Victoria, BC is a timeless capital where you will find grand, impressive architecture standing beside a magnificent harbour of houseboats and sailing ships. From world-class food and drink festivals to exploring the city by sea, land or air, here are 20 top things to do Victoria BC in 2020.
1. Victoria Whiskey Festival (January 16 – 19, 2020)
The sell-out Victoria Whisky Festival returns for a landmark 15th year. In previous years, guests enjoyed masterclasses presented by distilleries including Ardbeg, Bowmore, Glenfarclas, Highland Park, Glenmorangie, Springbank, Jim Beam, Nikka, Sazerac, Bruichladdich, Laphroaig and many, many more.
2. Dine Around & Stay in Town (January 17 – February 2, 2020)
Easily Victoria’s most anticipated foodie event, Dine Around & Stay in Town 2020 invites visitors and locals alike to experience Victoria’s thriving, diverse culinary scene and enjoy special offerings from over 50+ restaurants with set-price, three-course menus. Victoria’s hotels also will join in the fun and offer accommodations at reduced prices.
Check out my recap of Dine Around 2019 here.
3. Victoria Film Festival (February 7 – 16, 2020)
The Victoria Film Festival is Vancouver Island’s largest and longest-running film festival, currently celebrating 25 years. The Victoria Film Festival screens more than 156 films over 10 days.
4. The Victoria Yoga and Wellness Conference (February 14 – 16, 2020)
Experience a wide diversity of offerings of wellness, yoga, health and spirituality workshops at The Victoria Yoga and Wellness Conference. Attendees range from those who have never done yoga to experienced teachers. Celebrating 8 years of community and connection at the Victoria Yoga Conference.
Programming including yoga, meditation, dance, acro yoga, workshops, Wellness Market, music and more. Admission is $295 for the full weekend.
5. Enjoy Plant-Based Pizza and Ice Cream at Virtuous Pie
Founded in Vancouver, Virtuous Pie has just launched a location in Victoria. It is a plant-based restaurant serving unique and innovative pizzas and ice-cream, all handcrafted in house.
6. Join a Tour at Dino Lab Inc.
Join a guided personal tour at Dino Lab Inc which opened in July 2018. Explore their private fossil gallery where you will see dinosaurs, stunning mineral specimens, meteorites, fluorescent minerals, an ice age area and many other one of a kind pieces of our prehistoric history. This one-of-a-kind experience must be pre-booked.
7. Whistle Buoy Brewing
Fulling embracing the “tank to glass” model, Whistle Buoy Brewing Co. is a small batch experimental taproom brewery located in Market Square that just opened this summer.
They are inspired by the natural beauty and urban energy of coastal BC and hope to share their passion with you through their beer and space. They partner with local companies and use island-grown ingredients wherever possible.
8. Fast Pizza at MOD Pizza
Seattle-based MOD Pizza has just opened their first location in Canada on Vancouver Island. It is located in Langford, BC in the newly developed Belmont Market Shopping Centre.
MOD Pizza specializes in artisan-style pizzas that are made on demand, allowing customers to create their own 11″ pizzas and salads with any combination of 30+ toppings for one price.
Check out my experience with MOD Pizza in Seattle here.
9. Merridale at Dockside Green
Dubbed “Merridale in the City”, Merridale Cidery and Distillery will be opening its doors on a new 12,000 sqaure foot facility in the trendy Dockside Green neighbourhood of Victoria.
Merridale has become known for its cider over the years, and recently branched out into spirits. With its sister farm in Cobble Hill, BC focused on brewing cider, the new facility will focus on distilling and brewing.
The facility will also include a tasting room, pizzeria, patio, and rooftop bistro, and will serve all Merridale products (including cider) as well as some local partner brews.
10. Victoria Ale Trail
Did you know that Victoria is considered the cradle of the “craft beer revolution?” BC’s capital city is home to Canada’s first brewpub and some of British Columbia’s most popular breweries.
One fun activity to do in Victoria is to embark on the Victoria Ale Trail – a self-guided tour of Victoria’s breweries.
Created by the BC Ale Trail, the Victoria Ale Trail includes Canoe Brewpub, Swans Brewery, Pub & Hotel, Category 12 Brewing, Victoria Caledonian Brewery & Distillery (Twa Dogs Beer), Phillips Brewing & Malting Co, Driftwood Brewery, Vancouver Island Brewing, Lighthouse Brewing Company, Spinnakers Brewpub, and Moon Under Water Brewery – Pub and Distillery.
Find out about my experience with the Victoria Ale Trail here.
11. Ride The Harbour Ferry
One of the most unique and fun ways to get around in Victoria is via Victoria Harbour Ferry, a fleet of pickle boats that zip across the Inner Harbour. You can use the ferry as transportation or enjoy a scenic harbour tour.
12. See Colourful Fisherman’s Wharf
One of the most colourful attractions in Victoria is the floating Fisherman’s Wharf where you can explore the eclectic collection of houseboats, floating restaurants and eco-tour adventures.
13. Fan Tan Alley in Chinatown
No trip to Victoria would be complete without a visit to Fan Tan Alley – the narrowest street in Canada. Located in Canada’s oldest Chinatown, you’ll find a dozen of locally owned shops from organic treats, homemade ice cream, vintage records, locally made jewelry, natural body care products and more.
14. See the Woolly Mammoth at Royal BC Museum
Named best museum in Canada, the Royal BC Museum is a world-class museum of natural and human history.
One of the major attractions at the Royal BC Museum is the Woolly Mammoth which has received 12 million visitors since his arrival to the museum. 2020 marks the 40th year this mammoth replica has been on exhibit at the BC Royal Museum.
15. Craigdarroch Castle Historic House Museum
Built by the wealthy coal baron, Robert Dunsmuir , Craigdarroch is a beautiful example of Victoria architecture featuring stained glass windows, period antiques and woodwork.
16. Panoramic views from Mount Douglas
Not far from Downtown Victoria, Mount Douglas Park is a moderately easy hike with varying intensity path choices. It is also very common to drive to the top and take just a few steps outside to enjoy 360-degree panoramic views from the summit.
17. See Victoria from Above
How about experience Victoria from above with a scenic seaplane adventure with Harbour Air? Popular tours include the Victoria Panorama and Extended Panorama where guests can take in the mesmerizing aerial views of the twisting coastline and historic architecture of the city.
18. Meet the Creatures at the Bug Museum
At the Victoria Bug Zoo, you’ll be entering the amazing miniature world of insects and spiders. There you’ll find 50 fascinating species including tarantulas, glow-in-the-dark scorpions, praying mantids and more.
19. See the works of Emily Carr at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria
The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria is located 20 minutes from Downtown Victoria within n 1889 Spencer mansion. It is the largest public gallery on Vancouver Island.
The Gallery holds one of the largest collection of significant works by renowned artist Emily Carr.
20. Discover Victoria’s Past
Learn about Victoria’s spine-tingling ghost stories and other charming history with Discover the Past walking tours.
More Things to do in Victoria, BC
- Indulge in an afternoon tea in Victoria whether dine-in, takeout or DIY
- Visit The Gardens at HCP for an afternoon of tranquility as you tour the Japanese-style Takata Garden, Zen Garden, rhododendron garden, heather garden and trial dahlia garden. Follow up with a delicious lunch at Charlotte and the Quail.
- Join a brewery & distillery tour at Victoria Caledonian Distillery for an up-close-and-personal look and tastings of craft beer and whisky.
- Sea Cider on the Saanich Peninsula offers cider flights and bites with stunning views of the farm and ocean.
- Head to the jungle at Butterfly Gardens to meet free-flying tropical birds, butterflies, reptiles, and many other unique plants and animals.
- Embark on a self-guided fan culture tour to discover Victoria’s many shops specializing in games, toys, comics and pop culture artifacts.
- Rent e-bikes from Ride the Glide or traditional cruiser bikes from The Pedaler. For a more intense cycling experience, book a road riding adventure with North 48 Bicycles.
- Searching for a thrill? Get your heart pumping and face your fears with AdrenaLINE or WildPlay.
- Whether you choose to discover the stunning harbour or more rugged shorelines, for a couple hours or a full day, explore Victoria, paddle in hand, with one of the city’s kayak tours.
- Jump on board a giant pedal bike to sing your heart out, make new friends, and visit some of the city’s friendliest pubs with the Rolling Barrel.
- Taste as much of Victoria’s culinary scene as you can with a Off the Eaten Track or Taste of Victoria food tour.
- Spirits, cider, and wine. Did you know the Saanich Peninsula has it all? Head out with Island Time tours to find your new favourite.
- Partake in a quintessential Canadian backyard sport (indoors) at Axe & Grind.
Travelgressing 2020 Travel Guides
Check out more 2020 travel guides that I have put together: