Victoria in January

If you are planning a trip to Victoria in January, then you’ve probably got questions like:

  • what’s the weather going to be like
  • what to pack and what to wear while you are here
  • what’s happening in Victoria in January
  • what are some things to do
  • and what local food is in season

If you’re visiting in January, you are going to experience a city whose citizens have finished celebrating the Christmas holiday time and generally take time for self reflection and personal wellness.

It is also the perfect time for a romantic getaway! Imagine cozying up under a warm blanket as you tour the city in a horse-drawn carriage or enjoying a spa and seaside mineral baths in an oceanfront setting.

There are no cruise ships in port in January and it is a fairly quiet month for visitors but all of our popular activities are still available - with much shorter lineups!

January 1st is New Year's Day which is a statutory holiday and almost everything is closed. You'll find gas stations and coffee shops open but very little else. 

Weather in January

The weather in Victoria in January is slightly warmer but wetter than December. The average high during the day is 8 C, cooling down to 2-3 degrees at night. The average precipitation is 237 mm - almost all of which will come down in the form of rain, however we are occasionally surprised with a bit of snow. Because of our overall mild climate, even when it does snow it rarely sticks around very long because it usually warms right up. 

Unfortunately though, every few years the conditions are ideal for heavy snowfalls and as a city, things can deteriorate quickly. The main reason for this is the lack of equipment to deal with the snow (due mainly to the fact that we rarely need it). So, if it snows, it's either going to melt quite quickly or essentially shut the city down!

Dressing for the Weather

Here in the Pacific Northwest we are usually in our full winter gear of wool socks, toques, sweaters, gloves and scarves. It is ideal to dress in warm layers and a 3-in-1 waterproof jacket is perfect along with waterproof footwear.  

Wool toque

Waterproof timberland boots

Waterproof touch screen gloves

Not sure what a 3-in-1 jacket is?

  1. A waterproof outer layer (honestly don't even bother if the jacket is not waterproof) that can be worn on its own as a light to medium-weight jacket. Depending on your personal comfort and activity level, you may want a heavier-weight outer layer for the winter months.
  2. A warm, insulated inner layer - sometimes down (or a synthetic insulating material) or polar fleece that can be worn on its own for warmth.
  3. A warm, waterproof coat when you attach the inner layer to the outer layer - usually via a zipper or snaps.

I personally wear a 3-in-1 by Columbia although if I could find one to fit, I’d likely wear an Arc’teryx jacket. They are stylish, functional jackets designed and tested here in British Columbia. 

Columbia jacket similar to the one I wear

Arc’teryx jacket

What's in Season

Several of our local restaurants take advantage of local seafood, meats, cheeses, breads, beers, wines and produce. January is fairly slim for fresh fruits and vegetables but we do still have a good variety of seafood available. 

Fruits & Veggies

  • Cabbage (savoy and red)
  • Carrots
  • Kale
  • Leeks
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions (red/yellow)
  • Parsnips
  • Apples
  • Kiwi

Seafood & Herbs

  • Clams
  • Cod: Pacific
  • Crab
  • Crab: Dungeness
  • Flounder/Sole: Pacific
  • Mussels
  • Oysters: Pacific
  • Prawns: Jumbo
  • Sablefish (Black Cod)
  • Scallops
  • Shrimp: Side Stripe
  • Shrimp: West Coast
  • Bay Leaves
  • Chervil
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Savory
  • Thyme

Things to Do in Victoria in January

On New Year's Day, hundreds of hardy souls will kick off the new year with an invigorating jump into the frigid Pacific Ocean for the annual Polar Bear Swim. Personally, I have never even been tempted to participate, but plenty of brave people do!

Goldstream Provincial Park is a great destination in January for the final weeks of the Eagle Extravaganza. Following the salmon run when approximately 30,000 salmon have returned to the river to spawn and die, it is time to the eagles (and other scavengers) to return to the park to feast on the salmon remains. 

It is an incredible natural phenomena and if you're lucky enough to be in Victoria in January, I encourage you to bring your camera and get out to Goldstream Provincial Park

If you appreciate Mother Nature, then a trip to Tofino and Pacific Rim National Park should be on your list. It is about a 4-5 hour road trip from Victoria (although you could fly in a fraction of the time with Tofino Air) and the extraordinary scenery alone is well worth it. It is also storm watching season on the wild, west coast.

From the beginning of November to the end of February, Tofino welcomes visitors from all over the planet to come and watch the dramatic skies and crashing waves of a raging Pacific Ocean. A favourite destination to stay is the Wickaninnish Inn.

Another favourite activity among locals and guests alike in Victoria in January is the final few days of the Magic of Christmas display at Butchart Gardens. Until January 6, 2020, you can enjoy the colourfully lit gardens, the Twelve days of Christmas display, traditional carollers, ice skating and of course hot chocolate and gingerbread by the fire. 

In 2020, the Chinese New Year will be celebrated on January 25th. This celebration begins at the new moon that falls between 21 January and 20 February, so it's not always in one particular month. It's a special celebration that you're sure to enjoy. Check out the China Town page for details on the celebration and watch the 2019 lion dance parade here.

Festivals and Events include:

  • Early December to mid-January - Eagle Extravaganza at Goldstream Provincial Park
  • 1-Dec-19 to 6-Jan-20 Magic of Christmas, Butchart Gardens
  • 1-Jan-20 - Polar Bear Swim, end of Beacon Avenue in Sidney at Glass Beach
  • 1-Jan-20 New Year's Day
  • 16-Jan-20 to 19-Jan-20 - Victoria Whisky Festival, Hotel Grand Pacific
  • 25-Jan-20 - Chinese New Year, China Town
  • 25-Jan-20 to 26-Jan-20 - Victoria Health Show, Pearkes Arena
  • 31-Jan-20 to 2-Feb-20 - Wellness Weekend,  Oak Bay Beach Hotel

I truly hope you enjoy your visit to Victoria in January.

Go to Vacation Planner from Victoria in January

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