Victoria in January
Discover the Spectacular Things to See and Do During Your Visit

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

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

If you’re visiting in January, you are going to experience a city whose citizens have finished celebrating the holiday season 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 in Victoria in January 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. In Victoria in January, it is ideal to dress in warm layers and a 3-in-1 waterproof jacket (I like this one from Columbia) is perfect along with waterproof footwear (these Timberland's are perfect for our weather). 

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.

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. Food tours are popular throughout the year and if you like our cuisine, you'll want to grab a copy of this cookbook.

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! The Peninsula Celebrations Society typically hosts this event at Glass Beach in Sidney. Participation is by donation. 

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. The accommodations in Tofino range from luxury inns on the ocean to cabins and glamping pods and everything in between. Visit Tofino Tourism for information. 

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 early January, 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. Get tickets to Butchart Gardens here

In 2024, the Chinese New Year will be celebrated on February 10th. 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. 2024 is the Year of the Dragon. Check out the China Town page for details on the celebration and watch the 2019 lion dance parade here.

Festivals and Events include: 

  • 16-Nov-23 – 03-Jan-24 - Festival of Trees, the Bay Centre, 1150 Douglas Street
  • 25-Nov-23 to 04-Jan-24 - Gingerbread Showcase, The Parkside Hotel & Spa 
  • 01-Dec-23 to 06-Jan-24 - Magic of Christmas, Butchart Gardens
  • 02-Jan-24 to 01-Apr-24 - Lego Exhibition, Sidney Museum
  • Early December to mid-January - Eagle Extravaganza at Goldstream Provincial Park
  • 04-Dec-23 - 06-Jan-24 - Christmas Tree Village, Recreation Centre Atrium and Archie Browning Sports Centre in Esquimalt
  • 01-Jan-24 - Polar Bear Swim, end of Beacon Avenue in Sidney at Glass Beach
  • 01-Jan-24 - New Year's Day
  • 18-Jan-24 to 21-Jan-24 - Victoria Whisky Festival, Hotel Grand Pacific
  • 27-Jan-24 to 28-Jan-24 - Victoria Health Show, G.R. Pearkes Recreation Centre
  • 25-Jan-24 to 29-Jan-24 - Wellness Weekend, Oak Bay Beach Hotel

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

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