Not far from the airport and ferry terminal off the Pay Bay Highway, Sidney has evolved over the last few decades from a sleepy residential haven into a charming, pedestrian- and bike-friendly destination for shopping, dining, and leisurely strolls by the sea. Beacon Street is lined with a tempting array of independent retail stores, galleries, cafes, and a remarkable number of specialty bookstores. On Thursday nights in the summer, traffic is detoured onto secondary streets as merchants, food vendors, and entertainers gather for the hugely popular open-air Sidney Street Market.
At the water’s edge are pubs, hotels, a fishing pier, and a long seaside promenade lined with public art sculptures, picnic tables, and benches where one can pause to drink in the stunning views of Mount Baker as it rises above the clouds. Visit the kid-friendly Aquarium of the Salish Sea at the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre. Catch a show at the Mary Winspear Centre, Embark on a whale-watching expedition. Or get active when exploring town’s two artificial reefs on a diving adventure or by renting a kayak and paddling across to Sidney Spit in the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve.