Top Things to Do in Victoria BC: Plan Your Unforgettable Getaway Today

Over the past few years I have shared with you many of the top things to do in Victoria. But we've got new businesses (yay!) and sadly some closures (like the Robert Bateman Gallery) so it's time for an update. 

Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking one of my links. Learn more here.

With so many things to do in Victoria, the hardest part is deciding what to do first! 

Whether you want to explore the city on foot with a local guide or get your heart racing with an invigorating activity like ziplining through the trees, Victoria has it all! And of course, we have world-class shopping and spas too!

The numerous landmarks and attractions that dot our landscape tell the story of our people, culture and rich history. This guide of top things to do in Victoria will help you make the most of your 2024 visit to our picturesque coastal city. 

1. Whale Watching

Heading out whale watching from Victoria's Inner Harbour

Whale watching and wildlife tours are on nearly every visitor's bucket list when they arrive on Vancouver Island and it is definitely one of the top things to do in Victoria. 

Types of Whales You Might See

The Salish Sea, encompassing the waters around Victoria, is home to several whale species, each offering a unique sighting experience.

Orcas (Killer Whales)

Resident Orcas: These whales are the most commonly seen around Victoria. They belong to the Southern Resident Killer Whales, a distinct population that primarily feeds on salmon. They are often spotted from April to October, with peak sightings in the summer months when salmon runs are abundant.
Transient Orcas: Also known as Bigg's Killer Whales, these whales prey on marine mammals such as seals and sea lions. They can be seen year-round, but sightings are more frequent in the spring and fall when their prey is most plentiful.

Humpback Whales

These massive and acrobatic whales are known for their spectacular breaches and long pectoral fins. Humpback whales migrate through the waters near Victoria between May and November. The best time to see them is during the late summer and early fall when they are feeding before their long migration to warmer breeding grounds.

Grey Whales

Grey whales are primarily seen during their migration periods. In the spring, from February to May, they travel north from their breeding grounds in Baja California to their feeding grounds in the Bering and Chukchi Seas. In the fall, from October to December, they make the return journey south. While they are less commonly seen than orcas or humpbacks, their migration paths sometimes bring them close to the shores of Vancouver Island.

Minke Whales

The smallest of the baleen whales frequenting these waters, minke whales can be spotted year-round, though they are more elusive and less predictable. They are often seen alone or in small groups, feeding on small fish and krill.

Victoria's coastal waters offer a prime opportunity to connect with nature. Plan your visit according to the seasonal patterns of these whales and you will be rewarded with unforgettable sightings and memories that will last a lifetime. Book your whale watching adventure now or keep reading here to learn how to select the best boat for you and your travellers.

2. Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens is a horticultural gem that has been offering visitors a breathtaking escape into nature’s splendor for over 100 years. Located just 21 kilometers north of the city, this century-old garden continues to be one of the top things to do in Victoria for nature enthusiasts, garden lovers and anyone seeking tranquility and beauty. 

Flowers at Butchart Gardens
Flowers at Butchart Gardens
Flowers at Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens was established in 1904 by Jennie Butchart, who transformed a depleted limestone quarry into a flourishing garden oasis. Today, it spans over 55 acres and is divided into several distinct themed gardens, each offering its own unique charm. The Sunken Garden, with its dramatic, multi-level design, is the original garden and remains a highlight with its vibrant floral displays and serene ponds.

Visitors can also stroll through the Italian Garden, with its elegant fountains and manicured hedges, and the Japanese Garden, which offers a peaceful retreat with its winding paths, traditional stone lanterns, and tranquil streams. The Rose Garden, showcasing an extensive collection of rose varieties, is a sensory delight, especially in the summer months when the blooms are at their peak.

Butchart Gardens is not just about visual beauty; it also offers a range of experiences throughout the year.

During the summer, visitors can enjoy evening concerts, and in the winter, the gardens are transformed into a magical wonderland with twinkling lights and festive displays.

Della and Lee at Butchart Gardens fountain

 The gardens also feature delightful dining options, including the elegant Dining Room Restaurant, which offers a refined menu featuring local ingredients and seasonal specialties.

A visit to Butchart Gardens promises an unforgettable experience that will leave you inspired and rejuvenated. Book your tour now. This package includes: 

  • Admission to Butchart Gardens
  • Private tour
  • Professional driver, local guide
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off
  • Port pickup and drop-off
  • Transport by private vehicle

Note that many of the tours offered online are for transportation only. Be sure to review "what's included" before selecting your tour package.

3. Pedicab Tour

Victoria Pedicab driver

When it comes to discovering Victoria, there's no shortage of transportation options. However, if you're seeking a unique and intimate experience, a pedicab tour offers a charming and eco-friendly alternative.

What is a Pedicab?

A pedicab is a human-powered vehicle designed for carrying passengers. Pedicabs operate similarly to bicycles but are specifically engineered to handle the additional weight of passengers, They are built with sturdy frames and wide tires to ensure stability and comfort, with a seating area at the back for two to four passengers. The driver pedals the bike while navigating through the streets, offering a narrated tour of the area. 

Pedicab tours are one of the top things to do in Victoria during cruise ship season when we welcome up to 3 ships every evening. You can start your tour right from the Port of Victoria after disembarking the ship. For this reason, they sell out very quickly. With a pedicab tour you can expect:

  • Personalized Tours: Unlike traditional tour buses, pedicab tours are more personalized. Drivers are knowledgeable locals who can provide insightful commentary and answer questions about the area, offering a more interactive experience.
  • Up-Close Exploration: Pedicabs can navigate through narrow streets and alleys that larger vehicles cannot access. This allows passengers to explore hidden gems and lesser-known attractions that might be missed on a typical tour.
  • Eco-Friendly Travel: Pedicabs are environmentally friendly, as they produce no emissions. Choosing a pedicab tour is a sustainable choice for eco-conscious travelers.
  • Relaxed and Scenic: The open design of a pedicab provides unobstructed views, perfect for sightseeing and photography. The slower pace allows passengers to soak in the sights, sounds and scents of Victoria, creating a more immersive experience.

Whether you're exploring historic Chinatown, our bustling downtown or scenic waterfront, a pedicab tour offers a unique perspective and a memorable way to connect with Victoria's culture and history.

Book your pedicab tour now. 

4. Seaplane Tour

Seaplane tours offers a unique and exhilarating way to experience the natural beauty and charm of Vancouver Island. As you soar above the scenic coastline, you'll be treated to breathtaking views of the rugged landscape, the sparkling waters of the Salish Sea and the picturesque Gulf Islands. The aerial perspective provides a stunning panorama of Victoria's iconic landmarks, such as the historic Inner Harbour, the majestic Parliament Buildings and beautiful Butchart Gardens. Landing gently on the water, the seaplane tour combines the thrill of flight with the serene beauty of the Pacific Northwest, making it an unforgettable adventure for visitors. Book your tour here.

5. Bicycle Tour

If exploring the city's vibrant neighbourhoods and stunning natural landscapes at a leisurely pace sounds ideal, then join us for a bicycle tour of the Victoria. With our extensive network of bike-friendly paths and trails, including the scenic Galloping Goose Regional Trail, cyclists can effortlessly navigate from the bustling Inner Harbour to the serene beaches of Dallas Road and beyond. Along the way, riders can enjoy picturesque views of the coastline, explore the lush greenery of Beacon Hill Park and visit iconic sites like the historic Craigdarroch Castle. Biking through Victoria offers a refreshing and eco-friendly way to immerse yourself in the charm and beauty of our beautiful city. It is one of the most popular things to do in Victoria for locals and visitors alike. Rent a bicycle and navigate on your own or join a local for a guided tour

6. Harbour Kayak Tour

Kayaking in the Inner Harbour near Point Hope Shipyard

A day on the water AND see iconic landmarks? - this is all possible when you rent a kayak at the Inner Harbour of Victoria. A kayak provides a unique and tranquil way to experience the heart of the city. As you glide along the waters, you'll have an up-close view of the bustling waterfront, landmarks such as the Fairmont Empress Hotel and the British Columbia Parliament Buildings and an array of colourful float homes at Fisherman's Wharf. The serene paddling environment allows for intimate encounters with local marine wildlife, including seals and various seabirds. This leisurely activity offers a refreshing perspective on Victoria’s vibrant harbour life. Harbour kayak tours are popular things to do in Victoria in the summer months and book up quickly. Reserve your tour today.  

7. Wine Tasting Tours

Nestled amidst stunning landscapes in the Cowichan Valley and the Saanich Peninsula, local wineries are known for producing exceptional cool-climate varieties such as Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and aromatic whites.  Visitors can enjoy guided tours and tastings at charming vineyards, where passionate winemakers share insights into their craft and the island’s distinct wine-growing conditions. The experience is enriched by the scenic beauty of rolling vineyards, coastal views and lush farmlands, making wine tasting on Vancouver Island a memorable and flavourful adventure. Choose from a variety of wine tours here

8. Craft Beer and Distillery Tours

Beer from Vancouver Island Brewing Co

Craft beer and distillery tours offer an immersive dive into the region's vibrant and innovative craft beverage scene. Visitors can explore a diverse array of local breweries and distilleries, each showcasing unique, small-batch creations. These tours provide an insider’s look at the brewing and distilling processes, from grain to glass, guided by passionate artisans who share their expertise and stories. Tasting sessions feature a variety of flavours, from hoppy IPAs and rich stouts to artisanal spirits like gin and whiskey, all crafted with locally sourced ingredients. Craft beer and distillery tours offer a rich and flavourful experience that highlights the best of the local craft culture and are quickly becoming one of the most popular things to do in Victoria. Book your tour here.

9. Adrenaline Zip Line 

Does soaring through the treetops at high speeds sound like an exhilarating experience?  At Adrenaline, participants will enjoy breathtaking views of the Pacific coastline, lush forests and wildlife from unique vantage points high above the ground. Guided by experienced instructors, adventurers are equipped with safety gear and given thorough briefings to ensure a safe yet heart-pounding experience. This high-flying activity combines the excitement of an outdoor adventure with the awe-inspiring scenery of Victoria’s pristine wilderness. A 2-hour zipline adventure tour at Adrenaline includes 8 ziplines, an ATV ride and 2 suspension bridges. Guests over 5 years of age are welcome. Book your experience today.

10. Axe Throwing

Axe throwing offers a thrilling and unique recreational activity that combines skill, precision and a bit of rugged excitement. Participants hurl axes at wooden targets, aiming for the bullseye in a controlled, safe environment guided by trained instructors. Axe throwing provides a fun and competitive atmosphere perfect for groups and parties. Whether you're a novice or an experienced thrower, axe throwing at Forged Axe in Victoria is a great way to challenge yourself and enjoy some hearty fun. Schedule this activity here

11. Hot Tub Boat Tour

Taking a hot tub boat tour in Victoria's Inner Harbour offers a unique and luxurious way to experience the city's scenic waterfront. These innovative floating hot tubs provide a warm, relaxing soak as you gently cruise past iconic landmarks, Perfect for groups, couples or solo relaxation, the hot tub boat tour combines the comfort of a hot tub with the picturesque beauty of Victoria's harbour, creating an unforgettable experience that blends relaxation with sightseeing in a truly novel way. A hot tub boat tour is possibly one of the most unique things to do in Victoria. Book the hot tub boat tour here.

12. Malahat Skywalk

The Malahat Skywalk is an impressive elevated walkway offering visitors a breathtaking adventure through the treetops. Rising gradually 250 metres above sea level to a stunning spiral tower, the Skywalk provides panoramic views of the city of Victoria, the surrounding coastal forest, Salish Sea and distant mountain ranges. At the summit, an exhilarating spiral slide offers a fun descent for those seeking an extra thrill. The Malahat Skywalk combines nature immersion with adventure, making it a must-visit attraction for families, nature enthusiasts and anyone looking to experience the beauty of Vancouver Island from a spectacular vantage point. Get tickets for the Skywalk here.

13. Rainforest Hike with a Private Guide

Della at Goldstream Park for Eagle Extravaganza in December

Explore a fascinating ecosystem on a guided hike through the rainforest near Victoria. Led by a knowledgeable guide, you'll see some of the world's tallest and oldest trees, waterfalls, moss-covered logs and a rich diversity of plant and animal life. Hikers learn about the unique flora and fauna, the ecological significance of the rainforest and the indigenous cultural heritage tied to the land. The serene atmosphere, punctuated by the sounds of chirping birds and rustling leaves, creates a tranquil and educational adventure, making it a memorable way to connect with nature and explore the natural beauty of Vancouver Island. With pickup and drop-off in downtown Victoria or the cruise port, this private hiking tour includes roughly two hours of hiking time, and can be tailored to your schedule. Book this adventure here.

14. Pickle Boat Pub Crawl

Harbour Ferry in Victoria's Inner Harbour

Get ready to enjoy local brews and delicious cocktails at waterfront pubs and bars in a whole new way! Instead of walking or driving between venues, participants board the charming little harbour ferries - affectionately known as pickle boats due to their distinct narrow, elongated shape with rounded bow and stern - to navigate the waters between stops. Led by fun and knowledgeable guides, this pub crawl promises a refreshing and unforgettable taste of Victoria's vibrant culture. This is a public tour so plan on meeting new friends along the way! Book today.

15. Stand Up Paddling at Thetis Lake

Stand up paddle boarding at Thetis Lake offers a serene and scenic way to explore the tranquil waters of this beautiful natural oasis near Victoria. With its calm, clear waters, Thetis Lake provides the perfect setting for paddle boarders of all skill levels to glide along the surface and take in the picturesque surroundings. Bring some water and your lunch and join this tour that includes use of the boards, life jackets (required by Transport Canada), professional paddle board instruction and use of a dry bag. Whether you're looking for a leisurely paddle to soak up the sun or a more adventurous workout, Thetis Lake offers ample opportunities for both, making it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts seeking a peaceful escape into nature. Book this adventure here

16. Walking Tour with Donuts!

If a leisurely stroll through downtown Victoria while munching on delicious donuts sounds like a dream come true, then this popular walking tour might be one of the most perfect things to do in Victoria! You'll meet at the ever popular Empire Donut shop on View Street in downtown Victoria before embarking on an informative walking tour of town, You'll stop at 2 more donut shops plus a bakery in Chinatown while weaving your way past iconic landmarks and the picturesque inner harbour. Book your Delicious Donut Adventure now.

17. Horse Drawn Carriage Ride

carriage ride through James Bay

Experience the city's historic charm and scenic beauty on a leisurely and romantic horse-drawn carriage ride. Pulled by elegant horses through the quaint streets of downtown Victoria, Beacon Hill Park and the historic  neighbourhood of James Bay. On this tour, the experienced carriage drivers bring the city’s Victorian past to life while passengers enjoy a relaxed journey taking in the sights and sounds of the city. A horse-drawn carriage ride in Victoria promises to be a delightful and memorable experience. All tours start and end on Menzies Street at Belleville beside the British Columbia Parliament Buildings. Horse-drawn carriage rides are one of the most popular things to do in Victoria, especially when multiple cruise ships are in port. Read more about carriage rides here. Don't be disappointed. Book your tour today.

18. Ghostly Walking Tour

Embarking on a ghostly walking tour through Victoria is a spine-tingling adventure that delves into the city's rich history and eerie legends. Led by knowledgeable guides, these tours wind through dimly lit streets and shadowy alleys, revealing tales of haunted buildings, tragic events and restless spirits said to roam the historic neighbourhoods. From haunted hotels and theaters to eerie alleyways and graveyards, participants hear chilling stories of Victoria's past while exploring its most mysterious and ghostly locations. Whether you're a skeptic or a believer, a ghostly walking tour offers a captivating blend of history, folklore and paranormal intrigue, making it an unforgettable experience for thrill-seekers and history buffs alike. Note this tour takes place in the evening - book yours today!

19. Butterfly Gardens

Free fluttering butterflies at Butterfly Gardens in Victoria

Butterfly Gardens is a captivating tropical oasis that offers visitors an enchanting journey into the world of butterflies. Situated amidst lush greenery, vibrant flowers and cascading waterfalls, the garden provides a serene and immersive experience for nature enthusiasts of all ages. Visitors can wander through the enclosed habitat, where thousands of colourful butterflies flutter freely amidst exotic plants and tropical blooms. Educational displays offer insights into the life cycle of butterflies, their habitats and conservation efforts. With opportunities for up-close encounters and stunning photo opportunities, Butterfly Gardens is a magical destination that celebrates the beauty and wonder of these delicate creatures and is consistently voted one of the top things to do in Victoria. It's good to note that butterflies are more active on sunny days so if you arrive on an overcast day, it may not appear to be an abundance of butterflies. They are still there, just resting. Get tickets to Butterfly Gardens here

More things to do in Victoria BC

20. Parliament Buildings

British Columbia Parliament Buildings

Known for their grand stature and prominent location in Victoria’s Inner Harbour, the British Columbia Parliament Buildings have been a magnificent Victoria landmark since being erected in 1897.

Visitors are welcome year-round and you don’t have to be a history buff to enjoy the free tour during the day. This is one of my favourite things to do in Victoria because I find the free guided tour so fascinating no matter how many times I hear it. And I love taking my visitors for the same reason. Follow your tour with lunch in the Parliamentary Dining Room (not included in the free tour). Check the schedule for hours of operation. 

In the evening, the 3,333 lights that outline the buildings, light up the night sky. At Christmas some of the white lights are switched out to red and green for a magical appearance. 

21. Royal BC Museum

For young and old alike, visiting the Royal BC Museum Victoria is a cultural experience unlike any other. If you take the time to examine the artifacts on display, you’ll be amazed at the treasures and oddities – like the dagger that was reputedly used to kill Captain Cook – founder of Victoria.

The Royal BC Museum Victoria is intriguing, informative and interactive and one of the most popular things to do in the Victoria inner harbour area. 

The museum hosts both permanent and travelling exhibits; check their website for details.

22. Fisherman's Wharf

Sign at Fisherman's Wharf

Step onto the pier at Fisherman's Wharf in Victoria BC and step into one of the most eccentric communities of the region.  Built after the second world war and officially opened in 1948, the wharf was largely used for industrial purposes in the fishing and packing industry in its early years. Now decades later, it is still a primary hub for fishing vessels but also home to 33 eclectic float homes, eco-tourism businesses, dining (awesome fish and chips!) and shopping. Visiting the wharf is one of the most popular things to do in Victoria.

23. Fort Rod Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse

Fisgard Lighthouse, the oldest in western Canada, stands at the entrance to Esquimalt Harbour and is still in operation since 1860.

The white and red brick beacon hasn’t had a keeper since the light was automated in 1929 however it does house two floors of exhibits, open to the public.

Fisgard Lighthouse marks home base for the Royal Canadian Navy.

At Fort Rodd Hill, visitors can bring a picnic lunch to enjoy on the grounds between exploring the well-preserved fortress that houses gun batteries, underground magazines and other artifacts that tell the stories of this historic site. A visit to Fort Rodd Hill and the Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic sites are popular things to do in Victoria, especially for a family outing. 

24. Government House

Government House in Victoria

In addition to being a National Historic Landmark, Government House is the official residence of British Columbia’s Lieutenant Governors who are His Majesty’s representative in British Columbia. The house itself is not open to the public but the spectacular gardens are.

Are you beginning to understand why we are known as The Garden City – we seriously love our flowers, fountains and manicured green spaces!

Enjoy the gardens free of charge every day of the year from dawn to dusk. 

A visit to Government House is frequently part of a pedicab tour or guided bicycle tour.

25. Abkhazi Garden Tours

Yes, more gardens to explore!

Created in 1946 by Prince and Princess Abkhazi, discover the colourful, rare plants and trees hidden behind a hedge in the quiet neighbourhood of Fairfield. Address: 1964 Fairfield Road

Onsite Teahouse is open to the public serving scones, tea sandwiches and sweets. Check their website for hours and reservations

26. Hatley Castle

Hatley Castle

The castle is the focal point of the Hatley Park National Historic Site and may be most well known for the filming location of X-men movies and the television series Smallville.

This Victoria landmark is also home to some of the most beautiful gardens in the region (yep, more gardens!) and a very popular wedding venue. Visitors can enjoy free access to the Japanese, Italian and rose gardens overlooking the Esquimalt Lagoon.

27. Craigdarroch Castle

Craigdarroch Castle

Built in the 1880’s as a home for the Dunsmuir family, the mansion resembles a castle fortress, hence the name. Craigdarroch Castle is rich in history with 20 fireplaces and 39 rooms filled with priceless antiques. It has been featured in several major and minor film productions and is open to the public for tours.

A visit to the castle is included in this pedicab tour.

28. Miniature World

Miniature World

Miniature World is just what you expect from the name - little, tiny things like the world's smallest operational sawmill! Located inside the Empress Hotel, you'll discover over 85 miniature displays representing both history and fantasy worlds. Kids and adults alike will enjoy exploring the various dioramas and displays. Expect to spend about 1-2 hours.

29. Emily Carr House

Emily Carr House

Emily Carr, the only female artist of the famed Canadian Group of Seven, was born here in Victoria BC in 1871 – the same year BC joined the confederation. Emily’s birth place and childhood home is both a National and Provincial Historic Site and represents a significant Victoria landmark.

The house is an interpretive centre that is open to the public and comprises a selection of her paintings and literature.   

A ride past this historic home is part of many of the horse-drawn carriage rides in the James Bay neighbourhood. 

30. Indigenous Tours - Explore Songhees

Canoe portion of the Signs of the Lekwungen tour

Explore Songhees culture through one of 2 different tours offered seasonally. Participate in an authentic “Signs of the Lekwungen” walking or canoe tour, that departs from Ship Point (closed during winter).

I did the canoe tour earlier in the fall and it was so informative - even for a local! The tours are a fairly recent addition to the many things to do in Victoria so have some patience while they work out the kinks. They are working hard to expand Indigenous tourism in the region and I think they are well on their way - and the bannock snack is outstanding!

Sign up for a tour at the kiosk on the Lower Causeway.

Della and one of the Lekwungen tour guides
Signs of the Lekwungen spindles with 2 of the tour guides

31. Chinatown - Fan Tan Alley

Dragon as part of the New Year celebrations in Victoria's Chinatown

The small but charming Chinatown sits on the edge of Old Town Victoria. The historic district welcomes visitors through The Gates of Harmonious Interest on Government Street. With red and gold lanterns floating from above, brightly coloured garments hanging from racks and Asian grocery stands lining the street, it is a feast for the eyes!

Dine at one of Chinatown’s authentic restaurants and browse through the shops that line the remarkably narrow Fan Tan Alley for a most unique experience. Make the most of this experience with a guided tour with a local. 

32. Beacon Hill Park

Free roaming peacock at Beacon Hill Park

Beacon Hill Park is Victoria’s “Central Park” – an oasis in the city complete with petting zoo, free-roaming peacocks, children’s playground, soccer fields, splash pad, outdoor band shell, manicured gardens and much, much more. If you're looking for things to do in Victoria with kids, Beacon Hill Park should be on your list.

With something for everybody, this Victoria landmark is one that is cherished by locals and tourists alike. It is a beautiful park to take a stroll through or better yet, hail a horse-drawn carriage ride, sit back and enjoy a narrated tour of the area. 

33. Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea

Located on the waterfront in the beautiful Town of Sidney on the Saanich Peninsula, the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea is an aquarium and learning centre that focuses on the ecosystem of the Salish Sea. The Salish Sea encompasses the Puget Sound, the Juan de Fuca Strait and the Strait of Georgia which are the coastal waters off the south coast of British Columbia. The Centre’s aquariums are home to over 3,500 animals from over 150 species from the Salish Sea. 

You’ll also get to see a marine mammal exhibit that includes the skeleton of an orca! Not just for the kids, the aquarium is a place for the whole family to experience the wonders of the sea. We love this book - Explore the Salish Sea - enabling kids to continue to learn more about this unique marine ecosystem at home.  

34. The Bug Zoo

Possibly the smallest zoo you’ll ever go to but it also is home to the smallest creatures – bugs! The zoo houses Canada’s largest ant colony as well as praying mantis, tarantulas, glow-in-the-dark scorpions and approximately 50 other fascinating species from around the world.

The Bug Zoo, located in downtown Victoria is interactive and the adventurous bug lovers are welcome to handle the creatures.

Let's face it, when it comes to fun things for kids to do, handling exotic bugs is like a bucket-list item! Teenagers may not find it quite as awe-inspiring as younger kids but we've got lots of ideas just for them

35. Thunderbird Park

totem pole

Sometimes referred to as Totem Pole Park, Thunderbird Park is located on the north side of the Royal British Columbia Museum property. It was founded in 1941 when the museum erected poles from its collection outside on the property. Unfortunately, within 10 years there was noticeable deterioration of the poles and the decision was made to begin a pole restoration project. The poles currently on display are replicas of the originals which were moved indoors to climate-controlled facilities.

Also located at Thunderbird Park is Wawadiťła which is a Northwest Coast-style house used for urban First Nations people practicing their cultures, as well as a place where non-First Nations people can learn about these living traditions.

Additionally, Thunderbird Park is home to Helmcken House. Built in 1852, the house is one of the oldest houses in British Columbia still on its original site. 

36. Bastion Square

Founded by the Hudson's Bay Company in 1845, Fort Victoria became the headquarters of the Company's trade in the British territory west of the Rocky Mountains.

Present-day Bastion Square lies on the original site of Fort Victoria and is often referred to as the “Heart of Haunted Victoria” because virtually every building that lines the square is said to host a ghost or two.

A ceremonial gate at Government and View welcomes visitors and the names of those who helped build the fort are memorialized in bricks at the gate. There is also a commemorative plaque on the original Bank of Montreal building (now Irish Times Pub). 

For a fascinating look at Bastion Square, be sure to book a Haunted Victoria walking tour. 

37. Inner Harbour and Ship Point

busy inner harbour at Victoria BC

No trip to Victoria is complete without a visit to the Inner Harbour – it is the hub of the city! If you fly here on a seaplane or come on either the vehicular ferry Coho or passenger ferry Clipper from the United States, then you will arrive in the Inner Harbour. It is one of the most beautiful and busiest harbours in the world. The list of things to do in Victoria always starts with the harbour.

On any given day the harbour traffic consists of:

  • Coho vehicle ferry from Port Angeles, USA
  • Clipper passenger ferry from Seattle, USA
  • Personal yachts and sail boats
  • Small cruise ships
  • Harbour Ferry water taxi service
  • Float planes taxiing to and from their terminals
  • Ecotourism businesses
  • Fishing charter boats
  • Whale watching boats and zodiacs
  • Coast guard vessels
  • Vessels being escorted to the Point Hope Shipyard in the Upper Harbour (watch for the articulating Johnson Street to rise up to allow vessels to pass through enroute to the shipyard)
  • Residents and tourists in kayaks, canoes and on stand-up paddle boards
  • Marine life such as otters, seals and the occasional whale

And that’s just the activity on the water!

The Victoria BC Inner Harbour is surrounded by a scenic causeway that is bustling with activity, especially in the summer. You’ll find the First Nations Artists Causeway Gallery featuring members of the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations who create and sell traditional Aboriginal artwork and crafts on site. In fact they have the exclusive ability to sell their art on this section of the causeway. Other street vendors, musicians and artisans are permitted to sell elsewhere on the causeway and at Ship Point.

If you follow the causeway towards downtown, you will discover Ship Point. The area is being developed with a vision of becoming a waterfront park, festival and event site. It has long been home to markets and temporary viewing for annual events such as the Dragon Boat Festival held in August. Now it becomes more permanent.

Ship Point is also home to the new Songhees Kiosk where you can sign up for a 7 Signs of the Lekwungen walking or canoe tour.

38. Romantic Ideas for Foodies

Foodies unite! 10 romantic vacation ideas for foodies around Victoria BC.

39. Relaxing Things for Couples to Do

Mix and match any of these romantic things to do in Victoria to ensure your getaway is unforgettable. Read our list of relaxing things for couples to do in Victoria BC.

40. Romantic Ideas for Couples Who Love Adventure 

If you and your partner love to get out and enjoy nature, these romantic ideas are for couples who want to explore Victoria in an active way.

41. Museums and Art Galleries

With almost 30 art galleries and museums in Greater Victoria, there's sure to be one with the exhibits and displays that interest you.

42. Ideas for When it is Raining Outside

Islanders don't let a little rain get in our way when it comes to getting out and doing things but sometimes you just want to stay dry and enjoy the day! Follow this link for a curated list of indoor things to do in Victoria when it is raining outside. 

43. Experience Afternoon Tea

Visit one of the tea rooms in Victoria for an unforgettable afternoon tea (also known as high tea) experience. Find a list of tea rooms in Victoria here

44. Find a Spa

Going to a spa offers a blissful retreat from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, providing a sanctuary for relaxation, rejuvenation, and self-care. Whether indulging in a soothing massage, luxuriating in a rejuvenating facial, or lounging in tranquil pools and saunas, spa experiences cater to both the body and the mind. Get ready to unwind, recharge and nurture your well-being at any of these renowned spas in Victoria

45. Sporting Events

Canadian rugby players

Victoria is home to several professional and semi-professional sports teams including the Victoria Royals hockey team, Victoria Shamrocks lacrosse and Harbourcats Baseball. 

You'll find games throughout the year. Read more about our sporting events here

46. Fairs and Festivals 

From community street fairs to multi-day festivals that attract tens of thousands of visitors, Victoria always seems to have something going on. Check our list of annual festivals and events here

47. Historic Sites

If you just want to visit the most iconic landmarks in Victoria, this short list of 16 sites will get you covered. 

48. Churches

Christ Church Cathedral in Victoria BC

Visiting churches in Victoria offers a glimpse into the city's rich history, architectural beauty, and spiritual heritage. From the grandeur of the Christ Church Cathedral, with its stunning Gothic Revival architecture and majestic spires, to the quaint charm of St. Ann's Academy Chapel, each church holds its own unique story and significance. Whether you're drawn to the intricate stained glass windows, ornate interiors, or peaceful atmosphere for reflection and prayer, Victoria's churches provide a tranquil sanctuary amidst the bustling city streets. Learn more about the churches of Victoria here

49. Family Friendly Things to Do

Keeping the whole family entertained on vacation can be a challenge. Keep reading for our curated list of family friendly things to do

50. Free Things to Do

Stick to your vacation budget while still enjoying some fabulous activities with this curated list of free things to do in Victoria.

51. Nightlife and Entertainment Ideas

Victoria offers a vibrant nightlife with diverse entertainment options catering to a wide range of interests. Theatre enthusiasts can enjoy performances at the Royal Theatre and the Belfry Theatre, while music lovers can attend captivating concerts at venues such as the Alix Goolden Performance Hall. The city is also home to numerous pubs and breweries, such as Phillips Brewing & Malting Co. and Driftwood Brewery, where visitors can sample local craft beers in lively atmospheres. For those seeking a bit of excitement, the Elements Casino provides gaming and live entertainment. With its rich cultural scene and bustling nightlife, Victoria ensures an enjoyable experience for all. Read more about nightlife options in Victoria here

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