Photo credit to Destination BC/Tanya Goehring.
Downtown Victoria, British Columbia’s blossoming capital city, comes to life with activity during the warm summer months. Manicured lawns and shrubs line the waterfront, calm waters cradle the hulls of boats stored along the docks, and historic stone buildings create a picture-perfect postcard for visitors. Victoria is an unforgettable city to visit at any time of the year, but during the summer months it transforms into a tourism mecca. Vendors line the harbourfront causeway, double-decker tour buses circulate the thoroughfares, small crowds gather around street performers, as eager travellers excitedly take photos of the city’s most iconic landmarks. From boutique shops to mouthwatering food trucks and some of the country’s most historically significant landmarks, to see it all truly requires more than one day.
Whether you’re a young adventurer or a relaxed retiree, Victoria is truly a city everyone should add to their travel plans.
Getting To Victoria
If you’re looking for a quick getaway to Victoria, nothing beats the convenience and value of a trip aboard the V2V Empress; a stylish and modern catamaran vessel offering a comfortable, authentic, and highly personalized experience delivering you right into the heart of Victoria’s inner harbour. You’ll be picked up from downtown Vancouver and sailed through the small islands adjacent to the southern tip of Vancouver Island. Upon arrival in Victoria, you can partake in one of V2V’s own tours or explore the city on your own for a few hours before your departure back to the mainland. Check out departure time, tour offerings, and more at V2V’s website.
Things to Do In Downtown Victoria
From ocean excursions to immersive history and upscale dining, downtown Victoria has something for everyone.
Explore The History
Sign-up for a free public tour of The Parliament Buildings! These wheelchair-friendly tours are open to the public all year round. On weekdays, visitors have the choice to participate in a tour or explore the building at their leisure, while on weekends guests must partake in a guided tour.
Visit the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia’s website for more tour information about what to bring and how to book a tour in advance.
History buffs also won’t want to miss The Royal BC Museum, featuring natural and human history exhibits from all reaches of the province.
Next, head over to The Empress Hotel. Aside from being a world-class hotel, The Empress is one of downtown Victoria’s most iconic buildings. The Chateau-style resort that was built in 1908 is formally recognized as a National Historic Site and open to the public for self-guided tours throughout the lobby. Those interested in an upscale experience can participate in Tea at the Empress, a renowned tradition serving over 21 varieties of tea, each exclusively blended for The Empress, and served with light fare.
Meet The Locals: Authentic Wildlife Tours
No trip to Vancouver Island is complete without venturing out on the water to meet the local sea life. Prince of Whales Whale & Marine Wildlife Adventures is conveniently located in the inner-harbour, just a 5-minute walk from where the V2V vessel docks, making for an unforgettable day on the water. Sign up for their half-day tour aboard a custom-built vessel made to enhance your whale watching experience in comfort and style. Just some of the many species you could encounter include orcas, humpbacks, sea lions, sea otters, seals, eagles, and more. Learn more about their tours or book your expedition at https://princeofwhales.com.
Take A Guided Tour
Looking to get the most out of your time in Victoria? A professional guide is a great option, and there are plenty of varieties to choose from. Whether you’re looking for a walking tour, cycling tour, food tour, carriage tour, brewery tour, or even a Tesla tour, the options are endless.
Grab Some Grub
Everything is within reach in downtown Victoria! Find authentic pub eats, or worldly cuisine, everything your palette craves can be found just a few blocks from the harbour. If you’re in the mood for something quick and simple, there’s often a food truck or two near the causeway, or continue your journey along David Foster Way to discover great seafood restaurants.