Victoria is one of my favorite places in the Pacific Northwest! It’s cheaper than Seattle, cuter than Vancouver, and a beautiful place to explore in the summer. If you’re visiting Victoria from Seattle, it’s even cheaper for American visitors thanks to the exchange rate. Funds were pretty tight when I last visited Victoria, but that didn’t stop me from having a good time!
Here are some of my favorite free things to do in Victoria:
Nestled within Downtown Victoria, Victoria’s Chinatown sprawls out over several blocks. Enter through the Gates of Harmonious Interest on Fisgard Street and make your way through the restaurants and shops. Be sure to stop for some authentic dim sum if your budget allows. If you’re on a super tight budget, there are several shops where you can sample Chinese teas.
Don’t miss the narrow side alleys – they’re easy to miss if you’re not paying attention! Despite its relatively small size, Victoria’s Chinatown is the oldest in Canada. This makes it one of the oldest Chinatowns in North America as well. Checking out Chinatown was one of my favorite things to do in Victoria!
Enjoy Beacon Hill Park
Be sure to check out this sprawling seaside park located within walking distance from both downtown and the Inner Harbour. The 200-acre park features beautiful gardens, beach access, open green spaces, a petting zoo, and beautiful views.
From boutiques to open markets, Victoria has plenty of opportunities to window shop. There are lots of places to antique shop in Victoria as well. Be sure to check out Antique Row and Oak Bay Avenue if you love antique shopping!
Open markets are popular during the summer months, so don’t miss Bastion Square Market or Market Square! Check out Tourism Victoria’s shopping guide 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! The Empress Hotel is a Victoria landmark and a National Historic Sight directly on the waterfront. If you feel like treating yourself, you can stop in for afternoon tea. From here, you can easily reach the British Columbia Legislature Building as well.
Proceed in the opposite direction to walk along the beautiful causeway. Walking along the causeway on a sunny day was another one of my favorite things to do in Victoria!
Around the corner from Inner Harbour, you’ll find Fisherman’s Wharf. Walk through the colorful makeshift harbor to take in the colorful houseboats or grab a bite to eat from one of the many food vendors. Be sure to keep an eye out for seals as well!