjoying whale watching tours, and indulging in high tea at the Fairmont Empress Hotel.

Victoria offers a variety of family-friendly activities that cater to all ages. Kids are sure to enjoy a trip to Victoria attractions such as Butterfly Gardens, Miniature World, and the Victoria Bug Zoo. If you’re looking for fresh air, Beacon Hill Park, Butchart Gardens, and the local beaches will do the trick.

There are a few transportation options to get from Vancouver to Victoria. The most popular and convenient way is to ferry from Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal to Swartz Bay Terminal. Alternatively, you can take the Vancouver to Victoria Bus. Or even jump on a seaplane from Vancouver’s Coal Harbour.

Still Wondering What to Do in Victoria?

So there you have it. Whether you’re headed out whale watching, visiting Butchart Gardens, or chowing down on local food, your itinerary should be loaded with activities.

That said, if you need any additional tips, I’m still here for you in the comments below.

I hope you’ve enjoyed our summary of the best things to do in Victoria. Now it’s up to you to get out and do them!

Safe travels⛴️


I've used online guides on five continents to find the world's greatest travel spots and this is my chance to give back - with insider info on my home, the mighty Vancouver BC!

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