134 THINGS TO DO IN GREATER VICTORIA BC
. . . and counting!
This page contains an extensive list of things to do while visiting Victoria BC. It covers Greater Victoria and the southern tip of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Greater Victoria offers something for just about everyone. These activities are listed in no particular order. Many of the directions and details descriptions of these items are listed in our publication Best Kept Secrets of Victoria.
If you live in Victoria or have visited and would like to share a place that warrants being on this list, please send us an E-mail . Click here for a printable version - pdf file
- Visit world famous Butchart Gardens (VIDEO)
- Tour our world class Royal BC Museum
- Go whale watching (VIDEO)
- Take a scenic tour around Victoria - a city with world famous
- Take in a show at the National Geographic IMAX theatre
- Soak up the entertainment (buskers) in the Inner Harbour
- Go Salmon Fishing
- Visit Mineral World/Scratch Patch at the Port Sidney Marina
- Golf on one of the many fabulous Victoria Golf Courses
- Stroll through Beacon Hill Park - a take in the Petting Zoo
- Walk to the end of Dallas Point Breakwater (VIDEO) - then have a treat in the restaurant there.
- Visit one of the rugged and beautiful West Coast Beaches past Sooke like Botanical Beach (VIDEO)
- Drop by Beacon Drive-In Restaurant - for the city's best soft ice cream cones
- Charter a sailboat and check out our waters
- Visit quaint Sidney by the Sea and visit the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre (VIDEO)
- Cross Blue DrawBridge and walk the Songhees to West Bay Marina
- Take a Harbour Ferry Tour (VIDEO)
- Have English Style Fish and Chips at Barbs at Fisherman's Wharf
- There are 12 Hands of Time sculptures around town celebrating Victoria's 150 years. "AT THE HANDS OF TIME" you can download a map and clues of where these sculptures are and find all 12. They are beautiful sculptures created by Crystal Przybille, who was born in Vernon and resides in Kelowna. Check them out.
- Take a romantic carriage ride through Beacon Hill Park
- Bike on the incredible Galloping Goose Trail
- Scenic view - try Mount Tolmie near the University of Victoria
- Check out the University Finnerty Gardens
- Visit the Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary and hike around the lake
- Visit Playfair Park - Rhododendron Heaven in the spring
- Hike the trails at East Sooke Park
- Climb to the top of Lone Tree Hill in the Highlands
- Try ocean kayaking
- Walk and shop antique row on Fort Street
- Rent a boat and explore our waters
- Have a swim at Saanich Commonwealth Place - water slide and wave pool
- Take the Ferry to Sidney Spit Marine Park (an island)
- Take a scenic air tour by plane or helicopter
- Visit the fabulous tide-pools at Botanical Beach
- Hike the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail (VIDEO)
- Go surfing at Jordan River
- Climb Mount Warbuton-Pike on Saturna Island - great scenery and wild feral goats
- Visit the Saturday Market in Ganges on Saltspring Island (VIDEO)
- Catch prawns in Saanich Inlet or go crabbing
- Visit the seals at Oak Bay Marina (VIDEO)
- Have a day picnic at French Beach Provincial Park (VIDEO)
- Visit summer fruit and vegetable stands
- Swim in the Sooke Potholes (VIDEO)
- Climb Mill Hill for great views of Juan de Fuca Strait
- Visit the Historical Museum in Sidney by the Sea
- Visit Little Niagara Falls in Goldstream Provincial Park (VIDEO)
- Fish from the Fishing Pier in Sidney by the Sea
- Visit the crafters on Mayne Island
- Visit East Point Light Station on Saturna Island
- Scuba dive the worlds best at Race Rocks (VIDEO) or visit the seals and sea lions there.
- Visit Miniature World at the Fairmont Empress Hotel
- Tour the Esquimalt Navel Base
- Attend the Symphony Splash in the Inner Harbour on our Aug. long weekend
- Take a long walk at Island View Beach
- Shop till you drop in Old Towne and Lower Johnson Street (LoJo)
- Scenic Views at Mount Douglas Park – a great place for a summer picnic
- Visit the Maritime Museum in Bastion Square
- Take a double-decker Bus Tour
- Ride a Kabuki Cab
- Visit Craigdarroch Castle
- Travel Marine Drive through uplands - lifestyles of the rich and famous
- Go Horseback Riding through Elk/Beaver Lakes
- Enjoy time with Dahl's Porpoises in Haro Strait
- Visit the Saanich Historical Artifacts Society in Central Saanich
- Tour the Japanese Gardens at Royal Roads University
- Visit Fort Rodd Hill - A National Historic Site and Fisgard Light Station
- Stroll through Witty's Lagoon (bird sanctuary, beach and park) (VIDEO)
- Shop at the Government Street Market on Sundays in the summer.
- Pamper yourself at one of our great Spas
- Sun tan on the beach at Willows Beach in Oak Bay & visit the Kiwanis Tea Room
- Try some local smoked salmon
- Have "high tea" at the Fairmont Empress or another establishment
- Fabulous Fireworks at Butchart Gardens Saturdays during July and August
- Take in a fabulous summer festival from May to October
- Tour the Provincial Legislative Buildings
- Visit Butterfly Gardens
- Have a bowl of West Coast clam chowder Try BC Ferries it is the best.
- Visit the Victoria Art Gallery
- Fly a kite at Clover Point – Dallas Road waterfront
- Tour and shop China Town
- Windsurf at Willows Beach
- Visit Matticks Farm
- Visit Thunderbird Park next to the Provincial Museum
- Visit Bedwell Harbour on Pender Islands
- Take the Arts Tour on Saltspring Island (crafts, artists, artisans)
- Hike up Mount Finlayson at Goldstream Park
- Duncan Day Trip - Kinsol Trestle (VIDEO), the Quw’ utsun’ Cultural Centre (VIDEO), and the Discovery Forest Centre (VIDEO).
- Visit Mom's Cafe in Sooke - try the pies
- Visit the seals at the east end of Brethour Island near Sidney by the Sea
- Try miniature golf at Matticks farm, or the Par 3 or Cordova Bay
- Visit the Victoria Bug Zoo
- Visit the Dominion Observatory, The Centre of the Universe
Shop at Market Square in downtown Victoria – a unique shopping area
Downtown, need a break, check out Venus Sophia tea room. It is popular for afternoon tea and the unique decor and setting. It is a gem, hidden in the middle of Victoria's China town. Visit their website: www.venussophia.com
- Tour Christ Church Cathedral
- Take a day trip to see Malaspina Gallery on Gabriola Island
- Take the BC Ferries Gulf Island Tour – take one of the 4 island stop rides
- Take a day trip to the Vineyards near Duncan
- Take a day trip to the Chemainus Murals
- Take a day trip to Roche Harbour
- Go to Chapters Bookshop, read new magazines and drink hot chocolate or a latte at Starbuck's coffee bar
- Go to the Oak Bay Village. While in the Village have a gelato at Ottavio's or a great sandwich.
- Go to Munroe's Bookstore
- Go to Goldstream Park during the fall and watch the salmon spawn and the thousands of eagles that come to feed on them. (VIDEO)
- Take your barbeque down to Esquimalt Lagoon and spend the day on this unique estuary and bird sanctuary.
- Go to Victoria's Maritime Museum for a look at the long and interesting maritime history associated with Victoria and Vancouver Island.
- Go have coffee in Cook Street Village, visit the interesting shops, and people-watch. Take a trip back to the 50's at Rosie's Diner or have a coffee/tea at one of the many shops.
- In the spring, go to Beacon Hill Park and go to the west side of Goodacre Lake, just next to a small parking area off Douglas and Avalon. Look up into the trees and see about 30 heron nests. Watch these fantastic creatures land to feed their young.
- Check to see if the BC Legislature is in session and then take in a debate. This is truly a unique experience. Tour the legislature while you are there. It is very interesting. Also find out where the cafeteria is a have lunch there.
- Inner Harbour Walk. Follow the inner harbour from the Causeway north along the water. You can go past where all the yachts tie up all the way to the whale wall just at the foot of Yates Street. A seal hangs out just to the south of the Victoria Regent Hotel. Watch the docks where they clean fish. Sea planes take off, the Coho comes in twice a day, whale watch tours leave our bustling harbour. Sunsets are great especially on warm summer nights.
- Wine tasting and tours at Saanich Peninsula wineries. It’s a lovely way for visitors to spend an afternoon in the area. The wineries are: Marley Farm Winery, Chalet Estate Winery and Victoria Estate Winery.
- Visit the Gardens at Horticulture Centre of the Pacific (HCP) - a botanical garden and more.
- Visit the British Columbia Aviation Museum at the Airport. Park alongside the airport and watch the planes take off and land. Better yet go to the Spitfire Grill on the West side of the airport and have lunch or dinner and watch the planes from there. Try Mary's Blue Moon Cafe on the East side of the airport.
- Visit Fort Rodd Hill a National Historical Site located in Colwood. It has lots of interesting things to visit with deer and rabbits in abundance throughout the site. It is a great place for a picnic and it is home of one of the oldest lighthouses on the West Coast. It was built to protect the Inner Harbour in times of war.
- Take in a movie at one of the many movie theatres around Victoria.
- Become a beach access explorer. If you take a good road map of Greater Victoria and follow the shoreline you can explore many of the beach access locations. They produce some very unique and special places where you can get away from the crowds and spend time in some very beautiful places.
- Visit historic Rogers' Chocolates. It is in a historic building and is famous for their cream centre chocolates. Check out the history of Rogers' Chocolates and Charles William Rogers (founder)
- Viisit the Sea Cider on the Saanich Peninsula.
- Day trip to Duncan to the Pacific Northwest Raptors Centre. (VIDEO)
- Take a day trip to see the GIANT Douglas Fir at Cathedral Grove near Parksville.(VIDEO)
- Park alongside the airport and watch the planes take off and land. Better yet go to the Spitfire Grill on the West side of the airport and have lunch or dinner and watch the planes from there. Try Mary's Blue Moon Cafe on the East side of the airport.
- Visit a downtown institution, the Dutch Bakery. This is a great place to have lunch, tea, a coffee break, or when you really need a great treat. Locals and many tourists love this place. It is on Fort Street, just a few doors down from Douglas Street. Enjoy the Dutch Bakery.
- Visit beautiful Thetis Lake Park where you can swim or take the approximately 1 hour hike around the lake. It is a beautiful hike with lots of views of the lake. Bring a canoe or kayak and you can paddle around the lake. There is an island in the middle of the lake frequented by "au naturel" sun bathers.
- Try fishing in one of the nearby lakes around greater Victoria. At some lakes like those in Langford, you can fish from piers or from the shore. Try Langford Lake, Glen Lake or Elk/Beaver Lake in Saanich. These lakes are stocked and offer pretty good fishing.
- Discover the Past Tours - Victoria's history is rich and exciting. Discover the Past Tours reveal fascinating stories about the city's archaeology, architecture, art, spiritual sites, haunted places, natural history, gardens, parks and a host of characters. Click on our website for the full description, calendar and rates of our scheduled tours that take place throughout the year. Or arrange your own custom tour for groups of any size. Scheduled tours include "Ghostly Walks" in July, August and October and "Neighbourhood Discovery Walks" from January to April. Tours are conducted by John Adams, well-known historian, author and guide who pioneered walking tours of Old Town in 1971.
- Visit Mineral World Scratch Patch at the Marina in beautiful Sidney by the Sea
- Check out the B-Movie nights at Beacon Hill Park band stand. The City of Victoria often have special summer activities at the Band Shell and also at Centennial Square next to City Hall. Check the City of Victoria web site for details.
- CRD Regional Parks offers interpretive outings and events for all ages in our 33+ parks and trails. Most are free. They included guided walks, hikes, canoeing, special events, etc. Whether you're 6 or 60, CRD Regional Parks has a nature outing and event for every season. Join a park interpreter for a guided walk, hike, drop-in event or canoe adventure.See the calendar for an outing and event that piques your natural curiosity and discover your 30+ regional parks and trails! Click here for the CRD calendar of events.
- Visit our seal feeding hangouts, Oak Bay Marina and at Fisherman's Wharf. Watch your fingers.
- Visit Bear Mountain Golf Resort where there are some great restaurants and if you explore you will find an amazing view of the south end of Vancouver Island.
- BC Ferries offer day trips to many of the surrounding Gulf Islands...go exploring!
- Oak Bay Village Art
- Located less than 10 minutes from Down-town Victoria is a true ‘hidden gem’. Oak Bay Village is one of the oldest and most interesting parts of Victoria with a true Village atmosphere in which customer service is still part of the culture. The Village is also home to one of the largest collections of Art & Crafts Galleries on Vancouver Island.
A leisurely stroll through the Village finds 7 superb Art Galleries and Craft Studios representing some of the finest Canadian art & crafts available:
Ted Harrison Studio
- Studio of the acclaimedYukonartist Ted Harrison. Limited edition serigraphs, books & cards available:
Red Art Gallery - A small & vibrant gallery featuring award winning Canadian artists whose work is strong, colorful and unique.
Eclectic Gallery - With strong regional representation, Eclectic exhibits original fine art, local crafts and artisan jewellery.
The Avenue Gallery
- An exceptional venue to discover some ofCanada’s most distinguished, contemporary and historical artists.
The Gallery in OakBay Village
- Original Art & Picture Framing in the heart of Oak Bay Village.Side Street Studio
- Unique Canadian Gifts for everyone. Supporting over 320 localB.C. artists since 1984.
- Exclusive fine art dealers handling Canadian historical and contemporary art.
Why not spend a day in the Village? In addition to theArtGalleriesyou can enjoy lunch or dinner at the Oak Bay Bistro – a superb bistro with fine food by the nationally acclaimed Chef John Waller. Enjoy a drink or food at the Penny Farthing Pub. Ottavio’s Deli is excellent for a light breakfast, lunch or coffee any time of the day. Feys +Hobbsgourmet take out and award winning catering company is also a must visit. For book-hounds there are two long established book stores; Ivy’s Book Store for contemporary books and the famous Grafton Books for antiquarian books.
Along with the best collection of Art & Craft Galleries on Vancouver Island, an excellent choice of dining and accommodation plus a huge range of small, independent & unique shops; there is every reason to make the short journey to the most interesting part of Victoria.
- Argh Maty, Pirate Adventures Canada is an interactive production aboard the fifty-foot pirate ship the Black Spirit. With the Jolly Roger flying and our pirate
crew ready, we sail the inner victoria harbour seeking for sunken treasure.
The Black Spirit is equipped with twelve fully loaded water cannons and can
hold up to forty-two pirates, so even the terrible Pirate Pete cannot stand
a chance against the Black Spirit in any battle, although he may try. This is an hour and fifteen minute adventure packed family event for all ages that
not only offers daily sails, but birthday parties, bachelor/bachelorette events, company events, and much more. Located down at Fisherman's Wharf, this
adventure of a life time involves music and singing, face painting, costumes, pirate training, a harbour sail, maps, sunken treasure, sword fights and
much more! This interactive theatre cruise aboard our reproduction pirate ship taps into your children's imagination and unveils your inner child, by immersing you in a wold of piracy. This once in a life time opportunity cannot be passed up! Visit our website for more information, to make your
bookings, for birthday parties, and events at http://www.pirateadventures.com
Explore Canada’s oldest synagogue (1863), Congregation Emanu-El (1461
Explore Canada’s oldest synagogue (1863), Congregation Emanu-El (1461 Blanshard Street), the last standing brick building designed by the prolific Scottish architect, John Wright, in Romanesque Revival style. This sanctuary overflows with the vibrant history of its congregants, including the first Jewish Judge in Canada (Samuel Davies Schultz), the first Jewish mayor of any city in British North America (Lumley Franklin), and the first Jew to sit in the Canadian House of Commons (Henry Nathan Jr). Most tours will be led by Canada’s first ordained Maggidah (female Jewish storyteller), Shoshana Litman www.maggidah.com
, who skillfully weaves local history and Jewish customs with tales both ancient and modern, highlighting the arrival of Victoria’s first Jews and the development of a dynamic congregation over 150 years to the present. Synagogue tours run on the hour, Wednesdays 12 to 3 p.m. and Thursdays 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., June through August, 2013. There will also be tours offered on Sundays at 8 p.m. in July and August. Cost is $10 per person and children under 12 are free. Reservations are not required. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-382-0615 to book a tour at another time or visit http:// www.congregationemanu-el.ca /community/ synagogue-tours/
for more information. For more pictures, please go to our Facebook Page
- Discover the "hidden secrets of Victoria by taking Take a self-guided heritage walk through some of the oldest parts of Victoria to discover the wonderful and mysterious secrets that are part of the city's hidden history. Choose from four heritage walking maps and experience a journey into Mysterious Chinatown, Rollicking Boomtown, Haunted Victoria, and Victoria's Law and Order. An active and free way to spend time learning more about our city.
Printed copies are available are available at the Tourism Victoria Information Centre on Wharf Street (on the Inner Harbour), the Downtown Victoria Business Association (20 centennial square-next to City Hall) and Victoria City Hall or by going to http://victoria.ca/tours.
For more info, check out Best Kept Secrets of Victoria BC.