Thanks to the abundance of things to see and do within the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia, Victoria, BC is often overlooked. I too am guilty of this, as I opted out of a trip to Victoria in March in favor of a catching an earlier flight from Vancouver to Hong Kong.
However, I am glad that I did skip on Victoria in March, as Victoria is heavenly in the summertime! Victoria deserves recognition for far more than just being Canadian’s most English-feeling city. Nor is it just a place for honeymooners or retirees, as others have claimed! Not only is Victoria naturally beautiful, but it has its own unique flair with local breweries, vintage boutiques, and a multitude of businesses with a strong sense of local pride.
You don’t need a lot of money to enjoy Victoria! All of the following activities are free and endorsed by locals who love showing off their hometown!
Nestled within Downtown Victoria, there are several blocks comprising Victoria’s Chinatown. Enter through the Gates of Harmonious Interest on Fisgard Street, and make your way through the assorted restaurants and shops.
Don’t miss the narrow side alleys – they’re easy to pass if you’re not paying attention! Despite its relatively small size, Victoria’s Chinatown is the oldest in Canada, making it one of the oldest Chinatowns in North America as well.
Enjoy Beacon Hill Park
Be sure to check out this sprawling seaside park, located within walking distance from both downtown and the inner harbour. This 200-acre park features beautiful gardens, open green spaces, a petting zoo and stunning hillside views.
From malls to boutiques and open markets, Victoria boasts plenty of opportunities to window shop. If you are interested in antiques, be sure to check out Antique Row and Oakbay Avenue.
Open markets are popular during the summer months, don’t miss Bastion Square Market or Market Square! Click here for more information on shopping in Victoria, and a schedule of Victoria’s public markets.
Explore Inner Harbour
Stroll through Victoria’s Inner Harbour to take in some seaside views, marvel at the marina, and check out the historic Empress Hotel. From here, You can easily reach the British Columbia Legislature Building as well.
Proceed in the opposite direction to walk along the beautiful causeway hugging the inner harbour.
After a short, scenic walk around the corner from Inner Harbour, you’ll reach Fisherman’s Wharf. Walk through the colorful makeshift harbour to take in the colorful houseboats, or grab a bite at one of the many food vendors. Be sure to keep an eye out for seals as well!