What to do in Victoria – A Tourist’s Guide

Victoria is the charming capital city of British Columbia, located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island. It is known for its beautiful gardens, historic architecture, vibrant culture, and mild year-round climate. Whether you’re visiting Victoria, BC for the first time or planning your yearly visit, here are the city’s must-do activities.

Victoria’s Cultural and Historic Attractions

Victoria offers a wealth of opportunities to experience history and culture, thanks to its well-preserved historic districts, museums, galleries, and heritage sites.

Read further as we break down some of the most notable historic and cultural sites that can provide valuable context and bring the past to life during your stay in Victoria.

1.   Inner Harbour

Victoria has a rich history as the oldest city in the Pacific Northwest, founded in 1843. Visitors can explore this heritage at the Inner Harbour, the heart of the city which boasts the stately Empress Hotel and impressive Parliament Buildings.

2.   Chinatown Victoria

Chinatown offers a glimpse into Victoria’s multicultural past as the oldest Chinatown in Canada and second oldest in North America. Fan Tan Alley is also reputedly the narrowest street in Canada.

3.   Craigdarroch Castle

Bastion Square contains many restored historic buildings, including Craigdarroch Castle, a beautiful Victorian-era mansion exemplifying late 1800s architecture and opulence through its intricate woodwork and stained glass. Guided tours are available of the castle.

4.   British Columbia Parliament Buildings

Other architectural highlights are the Parliament Buildings, an impressive Neo-baroque design facing the Inner Harbour, with free guided tours of the interior.

5.   Unique Cultural Attractions

Additional cultural attractions that are must-sees include the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, the Maritime Museum of BC, the Robert Bateman Centre’s nature paintings, and the First Nations totem poles in Thunderbird Park.

Victoria’s Parks and Gardens

Victoria is renowned for its lush gardens and scenic parks, from the world-famous Butchart Gardens to smaller hidden gems that delight visitors year-round.

1.   Butchart Gardens Tours

Victoria lives up to its “City of Gardens” nickname with abundant lush public gardens and parks to explore. The Butchart Gardens is likely the most famous, spanning 55 acres and displaying over a million bedding plants across several themed gardens, including the dramatic Sunken Garden, fragrant Rose Garden, serene Japanese Garden and lively Italian Garden.

Smaller gems like the 1-acre Abkhazi Garden enchant visitors with majestic Garry oak trees, vibrant rhododendrons, rock formations and tranquil ponds.

For royal grandeur, the 36-acre gardens of Government House, residence of the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, are open to the public. You can wander through cottage gardens, a winter garden and Garry oak meadows.

2.   Beacon Hill Park

Urban green spaces provide natural beauty and recreation, like Beacon Hill Park’s 75 hectares of gardens, woodlands and walking trails perfect for picnicking and cycling.

3.   Scenic Parks and Specialty Gardens

For scenic parks with ocean vistas, visit Uplands Park and Hatley Park, part of Royal Roads University.

Specialty gardens like the native species of Finnerty Gardens and the diverse themed gardens of Horticulture Centre of the Pacific showcase Victoria’s love of horticulture.

Pro Tour’s Victoria Vacation Tour

The spring season offers a perfect time to explore beautiful Victoria and the surrounding areas of Vancouver Island. Our Victoria Vacation guided group tour makes it easy to take in top attractions like the scenic Inner Harbour, delightful Butchart Gardens, and the charming seaside city of Victoria itself.

The tour begins with pick-up at locations across Alberta, then heads west through the Rocky Mountains, stopping at highlights like the Natural Bridge in Field, Kicking Horse Pass, Rogers Pass, and Revelstoke Railway Museum.

Once on the island, the tour includes a locally guided sightseeing tour of Victoria and a visit to Butchart Gardens with a special High Tea lunch.

There is also free time to explore Victoria, go shopping, stroll the lively harbour, and simply enjoy the fresh springtime air.

With sightseeing, admissions, ferry crossings, and overnight hotel stays all included, this tour makes experiencing springtime in Victoria easy and enjoyable.

Join us for an unforgettable experience!