Things To Do in Victoria: 40+ Attractions & Activities  

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. Below are some of the best things to do in Victoria. 

For a condensed version of this list, here's our 16 must see tourist attractions.

Disclaimer: I receive a small commission from some of the links on this page.

1. Parliament Buildings

Parliament Buildings in Victoria BC

Address: 501 Belleville Street

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. Get tickets at the kiosk out front.

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. 

2. Butchart Gardens

Sunken Garden at Butchart Gardens

Address: 800 Benvenuto Avenue

Butchart Gardens has grown into one of the premier things to do in Victoria with over a million visitors annually walking through the gates. Tourists and locals alike flock to the gardens in every season to admire what are arguably the most well-appointed, beautifully landscaped gardens in all of Canada. A visit to Butchart Gardens is highly recommended. Find tickets here.

3. Royal BC Museum

John Lennon's rolls royce on display at the Royal BC Museum

Address: 675 Belleville Street

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 was founded in 1886 and was originally housed in a single room adjoining the Provincial Secretary’s office in the Capitol Buildings. The Province started collecting archival records in 1894 and established the Provincial Archives in 1908. It wasn’t until 2003 when the museum and the archives combined their efforts and the Museum Act was re-written providing this establishment with the updated mandate of collecting and safeguarding artifacts, documents and specimens of British Columbia’s natural and human history. 

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

During a visit right before the pandemic, I was excited to see John Lennon’s Rolls Royce on display in the lobby. Like so many people, I wondered why this magnificent piece of art/history wasn’t on permanent display. Turns out it is too large to fit inside the Royal BC Museum’s freight elevator and even if it could, there is a lack of climate-controlled space in either the 2nd or 3rd floor galleries. As well the sheer weight of the vehicle – a whopping 2,700 kgs presents structural challenges for the museum. Similarly, the main lobby is not appropriate for permanent display due to the amount of light and inability to control the temperature. For now, the vehicle will be displayed briefly in the glass lobby during quieter winter months. 

4. Fisherman's Wharf: Fun for the Whole Family!

Address: 1 Dallas Road

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 and shopping. Visiting the wharf is one of the most popular things to do in Victoria.

Float homes at Fisherman's Wharf in Victoria BC

Float Homes

Long before tiny houses were trendy, Victoria had their own version of a tiny-house village - Fishermans Wharf! Thirty-three colourful, unique float homes permanently moored at the two most eastern piers.

Fishermans Wharf is owned and operated by the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority and according to their website, there are no absentee owners of these homes and they are not rented (although there is a B&B).

Visitors can stroll along the pier just feet away from the home doors to admire the uniqueness of the village.

TIP: Go for a short walk on the David Foster Walkway (located just beside the entrance to the pier) and walk just a couple hundred feet towards the inner harbour, then look back for a spectacular view of the entire wharf area. Or better yet, hop on a harbour ferry and see them from the water for a different perspective.


With the marine industry playing such a prominent role at the wharf, it should be no surprise that fishing charters, whale watching tours and kayak tours - some of the most popular things to do in Victoria - are all available here at Fishermans Wharf in Victoria BC.

Dining at the Wharf

Of course there is seafood available at Fishermans Wharf in Victoria BC but your options don't end there! Try Puerto Vallarta Amigos for some Mexican fare, Smoke and Anchor for piled high house-smoked meat sandwiches, Pirate Pizza, Jackson's Ice Cream or get cotton candy and mini donuts at Sweets. Personally though if I'm going down for a day at Fishermans Wharf, I'm going for the fish! Your two options are Barb's Fish & Chips and The Fish Store. Both delicious but the halibut at The Fish Store is spectacular!

Halibut and chips from The Fish Store at Fishermans Wharf in Victoria BC

Shopping at the Wharf

Fishermans Wharf in Victoria BC is not exactly a shopping destination but there is one small boutique and you won't be disappointed if you pop in. At 4 Winds Nest Artisans Boutique you'll find handmade local pottery, glass, wood, jewelry, soaps and imported table linens. 

More Tips when Visiting Fisherman's Wharf

  • There is no charge to enter Fishermans Wharf
  • Pay parking is in effect throughout the year
  • Fishermans Wharf is a "no drone zone" because of it's proximity to the Victoria Harbour Airport (part of the harbour is a designated airport for the float planes)
  • You can borrow a PDF for your child while you visit the wharf
  • You can board a ferry right on the pier that will take you to a variety of stops on the waterfront. Check the map and schedule for details.

5. Fairmont Empress Hotel

Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria

Address: 721 Government Street

Possibly one of the most beloved Victoria landmarks, the magnificent Fairmont Empress Hotel proudly stands overlooking the Inner Harbour on the east side. One of the most popular things to do in Victoria is enjoying the famed Afternoon Team at this luxurious 1908 hotel. The Empress serves more than 750,000 cups of tea annually.

For many years the building featured an ivy-covered façade but this was stripped away a few years ago in order to repair the brick beneath.

The public is welcome to stroll through the grand lobby to shop and enjoy the magnificent architecture.  

6. Fort Rod Hill & Fisgard Lighthouse

Address: 603 Fort Rodd Hill Road

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. 

7. Esquimalt Lagoon

Esquimalt Lagoon in Colwood

Address: Ocean Boulevard, Colwood

Esquimalt Lagoon is the perfect spot for a beautiful walk along the ocean, a picnic lunch, some off-leash fun for your fur friend or a day at the beach. Head down Ocean Boulevard for a short beautiful drive under the canopy of the trees, past historic Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites and suddenly the gorgeous sea views will expand before your eyes. 

Locally known as "the Goon", walking along Ocean Boulevard truly is one of my personal favourite things to do in Victoria. Read more about this exquisite location and the beach art that local artist Paul Lewis has been installing over the past few years. 

8. Government House

Address: 1401 Rockland Avenue

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. 

9. Abkhazi Garden Tours

Address: 1964 Fairfield Road

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.

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

10. Hatley Castle

Address: 2005 Sooke Road

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 or take a guided tour of the castle. I took my nephew for a ghost tour one Halloween and it was enough to freak us both out! If you enjoy history and a ghostly tale, this tour is for you. Find a variety of local tours here.

11. Butterfly Gardens: A Tropical Jungle Experience in the City

Address: 1461 Benvenuto Avenue

The Victoria Butterfly Gardens is a delightful place for young and old alike to immerse themselves in the beauty of a tropical jungle up close.

It is small enough not to tire of walking and large enough to hold thousands of wonderful surprises.

You cannot walk through here without smiling!

If you think this attraction is similar to a zoo or an aquarium where you can look but not get too close, you will be pleasantly surprised.

One of many butterflies at Butterfly Gardens in Victoria
turtles at Butterfly Gardens in Victoria BC

Step inside the 12,000 square foot (that’s nearly 3 basketball courts) climate-controlled facility and be prepared to encounter over 3000 tropical butterflies and birds flying freely throughout the facility.

If you’re lucky one (or more!) may even land on you.

In addition, there are tropical birds, flamingoes, ducks, iguanas, poison dart frogs and tortoises. And of course, beautiful tropical flowers and carnivorous plants for the insects, reptiles and animals to live among.

And if all this jungle wonder wasn’t enough, they are also home to an insectarium. With insects and invertebrates from around the world, it is a creepy crawler lovers dream. Definitely not my highlight but my son and nephew were appropriately impressed!

Parrot at Butterfly Gardens

Not only will you experience the incredible creatures up close, but there is so much to learn if you are interested. The staff are happy to share their knowledge about the many different species of butterflies and the lifecycle from egg to butterfly. Another cool fact about the gardens is that many of the creatures living there are rescue and donation animals – what a fabulous place to call home after being surrendered.

Some people have critiqued the gardens for being too small, or not having a lot of creatures. In fact, the Victoria Butterfly Gardens is one of the largest in North America so we’re not sure what they expected.

One explanation for what some claim is a lack of butterflies is the fact that they are more active on a sunny day. So, if you come in on an overcast day or winter evening there may be less activity. But they are still there – just resting on the trees and flowers. In fact that was exactly the case of this last visit - overcast on a February day which is why I didn't get too many photos of butterflies!

As for the size of the facility, you can get through door to door in about 30 minutes if you rush, but if you are curious and stop to appreciate everything the gardens have to offer, we think your tour will take a minimum of one hour and more likely closer to 1.5 or two hours.

Get tickets to Butterfly Gardens here.

12. Miniature World

Miniature World in Victoria BC

Address: 649 Humboldt Street

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.

13. Emily Carr House

Address: 207 Government Street

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. 

14. Craigdarroch Castle

Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria BC

Address: 1050 Joan Crescent

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.

15. Maritime Museum

Address: 744 Douglas Street

A variety of featured displays and permanent exhibits pertaining to the maritime culture and history of the Pacific Northwest is what you'll find at the Maritime Museum.

The Museum also offers educational programs and walking tours of Victoria with a maritime focus. Visit their website for more information. 

16. Indigenous Tours - Explore Songhees

On a 7 Signs of the Lekwungen canoe tour in Victoria BC

Address: Inner Harbour Lower Causeway at Ship Point

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.

Salish Seawolf canoe used on the 7 Signs of the Lekwungen canoe tour in Victoria BC
One of the 7 Signs of the Lekwungen spindles with 2 of the tour guides
Della and one of the Lekwungen tour guidesaboriginal carving

17. Chinatown - Fan Tan Alley

Dragon at the Lunar celebration in Victoria BC

Address: Fisgard Street between Government and Store

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. Read more about Victoria's Chinatown here

18. Beacon Hill Park

Address: 100 Cook Street

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. 

19. Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea

Address: 9811 Seaport Place

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.  

20. The Bug Zoo

Address: 631 Courtney Street

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

21. Thunderbird Park

Address: 675 Belleville Street

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. 

22. Malahat Skywalk

Address: 901 Trans Canada Highway

Malahat Skywalk is one of the newest things to do in Victoria where visitors can stroll among a west coast forest of Arbutus and Douglas Firs along a 600 m elevated walkway. After the forest walk, ascend a 10-story spiral tower to take in the stunning 360-degree view of islands, fjords, forests and mountains. You can descend the same way you came up or take the slide all the way down! Get tickets to the Malahat Skywalk here.  

23. David Foster Harbour Pathway

Address: Waterfront Path, Inner Harbour Causeway to Breakwater District

Just beyond the Clipper & Coho ferry terminals is the beginning of this harbour pathway. Along the path you can stop to enjoy views of the busy harbour from the Peter Pollen park and learn more about our local indigenous culture at one of 7 Signs of the Lekwungen. The path continues to Fisherman’s Wharf and the cruise ship terminal at the Ogden Point Breakwater District.  

24. Bastion Square

Address: Bastion Square between Government & Wharf Streets

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

25. Government Street Shopping

Address: Government Street, Wharf to Pandora

Excellent shops and restaurants – many housed in well preserved and maintained circa 1880s buildings - line Government Street. A very walkable district that is sure to impress historians and architectural enthusiasts alike. This area is one of the highlights of most walking tours of downtown and one of the most popular things to do Victoria, especially if you only have a short visit.

Plus, there’s lots of chocolate, a really cool book store, awesome Indigenous art and locally made unique gifts – something for everyone. 

Read more about shopping on Government Street.

26. Harbour Ferry Gorge Waterway Tour

Electric harbour ferry ready for a cruise on the Gorge Waterway in Victoria BC

Address: Lower Causeway at the Inner Harbour, Across from the Empress

Enjoy a scenic cruise along the Gorge Waterway on board a small harbour ferry. Sit back and learn a little about the history of the region and the marine wildlife who call this area home.  These same ferries put on a magical “water ballet” show that is visible from the Inner Harbour causeway at 10:45 am most Sunday mornings, May through September. Book your tour here

27. Old Victoria Customs House

Address: 1002 Wharf Street

Another significant Victoria landmark is the Custom House. The majestic red brick and stone building was completed in 1875, just 4 short years after BC joined the fledgling confederation. It is built in the Second Empire style and holds historical significance not only for its architecture but also because it served as an important point of entry for goods coming into the new country.

Now home to legal offices, there is a commemorative plaque out front with more of building’s history.

28. Dominion Astrophysical Observatory

Address: 5571 West Saanich Road

The mission statement of the DAO is “The Friends of the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory inspires visitors of all ages by expanding their understanding of their place in the universe, and making Canada’s historic Dominion Astrophysical Observatory and the Centre of the Universe sites of learning, creativity, and community for all. “ 

The centre is open for school and community group tours (book in advance). Individuals are welcome during day hours via vehicle and on foot/bicycle 24/7 however as of November 2022, the Star Parties are all streamed online. 

Visit their website for details. 

29. Inner Harbour and Ship Point

Address: Inner Harbour, Victoria BC across from Parliament Buildings

With SO MANY things to do in Victoria BC, it is one of the reasons I love to call this town home.  Our busy, vibrant and beautiful town centre never disappoints.

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.

30. Ogden Point & Breakwater District

Relaxing loungers along the Dallas Road Waterfront Walkway

Address: 12 Erie Street, Victoria

Ogden Point is a massive concrete pier that juts out into the sea and helps calm the waters to enable ships to dock at the Port of Victoria. A walk or jog along the breakwater is refreshing and scenic with beautiful mountain vistas and an abundance of marine wildlife. It is also a popular location for divers to enter and exit the waters. 

Ogden Point can be accessed via the David Foster Harbourfront Walkway in one direction or the Dallas Road Waterfront Trail from the other direction.

The Breakwater District includes Ogden Point and the surrounding area. With a small cafe, sundial, bright yellow lounge chairs and improved signage, it is a welcoming gateway for travellers. More improvements are planned for the area to increase vibrancy and accessibility for the multi-use hub. 

Read more about the Dallas Road Waterfront Trail and Breakwater District here

31. Neighbourhood of James Bay

Address: Neighbourhood bordering downtown Victoria

James Bay Victoria BC is a vibrant and diverse neighbourhood located in the heart of Victoria British Columbia. I've discovered some absolute gems that the residents of the area already knew, and now here's your chance to learn about them too!

The community is uniquely situated southeast of Victoria Harbour, north of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and west of Beacon Hill Park. Surrounded by water on three sides, the waterfront is lively with activity that includes the arrival of tourists at Ogden Point cruise ship terminal, at the Helijet Heliport and the Coho and Clipper ferry terminals. 

Spending time in this region will not disappoint tourists or locals. Hidden just a few steps away from the bustling waterfront, you’ll discover a very walkable community (walk score of 78) rich in history with a diverse range of sites and activities. 

Pilot Street Gnome Homes

Pilot Street Gnome Homes in Victoria BC
Pilot Street Gnome Homes in Victoria BC
Pilot Street Gnome Homes in Victoria BC
Pilot Street Gnome Homes in Victoria BC
Pilot Street Gnome Homes in Victoria BC
Pilot Street Gnome Homes in Victoria BC

What a delight to stumble upon these on route to a men’s rugby game. I had no idea these vignettes existed but they are absolutely charming. They will please small children and adults alike – be sure to incorporate a stop on Pilot Street in James Bay into your list of things to do in Victoria BC. 

James Bay Athletic Association

Founded in 1886, the James Bay Athletic Association (JBAA) is the oldest athletic association on the Pacific Coast and is home to the Bears (affectionately known as the “Bays”) rugby clubs. The adjacent Macdonald field is alive with thrilling action on numerous Saturdays from September through April with many of the clubs that play here boasting rosters comprising of aspiring and current Team Canada players. Stop by, grab a beer in the clubhouse (19+) and enjoy the game – everyone is welcome.

Clarence Street Decorated Trees

There’s a tree located in James Bay Victoria BC that you simply must stop by to see. The homeowner, whose house this particular tree is in front of, paid tribute to his late grandmother by stringing a porcelain tea cup from the tree. Every time he would see the tea cup, he thought of his grandmother and her passion for teas. It seems some friends and neighbours soon learned about the tea cup in the tree and started adding to the collection. Today there has got to be 50 tea cups – and at least one tea pot, hanging from the tree. 

But the tea cup tree wasn’t the only surprise.

Directly across the street from the tea cup tree is a tree decorated with Christmas ornaments - all year long! While strolling through James Bay to check out all the gems, be sure to head to Clarence Street to see these incredibly unique trees.  

Teacup tree on Clarence Street in James Bay
Teacup tree on Clarence Street in James Bay
Ornament tree on Clarence Street in James Bay


For well preserved examples of vintage architecture with features such as gables, 6 over 1 double-hung windows, finials, drop finials and corbelled chimneys, look no further than the neighbourhood of James Bay Victoria BC.

Victorian architecture
Victorian architecture
Victorian architecture
Victorian architecture
Victorian architecture
Victorian architecture
Victorian architecture
Victorian architecture

Grab a copy of The Heritage Walking Tour No. 2 brochure (available to download or pick up a paper copy at Victoria City Hall or the Tourist Info Centre at the Inner Harbour) which highlights the beautiful homes of the area. This particular self-guided tour starts and ends at the Ogden Point Breakwater and will cover approximately 3.5 km (approximately 2.2 miles). If you want to stop to rest or re-hydrate along the way, there are small parks and quaint establishments along the route.

32. Horse Drawn Carriage Rides

Address: Menzies Street beside Parliament Buildings

A horse-drawn carriage ride is one of the iconic things to do in Victoria BC. One of several tours that is offered is an unforgettable ride along the quaint streets of the beautiful and historic neighbourhood of James Bay. Other options include tours that include the idyllic Beacon Hill Park and the spectacular waterfront. You will not be disappointed as you sit back in your carriage, enjoy the majestic beauty of the Belgian, Percheron or Clydesdale draft horses and take in the scenery of our charming city.  

Meet the carriages beside the Parliament Buildings but get your tickets in advance. These tours are very popular in summer and on days when cruise ships are in port and sell out quickly. Book a carriage tour now

Horse drawn carriage tour in Victoria BC

33. Hot Tub Tour in the Inner Harbour

Address: 450 Swift Street

For one of the most unique things to do in Victoria, how fun is relaxing in a hot tub while floating around the Upper Harbor and Gorge Waterway in one of Canada's first fleet of hot tub boats! Book this amazing experience now

34. Churches in Victoria

Address: Various locations throughout City of Victoria

The churches in Victoria BC offer a place of worship for many of the world’s denominations. They also offer a tourist destination for those who seek to experience their rich history and architectural beauty. An exploration of downtown churches is often part of guided tour

35. A Curated List of Romantic Ideas for Foodies

Address: Greater Victoria

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

36. A Curated List of Relaxing Things for Couples in Victoria

Address: Greater Victoria

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.

37. A Curated List of Romantic Ideas for Couples Who Love Adventure 

Address: Greater Victoria

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.

38. Visit a Museum or Art Gallery

Address: Greater Victoria

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

39. Get Creative!

Address: Greater Victoria

With DIY crafting making a comeback, it’s no wonder concepts like Paint Nite are successful, fun things to do in Victoria. The idea behind the brand is for guests to attend a locally hosted event, frequently at a restaurant or community hall, with your own friends plus a bunch of people you’ll meet that night to make a new creation. 

As the name implies, Paint Nite started out as a company focused on paintings. The concept has been so successful that the creative forces behind the brand have expanded their offerings and now changed the name to more fully encompass the variety of experiences attendees can choose from.

Introducing Yaymaker!

Attending a Yaymaker event may be a painting night, or you might select from one of their expanding line of experiences that now include:

  • Plant Nite
  • Design a Sign
  • Flower Workshop
  • Candle Maker
  • Make a Mosaic
  • Innovation Lab

They promise more are on the way. 

Attending a Paint Nite

When you buy a ticket to a Paint Nite, you are buying an event-specific ticket. You can choose from any of the paintings in the current event calendar, including fund raisers for groups you aren’t even associated with. So, you can either choose a painting that appeals to you, or a group you want to support.

The amateur rugby club I am connected with hosted an evening at our clubhouse. The painting selected by the organizer was “Wading in Red Wellies” and given this is Victoria, this one seemed especially appropriate!

I was pleasantly surprised to see how many people came out to our event who were not associated with our club at all. It really shows the appeal of the concept and we raised over $450. The best part was that the organizers showed up, set up, provided all the materials and instruction and cleaned up after us! 

Many people fear they don't have the creativity to participate or make something worthy of hanging on a wall. Don't let this fear hold you back. 

The instructors have got it figured out and they know how to guide the class. They give step by step instructions, demonstrate the techniques, use language that is easy to follow, answer all your questions, get you more supplies as required and move at a pace that is easy to keep up with.

Even the most doubtful from the beginning of the evening were pleasantly surprised at their own creations. Arts and crafts for the win!

Many people fear they don't have the creativity to participate or make something worthy of hanging on a wall. Don't let this fear hold you back. 

The instructors have got it figured out and they know how to guide the class. They give step by step instructions, demonstrate the techniques, use language that is easy to follow, answer all your questions, get you more supplies as required and move at a pace that is easy to keep up with.

Even the most doubtful from the beginning of the evening were pleasantly surprised at their own creations.

Next time you get invited out for an evening of painting, I encourage you to say yes, and see how much fun you can have. Or create your own paint night right in your house with paint-by-number kits. Gone are the days when these things were tacky - now they are all the rage! Throw in a bottle of wine and you got date night! My personal favourites are the cherry blossoms, the orca and the mountain lake scene

40. Ideas for When it is Raining Outside

Address: Greater Victoria

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. 

41. 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

Armed with this list, I'm confident you'll find plenty of things to do in Victoria BC!

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