There’s more to Victoria than the Fairmont Empress and Parliament Buildings. While both of these iconic landmarks are certainly deserving of a visit, B.C.’s quaint capitol is loaded with Instagram-worthy destinations.
So whether you carry a selfie stick, high-powered DSLR or love to test the power of your iPhone camera, you won’t want to miss these fabulous spots and activities.
1. Fan Tan Alley
Connecting Fisgard Street to Pandora Avenue, Fan Tan Alley is less than four feet wide at its narrowest. Located in Victoria’s historic Chinatown, it was named after a gambling game which was popular in the 1800s. In those days, the pedestrian passageway was known for its opium dens and gambling rings. Today, the quirky destination is home to boutiques and ice cream joints.
2. Gates of Harmonious Interest
Standing 38-feet-tall, the Gates of Harmonious Interest are the symbolic entrance to Victoria’s Chinatown. Constructed in China, it was erected in 1981. The design was modeled after the famous gateway that marks the entrance to northwestern China’s Dunhuang Caves.
3. Dragon Alley
Chinatown’s lesser-known alley, Dragon Alley connects Fisgard Avenue and Herald Street. The pedestrian passageway was gradually constructed through three different buildings that span the block.
4. Trounce Alley
Running east to west, Trounce Alley connects Broad Street and Government Street. Unlike the narrow passageways in Chinatown, this pedestrian passage offers a breezy mix of high-end shops and swanky restaurants. At night, overhead bistro lights offer an European ambiance.
5. Fairmont Empress
The iconic Fairmont Empress has overlooked Victoria’s Inner Harbour since 1908. Its ivy-covered brick exterior and slate roof offer a stunning sight that appears to be plucked from a storybook.
6. Royal BC Museum
Founded in 1886, the Royal BC Museum is home to some of British Columbia’s most prized archives, artifact collections, and specimens – including Woolly (the museum’s full-scale mammoth model).
7. Delta Ocean Pointe Resort Patio
The patio at the Delta Ocean Pointe Resort offers one of the most quintessential views of Victoria’s Inner Harbour. The panoramic outcropping includes Victoria’s seaplane terminal, Fairmont Empress, Parliament Buildings, Laurel Point and more!
8. Victoria Harbour Ferry & Water Taxi
Also known as ‘Pickle Boats’, the Victoria Harbour Ferries and Water Taxis take walk-on passengers to 14 different stops throughout Victoria’s Inner Harbour. Renowned for their friendly skippers and fun water ballet performances, it’s as much fun to take photos of the Pickle Boats from shore as it is to take selfies aboard!
9. Emily Carr House
The powerful and creative artwork of Emily Carr embodies the former artist’s love of nature. Throwing herself into her work, Carr produced hundreds of paintings and sketches – many of which she created while residing at her Victoria, B.C. residence. Today, the house is considered a National Historic Site of Canada.
10. Whale Watching
Looking for an up-close and personal whale selfie? Look no further than the whale watching zodiac tours provided by Prince of Whales.
11. Parliament Buildings
Another Inner Harbour landmark, the elegant Parliament Buildings are located on a 12.5-acre estate. At night, the impressive silhouette is adorned with more than 3,000 lights. Daily tours of the Parliament Builds are available for free.
12. Hatley Castle
With ocean views and finely manicured lawns, this 40-room mansion offers one Instagram worthy frame after the next. In and of itself, Hatley Castle is stunning. But paired with the 565+ acre grounds, it might have been plucked from an Elizabethan novel.
13. Chateau Victoria’s Vista 18
Located on the 18th floor of the Chateau Victoria, Vista 18 offers stunning views of the bustling inner harbor, Strait of Juan de Fuca, and the Olympic Mountains.
14. Craigdarroch Castle
And if one castle isn’t enough, you can visit two! Built in the late 1800s, Craigdarroch Castle has been carefully restored to its original glory.
15. Fishermans Wharf
With its quaint collection of floating homes, sea-to-table food stands, and unique shops, Victoria’s Fisherman’s Wharf is a quintessential stop on any Victoria tour.
16. Laurel Point
Tucked beside Victoria’s Inner Harbour, Laurel Point’s small peninsula offers views of the bustling waterway. Here, you’ll frequently see seaplanes land and takeoff, the Victoria Clipper depart, and ‘Pickle Boast’ pass. Also on the point is the Inn at Laurel Point, where a finely manicured Japanese Garden offers a tranquil escape from the city, and the hotel’s AURA restaurant provides dining with a view.
17. The McNeill Bay Chairs
On the edge of McNeill Bay rests a pair of Adirondack chairs, poised perfectly for watching boats and soaking up some fresh sea air.
18. Butchart Gardens
One of Victoria’s most famous attraction, the Butchart Gardens feature 55 acres of meticulously manicured grounds. The four-season floral displays are loaded with color and feature intimate pathways perfect for strolling and selfie-snapping.
19. Aboard a Double Decker
Our favorite way to get to the Butchart Gardens is aboard a double-decker bus. These narrated tours depart from just outside the Fairmont Empress and drop you right outside the Garden’s entrance.