Victoria Attractions: A Guide to the Best Things to Do in Canada’s Garden City

Victoria Attractions: A Guide to the Best Things to Do in Canada’s Garden City

Victoria, the capital city of British Columbia, is a charming destination that offers a variety of attractions and activities for visitors of all ages and interests. Whether you are looking for history, culture, nature, or adventure, you will find something to suit your taste in Victoria. ????

In this article, we will explore some of the best things to do in Victoria, Canada, and why you should add them to your itinerary. We will also provide some tips and recommendations on how to make the most of your time in this beautiful city. Let’s get started!

1. Visit the Parliament Buildings

One of the most iconic landmarks in Victoria is the Parliament Buildings, which house the legislative assembly of British Columbia. The buildings were constructed in 1898 in a neo-baroque style, and feature a majestic dome, ornate statues, and impressive murals. You can take a free guided tour of the interior, or admire the exterior from the surrounding gardens and lawns.

The Parliament Buildings are especially stunning at night, when they are illuminated by thousands of lights. You can also catch the ceremonial changing of the guard during the summer months, or enjoy a traditional afternoon tea at the Parliament Dining Room.

2. Explore the Royal BC Museum

If you are interested in learning more about the history, culture, and natural environment of British Columbia, you should not miss the Royal BC Museum. This museum is one of the most visited attractions in Victoria, and for good reason. It features three permanent galleries that showcase the First Nations, the modern history, and the wildlife of the province.

You can see authentic artifacts, dioramas, interactive exhibits, and live demonstrations that bring the past to life. You can also watch an IMAX movie, visit the special exhibitions, or join a guided tour. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and admission is $26 for adults, $18 for seniors and students, and $16 for children.

3. Enjoy the Butchart Gardens

One of the most popular attractions in Victoria is the Butchart Gardens, a stunning botanical garden that covers 55 acres of land. The gardens were created by Jennie Butchart, who transformed an abandoned limestone quarry into a floral paradise in the early 1900s. Today, the gardens attract over a million visitors every year, who come to admire the colorful blooms, the exotic plants, and the scenic views.

The gardens are divided into five main sections: the Sunken Garden, the Japanese Garden, the Italian Garden, the Rose Garden, and the Mediterranean Garden. Each section has its own theme, style, and charm. You can explore the gardens on foot, by boat, or by bus. You can also enjoy a meal at one of the restaurants, or shop for souvenirs at the gift shop.

The Butchart Gardens are open year-round, but the best time to visit is in the spring or summer, when the flowers are in full bloom. The admission fee is $33.80 for adults, $16.90 for youth, and $3 for children.

4. Experience the Craigdarroch Castle

If you are a fan of architecture, history, or mystery, you will love the Craigdarroch Castle, a Victorian-era mansion that was built by a wealthy coal baron in the late 1800s. The castle is a National Historic Site of Canada, and features 39 rooms, four floors, and over 20,000 square feet of space. You can admire the lavish furnishings, the intricate woodwork, the stained glass windows, and the antique collections.

You can also learn about the fascinating stories and secrets of the castle and its former inhabitants, such as the Dunsmuir family, who lived there until 1908. You can take a self-guided tour, or join a guided tour on weekends and holidays. The castle is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and admission is $14.25 for adults, $13.25 for seniors and students, and $5 for children.

5. Discover the Chinatown

Victoria has the oldest Chinatown in Canada, and the second oldest in North America, after San Francisco. The Chinatown was established in the 1850s, when thousands of Chinese immigrants came to Victoria in search of gold and work. The Chinatown soon became a vibrant and diverse community, with shops, restaurants, temples, and theatres.

Today, the Chinatown is a cultural and historical attraction, where you can experience the rich heritage and traditions of the Chinese people. You can walk through the narrow alleys, such as the famous Fan Tan Alley, the narrowest street in Canada. You can also visit the Chinese Public School, the Tam Kung Temple, the Gate of Harmonious Interest, and the Chinatown Murals. You can also sample some delicious Chinese cuisine, such as dim sum, noodles, and tea.

The Chinatown is located in the downtown area of Victoria, and is easily accessible by foot, bike, or public transit. You can explore the Chinatown on your own, or join a guided walking tour that will show you the highlights and hidden gems of the area.

6. Relax at the Beacon Hill Park

If you are looking for a place to relax and enjoy nature, you should head to the Beacon Hill Park, a 200-acre park that is located near the downtown area of Victoria. The park is a green oasis, with lush lawns, shady trees, colorful flowers, and tranquil ponds. You can also see some wildlife, such as peacocks, ducks, geese, and squirrels.

The park has many amenities and attractions, such as playgrounds, picnic areas, sports fields, a petting zoo, a bandstand, and a totem pole. You can also enjoy some activities, such as hiking, biking, jogging, or playing golf. You can also visit the Beacon Hill Children’s Farm, where you can see and feed some farm animals, such as goats, pigs, chickens, and rabbits.

The Beacon Hill Park is open daily from dawn to dusk, and admission is free. You can access the park by foot, bike, or public transit.

7. Admire the Fisherman’s Wharf

One of the most fun and lively places in Victoria is the Fisherman’s Wharf, a floating village that is located on the Inner Harbour. The wharf is home to a colorful array of houseboats, fishing boats, and marine life. You can stroll along the boardwalk, and admire the unique and quirky homes that are decorated with flags, flowers, and art.

You can also see some seals, otters, and birds that frequent the wharf, and feed them with some fish from the vendors. You can also enjoy some fresh seafood, such as fish and chips, crab, or oysters, from one of the many food stalls and restaurants. You can also shop for some souvenirs, such as clothing, jewelry, or crafts, from the local artisans.

The Fisherman’s Wharf is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and admission is free. You can reach the wharf by foot, bike, water taxi, or bus.

8. Ride the Victoria Harbour Ferry

One of the best ways to see Victoria from a different perspective is to ride the Victoria Harbour Ferry, a small and cute boat that operates on the Inner Harbour and the Gorge Waterway. The ferry offers various tours and services, such as the Harbour Tour, the Gorge Tour, the Water Ballet, and the Pickle Pub Crawl.

The Harbour Tour is a 45-minute scenic cruise that will show you the highlights of the harbour, such as the Parliament Buildings, the Empress Hotel, the Fisherman’s Wharf, and the Selkirk Trestle. The Gorge Tour is a 75-minute adventure that will take you to the historic and natural wonders of the Gorge Waterway, such as the Craigflower Manor, the Point Ellice House, and the reversing falls. The Water Ballet is a 15-minute show that features the synchronized movements and music of the ferries. The Pickle Pub Crawl is a fun and festive tour that will take you to some of the best pubs and breweries in Victoria.

The Victoria Harbour Ferry operates from March to October, and the fares vary depending on the tour and the season. You can buy your tickets online, or at the ferry docks.

9. Shop at the Victoria Public Market

If you are looking for a place to shop, eat, and mingle with the locals, you should visit the Victoria Public Market, a vibrant and diverse market that is located in the historic Hudson Building. The market features over 20 vendors that sell a variety of products, such as fresh produce, baked goods, cheese, meat, seafood, coffee, tea, wine, beer, and more.

You can also find some artisan goods, such as clothing, jewelry, pottery, soap, candles, and more. You can sample some delicious food from the food court, or join a cooking class or a workshop. The market is open from Tuesday to Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free, and parking is available on site.

10. Watch the Whales

One of the most thrilling and memorable experiences you can have in Victoria is to watch the whales in their natural habitat. Victoria is one of the best places in the world to see these majestic creatures, as it is located near the feeding grounds of several species of whales, such as orcas, humpbacks, minkes, and grays. You can also spot other marine wildlife, such as dolphins, porpoises, seals, sea lions, and sea otters.

You can join a whale watching tour that will take you on a boat, a kayak, or a zodiac to the best spots to see the whales. You can also learn about the whales and their behavior from the knowledgeable and friendly guides. The whale watching season runs from April to October, and the tours vary in duration, price, and departure point. You can book your tour online, or at the visitor center.

11. Taste the Wine

If you are a wine lover, you will be delighted to know that Victoria is surrounded by some of the finest wineries in Canada. The region is known for its cool-climate wines, such as pinot noir, pinot gris, riesling, and gewürztraminer. You can also find some unique and rare varieties, such as ortega, siegerrebe, and marechal foch.

You can visit some of the wineries and vineyards that are located within a short drive from Victoria, such as the Church and State Wines, the Sea Cider Farm and Ciderhouse, the Symphony Vineyard, and the De Vine Vineyards. You can enjoy a guided tour, a tasting, or a picnic, and learn about the wine making process and the history of the region. You can also buy some bottles to take home, or join a wine club to receive regular shipments.

12. Hike the Mount Douglas Park

If you are looking for some outdoor adventure, you should hike the Mount Douglas Park, a 450-acre park that is located in the Saanich area of Victoria. The park is named after the Mount Douglas, the highest point in the park, which offers spectacular views of the city, the ocean, and the mountains. You can also see some wildlife, such as deer, eagles, and owls.

The park has over 21 kilometers of trails, ranging from easy to challenging, that will take you through the forest, the meadows, and the beach. You can also drive to the summit, or bike on some of the trails. The park is open daily from sunrise to sunset, and admission is free. You can access the park by car, bike, or bus.

13. Indulge in the Afternoon Tea

One of the most elegant and refined things to do in Victoria is to indulge in the afternoon tea, a British tradition that dates back to the 19th century. The afternoon tea is a light meal that consists of tea, sandwiches, scones, pastries, and cakes, served on a tiered stand. The afternoon tea is a great way to relax, socialize, and enjoy some delicious treats.

You can find many places that offer afternoon tea in Victoria, but the most famous and luxurious one is the Fairmont Empress Hotel, a historic and grand hotel that overlooks the Inner Harbour. The Empress has been serving afternoon tea since 1908, and has hosted many celebrities and royalty, such as Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles, and Oprah Winfrey. The Empress offers a selection of teas, sandwiches, scones, pastries, and cakes, made with local and organic ingredients. You can also enjoy some live piano music, and admire the elegant decor and the china.

The afternoon tea at the Empress is available daily from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and costs $82 per person. You can make a reservation online, or by phone.

14. Visit the Miniature World

If you are looking for some fun and whimsy, you should visit the Miniature World, a museum that features over 85 miniature displays that depict various scenes and themes, such as fairy tales, history, fantasy, and science fiction. You can see the world’s smallest operational sawmill, the world’s largest dollhouse, the world’s longest model railway, and more.

You can also interact with some of the displays, such as pushing buttons, turning knobs, and pulling levers, to make them come to life. You can also listen to some narration, sound effects, and music, that enhance the experience. The museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and admission is $16 for adults, $10 for seniors and students, and $8 for children.

15. Celebrate the Festivals

Victoria is a city that loves to celebrate, and hosts many festivals and events throughout the year, that showcase the culture, arts, music, food, and sports of the region. You can join the locals and the visitors, and enjoy some of the festivities, such as the Victoria Day Parade, the Victoria International Jazz Festival, the Victoria Fringe Theatre Festival, the Victoria Film Festival, and more.

You can also experience some of the seasonal and holiday events, such as the Victoria Symphony Splash, the Victoria Dragon Boat Festival, the Victoria Pride Parade, the Victoria Festival of Trees, and the Victoria Festival of Lights. You can find the dates, locations, and details of the festivals and events on the official website of Tourism Victoria, or at the visitor center.


Victoria is a city that has something for everyone, whether you are looking for history, culture, nature, or adventure. You can visit some of the attractions, such as the Parliament Buildings, the Royal BC Museum, the Butchart Gardens, and the Craigdarroch Castle. You can also enjoy some of the activities, such as whale watching, wine tasting, hiking, and afternoon tea. You can also join some of the festivals and events, that celebrate the spirit and diversity of the city.

Victoria is a city that will charm you with its beauty, elegance, and hospitality. You will not regret visiting this amazing destination, and you will surely want to come back again. We hope you enjoyed this article, and we hope you have a wonderful time in Victoria, Canada.

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