The Butchart Gardens are the premier tourist attraction when you visit Victoria BC. The gardens are about a half hour from the inner harbor. Land based visitors can take a double decker bus from the inner harbor or a private vehicle. Cruise ship passengers will do better to book directly from their cruise ship. The Butchart Gardens were built in 1904 in the basins created by a former cement plant. Fireworks can only be seen Saturday’s during the summer.
Oak Bay Golf Course
Visit Victoria BC – Inner Harbor
Victoria BC Inner Harbor is home to the Fairmont Empress Hotel, famous for serving afternoon tea at around $50 per person. Next to the Empress is the Royal BC Museum and Thunderbird Park with its totem poles and clan house. Walk along the inner harbor past the Parliament Buildings and Laurel Point Inn. You will eventually reach Fisherman’s Wharf. Check out our Victoria BC Self Guided Walking Tour Map. Alternately take a water taxi around the harbor. Or take a horse drawn carriage ride – BC Carriage Tours operates from the inner harbor and the cruise ship terminal.
Inner harbor tourist destinations include Miniature World and Bug Zoo. You can also walk north from the inner harbor along the tourist shops on Government St until you reach China Town. Don’t miss Fan Tan Alley and Dragon Alley there.
Beacon Hill Park
Beacon Hill Park
Beacon Hill Park begins near the inner harbor and extends to the waterfront on the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The park is a short distance from the cruise ship terminal. It includes a children’s petting zoo and peacocks wandering through the park. Don’t miss the Beacon Drive In at the edge of the park for the best soft ice cream in town.
Dragon Boat Festival
Victoria Inner Harbor Events
Attend the Symphony Splash – the Victoria Symphony’s fund raising concert performed on a barge in the inner harbor on the first Sunday in August.
Victoria Dragon Boat Festival – in late August.
Swiftsure International Yacht Race – in May.
Symphony Splash, August
See the Sights Near Victoria BC
Search for killer whales with a Prince of Whales Whale Watching excursion or try a Whale Watching Tour.
See a salmon run in Goldstream Park in November. Goldstream is located at the western edge of the city.
Travel west of town to China Beach or hike the West Coast Trail.
Travel north of town to Parksville, Cathedral Grove and Pacific Rim National Park.
Fairmont Empress Hotel
Visit Victoria BC – Other Sights
Take a Big Bus Hop-on Hop-off tour of the city in a double decker bus.
Christ Church Cathedral – the place of worship for the Queen of England and the Royal Family on visits.
Government House – the British Royal Family stays here during visits. The grounds are open to the public.
Emily Carr House – childhood home of the well-known painter.
Fairmont Empress Hotel – right on the inner harbor in the heart of the tourist district
Abigail’s Hotel – close to the inner harbor
The Grand Pacific – on the inner harbor opposite the ferry landing
Victoria BC Weather
Victoria BC weather has two distinct seasons. The dry season extends from May to September with ideal weather occurring in July and August. Summer is the height of the tourist season. The rainy season extends from November to February. During this period temperatures can reach highs of 50 F or 10 C during heavy rainfall. If the skies briefly clear, temperatures can drop slightly below freezing. Snowfall is extremely rare.
Flowering Trees, April
Get to Victoria BC
With the increased popularity of ocean cruising, one of the most common ways to get to Victoria BC is on an Alaska cruise starting from Seattle. The Victoria BC inner harbor is a pleasant walk from the cruise ship terminal. Check out the Victoria BC Self Guided Walking Tour Map.
You can also get to Victoria BC on a number of different ferries to Vancouver Island:
the Coho (Black Ball) Ferry – vehicle service between Port Angeles, Washington and the Victoria BC inner harbor.
the Victoria Clipper ferry – passenger-only service between Seattle, Washington and the inner harbor.
BC Ferries – hourly summer vehicle service between Vancouver, BC and Swartz Bay near Victoria.
Washington State Ferry – vehicle service between Anacortes, Washington and Sidney, BC near Victoria.
The Victoria BC International Airport is about a half hour north of the downtown area.
Visit Victoria BC – Background
Victoria BC is the capital of British Columbia. About 300,000 people live there. Victoria BC is on the southern tip of Vancouver Island and is within 60 miles of both Seattle, Washington and Vancouver, British Columbia. Vancouver Island was inhabited by Coast Salish First Nations, including the Songhees, when European explorers arrived in the late 1700s. Among the early explorers were Captain James Cook and Captain George Vancouver who were seeking a northwest passage through the Arctic for the English. Spanish explorers included Quadra and Juan de Fuca. The city of Victoria BC was founded as Fort Victoria during the fur trade in 1841 by the British. The Parliament Buildings were completed in 1897 and the well-known Empress Hotel was completed in 1908. These two buildings dominate the inner harbor. Butchart Gardens is Victoria’s biggest tourist attraction.