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The Top 10 Things To Do And See In Victoria

Picture of Harriet Myers
Harriet Myers
Updated: 9 February 2017
Provincial capital of British Columbia, Victoria is situated on Vancouver Island and is one of the most picturesque cities in North America. Here, we uncover our list of the top 10 things you should definitely add to your itinerary!

Royal BC Museum

For a thorough grounding in British Columbia’s prehistoric past, the Royal BC Museum is a great place to start. Starting with its beginnings as a First Nation and tracing the story of the region up until the present day, the gallery displays are extremely well presented and feature an impressive level of detail. As well as the permanent collection, there are also various temporary exhibitions as well as some online exclusives.

Opening Hours: 10am-5pm daily

Royal BC Museum, 675 Belleville Street, Victoria, BC, Canada, +1 250 356 7226

Victoria Inner Harbour

One of the most scenic areas of Victoria’s downtown is its spectacular inner harbour. Bustling with interest during the summer months, this is the home of most of the city’s waterfront activity, including the annual classic boat festival held annually during September’s Labour Day Weekend. If you’re looking for a great photography opportunity, be sure to visit during evening hours when the sparkling lights are incredibly beautiful.

Victoria Inner Harbour, Victoria, BC, Canada, +1 250 388 7223

Beacon Hill Park

Named after the two beacons on New York state’s Mount Beacon, Beacon Hill Park was established way back in 1862. Today, this 200 acre plot of land has become one of the most well-loved outdoor spaces in Victoria; popular with tourists and locals alike thanks to its diverse areas of woodland, gardens and recreational playing fields. As a marker of the land’s significance in indigenous cultures, the park is also home to the world’s fourth tallest totem pole.

Beacon Hill Park, Douglas Street and Dallas Road, Victoria, BC, Canada, +1 250 361 0600

Goldstream Provincial Park

Located ten miles north of Victoria itself, Goldstream Provincial Park is a great example of Vancouver Island’s spectacular natural ecosystems. Alongside the towering Douglas firs, the park features the evergreen arbutus tree, found exclusively on Vancouver Island. Those with a keen eye might also be able to spot some of the eagles, bears or salmon fish that call the park home.

Goldstream Provincial Park, 2930 Trans-Canada Highway, Victoria, BC, Canada, +1 250 478 9414

BC Legislature Building

Home to the Legislature Assembly of British Columbia, the BC Legislature Building is a hugely dominant – and architecturally stunning – Victoria landmark. Built in 1897 in an imposing neo-baroque style, the building is full of interesting architectural features. To learn more about its history, as well as that of the province and its parliamentary process, the free guided tour is well worth it.

Opening Hours: 8.30am-5pm daily

BC Legislature Building, 501 Belleville Street, Victoria, BC, Canada, +1 250 387 3046

Victoria Bug Zoo

Maybe not one for those with arachnophobia, the Victoria Bug Zoo is perfect for all insect lovers. A compact ‘mini-zoo’ with just two rooms, this place is nevertheless home to over forty different species of tropical bugs. The interactive tours are geared mainly towards kids but also include plenty of information and handling time too if you wish!

Opening Hours: 11am-4pm Monday to Friday, 10am-5pm Saturday and Sunday

Victoria Bug Zoo, 631 Courtney Street, Victoria, BC, Canada, +1 250 384 2847

Craigdarroch Castle

A vast Scottish Baronial style mansion, Craigdarroch Castle dates back to the Victorian era when it was constructed as the family home of oil baron Robert Dunsmuir. Now open as a public museum, the house features 39 rooms and a square footage of over 25,000m2. Many of the family’s original artefacts and antique belongings have remained on site and function as a great insight into the lavish lifestyle of one of Canada’s industrial founders.

Opening Hours: 9am-7pm daily

Craigdarroch Castle, 1050 Joan Crescent, Victoria, BC, Canada, +1 250 592 5323

Fisherman’s Wharf

A unique destination on Victoria’s waterfront is Fisherman’s Wharf. Full of small food stalls and kiosks, you can easily while away an afternoon here exploring the different stalls and watching boats enter the harbour. If you are interested in any of the most adventurous water-based activities on offer in Victoria, this place is also the home of Eagle Wing Whale Watching and Kelp Reef Kayaking.

Opening Hours: 9am-9pm daily

Fisherman’s Wharf, 1 Dallas Road, Victoria, BC, Canada, +1 250 383 8300

Eagle Wing Whale Watching, 1 Dallas Road, Victoria, BC, Canada, +1 250 384 8008

Kelp Reef Kayaking, 12 Erie Street, Victoria, BC, Canada, +1 250 386 7333

Robert Bateman Centre

Specializing in wildlife paintings, the Robert Bateman Centre is a nature-focused art gallery near Victoria’s inner harbour. Robert Bateman himself, one of Canada’s most revered artistic talents, displays the main bulk of his collection here, ranging from paintings and drawings to sculpture and etchings. As well its permanent exhibits, the gallery also has a commendable education outreach program, which is responsible for delivering literary, fine arts and environmental learning opportunities to the wider community.

Opening Hours: 10am-5pm Sunday to Thursday, 10am-9pm Friday and Saturday

Robert Bateman Centre, 470 Belleville Street, Victoria, BC, Canada, +1 250 940 3630

Butchart Gardens

One of the most visited tourist sites in Victoria, Butchart Gardens are located close to the city in Brentwood Bay. For almost 100 years, the gardens have focused on landscaped floral displays, although recent years have seen their expansion to include several other features including a Pavillion and Ross Fountain. Interestingly, the Gardens remain owned by the same family that was responsible for their original opening, meaning that their unique charm and character have been successfully preserved for the enjoyment of multiple generations.

Opening Hours: 9am-9pm daily

Butchart Gardens, 800 Benvenuto Avenue, Brentwood Bay, BC, Canada, +1 250 652 4422

Harriet Myers