What To Do in Victoria, BC In 2 Days

Glassy water with a pier and greenery surrounding. There are mountains in the distance

Canada is a huge and diverse country. There is the island province of Newfoundland in the East, the Arctic territory of Nunavut up North, and mountainous regions dotting the West Coast. If you go all the way to the West, you will find the province of British Columbia. If you go to the Westernmost point of the province, you will find Vancouver Island. And it is on that island that you can find the most charming city, filled with friendly people, amazing views and more flowers than you can count.

Canada is my home & native land. Check out more of my adventures in The True North!

Man, woman and baby standing in front of a pink sign that reads CANADA in 3D letters

Located on the Inner Harbour, a CANADA sign that was put up for its 150th birthday!

Victoria is a city on the Strait of Juan de Fuca. To get there requires a ferry ride (from either Washington, USA or the nearby city of Vancouver). The question of what to do in Victoria, BC is a matter of interest: there are water activities, historical buildings to explore, and plenty of opportunities to immerse yourself in nature. If you only have a weekend, like we did, picking the most accessible activities is a must. We traveled with friends and our 5 month old infant, and filled our time with a variety of activities.

What To Do in Victoria, BC: Butchart Gardens

Victoria is a city of flowers, but there is no denying that the Butchart Gardens located Northwest of the city are the most intricate display. There are multiple different themed gardens to explore, and like with all gardens, they are ever changing with the seasons and flowers. If you follow the loop on the attraction map you will start at the Sunken Garden. This was personally my favorite, filled with beautiful scents and hydrangeas galore.

Pink hydrangea, with small button looking petals

A pink hydrangea in the Sunken Gardens


Looking down at trees and flowers in a garden

Looking down into the Sunken Gardens

The other gardens, the Italian Garden, Rose Garden and Japanese garden were filled with beautiful flowers of every variety. At ticketing you can pick up a guide to the flowers and plants in the gardens. When you have completed your walk you can identify them with the help of staff in the Plant Identification Center.

Water dragon fountain spewing water, surrounded by flowers

Dragon fountain located at the start of the Japanese Garden

Bright red, perfectly geometrical dahlias blooming

Beautiful symmetry on these bright red dahlias

This attraction is perfect for an afternoon stroll, and has features to keep everyone entertained. In the Sunken Garden there is a fountain with a constantly changing patterns located in the old limestone quarry the gardens were built upon. Between the Sunken Garden and the Italian Garden there is a carousel for children. And at the end of the gardens there is a gelato shop (who doesn’t love gelato?!)

Fountain located in a pond, with trees in the background and pink and white flowers in the foreground

This fountain is located in the old quarry

Purple and pink hanging fuchsia

Hanging fuchsia near the start of the gardens

Truthful Travel Tip:

If you are traveling with small children/ infants, you can ask the attendants at the attraction entrance for closer parking. We were given a yellow tag to put on our dashboard, which allowed us to park in the lot closest to the entrance of the gardens. The gardens cover an enormous area, so this can save you a lot of time and hassle!

If gardens are your thing, check out the Chilliwack Tulip Fest or Skagit Valley Tulip Festival!

Fisherman’s Wharf

This is high on the list of what to do in Victoria BC, and for good reason. Fisherman’s Wharf is a unique area of port in which there are floating buildings, lots of food options and scenic views.

Blue, purple, and beige and green floating buildings on a pier, one of the things to do in Victoria, BC

Some stores floating on Fisherman’s Wharf

The most unique part of the wharf is the floating homes and shops. A bit like the floating homes of Seattle, except decorated in bright colors. A great photo op can be discovered walking between the houses on the boardwalks, and catching a view out to the water.

House boat covered in flowers, floating in a pier

What to do in Victoria, BC: View the many floating houses in Fisherman’s Wharf!

There are plenty of food options in this small area, which means it can get quite busy around mealtime. If you are traveling with infants or small children, there are covered tables to sit and enjoy the food right beside the water. Because it is such a popular destination parking can be a hassle. There is a small lot that seemed perpetually full right beside the wharf, but there are many opportunities for street parking in the nearby neighborhoods.

Looking towards Victoria skyline from the ferry

Looking towards Fisherman’s Wharf from the ferry

Truthful Travel Tip:

Keep an eye on the water for wildlife. There are kayaking tours (Kelp Reef Adventures) as well as the inner-water harbour taxi that will allow you to explore a bit further out. However, you can occasionally spot wildlife just by walking around the harbor. Earlier in the month that we visited there was a lone orca that wandered into the harbour, and there are some seals that love tourists! Just be sure not to feed them as this was banned a couple of years ago.

Hatley Castle

Located just outside of Victoria (around 12 km/7.5 miles) on the grounds of Royal Roads University is a castle; a rarity in a relatively new country such as Canada. Hatley Castle was commissioned by James Dunsmuir, whose father was a prolific figure in 18th century British Columbia.

For some authentic, lived in castles check out the French royal residences in the Loire Valley!

Manicured bushes and flowers in front of Victorian style castle

The front grounds of Hatley Castle

Public access to the castle is by guided tour only, and we made the mistake of not taking note of when tours were running when we visited. Daily tour times are 10:30 AM, 11:45 AM, 1:30 PM and 2:45 PM. Even if we had arrived earlier (it was past 3:00 PM when we made it to the castle), it was booked for a private wedding. We spent our time on a self-guided tour of the gardens surrounding the castle. There are peacocks that wander the yard, and a beautiful view out to the water from the rear side of the castle!

Full frontal of a Victorian castle entrance, colored grey

The front of Hatley Castle

Truthful Travel Tip:

Have you ever wanted to make your favorite movies and TV shows come alive? Hatley Castle is a popular filming location: X Men, Smallville and Disney’s The Descendents are just a few examples of entertainment that uses the castle to create Hollywood magic!

Inner Harbour

Victoria’s Inner Harbour is arguably its biggest draw, especially on Summer evenings on the weekend! You get a view of the water, the Parliament Buildings of BC, and can immerse yourself in lively crowds, artisan markets and live shows.

Beige, green-topped buildings with grassy lawn in front

What to do in Victoria BC: Visit the BC Parliament buildings

We strolled through the area during our second evening in Victoria, and were lucky enough to run into a small community market: Ship Point Market. We walked the perimeter of the inner harbour and bought local-made fridge magnets, as well as a burl box (made from the wood of an unusual growth on a tree). These kinds of moments are always my favorite: really feeling the local vibe of a place. The British past of the city shone through with the man playing the bagpipes, and a Canadian First Nations artist shared information about his burl boxes, a craft I did not even know existed.

Sign for Huntingdon Manor, with white house in the background, and flowers and British flag in the foreground

A perfect spot for some afternoon tea!

If you are looking to visit tourist attractions, there are many in the immediate area. The Parliament Buildings are accessible to the public, both through self-guided, and free guided tours. For history and nature lovers, the Royal BC Museum is located just across the street from the harbour. Looking for what to do in Victoria BC that is unique? Stop in for afternoon tea: the Fairmont Royal Empress or the Huntingdon Manor Hotel both offer great experiences.

Golden hour reflecting on Fairmont Empress, an old looking hotel, one of the top things to do in Victoria, BC

Sun setting against the Fairmont Empress Hotel

Truthful Travel Tip:

If you’re taking the Port Angeles (USA) MV Coho ferry, you need to arrive to park in line extra early. The ferry terminal is located right around the corner from here, so you can use your time to explore this area while you wait to board.

Yummy Food

The quality of food can make or break a place. Victoria scored top marks in the food department, even though that sometimes came with quite a bit of a wait.

Eggs benedict, hashbrowns topped with a tomato, and assorted fruits

Breakfast at Jam Cafe!


We had arguably one of the best brunches we have ever had while in Victoria, but it came with a price of an hour long wait. Jam Cafe has a near perfect rating on TripAdvisor. A specialty of this brunch joint is their bennies, and mine did not disappoint. I had their signature Jam Blackstone eggs benedict, which included sugar-cured bacon and roma tomatoes. If you’re looking for comfort food for breakfast, as well as interesting decor, this is the perfect place for you!

Truthful Travel Tip:

Looking for something really unique? Their menu offers green eggs and ham, as well as red-velvet pancakes!


For a small-town feel and some really good burgers, try Big Wheel Burger. Located in Cook Street Village, tucked away from the main downtown area, they have a unique approach to fast food. They offer freshly ground beef that is high quality. They are Canada’s first carbon-neutral fast food restaurant, and on top of all of this their food tastes amazing. Don’t forget to order a poutine with your meal!

Truthful Travel Tip:

Their menu has rotating featured items each week, and from what I’ve seen they have some pretty insane ideas. They have fruit loop shakes and root beer burgers just to name a few!

Brick wall and fancy brass pipes with a sign "Chocolate Favoris"

What to do in Victoria BC: Try chocolate poutine!


If you love ice cream and chocolate, Chocolate Favoris will be your favorite stop. Although it usually has a line right out the door, it is worth the wait. If you are getting ice cream, at the end of the wait you get to choose between a variety of dipped chocolate flavors to get your cone dunked in. If you’re super adventurous like we were you can try their chocolate poutine. It features fried dough covered in dipped chocolate and marshmallows!

Truthful Travel Tip:

If you love the flavors you can take home your own fondue in small cans that are sold in the store!

Colorful flowers covering beige Parliament buildings that have a green top

View from the Inner Harbor to the Parliament Buildings

Like most cities, only a few days to explore is never enough. The question of what to do in Victoria BC when you are given such a short amount of time leaves you with the highlights. We hope to take a longer, week long trip to Vancouver Island where we can explore further up the coast. We love outdoor activities, and there are beaches and trails galore as you get further away from the city. But two days is a good start! You can enjoy the culture of the city and grab some really great food on the way!

I hope you enjoy Victoria!

Until next time,


A Truthful Traveler

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