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47 Best Things To Do In Victoria, BC In Winter (2024)

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Wondering about things to do in Victoria in Winter? 

You’re in luck, as we’ve put together the ultimate guide to visiting Victoria in winter.  With a  local’s tips for making the best of the winter season. 

While winter in Victoria on the southern tip of Vancouver Island has a bad reputation, it’s not all about rainy, dreary and grey days.

Growing up in Victoria, BC Canada, there was always still lots to do in winter, even in the rain (or on the very rare occasion when it snowed). The Pacific Northwest is magical all year round.

Here are all the best Victoria winter activities that kids and adults will love, and all our favourite wintery things to do over the years.

Our list includes options for  indoor & outdoor adventures, cultural & historical tours and sites, Christmas events, downtown Victoria  attractions, food, hidden gems and much more. 

Table of Contents

Victoria, BC in Winter: 45+ Best Winter Activities 

While winter is the rainy season on the west coast of Canada, there are plenty of places to explore.

These include local restaurants, historic buildings, holiday special events, indoor and outdoor activities. Or even take a guided tour or two.

Victoria, BC in winter is still a fun place to visit.

1. Butchart Gardens

Christmas lights lighting up Buctchart Gardens Italian Garden.
The Magic of Christmas at Butchart Gardens | Photo: “vdvtut /canva.com”

Butchart Gardens is a fun place to visit any time of year. But it’s especially magical in the winter, with all the lights. 

It’s an easy day trip from Vancouver to Butchart Gardens too, if you’re coming from that way.

As Christmas approaches enjoy the  vibrant colours of the enchanting Magic of Christmas light displays, paired beautifully with seasonal decorations that transform the gardens into a winter wonderland. 

Sing along with carolers as you explore the Twelve Days of Christmas display – a festive journey through 12 intricately decorated garden areas lined with Christmas Lights..

There’s umbrellas handy for your use, if it looks like rain is in the forecast. 

From mid January to mid May there’s the Spring Prelude, where the Blue Poppy Restaurant is transformed  into a spectacular spring garden display. 

For the kids (& fun adults), the Rose Carousel is open year round for rides.

Unfortunately due to staff challenges they won’t be offering ice skating this year. 

Shuttle: Butchart Gardens shuttle runs from downtown Victoria to Butchart Gardens multiple times a day.

Winter Hours: December to Jan 6 Daily 3pm – 9pm. Jan to Feb daily 9am to 3:30pm. March daily 9am to 4pm

Cost: December: Adult $35, Youth (13 – 17) $17.50, Child (5 – 12) $3

Best things to do in Victoria BC in winter. Goldstream large cedar tree and river, Empress Hotel, Royal BC Museum Sign, Mt. Doug Beach on a sunny day.

2. Victoria Guided Food and History Tour

Enjoy testing local foods on your guided Victoria food & history tour | Photo: “lenanet / depositphotos”

A perennial visitor favourite, this Victoria Guided Food & History Tour is a not to miss gem even in the winter months. They run through December and into the first half of January, then it’s available again from February into the rest of the year. 

You’ll hit all the downtown highlights in one walk, including the Parliament Buildings, the Inner Harbor Causeway, Trounce Alley, Bastion and Market squares, Fan Tan Alley, the Harmonious Gates of Interest in Chinatown, and the Victoria Public Market. 

All while enjoying the BC delights  of craft beer, tea, cheese, bread tapas, chocolate, and other locally made products.

3. Victoria Seaplane Tour

Harbour Air Seaplane in Inner Habour VIctoria Canada.
Seaplane waiting for passengers in Inner Harbour Victoria | Photo: Packed for Life

See Victoria, BC in winter from a unique viewpoint – as the bald eagles and seagulls do. 

A thrilling 20 minute seaplane ride  over the Strait of Juan de Fuca, rugged coastlines, and scenic downtown Victoria. Against a backdrop of the snow capped Olympic Mountains in the distance.

Seaplane Tours typically run most of the year.

While the Victoria to Vancouver (and reverse) seaplane runs year round. Perfect for a day trip or a long weekend in Vancouver.

⭐️ Grab all the top Victoria seaplane tour ideas here.

4. Victoria Whale Watching Tour

Pod of Killer Whales swimmin off the coast of Victoria, Vancouver Island

Many Victoria whale watching tour companies in Victoria offer whale watching tours into December and year round.

It’s awe inspiring, and kids love it. My daughter was enthralled when I took her whale watching from Victoria, BC this year. 

Enjoy a heated cabin to warm up in, onboard bathrooms, and outdoor viewing decks on this comfortable whale watching tour by Five Star Whale Watching. For a chance to see humpback whales and resident orcas. 

🐳 Check out all our recommendations for the best whale watching in Victoria and whale watching on Vancouver Island.

5. Malahat Skywalk

Malahat Skywalk spiral on cloudy day
Malahat Skywalk on a cloudy day

Malahat Skywalk is Vancouver Island’s latest adventure high among the trees.

TreeWalk and Spiral Tower take you high above the forest floor, and the Salish Sea. Easily accessible for strollers and wheelchairs. 

See sweeping panoramic views  of Mt. Baker, Finlayson Arm, and the Saanich Peninsula from the top. 

Take the Spiral Slide for the fastest (& most fun) way down.

The SkyWalk Shuttle provides direct transportation seasonally to Malahat SkyWalk from Downtown Victoria if you don’t have a car. Making it an easy & fun day trip from Victoria.

⭐️ Check out our top budget friendly Victoria activities

Explore the Natural Wonders of Victoria in Winter 

Don’t let the winter keep you inside!

Victoria weather is mild in winter, the mildest in Canada, aside from Vancouver & the Gulf Islands.

From December to February, the average temperatures range from 4°C to 9°C.

In March , temperatures hover between 6°C to 11°C, but it often gets warmer towards the end of the month.

So cool enough, especially near the windy ocean to wear a jacket, and light toque, but not cold enough you need full on winter gear. Perfect for outdoor exploration.

Looking for day trips? We have a full article on family friendly day trips from Victoria you can take.

6. Visit Beacon Hill Park in Winter 

Let your kids (or yourself) climb the giant Sequoia tree in Beacon Hill
Photo: Packed for Life

If you are already exploring downtown Victoria, then a quick detour and wander through Beacon Hill Park is a must. 

See the world’s once tallest totem pole, take a photo at Mile 0, and view the gardens in their winter slumber. 

Kids will still love the playgrounds, and exploring the trails, and rocks through Garry Oak groves.

The petting Zoo usually opens sometime in March.

It’s also one of our favorite free things to do in Victoria, Canada.

7. Walk Dallas Road & The Ogden Point Breakwater

Clear day at the Ogden Point Breakwater path by the ocean in Victoria, BC.
Clear day at Ogden Point Breakwater | Photo: Packed for Life

In winter, waves crash against Dallas Road shoreline and the Ogden Point Breakwater. 

Just make sure to not be anywhere near the pull of the ocean waves, or on rocks, as you don’t want to be swept out to sea.

The Breakwater is an easy walk that follows the cement structure from Dallas Road out towards the Juan de Fuca Strait and a lighthouse at the end.

A popular 1.6km round trip jaunt for locals and visitors alike to view harbour traffic (seaplanes, cruise ships, boats), Macaulay Point Park in Esquimalt, and the States in the distance.

8. Hike at Goldstream Park 

Huge old growth cedar tree and young girl exploring by river in Goldstream Provincial Park, BC.
Goldstream Provincial Park in late Winter | Photo: Packed for Life

Goldstream Provincial Park  is a wonderful place for outdoor lovers to take a stroll through old-growth forest in winter. Hike the short trail to Niagara Falls BC style

See the train trestle (they’ve closed it to hiking), and read the interpretive signs on the easy path by the river. Which explains all about the salmon that spawn here in fall. A truly west coast activity.

Keep your eyes open for bald eagles in the trees and soaring overhead.

It’s just a quick 30 min drive from Victoria, and well worth the trip.

Local Tip: The parking lot & its gate closes pretty early (from 6pm to 8am). Make sure you’re out of the lot by 6pm or your car may be towed, or stuck overnight. There are some parking spots off the highway further up by the Waterfall Trail you can use if the parking lot is closed.

9. Visit the Cadborosaurus at Gyro Park

Giant sea serpent play structure at yro Park, Victoria, BC
Any season is the perfect time to visit Cadboro – Gyro Park | Photo: Packed for Life

Local kids dig this playground year round. In winter you’ll need to bundle up to explore the gigantic cement play structures; Octopus, salmon, boat and our favourite the Cadborosaurus. 

It’s right on the ocean, in Cadboro Bay. 

There’s also a zipline (our 11 year old’s fav),  smaller play areas for younger kids, a washroom and picnic areas. Though you likely won’t  want to be picnicking in winter.

A visit to Gyro Park is on our list for a 3 day family itinerary in Victoria.

10. Scenic View From Mount Tolmie

City view from the top of Mount Tolmie, Victoria BC.
View from the top of Mount Tolmie, Victoria BC | Photo: “EdgarBullon / canva.com”

Mount Tolmie gives you a spectacular 360 degree view of Victoria. 

There are numerous trails that wind around the small mountain through endangered Garry Oak Groves and by the iconic Arbutus Trees. 

Most people however drive to the top, with sunset being prime viewing time. So get there early to snag your spot. Bring your sweetie for a romantic moment. 

Or bring your family to explore the area’s rocks, and old water cistern.

Getting there: Drive up the windy Mayfair Drive, near UVIC to the top.

11. Hike PKOLS (Mount Doug Park)

Rocky Beach on s unny day with tide out in Mount Doug Park.
Walk the Mount Doug Park Beach on a sunny day | Photo: Packed for Life

PKOLS, or Mount Doug Park as I knew it growing up, is a dog & family friendly delight, with hiking trails for all ages and activity levels. 

We’ve been taking our kids and pups here since they were little. 

You can walk along the shores of Cordova Bay in the beach section. Or hike the base of the mountain, or summit view trails to the top. 

You can even drive to the top of Churchill Drive from noon to dusk  most days. 

It’s a fun way to spend an hour or half the day exploring. And as it is under the cover of a huge tree canopy, the base trails are perfect for rainy days.

PKOLS means “white rock” in the SENĆOŦEN language.

12. Explore Sombrio Beach & Surf

Waterfall at Sombrio Beach on a foggy day.
Waterfall at Sombrio Beach | Photo: “edb3_16 / depositphotos

Sombrio Beach along the Juan de Fuca Trail, is a fun winter day trip from Victoria. And for the brave, a wonderful spot to surf.

Explore the sea caves, feel the sand between your toes in this  small “pocket beach” and find the hidden waterfall.

Only an hour and forty-five minute drive from Victoria, it’s well worth the drive. 

13. Beach Comb at Gonzales Beach

For a cute crescent beach, on a small bay closer to home, Gonzales Beach is a gem.

Located in the Fairfield area off the south end of Richmond Road.

This was always a  favourite hangout as a teen. But families and locals visit this beach often. 

Dogs are allowed off leash in the winter time. 

14. Play at Willows Beach

Young girl beach combing on Willow's Beach in Victoria in winter.
It’s still fun to beach comb on Willows Beach in winter | Photo: Packed for Life

Willows Beach has been our family’s favourite  since our kids were little, any time of year.

A big long beach for beachcombing, tidal pools and interesting bird and marine life to watch.  Plus a kid friendly oceanside playground to get their winter energy out. Be sure to bundle up, as it can be cool and windy.

LOCAL TIP: Stop in at Ruth & Dean’s Cafe in Estevan Village close by for a hot chocolate and tasty treat. We recommend the Vanilla Bean Sable cookies, our favourites.

15. Bike the Galloping Goose Trail

Galloping Goose Bridge over waterway in Victoria BC on sunny day.
Galloping Goose Trail Bridge in Victoria BC | Photo: Maxvix / canva.com”

Yes it’s mild enough to bike year round in Victoria, Canada.

The Galloping Goose is a series of multi use trails on an old rail bed that run all over town and up to Sooke.

It also intersects with the Lochside Trails which can take you all the way to Sidney for a fun day trip.

You’ll move through urban landscapes, farmland and wilderness scenery, and get a feel for what makes the island so great.

Victoria Cultural Experiences in Winter

16. Visit the Royal BC Museum & Imax Theatre

Exterior photo of Royal BC Museum and sign in Victoria, Canada.
Royal BC Museum is a fun, family friendly thing to do in Victoria in winter | Photo: Packed for Life

The Royal BC Museum is a family favourite, no matter the time of year. I have been here hundreds of times, and still make a point to visit at least once a year with my kids. 

Located conveniently downtown, your family can learn all about BC natural history, history of BC’s Indigenous peoples and new exhibits once or twice a year. 

Even just stopping in to see the totem poles at the entrance, or in Thunderbird Park, on the museum grounds is a must.

Plus there’s an Imax, a perfect Victoria rainy day activity

Winter Hours: Daily 10am to 6pm

Cost: Adult $29.95, Youth (6-18 yrs) $16.95, Child (3 – 5yrs) Free

17. See Historic Craigdarroch Castle

Stone Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria, BC against a grey sky.
Craigdarroch Castle is an interesting Victoria winter activity | Photo: “wwing / canva.com”

Step back in time with a visit to the historic Craigdarroch Castle, a masterpiece of Victorian architecture nestled in Victoria, BC.

Each of the 39 uniquely decorated rooms of the castle houses a piece of history, featuring intricate woodwork, stained glass, and fascinating artifacts. 

Climb to the top of the castle tower for sweeping views of the winter-kissed cityscape. 

It’s only a pleasant 20-minute walk along Fort Street from downtown. Plus they offer self-guided and guided tours

Throughout December, they have unique displays, decor and events to celebrate the holidays. 

Winter Hours: Wednesday through Sunday 10:00am – 4:00pm

Cost: $20.60 adults, $14.80 youth (13 to 17 yrs), $10.00 kids (6 to12 yrs). Under 6 free. Guided tours cost more.

LOCAL TIP: Take this private Historical Landmarks Tour of Victoria and Craigdarroch Castle for a fun journey through time. This 3 hour private adventure makes your day easy with a pick up at your hotel, then takes you on a historical tour through Chinatown, the Empress Hotel, Craigdarroch Castle, Government House & more.

18. Tour the BC Parliament Buildings in Victoria

BC Parliament Buildings in Victoria lit up at night at Christmas time.
BC Parliament Buildings at Christmas time | Photo: “bornin54 / canva.com”

Open year round, BC’s Parliament Buildings offer free tours that last about 40 min for visitors and locals. Learn local history of the building, our parliamentary system, and some unique (& funny) facts.

This building sits on the  traditional territories of the Lekwungen-speaking (pronounced Le-KWUNG-en) peoples. Now known as the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations.

In the evening watch the Parliament light up with Christmas lights, over 3,000 wintery red and green bulbs decorating the night.

Victoria is also an easy ferry ride from Seattle for a day trip or long weekend.

Hours: check schedule as they decrease over winter

Cost: Free

19. Discover Art At The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

Immerse yourself in the vibrant world of art at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria this winter. 

With its diverse collection spanning centuries and continents, the gallery provides a cultural retreat from the winter chill. 

Whether it’s the historical Asian artifacts or contemporary Canadian works with a focus on artists form the Pacific Rim, there’s something to captivate every art lover.

Winter Hours: Open Tues to Sat 10am to 5 pm, Thursday evenings until 9 pm & Sun 12 to 5pm

Cost: $13 Adults, $2.50 Youth (6 to 17 yrs), or $28 Household. Thursday evenings 5 to 9pm by donation

Free for children (5 and younger), and Indigenous peoples.

20. Visit Hatley Castle

Stone Hatley castle and winter garden at Royal Roads on Vancouver Island.
Roam the gardens at Hatley Castle by Royal Roads University | Photo: “Archivedink”

Hatley Park National Historic Site is the place to stroll through winter gardens, and delight in historic architecture and Royal Roads University. .

You may even recognize it as the setting for Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters from the Xmen and Deadpool movies. 

Sitting on 565 oceanfront acres with an amazing view of the gorgeous Olympic Mountains in the USA you can take guided tours or walk the site alone. 

You can walk the fairytale gardens for free from 10am to dusk, but can only enter the castle with a paid tour May to September.

21. Sample Local Brews at Phillips Brewing and Malting Co

Add a spark to your winter getaway by sampling local brews at Phillips Brewing and Malting Co, locally referred to as the Phillips Brewery. 

Located in the heart of Victoria, this award-winning brewery offers a fascinating variety of craft beers. They’ll often brew up festive variations to bring in the holiday spirit. 

Warm up inside their tasting room with a frothy pint, tour their operations, and immerse yourself in Victoria’s thriving beer scene.

22. Fisgard Lighthouse

Fisgard Lighthouse in winter, Fort Rodd Hill Historic Site | Photo: bornin54 / depositphotos”

The Fisgard Lighthouse, Canada’s first lighthouse on the west coast is still in operation, and you can visit. 

Located on the Fort Rodd Hill Historic Site, the lighthouse itself is only open on weekends from October 16 – April 30, but the grounds are open 7 days a week.

Inside there are colourful displays telling the tales of former lIghthouse keepers, and shipwrecks.   

Kids will love climbing over the old 19th-century west coast artillery fortress. 

It’s also a prime storm watching location with panoramic ocean views in the winter. 

Winter Hours: Lighthouse Sat & Sunday only, Park daily 10 am – 4 pm 

Cost: $8.50 Adult, Free Kids (17yrs or under)

23. Street Art & Craft Beer Tour of Victoria

Art + Beer = Magic

This Street Art & Craft Beer Tour will give you a behind the scenes look at three of the coolest brewpubs in Victoria, BC and local murals & art, even locals might not be aware of. 

Tours run year round. 

Things to do in Downtown Victoria in Winter

While Victoria in winter is quieter than the bustling peak season, downtown is still a destination unto itself. No matter what season you visit.

24. Grab A Cup Of Tea & Sweets At Murchie’s

Coffee, macarons and panini on a silver tray at Murchie's in downtown Victoria.
Stop in for an afternoon treat at Murchie’s | Photo: Packed for Life

Murchie’s Tea and Coffee, is an institution in Victoria, BC for going on 125 years.

When it’s cool and rainy outside, head for a cup of coffee or tea, a fine pastry or sandwich  at Murchie’s. Then peruse their gift shop to bring back a souvenir, or bag of specialty tea for yourself.

25. Stop at a Board Game Cafe

Enjoy a little family or friend competition at a local board game cafe. 

Perfect distraction for a rainy day. Plus there’s  coffee, paninis, milkshakes, alcoholic drinks and treats. What more can you ask for. When Downtown Victoria, try one of these:

  • Interactivity Board Game Cafe – Victoria’s first. They have a 19+ section (bring on the drinks), and a family friendly section too. Plus over 800 games to try out.
  • Board with Friends Cafe – Open 7 days a week, stay and play for $5.  You can also rent board games while you’re in town. 

26. Book Tea at the Fairmont Empress Hotel

World famous Empress Hotel stone building with Canada flag.
Famous Empress Hotel in downtown Victoria, BC | Photo: Packed for Life

Winter really is the best time to enjoy an afternoon tea at the famous Empress Hotel.

So don your finery, and pinkies up, right in the city center!

They’ve been serving their afternoon tea for over a century. Indulge in various sandwiches, scones, pastries and of course tea.

Children ages 5 to 12 can get in on the fun too at their Princes and Princesses Tea. 

Winter Hours: 11am – 4pm. You’ll need to make reservations

Cost: $95 per adult  or $52 per child for the Princes & Princess Tea

27. Wander the Inner Harbour Causeway

Boats moored & people walking the Inner Harbour Causeway, Victoria BC
Stroll the Inner Harbour Causeway | Photo: Packed for Life

It’s always a good time to wander the Inner Harbour Causeway. As the seasons change, so does the landscape. 

You can even hop the Victoria Harbour Taxi to local spots like Fisherman’s Wharf or the Dockside Green across the harbour. Our favourite destination is Foi Epi & Cafe Fantastico at Dockside.

28. Visit the Oldest Chinatown in Canada

Gate of Harmonius Interest in Victoria's Chinatown, on a sunny day.
Gates of Harmonius Interest, Chinatown Victoria, BC | Photo: Packed for Life

The Chinatown in Victoria, BC is the oldest in Canada, and second oldest in North America, behind San Francisco.

Fisgard Street is the most vibrant street in Chinatown now, and one where you’ll find the Gate of Harmonious Interest, and Fan Tan Alley. 

Heading away from the water a block or so you’ll also see the Chinese Public School on the left. Or on Government Street, Canada’s oldest Chinese Temple, an important place for my partner’s family.

Use this self-guided Chinatown tour to walk and learn the history of the area. Start in Market Square.  Be sure to also visit the small museum in Fan Tan Alley dedicated to the history of Chinatown and it’s people.

LOCAL TIP: Make sure to save some time for a stop at Don Mee’s for Dim Sum and the Wah Lai Yuen Restaurant / bakery for egg tarts and sweet buns (coconut are our favourite). 

29. Visit an Iconic Bookstore in Victoria

Wooden book shelves  full of books.
Victoria, BC is a book lovers delight | Photo: “NJproductions / depositphotos”

Is there anything better than curling up  in a cozy nook or by a fireplace and reading a good book in winter? 

There are few iconic bookstores that have lived on in Victoria since as long as I can remember. 

Book lovers should visit: 

  • Munro’s Books: Situated in a heritage building in Old Town Victoria it’s been a destination for book lovers for over 50 years. 
  • Russell Books: Indulge in over 18,000 square feet of floor to ceiling bookshelves at Russell Books on Fort Street. Get lost in the aisles. I certainly have lost track of time here and spent wayyyy more time than intended. Plan accordingly.
  • Bolen Books: Situated in Hillside Mall, Bolen Books is now over 20,000 square feet of book gold. Always a first Victoria stop for books, puzzles and games. 

30. Play Video Games at Quazars Arcade

Bring it on!

Classic video games and pinball machines at Quazars to relive your youth, and introduce the next generation to your childhood favourites. 

Ms. Pacman, Mortal Kombat, Asteroids and more are rotated throughout the floor regularly. 

Winter hours: Sun – Thurs: 10am – 11pm, Fri & Sat: 10am -12am

31. Eat Brunch at Jam Cafe

Jam Cafe is one of the most  popular breakfast spots to hit the brunch scene in Victoria, BC over the last 10 years. 

Located on Herald Street, its brick walls,  and rustic and vintage decor give a down home feel to their menu of south-inspired family recipes. Huevos Rancheros and the Buttermilk Biscuit Melt are favourites. 

Get into the winter spirit with weekly festive specials, and an all day breakfast menu.

Winter hours: 8am to 2pm weekdays, 8am to 3pm weekends

32. Taste Local Chocolate

Hand holding a maple cream Roger's Chocolate at the entrance to their downtown store.
Grab a tasty Roger’s Chocolate in Victoria | Photo: Packed for Life

Roger’s Chocolates is a long standing chocolatier in British Columbia.

Would it really be a holiday without a little taste of chocolate? Pick up a few for yourself and loved ones. 

Charles “Candy” Rogers became Canada’s first  chocolatier in the late 1800’s, in the back of his grocery store. Moving later to the Heritage Store where it sits today. 

Enjoy a piece of Canada’s sweet history. 

33. Throw an Axe at Axe & Grind

At Axe and Grind, “There’s a lumberjack in all of Us” is their motto. 

Not for kids folks.

Learn to throw an axe, in a safe and fun environment. 

Unleash your inner Viking, all while growing an epic beard (or not). 

34. Book a Dinosaur Experience

At the Dino Labs you get to do it all; tour their private gallery, help clean and touch some dinosaur bones, hold a meteorite and more fun hands-on learning. How cool is that!

Must be 4+ years to attend, and you must pre-book your experience. 

Winter Activities in Victoria, BC Canada

35. Ice Skating in Victoria, BC

Young girl ice skating wearing a toque and gloves.
Ice skating is a fun winter activity to try | Photo: “shalamov / depositphotos”

What could be more Canadian & winter time than ice skating (well maybe hockey).

It doesn’t get cold enough for lakes to freeze over, but there are plenty of skating rinks  to try out your fancy moves. They also offer skate rentals so you don’t have to bring your own.

36. Day Trip to Ski Mount Washington Alpine Resort

Mount Washington, BC | Photo: “Salted Fish Studio / canva.com”

Elevate your winter vacation with a thrilling skiing adventure at Mount Washington. As Vancouver Island’s largest winter resort, it offers pristine powder-covered slopes suitable for all skill levels. 

As well as a Nordic Centre for cross country skiing on the edge of the spectacular Strathcona Provincial Park.

Or take the kids tubing at the Tube Park. Always my favourite winter activity.

A day trip from Victoria, it promises breathtaking Alpine views, varied terrains, and après-ski activities amidst the natural beauty of British Columbia. They offer lessons, rentals and Lodges to warm up in and refuel your body.

In summer there are numerous biking trails to explore. 

Getting there: Mount Washington Buses from downtown Victoria, or a 3.5 hour drive from downtown Victoria.

37. Explore a Jungle at Victoria Butterfly Gardens

Butterfly on a leaf at the Victoria Butterfly Gardens
Watch the butterflies at the Victoria Butterfly Garden | Photo: Packed for Life

Missing the heat? Head to the Victoria Butterfly Gardens, a tropical delight for families. 

Look for their resident flamingos and get up close to their 70 species of butterflies, tropical birds, fish, and reptiles. Plan for at least a 90 minute visit. 

See if you can find the leaf cutter ant colony in the Insectarium. Or the macaws hidden in the trees.

Winter Hours: 10am to 4pm

38. Winter Tea at the Abkazhi Garden

The Abkazhi Garden is a wonderful delight.  Over the one-acre property magnificent native Garry oaks and gardens flow around rocks, amidst Japanese maples and rhododendrons. 

The Tea House has a seasonal menu that showcases regional or Abkhazi Garden-grown produce. From the end of November til Dec 31st  visit for their Festive Christmas High Tea, for a seasonal take on their famous afternoon tea. 

Winter Hours: Wed–Sun, 11am–4pm

39. Pamper Yourself with a  Spa Day

Mineral pools at teh Oak Bay Beach Hotel
Enjoy a spa day at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel

Make your wellness a priority with a tranquil and relaxing spa day at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel, which is also one of the best places to stay in Victoria, BC.  

Pamper yourself with a massage or a facial, then spend time soaking in their oceanfront mineral pools. 

End your day with a  lovely dinner at the Snug Pub, or FARO for their Handcrafted Pizza by the water.

40. Visit Demitasse in Oak Bay

The Demistasse Coffee shop in Victoria BC in an old home nestled in a garden space.
Demitasse in Oak Bay a great stop for coffee & a snack | Photo: Packed for Life

Tucked away in Oak Bay the Demitasse is a cafe / garden centre and a local gem. One of my ultimate favourite places to stop for a good coffee, great treats and a wander through their “garden.”

Open year round Monday to Saturday 8am to 6pm.

In warmer weather I love sitting in their cozy nooks outside, tucked in amongst the flowers and trees.

Victoria BC Winter Festivals & Holiday Events

Victoria at Christmas time is enchanting | Photo: “pr2is / canva.com”

No Victoria, Canada winter is complete without some festive holiday events. 

These are all family friendly affairs for all ages. 

41. Attend the Santa’s Light Parade

For over 40 years Santa’s Light Parade has moved kids and families on Vancouver Island the last Saturday  in November typically.

Organized by the Greater Victoria Festival Society, this annual parade features floats, music and entertainment for the whole family.

The route starts in front of the Legislative building, then ends up moving along  Douglas Street, before ending at Fisgard Street. 

42. Victoria Christmas Markets

Handamade with love sign at a Christmas Market.
There are many Christmas Markets in Victoria to support local artisans
Photo: “davelogan / canva.com”

No Christmas season is complete without a visit to a local Christmas Market. 

You’ll find everything from the more traditional markets with local artisans, crafts and food to Punk Rock Holiday Market with  over 40+ local makers, bands and beer. 

Here are a few to check out:

  • Weihnachtsmarkt – Annual German Market put on by the Edelweiss Club. They also put on Schnitzel nights once a month. 

43. Festival of Trees

Victoria’s unofficial start to the holiday season  is the Festival of Trees usually held in the Bay Centre downtown from mid-November to Jan 3rd. 

Stroll through the walkway of over 50 trees with unique themes, and it’s always fun to see the creative designs each year.  

Local businesses sponsor the trees to support the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation.

44. Participate in the New Year’s Celebrations 

Fireworks over Victoria’s Inner Harbour | Photo: “Photoservice / canva.com”

Happy New Years! 

The Inner Harbour is alight with festive lights, people and fireworks on Christmas Eve. 

Then next morning there’s the New Year’s Day Levée at the wonderful Government House. Come for the  light refreshments, entertainment, and festive decorations. Family friendly too. 

Check out their public events calendar to see what is going on while you are there. Even a wander around the garden is a delight.

45. Holiday Movie Nights at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel

Christmas movie night post with.

Grab your family and friends for a pizza and holiday movie night at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel. 

You can watch a variety of modern or classic holiday films over December from A Christmas Story,  to A White Christmas and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. More details here.  

46. Annual Gingerbread Showcase

It’s the gingerbread house town of your dreams, without all the hard work parents!

The annual Gingerbread Showcase runs from the end of November to early January 

Each year local baker’s get together to create gingerbread masterpieces for Habitat for Humanity according to a theme. 

Awards are given out for different categories, You even get to vote for your favourite for the People’s Choice award. 

47. Participate in the Christmas Bird Count

The Christmas Bird Count is a fun thing to do in Victoria in winter with your favourite bird watchers or kids. 

Grab some binoculars, and look for birds in a particular assigned area or from your own  home. Count them from December 14 and January 5.

The CBC as they call it is North America’s longest-running Citizen Science project which also forms one of the world’s largest sets of wildlife survey data.

Final Thoughts: Best Things to do in Winter in Victoria, BC

Victoria, BC is a mild west coast winter delight waiting to be discovered. 

From enchanting light displays at Butchart Gardens, historical insights at Craigdarroch Castle, to thrilling ski adventures at Mount Washington, and local craft beer experiences, the city offers a unique blend of natural beauty and cultural richness.

Perfect for your Vancouver Island Bucket List.

 Each attraction invites you to create unforgettable memories, making Victoria the ultimate winter destination for friends, couples and families. 


Here are our favourite resources we use to research and book our trips. They offer competitive deals, and good customer service. Plus itineraries and more travel ideas for Victoria & Wintery destinations:

Best Seaplane Tours from Victoria
Free & Cheap Things to do in Victoria, BC
Top 11+ Victoria Parks & Playgrounds not to miss!
How to travel from Vancouver to Butchart Gardens
Vancouver Island Bucket List
How to see the Northern Lights in Yellowknife
Best winter activities in Yellowknife, NT
Best USA Winter Destinations for snow

Booking.com – Book for lowest lodging rates.
VRBO Book family friendly accommodations, but no cleaning!
Viator – Find & book tours & fun lessons world wide.

Discover Cars – Find the best deal (worldwide)
Going (formerly Scott’s Cheap Flights) – Save money on flights

Anything else? Check out our Family Travel Resources & Tips page

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