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Come to Victoria Harbour to experience the spirit of the city at its most dynamic. Get a sense of the area’s modern atmosphere and culture as well as its history. Watch street performers flaunt their skills, visit some of Victoria’s most significant buildings and browse the markets for the perfect souvenir. All this against the backdrop of the sparkling waves, topped with vessels of all kinds.
Delve into Victoria’s past by exploring the manicured grounds and ornate architecture of the Parliament Buildings located on the Inner Harbour. The buildings date back to the end of the 19th century and still house the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia today. Nearby, look for the beautiful Empress Hotel, another iconic Victoria building. Visit the Royal British Columbia Museum to learn more about the harbor’s history, going back to its importance to Esquimalt and Songhee First Nations people long before the Spanish arrived.
At the market, pick up some snacks to nibble while shopping for gifts. Pause to watch street performers singing, dancing and even painting. When your feet get tired, treat yourself to a ride in a horse-drawn carriage, or head out to sea on one of the boat tours that leave from the harbor. More adventurous options, such as kayaking and whale-watching trips, can also be arranged.
Though always animated, Victoria Harbour turns into a particularly hectic hub of celebration during important Canadian dates. In late June and early July, the harbor buzzes with festivities to mark Canada Day. Labour Day is also particularly lively. The harbor plays host to a series of events throughout the year, including an annual yacht race and a wide range of music and arts shows.
Make sure you look into what is on before you visit, as the program of seasonal activities is diverse. In particular, check the market times. Although markets usually take place during the last few days of the week, an atmospheric night market also takes place occasionally.
Make the most of your time at Victoria Harbour. Below is a list of the best things to do:
Want to experience this famed attraction in an unforgettable way? Then you can't go past a Victoria 1-Day Sightseeing Tour From Vancouver.
If you're chasing even more options, check out our Victoria things to do page.
Facing the Inner Harbour and adjacent to the Parliament Buildings, Hotel Grand Pacific is 2 blocks from the shops along Government Street and 5 blocks from Fisherman's Wharf.
Situated on a rise overlooking the city and harbor, this hotel is 3 blocks from Government Street, 3 blocks from the Royal BC Museum, and 4 blocks from Beacon Hill Park.
Located on the inner waterfront overlooking downtown Victoria, this resort hotel is 2 blocks from shops and restaurants along Market Square; Chinatown is 3 blocks away.
This hotel overlooks the Inner Harbour, within steps of shop-lined Government Street and the copper-domed Parliament Buildings, and three blocks from the Maritime Museum.
This family-friendly Victoria hotel is located in the entertainment district, within a 10-minute walk of Lower Johnson Street and Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre. Victoria Harbour and Royal BC Museum are also within 1 mi (2 km).
Overlooking Victoria's inner harbor, the condominium-style Victoria Regent Waterfront Hotel & Suites has a private dock; restaurants and nightlife surround the hotel, and many city attractions are less than 1 km (1 mi) away.
Located two blocks from Victoria's busy Inner Harbour, the European-style The Magnolia Hotel And Spa is one block from Government Street shops and three blocks from the Royal BC Museum.
Located in Downtown Victoria, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Victoria Conference Centre and Victoria Harbour. Victoria Clipper Ferry Terminal and Sidney-Washington State Ferry Terminal are also within 20 mi (32 km).