The Getaway
Must-Visit Destinations in Victoria, BC

Victoria, British Columbia isn't just your typical Pacific Northwest city; it's one of Canada's most dynamic, beautiful, and diverse cities. It does have world-class artisan coffee, a healthy modern art culture, and a booming international food scene, yes. However, you'll also enjoy incredible urban forests, a breathtaking waterfront view, gorgeous architecture, and several monuments to First Nations people. Victoria's unique blend of local charm, amazing natural views, and multicultural influences make it one of Canada's best travel destinations.

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01 Stroll down Fan Tan Alley if there's enough room

A sign advertising 'Heart's Content' can be seen down Fan Tan Alley Photo by Tj Holowaychuk on Unsplash

Fan Tan Alley bears the distinction of being Canada's narrowest street. It's packed full of colorful, distinct vendors and offers a pathway right into Victoria's Chinatown district. Chinatown should be on your list. It's the oldest in Canada. Explore unique shops, and savor authentic Chinese cuisine. The colorful Gate of Harmonious Interest is a must-see landmark.

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02 Floating homes and fishing boats and Fisherman's Wharf

Floating Home Village Blue Red Brown Houseboats Fisherman's Wharf Reflection Inner Harbor, Victoria bpperry / Getty Images

Fisherman's Wharf is one must-see destination in Victoria. After you've visited the Inner Harbor and the Parliament Building, you need to stop by this particular piece of Victoria. One view that stands out is the floating homes - Fisherman's Wharf is home to dozens of them. Once you've seen them, you can head towards the fishing boats and buy the freshest seafood you've ever eaten. From the lively harbor and its motley assortment of vessels and the floating homes to whale-watching tours, Fisherman's Wharf is an essential destination.

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03 Go whale watching with a tour company

Whale Watching boat tour, Victoria, B.C BirdImages / Getty Images

One of the most popular Victoria activities for travelers and locals alike is to go whale watching. With British Columbia Whale Tours, you can take an incredible whale-spotting excursion and see pods of Orcas, Humpback Whales, Grey whales, and many other forms of ocean life thriving just off of Vancouver Island.

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04 Take a tour of the scenic British Columbia Parliament building

Historic parliament building in Victoria with colorful flowers, BC, Canada bluejayphoto / Getty Images

The parliament building is one of the most postcard-worthy destinations in Victoria. It’s a lovingly crafted architectural work in the classical style. What’s more, it’s completely free to take a tour of the building. There are guided tours that last a little over half an hour, but you can also go on a self-guided tour and traverse the building at your leisure. The Parliament gift shop is a perfect way to finish your trip to the Inner Harbor, a must-go destination for any trip to Victoria.

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05 Take in the view at the Victoria Waterfront

The Dallas Road waterfront trail KathrynHatashitaLee / Getty Images

At Victoria, there are plenty of places where you can enjoy a magnificent view of the Salish Sea. A quick trip to the Inner Harbor affords a look at a lovely part of the town, the sea, and the motley collection of ships that make the harbor their home. Following Dallas Road will take you right along the coastline from one scenic location right along to another, and you’ll be able to enjoy plenty of perspectives on the town and the ocean during your walk.

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06 Gaze at the impressive collection at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

Joe Mabel / Flickr

The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria contains an impressive, diverse collection of artwork. The exhibits here range from classical to modern art and hail from Victoria, Canada in general, and the wider world. To Talk With Others is a unique, powerful display that provides commentary on the cultural divide between First Nations peoples and European Canadians. Additionally, you can visit unorthodox exhibits devoted to Canadian artists such as Emily Carr, and an authentic Japanese Shinto Shrine - all of this and more, in just one gallery.

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07 Take a stroll through the Gonzales Hill Regional Park

An observatory atop Gonzales Hill cnicbc / Getty Images

Gonzales Hill Regional Park is a lovely, peaceful park. Between visiting art galleries, foodie hotspots, and arduous hiking trails, you should take a relaxing stroll around the beach here. You can take a stunning view of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and a wraparound view of the waterfront, then take a gentle, uphill walk, snap a great shot of the city, and have a picnic.

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08 Enjoy First Nations artwork at Thunderbird Park

 First Nations carved totem pole found in the popular tourist attraction, Thunderbird Park

Thunderbird Park in Victoria is a great destination for some peace and relaxation. What makes Thunderbird Park special is that it’s filled with authentic and restored First Nations artwork. Totem poles, paintings, carvings, and more await; it’s a great look into the artistic styles of a unique and ancient culture.

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09 Learn about Victoria before it was Victoria

Royal British Columbia Museum consists of The Province of British Columbia's natural and human history museum as well as the British Columbia Provincial Archives

The Royal British Columbia Museum is a fascinating monument to millennia of natural history and the First Nations. The Natural History Gallery is an immersive, captivating glimpse into the distant past of British Columbia undisturbed by human activities. It depicts several scenes, such as the lush coastal forests of the region and the rivers where the salmon return in droves every year.

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10 Take a nature walk without leaving the city

Autumn leaves at Todd Inlet in Victoria, BC davemantel / Getty Images

Once you’ve had your fill of the city, you can enjoy the great outdoors without even leaving Victoria. A short drive out of Downtown will have you at PKOLS, a lush urban forest filled with hills and hiking trails. The trails vary greatly in terms of challenge, so any fitness level will be right at home. If you want to take a gentle nature walk to unwind, that’s perfect. If you want to scale the tallest hill in the park, you’ll get an amazing view of your picturesque destination, including many of the places you already visited.

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11 Tour the grounds of Craigdarroch Castle

Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria, British Columbia gregobagel / Getty Images

Step back in time at Craigdarroch Castle, a stunning piece of Victoria's history. This Victorian-era mansion, built by coal baron Robert Dunsmuir, is filled with intricate woodwork, stained glass, and period antiques. The castle also offers panoramic views of the city and the surrounding mountains from the tower.

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12 Pet the Goats at Beacon Hill Park

goats running Shanna Baker / Getty Images

Beacon Hill Park is a green oasis in the heart of Victoria. With its beautifully manicured gardens, walking trails, and charming petting zoo, it's a perfect spot for a leisurely afternoon. Don't miss the world's fourth-tallest totem pole, standing at an impressive 127 feet.

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13 Smell the Roses at Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens QUILLE / Getty Images

Experience the breathtaking beauty of Butchart Gardens, a National Historic Site of Canada. With over a million bedding plants in over 900 varieties, the gardens offer stunning floral displays all year round. Whether you're exploring the Japanese Garden, the Italian Garden, or the stunning Sunken Garden, you're in for a visual treat.

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14 Get Smarter on the Grounds of Royal Roads University

Royal Roads University, set in a beautiful park-like campus, is home to the historic Hatley Castle. Explore the castle's stunning interiors, stroll through the beautifully manicured gardens, or walk along the peaceful woodland trails. The university's setting was even used as a location for several films, including the X-Men series.

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15 Petting is Allowed, if You Want at the Victoria Bug Zoo

Butterfly xs2jayesh / Getty Images

Get up close and personal with the world of insects and spiders at the Victoria Bug Zoo. This small wonderland offers visitors the chance to view and experience multi-legged creatures from around the world in a safe, fun, and friendly atmosphere. It's a fascinating adventure into a world often overlooked.

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16 Check Out Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse

High angle shot of a Fisgard Lighthouse and Fort Rodd Hill in Colwood, Canada Wirestock / Getty Images

Step into history at Fort Rodd Hill, a 19th-century coastal artillery fort, and Fisgard Lighthouse, the first lighthouse on Canada's west coast. Explore the historic buildings, wander through the Garry Oak Learning Meadow, and enjoy stunning views of the Juan de Fuca Strait.

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17 Feel Like a Giant at Miniature World

Enter a world of tiny enchantment at Miniature World. With over 85 incredibly detailed scenes, from fairy tales to historical dioramas, it's a magical journey that delights both kids and adults. Don't miss the world's smallest operational sawmill!

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18 Grab a Bite to Eat at the Victoria Public Market

Savor the flavors of Vancouver Island at Victoria Public Market. From fresh seafood and locally made cheese to artisanal bread and sweet treats, the market offers a feast for the senses. It's a great place to sample local products and discover unique crafts.

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19 Enjoy the Amazing Art at the Emily Carr House

Immerse yourself in the world of Emily Carr, one of Canada's most celebrated artists and writers, at Emily Carr House. This carefully restored Victorian house offers a glimpse into Emily's early life and her profound connection to the landscapes and indigenous cultures of British Columbia.

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20 Stroll Through Oak Bay Village

This charming district is known for its British character and beautiful marina. It's a great place to explore unique shops, art galleries, and enjoy afternoon tea. The area is also home to the Oak Bay Beach Hotel, which offers a luxurious spa and dining experience. The nearby Uplands Park and Willows Beach are perfect for enjoying the natural beauty of the area.

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