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17 Things To Do in the Victoria British Columbia Cruise Port

Victoria, British Columbia's Capital City, is a charming and vibrant destination that welcomes numerous cruise ships yearly.

Situated on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, this capital city offers a blend of historical sites, natural beauty, and cultural attractions. Consider these 17 activities and attractions when visiting this picturesque port.

1. Explore the Inner Harbour

Inner Harbour of Victoria, British Columbia with beautiful flowers and a hotel in the back

The Inner Harbour in Victoria, British Columbia, is renowned as one of the most beautiful harbors in the world.

With a history beginning with its use by First Nations, the harbor now accommodates recreational vessels and small cruise ships, offering moorage in the heart of this heritage city.

Visitors are just steps away from historic streets and distinctive architecture. During the summer months, the harbor becomes a vibrant hub for festivals, shows, and music.

It also supports whale watching and ecotourism businesses, float planes, an International Ferry terminal with connections to Port Angeles, Bellingham, and Seattle, and a water taxi service.

Inner Harbour with a hotel in the back

2. Visit the Royal BC Museum

Address: 675 Belleville Street, Victoria, BC V8W 9W2, Canada

The Royal BC Museum Corporation, founded in 1886 with its archives established in 1894, is one of Canada’s cultural treasures.

In 2003, these two entities merged to form British Columbia’s provincial museum and archives. The museum collects and safeguards artifacts, documents, and specimens that represent the natural and human history of British Columbia.

Through its collections, research, and presentations, the Royal BC Museum shares the stories of the province in ways that enlighten, stimulate, and inspire, advancing knowledge and understanding of British Columbia's social and environmental history.

3. Afternoon Tea at the Fairmont Empress Hotel

Address: 721 Government Street, Victoria, BC V8W 1W5, Canada

Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria BC

Afternoon tea at the Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria, British Columbia, upholds a revered tradition refined over a century.

Guests indulge in a meticulously crafted menu, showcasing lavender from the hotel's rooftop garden, honey from on-site hives, and locally sourced produce. The loose-leaf teas are carefully selected from ethical suppliers worldwide.

Moreover, the Fairmont Empress presents a unique Prince and Princess Tea experience, allowing young visitors to delight in the splendor of the Lobby Lounge and embrace their royal essence.

4. Walk Along Ogden Point Breakwater

Address: 226 Dallas Road, Victoria, BC V8V 1A5, Canada

Trail along Ogden Point Breakwater

Ogden Point Breakwater is a barrier-free breakwater that offers the perfect spot for an oceanfront stroll because of its 1.1-mile out-and-back trail to an iconic lighthouse, offering stunning views of the Olympic Peninsula.

This easy route, taking about 20 minutes to complete, is popular year-round for birding, running, and walking, making it a lively spot to encounter fellow explorers.

5. Relax in Beacon Hill Park

Address: 100 Cook Street, Victoria, BC, Canada

Lake and water fountain Beacon Hill Park with a bridge in the back

Beacon Hill Park, covering approximately 740,000 square meters, is the crowning jewel of the park system in Victoria. It features natural areas, manicured flower beds, footpaths, and sports and play facilities.

Kite enthusiasts, paragliders, and sailboarders enjoy the open vistas across the Strait of Juan De Fuca, and the park also marks Mile "0," the western terminus of the 8,000-kilometer Trans-Canada Highway.

Also at Beacon Hill Park is the Beacon Hill Children’s Farm, offering a delightful petting zoo experience right in the heart of Victoria.

It provides an educational and affordable form of entertainment for families. It also aims to foster a lifelong respect for animals in children, making it a cherished attraction in the city.

6. Discover Fisherman’s Wharf

Address: 1 Dallas Road, Victoria, BC V8V 0B2, Canada

The streets filled with colorful buildings in Fisherman’s Wharf

Located just around the corner from Victoria’s Inner Harbour, Fisherman’s Wharf is a hidden gem offering a vibrant marine experience. This unique destination features food kiosks, shops, and eco-tour adventures within a working harbor setting.

Visitors can enjoy a new park area for children and adults, savor fresh seafood from iconic Barb’s Fish & Chips, indulge in treats from Jackson’s Ice Cream, or grab a bite at Pirate Pizza Co. and Puerto Vallarta Amigos.

The docks provide a lively scene with moored commercial fishing vessels, pleasure boats, and float homes.

7. Visit Canada’s Oldest Chinatown

Address: 500 Fisgard Street, Victoria, BC V8W 1R4, Canada

DLT! posing in front of the Chinatown Arch

Victoria's Chinatown, the oldest in Canada, spans about three blocks in downtown Victoria. This historic area features narrow alleyways, traditional architecture, and the striking Gates of Harmonious Interest.

Visitors will find numerous Chinese restaurants, Asian-style shops, and heritage buildings, creating a vibrant and culturally rich neighborhood to explore.

8. Tour the Provincial Legislature

Address: 501 Belleville Street, Victoria, BC V8V 2L8, Canada

Parliament House in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

The Parliament Buildings, located on the traditional territories of the Lekwungen-speaking peoples (now known as the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations), are a significant cultural landmark in Victoria.

Visitors can enjoy free guided tours daily between Memorial Day and Labor Day to learn about British Columbia's legislative processes. The Parliamentary Dining Room is open Monday to Friday for breakfast and lunch.

The Parliament Buildings are particularly stunning when illuminated at night, making them an impressive sight to behold.

9. Shop at Bay Centre

Address: 1150 Douglas Street, Victoria, BC V8W 3M9, Canada

Bay Centre Shopping Center entrance

The Bay Centre, located in the heart of Downtown Victoria's shopping and business district, is a premier destination known for its architecture and urban atmosphere.

Covering an entire city block, it features over 80 shops, including Hudson's Bay, Winners, Pandora Shop at Ann-Louise Jewellers, Earls Kitchen + Bar, Eco Chic Aveda Salon & Spa, Purdys Chocolatier, Sport Chek, and The Tuscan Kitchen.

The Bay Centre also hosts various events and installations throughout the year, adding to its vibrant appeal.

10. Enjoy Butchart Gardens

Address: 800 Benvenuto Avenue, Brentwood Bay, BC V8M 1J8, Canada

Beautiful Butchart Gardens filled with flowers, shrubbery, and trees

Butchart Gardens, a world-famous 55-acre display garden in Brentwood Bay, British Columbia, has been enchanting visitors for 120 years.

Created by Jennie Butchart, it remains privately owned and operated by her family and was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 2004. The Sunken Garden and Japanese Garden are particularly enchanting!

Moreover, from June 1 to September 15, visitors can experience Night Illuminations, where over 3,000 lights transform the gardens into a magical wonderland for an enchanting Butchart Gardens evening.

Beautiful Butchart Gardens filled with flowers, shrubbery, and trees

Additionally, from June 28 to August 31, the gardens host Summer Entertainment with live performances on the outdoor stage, nestled amidst lush trees, every Wednesday through Saturday evening. 

Fun fact: Victoria is known as Canada's Garden City. As such, you can explore various gardens throughout the area, like the Abkhazi Garden, the Victorian Rose Garden, and the Gardens of Government House.

Fountain at Butchart Gardens with a Sea Dragon as the centerpiece

11. Explore Historic Bastion Square

Address: 26 Bastion Square, Victoria, BC V8W 1H9, Canada

Bastion Square, a destination rich in cultural and historical significance, is located in the downtown area and a 15-minute walk from the marina.

Dating back to the mid-19th century, it was the center of commerce and government and the site of the original Fort Victoria’s military bastion.

The square features well-preserved heritage buildings with charming Victorian architecture, creating a picturesque atmosphere.

Visitors can explore a variety of shops and boutiques offering unique gifts, arts, and crafts, as well as several art galleries showcasing local artists. The area is also home to numerous restaurants, cafés, and pubs, making it a perfect spot for dining.

12. Take a Seaplane Tour

Ship Point Marina for the seaplanes and more

A seaplane tour offers a unique way to experience Victoria from above, showcasing the city's stunning landscapes and historic architecture.

Aboard Canadian-made De Havilland seaplanes, popular tours like the Victoria Panorama and Extended Panorama provide breathtaking aerial views of the twisting coastline and the vibrant city below.

This scenic seaplane adventure captures the essence of a true West Coast tradition. One of the popular seaplane companies in Victoria is Harbour Air Seaplanes, located in the Ship Point Marina.

Seaplane in the water

13. Visit the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

Address: 1040 Moss Street, Victoria, BC V8V 4P1, Canada

The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria boasts one of the finest art collections in Western Canada. With nearly 70 years of history, the gallery showcases contemporary art, significant regional works, and pieces representing local and national histories.

It also features an impressive collection of Asian art from around the Pacific Rim, continuously evolving to reflect the rich cultural tapestry of Victoria and beyond.

14. Walk Down Fort Street and Government Street

Small ice cream cone at Chocolats Favoris dipped in Dulce de Leche chocolate

Fort Street, named after the former Hudson’s Bay Company fur trading post, has been a central part of commercial life in Victoria for many years.

Initially known for its vintage and collectible shops, Fort Street now features an eclectic mix of stores and eateries, including several second-hand shops and auction houses that retain its historic charm.

Another great street to walk down is Government Street - lined with historic buildings, unique shops, gift shops, and charming cafes. It is an excellent place to find souvenirs and enjoy the local atmosphere.

As you stroll down Government Street, you will come across Chocolats Favoris, and slightly off Government Street on Broughton Street, you will find BeaverTails. Both are excellent choices for indulging in a delightful Canadian dessert.

DLT! holding a strawberry cheesecake BeaverTail

If you are craving something cool and chocolaty, head to Chocolats Favoris for their delectable chocolate-dipped cones. Alternatively, if you are in the mood for something warm and fluffy, BeaverTails offers delicious pastries topped with various toppings.

15. Explore the Maritime Museum of British Columbia

Address: 744 Douglas St, Victoria, BC V8W 3M6, Canada

The Maritime Museum of British Columbia provides a comprehensive look into the region's nautical history and ocean sciences. With rotating exhibits, programs, and events, visitors can always find something new and engaging.

The museum's extensive collection includes objects, archives, photographs, books, and boats, all significant to BC's maritime culture.

Programs offer opportunities to create nautical crafts, explore maritime topics in adult programs, participate in Museum Tots activities on Saturdays, and engage students with educational school programs.

16. Hop on One of Gray Line's Double-Decker Buses

Victoria Streets with a double decker bus in the image
Gray Line's iconic double-decker buses offer a flexible way to explore Victoria at your own pace.

With stops at key locations such as the Inner Harbour, Songhees Lookout, Chinatown, Bastion Square, Fisherman’s Wharf, and Beacon Hill Park, passengers can hop on and off to visit attractions like the Steamship Terminal Pier, Ogden Point Breakwater, Christ Church Cathedral, Craigdarroch Castle, and the Victoria Art Gallery.

These tours provide a great way to explore this beautiful city!

17. Visit the Victoria Public Market at the Hudson

Address: 1701 Douglas Street #6, Victoria, BC V8W 0C1, Canada

Victoria Public Market at the Hudson is a vibrant community hub on Vancouver Island, featuring fresh local gourmet food, specialty retail shops, a play center for children, and various community events and live music.

The market's day vendor program showcases the talents of local artisans and makers, making it a bustling gathering place where food, art, and entertainment come together under one roof.

Not sure what to pack for an Alaskan cruise?

Check out my blog post, Your Alaska Cruise Packing List (PDF Checklist Inside). In this blog post, you will find a visual listing with links to purchase the items.

Do you just want the checklist emailed to you?

Preview of the Free Printable Packing List for your Alaskan Cruise created by Dale, Let's Travel! LLC

Fill out this form with your first name and email address below to receive the link for a downloadable PDF version of this listing that you can print out and treat as a checklist.

Enjoy the Capital City of British Columbia!

Harbor and Parliament House in Victoria

Victoria, British Columbia, captivates visitors with its unique blend of historic charm, stunning landscapes, and cultural vibrancy.

Whether savoring afternoon tea at the Fairmont Empress Hotel, exploring the oldest Chinatown in Canada, or marveling at the blooms in Butchart Gardens, each experience contributes to the city’s appeal.

With a wide array of activities and attractions, Victoria offers something for every traveler. As you explore the city’s diverse offerings, you will find that this beautiful port of call leaves a lasting impression, making it a highlight of any cruise itinerary.

Welcome to Victoria Canada sign at the cruise port terminal

Have you ever been to Victoria, British Columbia, Canada? Let me know in the comments below! Share this article with the person or people you want to go on your next adventure with! Also, be sure to SUBSCRIBE below to learn about other places you should add to your "To Visit" List! Ready? Okay, vamos. Time to have fun!

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