The Top 12 Things to Do and See in Victoria, British Columbia
Victoria, Situated on Vancouver Island, is the capital of British Columbia.
It’s a wonderful spot to visit for the day, a weekend, or a longer escape. There is plenty to keep everyone occupied –from award-winning museums and gardens to the best fish and chips you’ll ever eat. Continue reading to find the 12 best things to do and see in British Columbia’s capital.
Over one million people visit the world-famous Butchart Gardens annually. The National Historic Site of Canada is home to five Chief gardens: the Rose, Japanese, Italian, Mediterranean, and Sunken Gardens. The latter was the first job the Butcharts developed several decades back, as it was formerly a quarry. Among the greatest things about Butchart Gardens is the fact that it seems impressive in every season, even in winter when they decorate with thousands of twinkling lights.
Royal BC Museum
The Royal BC Museum, established in Victoria in 1886, is home to British Columbia’s human and natural history museum and the British Columbia Provincial Archives (since 2003). Queen Elizabeth II approved of the museum’s Royal title in 1987 when it was bestowed by Prince Philip during that year’s royal tour. It houses three permanent galleries: contemporary history, First Nations history, and natural history. The Royal BC Museum is also where you’ll see British Columbia’s largest IMAX® display.
Royal BC Museum, 675 Belleville Street, Victoria, BC, Canada, +1 250 356 7226
Many of Canada’s Fairmont properties are thought of as Canadian castles. The luxurious Fairmont Empress in Victoria is just one of them. Condé Nast designated it a Gold List resort, whilst Travel + Leisure named it a top rated Canadian hotel. Fairmont Empress also recently underwent a $60 million restoration, so internally, it seems more impressive than ever. Tea at the Empress is an afternoon tea that’s been appreciated by visiting royals and celebrities also. It is a must-do when in Victoria, with tasty treats and more than 21 loose leaf teas available.
Fairmont Empress, 721 Government Street, Victoria, BC, Canada, +1 250 384 8111
Miniature World calls itself”The Best Little Show on Earth.” Within the Victoria tourist attraction, guests will discover the world’s smallest operational sawmill, as well as among the world’s biggest model railways, and a couple of the world’s biggest dollhouses, constructed in the 1880s. Miniature World is also home to the Fantastic World of the Circus, the Enchanted Valley of Castles, Fantasy Land, and a Lot More. It’s a perfect location for the entire family to spend a day.
Miniature World, 649 Humboldt Street, Victoria, BC, Canada, +1 250 385 9731
Victoria’s Inner Harbour must be among the world’s most beautiful harbors. Located in the middle of town, it’s where the Fairmont Empress, the Royal BC Museum, and the BC Parliament Building (home to BC’s Legislative Assembly) lie. A stroll across the water to observe these architecturally pleasing buildings, and also to watch the seaplanes take off and land, is a must-do. It seems just as good during the day as it does at night, and performances and festivals take place regularly from the Inner Harbour during the warmer months.
Red Fish Blue Fish
1 thing you need to consume in Victoria is fish and chips from Red Fish Blue Fish. The local business sits within an upcycled shipping container onto a wooden pier in Victoria’s Inner Harbour. Red Fish Blue Fish only serves sustainable Ocean Wise fish too. Their menu includes the traditional fish and chips, in addition to fish chowder, jerk fish poutine, sandwiches, fried oysters, and tacones. Even though their wait times can be extended, the meal in the end is absolutely worth the wait.
Red Fish Blue Fish, 1006 Wharf Street, Victoria, BC, Canada, +1 250 298 6877
Hatley Park National Historic Site
Victoria has many impressive stately buildings, such as Hatley Castle at Hatley Park National Historic Site. The prestigious property was a home, a military school, and is now a museum, situated on the Royal Roads University campus. Hatley Castle, constructed from the Scottish-Baronial style, has beautifully manicured gardens surrounding it. Today, it’s also featured in several TV shows and movies, such as Smallville and the X-Men collection.
Hatley Park National Historic Site, 2005 Sooke Road, Victoria, BC, Canada, +1 250 391 2666
Beacon Hill Park
Beacon Hill Park lies within walking distance of downtown Victoria. The 200-acre (75-hectare) property is home to paths, two playgrounds for the children, a Mile 0 signal (signifying the beginning of the Trans-Canada Highway), sports fields and courts, a petting zoo, and manicured gardens. Beacon Hill Park has impressive views of Juan de Fuca Strait and Washington State’s Olympic Mountains too. Within the park, have a look at the world’s fourth largest totem pole and the bridge between Goodacre and Fountain Lakes, which will be devoted to famous BC artist, Emily Carr.
Beacon Hill Park, 100 Cook Street, Victoria, BC, Canada, +1 250 361 0600
Lower Johnson Street
For those shoppers visiting Victoria, be certain to check out Lower Johnson Street at the city centre. Known As LoJo, the road’s colorful Victorian buildings house a number of the city’s best independent boutiques, retailers, and restaurants. For meals, see the following popular areas: Il Terrazzo, Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria, and Willy’s Cafe and Bakery. Favourite stores include Lore General Store for gifts and homewares and Still Life for Her. Do not leave without drifting through Market Square too.
Lower Johnson Street, Victoria, BC, Canada
Yes, Victoria has a Fisherman’s Wharf, just like San Francisco. However, Victoria’s counterpart is slightly different. Located around the corner from Inner Harbour, Fisherman’s Wharf is home to many people and their floating houses. Walk around the marina and admire the vibrant properties, before seeing one of the numerous restaurants. Tasty treats include fish and chips, Mexican food, ice cream, and much more.
Victoria’s Chinatown is the oldest in Canada, the second oldest in North America, and a National Historic Site. The most important area to see is the 500–600 block of Fisgard Street, which is where its impressive gate, The Gate of Harmonious Interest, stands. There are lots of historical buildings on this block, in addition to Chinese companies, independent cafés, and Fan Tan Alley, which is recognized for being one of the narrowest alleys in North America.
Known as one of Canada’s most haunted areas, Craigdarroch Castle, constructed between 1887 and 1890, is a National Historic Site classified as a Victorian”bonanza castle.” Today, people can see and have a walk back in time to observe how the upper class would have dwelt in the 1890s. Craigdarroch Castle sits on a hill overlooking the town and has a total of 39 rooms over four floors.
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