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Free Things to do in Victoria

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!

Address: 100 Cook St, Victoria, BC V8V, Canada

Inner Harbour

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.

Chinatown

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.

Address: 500 Fisgard St, Victoria, BC V8W 1R4, Canada

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.

Address: 211 Dallas Rd, Victoria, BC V8V 1A1, Canada

Hiking

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:

Finnerty Gardens

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

Marine Route

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

Address: 501 Belleville St, Victoria, BC V8V 2L8

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


The Biggest Update EVER for Ferries App!

In 2012, Ferries App was launched to make it easier for you to read ferry schedules on your mobile device. We just wanted to take a bit of stress out of trip planning! 

It remains one of the few unofficial, third-party apps that publishes ferry schedule information in way that is optimized for viewing on your phone.

Since it first launched, over 80,000 people have downloaded Ferries App. And today, we’re happy to announce the biggest update EVER to it!

With this update, you can:

  •  see schedules and current conditions for 12 major BC Ferries routes ⛴
  •  see real-time info for each sailing on these routes ℹ️
  •  set alerts to be notified as vehicle deck space fills up 🔔
  •  get terminal information, including sailing waits, long-term parking lot availability, and even live cam shots 🚙


It is completely free to download and use, and available now in the Apple App store (psst: Android version coming shortly to the Google Play store!

If you already have Ferries App on your phone and are updating to the new version, please note a few things:

  • The new version has a reduced number of routes than the version you are using. This is because we are providing a richer set of information for the routes we support now. See our FAQ for the list of supported routes.
  • Schedule and sailing data is only available for the today and tomorrow. We may look at the possibility of adding a longer-term sailing calendar in a future app update.
  • Most important! The current version of the app you are using will no longer work after March 31, 2019. We know you’ll love this update, so might as well install it now 😎

The app was built to help coastal residents like ourselves, and we hope you find it useful.

We’re on standby waiting to hear what you think of the latest update to Ferries App. Don’t be shy!

If you like what you see, please consider supporting us in any (or all!) of the following ways:

  • Tell your friends about it. You can even share a link to it from within the app itself 😃
  • Leave us a 5-star review and some supportive words in the Apple or Google Play stores
  • Follow @FerriesApp on Instagram and Twitter

We’d love to hear what you think: how we can improve it, what other features you’d like to see, or problems you’ve had using it.

This is an independent side project and is not officially endorsed by BC Ferry Services Inc. Because it’s unofficial, we can’t warrant that the data in it is 100% accurate 100% of the time.

If you’d like 100% certainty, we encourage you to double check with the BC Ferries website as the official source of schedule and sailing information. 

Ferries App is Looking for Testers!

It’s not perfect, but development is far enough along with the next Ferries App update that we’re ready to start accepting testers 🙌

We’re looking for any feedback on the app before we launch it in the app store, and we’d be grateful for your help.

If you travel on BC Ferries and own an iPhone, you qualify!

Here is what you can expect to see in the app:

  • ⛴ see schedules and current conditions for 12 major BC Ferries routes
  • ℹ see real-time info for each sailing on these routes
  • 🚨 set alerts to be notified as vehicle deck space fills up
  • 🚘 get terminal information, including sailing waits, long-term parking lot availability, and even live cam shots

A Few Important Notes:

  • You are being asked to test a new app, which means some things might not work. This is normal. It’s why we test it first with a limited number of people, so we can identify and fix problems before it’s released to the wider world. 🌎
  • This is an independent app and should be considered “unofficial”. It is not endorsed by BC Ferry Services Inc. 🙅
  • In the app, you’ll see a banner that asks you to fill out a quick survey. We’d appreciate if you could click it and take 60 seconds to let us know if we’re on the right track with the app 🙏

Getting Access to test Ferries App

Because it’s not yet available in the Apple app store, you need to install it through an app called TestFlight. It’s the standard way that developers send test versions of an app to users. TestFlight itself is owned and managed by Apple, so you can trust that it’s legitimate 🙂

If You are Familiar with TestFlight:

Open this link on your mobile to install Ferries App: https://testflight.apple.com/join/qPFMNYYf

Never Used TestFlight?

It is a straightforward process that has prompts all the way through it. In case you get stuck, below you will find a series of screenshots to walk you through every step. It shouldn’t take more than 60 seconds to setup.

If you’re ready, open this link on your phone to begin! https://testflight.apple.com/join/qPFMNYYf

Enjoy! 😎