Victoria is the picturesque capital of the province of British Columbia. Sitting at the southern tip of Vancouver Island, it offers the mildest climate in Canada, making it an attractive year-round destination for over 4 million visitors annually.
Victoria offers something for everybody: culture, fun and food, outdoor adventures, and vibrant night life.
Luckily, there are plenty of free things to do in Victoria BC that will allow you to enjoy everything the city has to offer – all without spending a dime.
If you choose to take the ferry to Victoria, don’t forget to download the free Ferries App for current sailing information.
Read on to discover fun activities, interesting historical sites, and beautiful scenery!
Top Free Things to Do in Victoria BC
Beacon Hill Park
Sprawling over 75 acres along the shorelines of the Juan de Fuca Strait, Beacon Hill Park is a crown jewel nestled in the heart of the city. Walking trails weave around ponds throughout the park, which is rich with wildlife at every step.
Beacon Hill Park also boasts its famous children’s petting zoo, multiple playgrounds, sports fields, a cricket pitch, a lawn bowling club, and fields upon fields of seasonal wildflowers. And while you don’t have to spend money to enjoy it, no visit to the park is complete without a stop at the Beacon Hill Drive Thru for ice cream!
No visit to Victoria is complete without walking along the Inner Harbour. Start along the action-packed Government Street, pass by the Tourist Information Centre, and watch seaplane and ferry traffic in the water.
The walk also takes you past the historic Fairmont Empress Hotel, which you can enter to wander through the lobby to admire its incredible architecture and relax in the beautiful rose garden.
Take a stroll through the oldest Chinatown in Canada, with its narrow streets and alleyways which are full of interesting attractions such as shops, restaurants, and historical murals. But don’t feel like you have to spend money. Window shopping and checking out the sites are completely free.
Ogden Point Breakwater
The Ogden Point is a deep water port facility that is home to Canada’s busiest cruise ship port-of-call, where it is not uncommon to see 3 cruise ships in dock during the peak season.
It is also home to a 762 meter concrete breakwater, which is a very popular spot to visit. Take the walk to the end of the breakwater and sit beside the lighthouse to enjoy stunning views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. It is not uncommon to see a range of marine animals during your walk along the breakwater, including seals and otters.
For those that wish to escape the pace of the city and wander into the peacefulness of lush west coast nature, the greater Victoria region offers a plentiful menu of hiking options. Many popular trails are located within 30 minutes of downtown Victoria, including:
- Mount Douglas Park with its amazing views
- Thetis Lake Regional Park, a multi-use area lined with amazing Arbutus trees
- East Sooke Regional Park, a 10km coastal trail that gives you an authentic west coast outdoor experience
Located on the University of Victoria, the public is welcome to visit Finnerty Gardens and admire its vast array of trees, shrubs, and plants.
Address: University Dr, Victoria, BC V8P 3E6, Canada
If you have access to a vehicle, be sure to reserve some time to take a slow, relaxing drive along Victoria’s scenic marine route. Not only does this route take you through some of Victoria’s most interesting neighbourhoods full of character homes, clear days also provide stunning views of the Strait of Juan De Fuca, the Olympic Mountains and San Juan Islands. There are several stops along the way to get out of your car, smell the ocean, and admire the views.
Ross Bay Cemetery
This Victorian-era seaside burial ground allows you to take a step back in time and appreciate its landscape. While you are there you can visit the grave sites of some famous Canadians and Americans who have been laid to rest in this cemetery.
Address: 1495 Fairfield Rd, Victoria, BC, Canada
British Columbia Legislature Building
Located right at the Inner Harbour, this Victoria landmark is impossible to miss. If you love history, architecture or politics, the BC Legislature building is a must-visit.
It is open to the public, and if the legislature is in session, there is possibility to view within the gallery. Free tours are available, both guided and self-guided. Enjoy the stunning detail of this impressive building while learning about the history of governments and politics in BC.
Bonus: walk by the building at night to see it illuminated in over 3,000 lights!
Get more information: Public Tour Information
St. Ann’s Academy
Wander through the orchards, gardens, and building of St. Ann’s Academy. This is another historical site that is one of the best attractions in Victoria.
Address: 835 Humboldt St, Victoria, BC V8V 4W8, Canada