What to Do in Victoria
Collected by Allison Murray, AFAR Contributor
The capital of British Columbia and one of Canada’s largest tourist hotspots, there is no shortage of activities to be had in Victoria. Its fast-paced downtown scene is perfect for those seeking a vibrant nightlife, amazing restaurants, and great shopping, while its more rural areas are home to some of Canada’s greatest nature trails and parks.
649 Humboldt St, Victoria, BC V8W 1A7, Canada
Yes, my five-year-old was probably the target demographic for this place, but there were plenty of people without kids here, too. Because where else are you going to see an entire working sawmill built in miniature? Where else are you going to...
800 Benvenuto Ave, Brentwood Bay, BC V8M 1J8, Canada
Nearly a century ago, Jennie Butchart, wife of cement manufacturer Robert Butchart, transformed a depleted limestone quarry into these stunning, world-renowned show gardens. Allow ample time to enjoy the 22 hectares (55 acres) of floral displays,...
603 Fort Rodd Hill Rd, Victoria, BC V9C 2W8, Canada
For great views of boats and seaplanes and water and mountains this is the spot. The kids will like the chance to pilot a virtual boat, and the grownups can check out the vintage lighthouse-keeper supplies: French toothpaste and pickup sticks....
2207 Millstream Rd, Victoria, BC V9B 0J7, Canada
Nothing says family fun more than an ice cream parlor attached to an arcade. This particular ice cream parlor has a very nostalgic feel, with old toys and games used as decoration pieces. If the ice cream doesn’t bring out the inner child, the...
721 Government St, Victoria, BC V8W 1W5, Canada
Every book will tell you to have high tea at the Empress in Victoria, and you should. They welcomed our three-generation group, including 2 kids under 6, and had hot chocolate for those who didn't want tea. They also had a full gluten-free option,...
1605 Store St, Victoria, BC V8W 3K3, Canada
Wild Saffron is a great place to stop for lunch if you've had your fill of seafood and are looking for another Canadian staple: comfort food. Their fresh take on Canadian home-cooking is delicious. Half way between Chinatown and the Harbour, the...
944 Fort St, Victoria, BC V8V 3K2, Canada
For the freshest farm-to-table and boat-to-bistro dining experience, come to Cafe Brio. Specializing in French cuisine created from regional Canadian ingredients, their simple sauces and delicate preparation let the natural flavors come through in...
1108 Government St, Victoria, BC V8W 1Y2, Canada
Like the rest of Victoria, Munro's is one of a kind. Founded by Jim and Alice Munro (the famous author), it is one of the few independent bookstores left in the city. Relocated to the neo-classical Royal Bank of Canada building, the generous staff...
541 Johnson St, Victoria, BC V8W 1M2, Canada
A new hair style isn't a typical vacation souvenir, but when there are puppies involved it's difficult to say no. Lab salon is home to one very wrinkled puppy and a team of master stylists and colourists to tackle everything from holiday makeovers...
189 Dallas Rd, Victoria, BC V8V 1A1, Canada
At sunset the night market opens on the harbour front, illuminated by the lights on the Parliament building across the water. Favourites include gourmet chocolate, organic honey, handmade soaps, and organic cotton satchels. Another Canadian...
Munn Rd, Saanich, BC V9E, Canada
Francis/King Regional Park is the perfect opportunity for hikers to stretch their legs. The Elsie King Trail is handicap-accessible with a cedar boardwalk. Benches dot the trail for visitors to relax and marvel at the 500-year-old Douglas Firs in...
Fort Rodd Hill Rd, Victoria, BC V9C, Canada
For those seeking the historic sights of Victoria, Fort Rodd Hill is the perfect location, with its historic artillery fort built over a hundred years ago to defend Victoria. Visitors can even see the old gun batteries and underground magazines....
911 Government St, Victoria, BC V8W 1X5, Canada
Half way to the harbour we found Jade Mine, a specialty jade shop that primarily sells jade jewelry and pendents. The jade is mined in British Columbia and hand-carved for the store. This three-foot jade eagle might be a bit too elaborate to get...
Patricia Bay Hwy, Victoria, BC V8Y 2T6, Canada
This regional park is comprised of two beautiful bodies of water, Elk and Beaver Lakes. Each pool offers sandy beaches, swimming opportunities and a relaxing place to row. Elk Lake is stocked with fish, so cast out your lines and wait. Horses and...
308 Catherine St, Victoria, BC V9A 3S8, Canada
Spinnakers has been quenching thirst since 1984 with their unique beverages. While they brew the expected craft beers on site, they also make their own sodas, ciders, and other creations. In addition the food and setting are worth sticking around...
1205 Wharf St, Victoria, BC V8W 1T8, Canada
The Local Kitchen sits at the foot of a pedestrian-only street, right along the main drag by the harbor in Victoria. Our seat on the patio put us in the front row for a busking band. We ate a delicious meal while watching the activity of the...
Fan Tan Alley, Victoria, BC V8W, Canada
An afternoon meandering through the narrow stores of Chinatown feels like a trip back in time. This is the oldest Chinese district in Canada and it's full of historic nooks and crannies to explore. Formerly a derelict gambling district, it has...
1435 Store St, Victoria, BC V8W 3C6, Canada
Victoria's historic downtown is a beautiful place to spend an afternoon. Next to the picturesque harbour, it's crammed with great places to eat and drink as well as great shops. My favourite downtown streets for shopping are Broad, lower Fort,...
1567 Westside Rd, Friday Harbor, WA 98250, USA
Washington's San Juan Islands and Canada's Gulf Islands are home to three resident Orca pods. The waters off the San Juan Islands are a protected Marine Sanctuary so the pods feed on salmon in the area. These Orca populations are at risk due to...
Thetis Lake, View Royal, BC V9B, Canada
Thetis Lake Regional Park is a watery getaway just minutes from Bear Mountain. Comprised of multiple lakes, woodlands, and swamp, it has something for every nature enthusiast. The lakes are stocked with rainbow trout for anglers, and are also open...
Sooke, BC, Canada
Hop on a boat to catch salmon in the waters just off Sooke. The rugged British Columbia coastline is not only great for fishing but also perfect for spotting other West Coast wildlife. A professional guide will lead you to the best spot on the...
3475 Ripon Rd, Victoria, BC V8R 6H1, Canada
Go out on the beautiful Cordova Bay for some small boat sailing. We picked a calm day to learn the ropes inside the safety of the bay and went from zero nautical knowledge to tacking and running in four days. If you can't seem to find your sea...
3486-, 3492 Mayfair Dr, Victoria, BC V8P 4P9, Canada
Nearby to the City of Victoria, Mount Tolmie Park offers views of Victoria and the surrounding areas. Stroll through Garry Oaks on one of the many gravel trails throughout the park or just enjoy a drive up the windy road to the summit.
3 Library Rd, Victoria, BC V9C 1H9, Canada
A well mapped-out trail for bikers and hikers exists from the ferry north of Victoria all the way to the Pot Holes Provincial Park in Sooke, BC. The Galloping Goose Trail winds across all the area's landscapes: through the city streets to the...
740 Burdett Ave, Victoria, BC V8W 1B2, Canada
For the best cocktails in Victoria, try the local oak gins at Clive's Classic Lounge. These Victorian spirits are delicious and served with old-school class. Everyone is friendly here but sure to ask for Shawn!
2955 Phipps Rd #131, Victoria, BC V9B 0J9, Canada
The Noodle Box started life as a street cart in Victoria and now has eight restaurants on the island alone. The never-fail lunch spot has everything from gluten-free noodle to ghost chillis laced boxes and chilled glasses of mead.
1375 Bear Mountain Parkway 21, Victoria, BC V9B 0C9, Canada
For a romantic evening in an intimate setting, visit The Cellar. Book a private wine tasting with one of the Sommeliers, or, if you're there with friends, arrange a dinner party for ten to twenty, in the high-end, yet cozy confines surrounded by...
- 1Where to Go in FallThe Best Farm-to-Table Restaurants for a Fall Harvest Feast
- 2Gear8 New Books You Need to Read Before Flying to France
- 3MusicBeyond the French Quarter: Discovering New Orleans’s Downriver Delights
- 4Where to Go in FallAn Expert Guide to Working Remotely and Traveling the World
- 5Travel Rewards + Air MilesThe Travel Credit Card We’re Absolutely Obsessed With