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First Timer's Guide To Victoria

Victoria offers year-round extraordinary adventures for all that will nourish your mind, refresh your body and soothe your soul!   Here’s our guide to the top 10 must-do experiences in Victoria!


Learn about British Columbia’s history

Whether this is your first or twentieth visit, the Royal BC Museum’s extensive galleries and interactive spaces will surprise you with something new and engaging. With 26,000 square feet of indoor exhibits and seven million artefacts there is no better place to see all of BC in an afternoon. Authentic objects are brought to life in the renowned First Peoples, Modern History, 20th Century and Natural History Galleries as well as an ever-changing feature exhibition gallery.


Visit Victoria’s floating homes

One of Victoria’s most colourful attractions, Fisherman’s Wharf is a must-see! Explore the variety of float homes and fishing vessels, enjoy local fish and chips on the docks and admire the views of the harbour before heading out on the water yourself.  Go on a whale watching adventure with Eagle Wing Tours on either a covered boat or a speedboat style boat to search for orcas, humpbacks and other local marine life. Alternatively, try your hand at kayaking with Kelp Reef Adventures and paddle out with your guide to a local bull kelp forest, keeping an eye out for marine residents along the way.


Take a seaside stroll

Dallas Road is one of the most scenic spots in the city. Follow the coastline and discover driftwood covered beaches, shallow bays and unparalleled views of the snow-capped Olympic Mountains, you might even see one of the frequent kite surfers and paragliders taking advantage of the ocean breeze. Take a walk out on the Ogden Point Breakwater, which lets you literally walk right out to sea, and see the intricate First Nations artwork painted on either side. After your walk make a stop at The Breakwater Bistro to take in the view with a drink in hand.


Stop and smell the roses

Home to the mildest climate in Canada it’s no wonder Greater Victoria has been dubbed The City of Gardens.  The Butchart family has built a legacy of a world-renowned garden with over a million bedding plants in 900 varieties, The Butchart Gardens is a must-see year round.  Discover the epic love story between a prince and a commoner that stretched decades at Abkhazi Garden or wander through nine acres of gardens set in a conservation park at The Gardens at HCP.


Make a stop at Beacon Hill Park

Beacon Hill Park is one of city’s favourite green spaces. Stroll the gardens past ponds and bridged streams, keeping an eye out for resident peacocks and blue herons. Make a stop at Beacon Hill Children’s Farm (open March to September), full of adorable animals including goats, sheep, alpacas and donkeys. The goat stampede is a daily highlight (trust us!).


Pedal through Quaint Neighbourhoods

Pedal your way through quaint neighbourhood gems, each with a unique vibe and atmosphere. Visit James Bay and discover local coffee shops and restaurants nestled amongst heritage homes. Head to Oak Bay and cycle through the village, making stops at delis, pubs and galleries lining Oak Bay Avenue, or head over to Vic West to find the Gorge Park Japanese Garden. Take a guided tour with The Pedaler, or rent a bicycle and explore on your own!


Raise a pint

Victoria is the cradle of the “craft beer revolution” with over a dozen breweries and cideries. Visit Canada’s oldest brewpub, Spinnakers, pick a flight from sixteen craft brews on tap at Phillips Brewing Tasting Room, and go behind the scenes with a Brew Tour at Vancouver Island Brewing. If you prefer brewery hopping by boat, head on the Pickle Pub Crawl with Victoria Harbour Ferries and let a ferry captain be your designated driver!


Enjoy afternoon tea

Tea culture has remained strong in Victoria ever since the first wave of European settlers arrived, today the time honoured tradition is alive and well, with some modern West Coast flair mixed in.  Enjoy the iconic Tea at the Empress (or opt for their vegan afternoon tea option), try the West Coast Afternoon Tea at Pendray Inn & Tea House, or enjoy your high tea amongst the flowers at The Butchart Gardens or Abkhazi Gardens.


Shop trendy boutiques

Home to quaint shops, local food markets and unique boutiques there are a variety of great shopping opportunities in Victoria! Lower Johnson Street, more commonly known as LoJo, is a district of trendy boutique shopping with independent fashion and accessory shops, it’s also home to the entrance of Market Square where you’ll find a wonderful selection of one-of-a kind merchandise.  If you’re after something more offbeat, head to Canada’s oldest Chinatown and stroll down Fan Tan Alley, North America’s narrowest street, lined with quirky shops and restaurants.  For an assortment of local artisans, farmers, butchers and bakers head to the historic building housing Victoria Public Market.

Last updated: 2023

Destination Greater Victoria is honoured to be based on the traditional territory of the Lekwungen-speaking peoples of the Songhees Nation and the Esquimalt Nation, whose historical relationships with the land continue to this day.