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.

01Stroll 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

Also known as Dragon Alley, 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, as it's full of charming, family-owned shops and amazing food, courtesy of restaurants like the Forum Chinese Seafood Restaurant.

02Floating 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 peculiar 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.

03Go 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.

04Take 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.

05Take 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.

06Gaze at the Impressive Collection of Art at Art Gallery of Great 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.

07Take 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.

08Enjoy 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 the 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.

09Learn 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 a British Columbia undisturbed by human activities. It depicts several scenes, such as the lush coastal forests of the region and the rivers where salmon return in droves every year.

10Take 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 Mount Douglas Park, 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.