How to Spend a Weekend in Victoria, BC

Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, Canada, is a must see destination for anyone coming to the West Coast. Located on the beautiful Vancouver Island, it’s probably the only other city in BC that I would want to live. Surprisingly for someone who loves traveling, I really haven’t seen too much of BC. So, I made a point to visit Victoria during a long weekend in May. We booked a fantastic micro apartment right downtown that I highly recommend (also sliding this 45$ airbnb credit into this post). We flew in on Friday night and left Monday night so we had 3 solid days of exploring. I would recommend spending at least 3 days in Victoria. Although that’s what we did, we spent a lot of time restaurant hopping and happy hour-ing.

Parliament

Ah the star of the show. Parliament is a great place for anyone regardless of if you want to spend hours here or stop by for a quick photo opp. There are free guided tours year round. Or just hang out front for a relaxing and a scenic time.

Butchart Gardens

Low-key the real star of the show is Butchart Gardens. This world renowned garden is a grandiose flower haven. Located about a half hour outside of downtown Victoria, it’s well worth it if you have a car or a little extra spending money. There are 900 bedding plant varieties and over 1 million plants! The garden is over 100 years old and a National Historic Site of Canada.

Fisherman’s Wharf

Fisherman’s Wharf is a collection of colourful houseboats in the harbour. Although commercialized with restaurants, an ice cream shop and a gift shop, it still had a quaint feel to it and it was easy to get photos without other tourists. If you’ve ever seen photos of Fisherman’s Wharf, you’ve maybe seen the adorbs seal residents in the water. Well, I spoke to a lady at Victoria Tourism and she said that the seals are less prominent now (we didn’t see any). That’s because tourists have fed them so much that they became overweight. She also said that the seals developed cataracts after constantly looking up at the sky/sun. Tourists are now discouraged from feeding them so please keep this in mind if you do see one here.

Ogden Point Breakwater

Okay but you still want to see seals right?? Ogden Point Breakwater is the only spot along the ocean that we spotted a seal. It’s a kilometre long walkway that juts into the ocean where you ultimately reach a lighthouse.

Fan Tan Alley/ Chinatown

Did you know that Victorias Chinatown is the oldest one in Canada? And Fan Tan Alley (the alley between Pandora Ave and Chinatown) is the narrowest street in all of Canada? To be honest, the whole “narrowest street in Canada” is such a gimmick to me that I hate myself for loving it. The Chinatown, although old, is quite small and can be explored fairly quickly.

The Fairmont Empress

Overlooking the Inner Harbour, the Fairmont Empress is the hotel to stay at in Victoria (maybe even the country). Opened in 1908, it’s still serves it’s daily, world famous Tea at the Empress. As you can imagine, a nights stay and even High Tea come with a hefty price tag. If you don’t have the budget then do as I did and just stop by for a photo.

Royal BC Museum

I’m especially partial to going to the museum because when we went, it was the start of the Egyptian Exhibit! We saw a mummified cat that was up to 5000 years old. Also, there was a statue of a pharaoh that was up to 2500 years old and it wasn’t, I repeat, WAS NOT behind glass. Check the exhibit schedule if you’re interested. But regardless, the year round collections were still interesting!

If you’re going, I highly recommend you read my post about best places to eat and drink in Victoria !

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3 Comments

  1. This post is so perfect because I will be studying in Victoria when I move to Canada for four months! Can I ask you about the weather though? And also, would you say that four months is too long – like, will I get inexplicably bored? It looks perfect for a weekend but I am dubious about a full third of a year haha.

    1. Hi Amy!

      How exciting you get to do a semester in Victoria!! The weather in Victoria is some of the best year round in Canada. It rarely gets TOO hot or TOO cold (for Canadian standards). When we went, all 3 of the mornings looked like it was going to rain but by 11am it turned into beautiful days. I don’t think you’ll be bored in your 4 months there. You’ll be on Vancouver Island! There’s so many hikes, quaint towns, surfing ect available. And you’re a quick ferry to Vancouver or the USA. 🙂

      Hope you enjoy your time in Canada!

  2. Victoria looks lovely. It’s funny how the towns closest to us we seem to miss but have seen so much in other parts of the world! The gardens do look like the real star of the show though, just googled them haha.

    Jenny | Local Leo