Discover the enchanting beauty of Victoria, British Columbia this summer! With its stunning landscapes, vibrant cultural scene and a variety of outdoor activities, Victoria welcomes visitors to experience an unforgettable summer getaway. From exploring breathtaking gardens to embarking on a thrilling whale-watching excursion, Victoria has a delightful blend of natural wonders and urban charm creating an irresistible summer destination like no other! Here is our list of 10 things to do in Victoria this summer.
Beacon Hill Park. Credit: Destination Greater Victoria.
1. Walk through Beacon Hill Park: Stroll through the meandering trails in Beacon Hill Park, which wind their way through lush greenery, vibrant flower beds and serene groves, or indulge in a relaxing picnic amidst the richness of Beacon Hill Park. For families and animal lovers, the petting zoo in Beacon Hill Park is a highlight. You can get up close and personal with goats, rabbits, and other barnyard animals. The petting zoo offers an interactive experience that will surely bring a smile to your face!
Kayaker in the Inner Harbor. Credit: Destination Greater Victoria.
2. Explore Victoria by Water: One of the best ways to take in the beauty of Victoria's Inner Harbour is by experiencing it directly on the water. Whale watching, kayaking, and water taxi's provide three unique adventures through the Inner Harbour and beyond.
Victoria is known as one of the best locations in the world for observing marine wildlife, particularly orcas and humpback whales, as well as seals, otters, and various water birds.
3. Attend a Local Market: Victoria is known for its vibrant local markets that offer a unique shopping experience. These markets are a treasure trove of fresh produce, artisanal crafts, delicious food, and a thriving sense of community. A couple of our favorites include:
Bastion Square Public Market: A must-visit destination for those seeking a taste of local artistry. Open Thursday through Sunday from May to September, the Bastion Square Public Market is renowned for its local artisans and craft vendors. Here, you can browse through a wide assortment of handmade jewelry, clothing, accessories, paintings, and sculptures. The market’s charming atmosphere, coupled with its prime location, makes it a favorite spot for both shopping and casual wandering.
Moss Street Market: This vibrant community market that operates on Saturdays from May to October is nestled in the heart of the Fairfield neighborhood. It showcases a delightful range of local, organic produce, fresh flowers, and plants, as well as homemade preserves, baked goods, handmade soaps, and crafts.
Victoria's Inner Harbor. Credit: Destination Greater Victoria.
4. Explore Victoria’s Inner Harbour: You can expect to be surrounded by picturesque views of the stunning Harbor, Legislature Buildings and the iconic Empress Hotel. While visiting the Inner Harbour, be sure to take advantage of the nearby attractions, including the Royal BC Museum, where you can discover exhibits that bring the past to life, offering insights into the province’s Indigenous heritage, natural wonders, and diverse communities.
5. Check Out One of Victoria’s Craft Breweries: Victoria is renowned for its thriving craft beer scene, boasting a multitude of breweries that cater to beer enthusiasts and connoisseurs alike. With a rich brewing tradition and a passion for quality and innovation, Victoria’s breweries offer a wide variety of flavors and styles. Some of our favorites include:
Vancouver Island Brewing (2330 Government Street): With a commitment to using local ingredients, Vancouver Island Brewing produces a diverse range of beers that reflect the region’s character and flavors. From their popular Hermann’s Dark Lager to refreshing West Coast IPAs, Vancouver Island Brewing offers a selection of traditional and innovative brews. The brewery also features a tasting room where visitors can sample beers and learn about the brewing process.
Driftwood Brewery (836 Viewfield Road): This brewery has gained a reputation for its bold and flavorful beers. Driftwood produces a range of unique and highly sought-after brews. From their Fat Tug IPA, renowned for its hoppy intensity, to their rich and complex Belgian-style Farmhand Ale, Driftwood Brewery continues to push the boundaries of taste and quality.
Whistle Buoy Brewing Company (560 Johnson Street): Situated in Victoria's Market Square, Whistle Buoy has become a beloved destination for beer enthusiasts and locals alike. With its commitment to quality, creativity, and community, the brewery has carved out a special place in Victoria's thriving craft beer scene.
Herald Street Brew Works (506 Herald Street): Located in the heart of Victoria, Herald Street Brew Works has established a reputation for its diverse selection of handcrafted beers. Whether you're a seasoned beer aficionado or simply looking to explore Victoria's craft beer scene, Herald Street Brew Works offers a delightful destination to indulge in unique seasonal brews.
6. Experience Traditional Afternoon Tea: With its rich history and picturesque setting, Victoria is the perfect place to experience the delights of traditional afternoon tea. A popular venue for afternoon tea is the Pendray Inn and Tea House. Housed in a Victorian mansion, the Pendray Inn offers a charming and intimate setting for tea lovers. Another location for indulging in afternoon tea is The Dining Room at The Butchart Gardens, where guests can take in the breathtaking views of The Butchart Gardens' natural beauty while enjoying their tea and treats.
7. Visit a Local Cidery: Victoria is not only known for its craft breweries but also for its thriving cider scene. The city and surrounding region are home to several cideries that produce a wide variety of delicious and refreshing ciders. Here’s a couple of our favorites:
Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse (2487 Mount St. Michael Road): Located in Saanichton, Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse is a picturesque cidery that offers a scenic and immersive cider experience. Set on a beautiful farm with stunning views, Sea Cider produces a range of handcrafted ciders using traditional cider apple varieties. Take a guided tour of the orchard, learn about the cider-making process, and sample a variety of ciders in the tasting room!
Junction Orchard & Cidery (273 Prospect Lake Road): Located at Prospect Lake on an 8-acre farm, Junction is a welcoming and rustic west coast venue creating delicious and unique ciders. Focusing on ingredients from Vancouver Island, Junction uses seasonal fruits to create unique and innovative cider flavors.
Takata Japanese and Zen Garden. Credit: The Gardens at HCP.
8. Stroll Through a Garden: Known as the "Garden City", Victoria boasts a mild coastal climate that is ideal for cultivating a diverse range of plants and flowers. The city's gardens offer a delightful mix of natural beauty and historical significance. Some of the most charming gardens of Victoria include:
The Gardens at the Horticulture Centre of the Pacific (HCP): Offering a serene and captivating experience for nature lovers and garden enthusiasts, the gardens at HCP showcase a diverse range of plant species and stunning floral displays, including an impressive collection of bonsai trees, some of which are more than 150 years old. While you’re there, be sure to check out their onsite restaurant, Charlotte and the Quail, which features an ever-changing menu with local, seasonal ingredients, some of which are grown right there at the gardens!
The Butchart Gardens: Established over a century ago, The Butchart Gardens certainly live up to their reputation as a world-class garden destination. The gardens span 55 acres and feature exquisite themed gardens such as the Sunken Garden, the Japanese Garden, the Rose Garden, and the Italian Garden. Butchart Gardens also provides enchanting weekly firework displays in July and August.
Willow's Beach. Credit: Destination Greater Victoria.
9. Relax at the Beach: Victoria is home to a stunning coastline with some of the most beautiful beaches on Vancouver Island. Whether you’re looking to soak up the sun or take a leisurely stroll along the shore, here are a couple of the best beaches in Victoria:
Willows Beach: Located in the picturesque Oak Bay neighborhood, Willows Beach is a favorite among locals and visitors alike. With its soft sand, calm waters, and stunning views of Mount Baker, this beach offers a tranquil and family-friendly atmosphere. It’s an ideal spot for picnicking, beachcombing, and even a round of beach volleyball in the summer!
Gonzales Beach: Tucked away in the Fairfield neighborhood, Gonzales Beach is a hidden gem known for its natural beauty and peaceful ambiance. The sandy beach is surrounded by rocky outcrops and offers breathtaking views of the Olympic Mountains. It’s a fantastic spot for beachcombing or simply sitting back and enjoying the stunning coastal scenery.
The Bar at The Courtney Room. Credit: The Courtney Room.
10. Try Out One of Victoria’s Top Restaurants: Victoria is a culinary hub with a vibrant and diverse food scene. Whether you’re a fan of fine dining, farm-to-table cuisine, or international flavors, Victoria’s restaurant scene is sure to impress with its culinary excellence and commitment to quality. Here are a couple of our top choices:
Il Terrazzo (555 Johnson Street): Tucked away in Victoria’s historic Bastion Square, Il Terrazzo is a charming Italian restaurant that delights visitors with its warm ambiance and authentic cuisine.
The Courtney Room (619 Courtney Street): Located in the heart of downtown Victoria, The Courtney Room is a sophisticated restaurant that combines elegance with modern flair.
Foo Asian Street Food (769 Yates Street): An easygoing place serving varied Asian street food, beer & cider in a contemporary space with a patio.
Virtuous Pie (530 Pandora Avenue): A modern vegan spot that serves up unique and creative handcrafted pizzas and small bites as well as innovative cocktails.