As one British Columbia’s post popular visitor destinations, Victoria offers no shortage of things to do, no matter what the season. Here are a few favourites:
Art Gallery of Greater Victoria
With almost 20,000 works of art, the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria has the largest public collection in B.C. It first opened in 1951 and exhibited art in the historic Victorian mansion next door that dates back to 1889. Now, the museum includes seven galleries that host prestigious exhibitions in a state-of-the-art space.
Breakwater Ogden Point
A popular walk near downtown Victoria, the Breakwater at Ogden Point is an easy excursion that offers up some beautiful views of the Juan de Fuca Strait. Take in the sights as you watch the many cruise ships sail by. You might even catch some seals hanging around if you’re lucky!
Tea at The Empress
Looking for a sophisticated afternoon? Try the world-famous afternoon tea at the Fairmont Empress Resort. All of their menu items are created fresh daily using local ingredients from local suppliers and are served in the historic Lobby Lounge filled with live classical piano accompaniment. Indulge yourself with a classic Champagne tea experience.
Beacon Hill Park & Children’s Farm
Located inside the beautiful Beacon Hill Park, the Beacon Hill Children’s Farm is a must-see for families visiting the area. It is nestled inside 200 acres of parkland and is home to the park’s famous peacocks as well as fun animals like goats and donkeys.
Up for a night of good food and laughs? Hecklers Bar & Grill is the place for you. Take in some live comedy every Friday and Saturday night or head over during the week to catch up on sports. The chicken wings at Hecklers Bar & Grill are a must-try and a great way to end any day.
Inspired by Jerry Thomas, the “father of American mixology” and Harry Johnson, “the father of professional bar-tending,” Little Jumbo emphasizes the craft of preparing food and drinks with fresh, local ingredients and a mix of continental and contemporary styles. If you’re interested in trying a unique cocktail paired with some good food, Little Jumbo is a must.
Discovery Coffee hand-selects green beans from farmers all over the world and roasts them in-house, creating new, unique brews every day. Starting with a love of coffee and turning that into a passion for what it takes to make the best, one of Discovery Coffee’s seven locations is a great stop to fuel up with an ethical cup of joe.
If you’re more of a thrill-seeker, Wildplay is the place to go. Offering mother nature’s urban adrenaline rush, visitors can test their spirit with an adventure course high in the sky, take a zipline tour and jump from a platform 40 feet off the ground. It’s a fun family outing that’ll get everyone excited.
Bear Mountain Resort
Golf, dine, relax and take in the views at The Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort & Spa, located in a beautiful natural setting that is only a short drive from downtown Victoria. Spend some times at the spa or try out some incredible biking trails as you enjoy a local getaway.
Walk the Gardens
The Butchart Gardens is a must-see oasis 100 years in the making. Step in and explore 55 acres of displays from the depths of a former quarry to the sweet scents of the rose garden. Butchart Gardens sees more than 1 million visitors every year and features 50 full-time gardeners, 26 greenhouses and 900 bedding plant varieties.
Eagle Wing Tours
Head to Eagle Wing Tours for some of the best whale watching on the Island. Take a ride in a semi-covered or open boat and see the majestic creatures in their natural habitat. Be sure to dress warm, it can get cold out on the ocean!
A literary lover’s paradise. At almost 20,000 square feet, Bolen Books is the largest single-location independent bookstore in Western Canada. Search through over 30,000 titles by up-and-coming names as well as new authors. You’re sure to find your next great read at Bolen Books.
Uptown Shopping Centre
Get your shopping fix at Uptown, a shopping center that is not only convenient to get to but is loaded with great stores in an artfully designed space. Shop, dine and socialize at this easily accessible spot minutes from downtown.
The Royal Theatre and concert hall is located in the heart of downtown. The theatre opened in 1913 and has even operated as a theatre at one point. It was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1987. Enjoy anything from Broadway Musicals to the Ballet and take in some culture while you’re in Victoria.
Esquimalt Farmers Market
Launched in May 2015, the Esquimalt Farmers Market is a must-visit. Dedicated to promoting healthy, local living, the market offers everything from organic food to products made by local artisans. Stop by on Thursdays from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Memorial Park from May to September.
Beacon Drive-In Ltd
Voted Victoria’s Best Ice Cream for the last 23 years, the Beacon Drive-In is the perfect stop before or after exploring Beacon Hill Park. It has been open for 60 years and serves everything from breakfast to burgers and of course, soft-serve ice cream.
In the mood for all-day breakfast or for a great lunch? Head to Jam Cafe for a fantastic meal. Located in downtown Victoria, this restaurant serves food inspired by recipes from the south like house-made cornbread, buttermilk biscuits, and fried chicken. It’s where comfort food meets the urban city.
Satisfy your hunger with the year-long food truck festival in the back courtyard of the Royal BC Museum. Some of Victoria’s tastiest grub on wheels is stationed from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. Sunday to Thursday and from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays in June and August and from 11 a.m until 7 p.m. daily in September.
Looking to fit a workout into your schedule? The YMCA-YWCA of Vancouver Island has three locations in the Victoria area as well as a rich, 135-year history in the community. Whether you’re in downtown Victoria, Langford or View Royal, there’s always time for a workout at the YMCA-YWCA.
Go for a swim at the pool at Saanich Commonwealth Place. The pool offers swimming lessons, fun swims, family swims, length swimming and more.
Put a little zen in your day with everything from Vinyasa to Barre classes offered in Victoria. With a number of studios across the city, you’re sure to find the right space for your practice. It’s important to spend a little time for you in the day, and setting aside some time for yoga is the perfect way to do just that.
Royal BC Museum
Spend some time at one of Canada’s leading museums and research centers and take in 550 million years of natural history and 9,000 years of human history in B.C. The Royal BC Museum offers incredible collections year-round as well as traveling exhibits that are sure to inspire.
Be sure to stop by Esquimalt Ribfest for a weekend of barbecue ribs, local entertainment, craft beer, cider, wine, family activities, local arts, and vendors. All proceeds from the Ribfest outside operating costs also go towards local charities and school-sponsored activities for the community’s youth.
Head to Canoe Brewpub for great waterfront views on the outdoor patio, handcrafted beer, and fresh food. The rustic brick architecture and the timber-framed building is the perfect place for any gathering.
Pack a picnic and head over to the Esquimalt Lagoon. This migratory bird sanctuary is the perfect place to unwind in the cool ocean breeze. For birders it’s a great place to sit with a pair of binoculars and with its breathtaking views, it’s a great spot for an evening stroll.
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