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Victoria is the capital of the province of British Columbia, Canada located near the southern tip of Vancouver Island. It's a medium sized city with approximately 350,000 in Greater Victoria, including the Saanich Peninsula. Nicknamed the Garden City for the Butchart Gardens and the abundant green space within the city, it also lies within the world's most northern Mediterranean climate at a latitude of 48.5° North.
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Points of Interest in Victoria
- Beacon Hill Park, bounded by Dallas Rd on the south, and Douglas St. on the west. The south end is on the waterfront, with walking path and a view of the Olympic Mountains across the strait. Here you can see wild peacocks running around. Beacon Hill Children's Farm, which features a goat petting area, is located within Beacon Hill Park .
- Butchart Gardens, 800 Benvenuto Ave. in Brentwood Bay, at the westernmost point of Keating X Rd, 866-652-4422, . A large garden planted in what was formerly a limestone quarry. Quite remarkable. During the summer they have fireworks set to music and during winter evenings, the gardens are lit up and include displays illustrating the twelve days of Christmas. You can reach Butchart Gardens from Vancouver and Victoria on several bus tours and also by public transit from Victoria or the Swartz Bay ferry terminal.
- British Columbia Aviation Museum, 1910 Norseman Road. In Sidney on the north edge of the Victoria International Airport, +1 250 655 3300. Open 10AM-4PM (May 1- Sept 30) and 11AM-3PM (Oct 1 - Apr 30). Admission $8 Adults, $6 Seniors and $4 Children 12-18.
- Chinatown, Fisgard St. between Store St. and Government St. The street is decorated with Chinese ornaments including The Gates of Harmonious Interest. There are some great Chinese restaurants, Chinese fruit and vegetable stores, bubble tea and coffee shops and Canada's smallest 'road', Fan Tan Alley!
- Emily Carr House, 207 Government Street, ☎ +1 250 383-5843. Fee $5, students $3.50, families $15. Emily Carr is one of Canada's greatest and most loved artists. Her house is within walking distance of the Inner Harbour and Beacon Hill Park.
- Inner Harbour In the summertime the Inner Harbour is full of artists, buskers and other entertainers. The music performers are not permitted to stay in one place for very long, so the entertainment is constantly changing. It still may seem too long with some of the Bagpipers. Many find it fascinating to watch the float planes taking off and landing also. In the springtime, the inner harbour is filled up with many beautiful flowers.
- Legislative Buildings, ☎ +1 250 387-3046. At the Inner Harbour. At night it is lit up with 13,000 lights. Free public tours are excellent.
- Miniature World,, 649 Humboldt St (at the back of the Empress Hotel), ☎ +1 250 385-9731. An extensive display of miniature landscapes, cities etc., some rather bizarre or at comically mismatched scales. Includes the world's smallest working saw mill at a scale of 1:12.
- Royal British Columbia Museum, 675 Bellville St. (between the Legislature and the Empress hotel, near the Inner Harbour), ☎ +1 250 356-7226. Daily 9AM–5PM. This tell's BC story, especially from 1850 to 1920. It has amazing exhibits, and is easily worth half a day. There are three permanent galleries: Modern History, story of the European settlement; First Peoples, pre-contact and post-contact; and Natural History, mainly oceans, large animals, and climate. All are explained with phenomenal immersive exhibits. This is one of two museums in Canada holding the 'Royal' designation. $15 adults, discounts for students and seniors, prices vary for special exhibitions.
- IMAX Theatre,, 675 Bellville St (part of the Royal BC Museum), ☎ +1 250 953-4629. A variety of shows on the IMAX screen. $9.75 adult admission, $7.50 for seniors, students and youth, $5 for children. Tickets are not included with regular museum admission but discounted combo tickets are available.
- Craigdarroch Castle Historical Museum,. 1050 Joan Crescent (in the Rockland area), +1 250 592 5323. This castle was built in 1890 by a wealthy and powerful Scottish family who at that time owned a quarter of Vancouver Island. Great architecture. About 25 minutes' walk from the downtown core, or else take buses 11 or 14 up Fort St.
- Victoria Bug Zoo,, 631 Courtney Street, ☎ +1 250 384-2847. Open daily except Christmas and New Years, 10AM-6PM (extended summer hours). Fee $8 (several discounts). Looking at bugs while on holidays doesn't sound like it'd be appealing, but this is a fantastic little place filled with very knowledgeable and friendly guides, and where else would you get the chance to hold so many crazy creatures?
- Abkhazi Gardens, 1964 Fairfield Road, ☎ +1 250 598-8096. . Love affairs make great stories, and this one resulted in a great garden. Prince and Princess Abkhazi along with designer John Wade came together and created a garden that took over 40 years to come together on a beautiful property overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Olympic Mountains.
- Harbour tours Small harbour ferries (about six passengers) provide transport around and a view of the Selkirk Waterway and Inner Harbour.
- Galloping Goose Trail. A few places rent bikes and this is a great afternoon or day trip. The trail runs on a decommissioned rail bed from downtown to Sooke.
- Whale Watching For those who are a bit more adventurous there are several Whale Watching companies which operate from the inner harbour. Some are located underneath the Tourist Information centre. The companies offer up to three hour trips and have a good success rate at finding one of the three resident pods of Orcas. One such company is Prince of Whales, +1 250 383-4884. Prices from $55 per person. Orca Spirit Adventures, +1 250 383-8411, offers covered vessels with luxurious indoor seating, liquor license, and onboard washrooms as well as open zodiac tours. Another good one is Ocean Explorations, +1 250 383-6722. Another good one that guarantees whale sightings is Eagle Wing Tours Whale Watching, +1 800 708-9488.
- Nature! The surrounding Victoria area is also an amazing place to explore if you're more inclined towards natural spots. From the Inner Harbour you can walk in either direction along the water to the very popular local Dallas Road, or you can cross "The Blue Bridge" and end up on the Westsong Walkway into Esquimalt. Both have beautiful views of the Inner Harbour and even Port Angeles across the water. If you're feeling more energetic check out some of the attractive parks in Victoria's neighbouring towns including Oak Bay, Saanich, Langford, Sooke and Sidney.
- Wine tasting There are five wineries within a 45-minute drive of Victoria, on the Saanich Peninsula, including some estate wineries. These wineries have a wide range of wines including those made from their own grapes, grapes grown elsewhere and fruit wines. Crush Wine Tours, +1 250 888-5748, offers a three-hour tour visiting three of the wineries, guided by a friendly and well informed guide.
Victoria has the second-highest number of restaurants per capita of all North American cities! The waterfront tourist area is home to a wide variety of restaurants and eateries, including several English-style pubs. Try the fish and chips or shepherds pie for a taste of England in Canada. For a more eclectic Victoria experience, check out the classy restaurants that surround Chinatown, offering interesting west-coast fusion and asian dishes.
- Ocean Island Cafe Lounge, 791 Pandora, ☎ +1 250 385-1784. 5PM-midnight. Located inside Ocean Island Inn dinner from $6-$9.
- Garrick’s Head Pub (est. 1867), 69 Bastion Square, +1 250 384-6835. A simple pub — and “One of the oldest English pubs in Canada” according to their website — but with excellent food and amazing friendly service. As is typical in such pubs, not a great selecton for veggheads, but their veggie burger (nuts and chick peas) is really fantastic. The fries are beer-battered to a lovely crispy dark golden colour and the fish is cooked really well, flaky, not squeaky. Mushy peas that come with the steak pie are very tasty. Lots of traditional British food… but with taste. Not enough for you? How about that fireplace? 
- Bent Mast Pub and Restaurant, 512 Simcoe St, ☎ +1 250 383-6000. In James Bay. A great place to drink, eat, make friends, and have fun. Talk to the staff for a bit of the history of this old Victorian house and invite your friends!
- Irish Times, 1200 Government St, ☎ +1 250 383-7775. Wonderful pub meals, good beer and lots of seating.
- Spinnakers Brewpub, 308 Catherine St, ☎ +1 250 386-2739. Within walking distance of downtown. A great place to go for a drink or a meal. Pub: 7 days a week, 11AM-11PM. Restaurant: 7AM-10:30PM. There is a restaurant on the main floor, and a brewpub upstairs. Great atmosphere and a nice view of the inner harbour, especially in the evening. A variety of in-house brews, as well as whatever else you want to drink.
- Swan’s Restaurant and Hotel, ☎ +1 250 361-3310. Swan’s brews their own beer and feature live music every night of the week.
North American Cuisine
- Blue Crab Bar & Grill, 146 Kingston St. In The Coast Harbourside Hotel & Marina, 480-1999 Beautiful harbor-view dining with elegant atmosphere.
- Chandlers Seafood House, 1250 Wharf St, ☎ +1 250 385-3474. A lovely seafood restaurant located in downtown Victoria. Voted best local seafood restaurant many times. Intimate food at reasonable prices. Great selection for all courses. Reservations recommended.
- Fairfield Fish and Chips, 1277 Fairfield Road, ☎ +1 250 380-6880. They are closed Sunday and Monday and most holidays. Get your chips to go and take them 4 blocks down to the waterfront and enjoy the view of Juan De Fuca Strait. They do an especially light and fluffy batter.
- Ferris' Oyster Bar & Grill, 536 Yates St, ☎ +1 250 360-1824. A large menu and classy atmosphere, perfect for first dates or nights out with friends. Even the burgers are good.
- John's Place, 723 Pandora Ave, ☎ +1 -250-389-0711. A local favourite with some of the best staff in town and excellent food at decent prices. Brunch for two is about $27.50 including tax and tip. The Eggs Benedict with hollandaise sauce is to die for (10 varieties, $8.95-10.95)! Great place for Saturday or Sunday brunch. Comfortable, casual family & friends atmosphere. Open 364 days/year, M-Th 7AM-9PM, F 7AM-10PM, Sa 8AM-10PM, Su 8AM-9PM.
- Shine Cafe, 1458 Fort St. A very popular brunch spot located at Oak Bay Corners (Fort and Pandora), outside of downtown. A particularly interesting dish they make is Scottish breakfast with black pudding and potato scones. Expect a long wait after 11AM on weekends.
- Big Wheel Burger, 341 Cook St. A classic American cheeseburger joint with a focus on sustainability. It is Vancouver Island's first and only carbon-neutral restaurant. Delicious cheeseburgers and shakes gluten-free, vegetarian options and kid-friendly. Serves beer and wine as well.
- Brasserie L'ecole, 1715 Government St, ☎ +1 250 475-6260. Open Tu-Sa 5:30PM-11PM. A highly-acclaimed fine dining destination with the atmosphere of a classy but comfy Parisian restaurant. Probably the best food in Victoria.
- Cafe Brio Restaurant, 944 Fort St. Victoria - Cafe Brio is open seven nights a week for dinner from 5:30PM - Advance reservations are highly recommended; phone +1 250 383-0009 or Toll-Free at 1-866-270-5461  "Cafe Brio, the hottest restaurant in Victoria, is a destination for serious diners from all over the U.S. and Canada." writes Northwest Palate Magazine.
- Il Terrazzo Ristorante, 555 Johnson St. Off Waddington Alley. Great Italian in a charming patio atmosphere.
- Oh Gelato! Italian Ice Cream, 1013 Government Street. 66 flavours of beautifully-presented gelatos, garnished with bits of fruit or chocolate to illustrate their flavour, at $6.95 for a two-scoop cup. Also snacks and Canadian food souvenirs. Worth a stop to photograph the gelato.
- Pagliaccis, 1011 Broad St, ☎ +1 250 386-1662. One of the most popular Italian restaurants in town. Intimate settings and addictively scrumptious endless free bread. Always a good experience.
- Rathskeller Schnitzel House, A taste of Bavaria, best German food and beer in town; authentic interior and atmosphere! Live accordion music most nights. 
West Coast Fusion
- Venus Sophia Tea Room & Vegetarian Eatery, in the heart of Chinatown on 540 Fisgard Street. Tues - Sun 10 AM - 5.30 PM. Vegetarian gourmet meals, creative cooking style with inspiration from all over the world. Great coffee and desserts. Lots of vegan and gluten free options. $10 - $15 meals. Telephone: (250) 590 - 3953. www.venussophia.com
- Rebar Modern Food, 50 Bastion Square, +1 250 361-9223. M-W 8:30AM-9PM, Th-Sa 8:30AM-10PM, Su 8:30AM-3:30PM (brunch). A partially vegetarian restaurant with a diverse modern menu, and a nice location. Limited vegan options, and many menu items contain fish. Lunch for under $10 per person, dinner for under $15.
- The Mint, 1414 Douglas Street. Between Pandora and Johnson, 386-6468 & 361-9223. Nepalese and Tibetan cuisine in a swanky atmosphere, DJs included. A popular spot for students.
- The Noodle Box, 626 Fisgard St. +1 250 360-1312, and 818 Douglas St., +1 250 384-1314. Hours M-Sa 11AM-9PM, Su noon-8PM. Another very popular spot for locals. Serves southeast Asian food fresh and in a takeaway box. Wait times vary depending on the time of day (for example, 20-25 minutes during lunch hour rush), but the meal is worth it. Minimize the wait by phoning in your order in advance. The boxes look deceptively small, but they make a very filling meal.
- Mo:lé, 554 Pandora, between Government and Wharf, +1 250 385-6653. A trendy restaurant serving fusion breakfast, lunches and dinners.
- Afternoon Tea at Venus Sophia Tea Room & Vegetarian Eatery, in the heart of Chinatown on 540 Fisgard Street. Charming tea room with unique décor and ambience. Offers a fresh twist on traditional afternoon tea - locals love it. Generous portions of finger sandwiches, dainty tarts, shortbread, fruit, scones and more to be enjoyed with a fresh pot of organic loose leaf tea from an extensive selection. Tea is served in antique English teacups and teapots. Served daily from Tuesday to Sunday 09:00-17:00 Price: $25.50 per person (tax and 15% gratuity not included). Children's tea available for $15.50. Dress code: Casual/Smart-casual. Telephone: +1 250 590-3953. Reservations recommended, walk ins welcome.
- Afternoon Tea, at the Empress Hotel (see under "Lodging"). This is quintessentially Victoria or unbearably kitsch, depending on your taste. Afternoon Tea, served from 12:00, includes fine teas, fruit with cream, and elegant petite sandwiches. Altogether it is a full meal. Price changes with the season, from $48 per person in summer to $38 in the winter. West Coast Tea, served Th-Sa from 19:00 onwards during the summer only, builds on the concept but is designed for cruise ship visitors. $42 per person. Reservations required, and should be made 1-2 weeks in advance at +1 250 389-2727. Dress-code is "smart casual": dresses and ties not required, but avoid tank tops and flip-flops.See also.
- Green Cuisine, 5-560 Johnson St (in the Market Square centre), ☎ +1 250 385-1809. Summer: daily 10:00-20:00, Winter: M-Sa 10:00-20:00, Su 10:00-17:00. Vegetarian Restaurant offers a buffet of 100% vegan dishes. $1.75 per 100g, with fruit drinks and soy milk shakes about $4 on top of that. A generous meal for two was under $30.
Because Victoria’s downtown is fairly small, most of the nightlife is located within walking distance. Cabs aren’t too expensive and there isn’t too far to go to get from point A to B. Victoria's police force has an aggressive crackdown on drinking and driving, so take a cab, all you have to do is stumble to Douglas and eventually you will grab one before someone else. But if it’s a “special” night like Halloween or New Year’s Eve, expect a bit of a wait. Compared to clubs in larger cities, cover in Victoria is cheap, ranging from $3 to $10. Fridays and Saturdays: expect to pay $7 to get in the door and another $2 to check your coat. Compared to larger cities, Victoria's liquor is pretty pricey. There is a law in Victoria that requires all drinks to cost $3 at minimum for a serving of alcohol. Expect to pay at least $3 but most likely more for each drink. Beers and shots are about $5. Most bars have cash machines inside, and accept only cash as payment.
- Lucky Bar 517 Yates. A bit small, but not nearly as costly as others. Wednesday night is Mod Night so dress in your hipster finest. Thursday night's "Hang The DJ" is probably the most tasteful music in the city, and the music-snob crowd reflects that. The crowd is a mix of straight and queer. Monday night is 90210 so dress to impress and get down there early.
- Touch View St. (at Blanshard). Formerly know as 'The Red Jacket' This opulent nightclub is frequented by a posh crowd looking to see and be seen. The crowd tends to be a bit more ethnically diverse. The bar itself is large (when both sides are open) and features a bright fish tank that is very cool when you’re drunk. When this club is popular, usually Thursdays, expect to wait in line unless you come early or know the right people. Mondays are the hipster night - complete with DSLR photographers and enough electro and mash ups to choke a portland donkey.
- For a slightly older crowd, head to Upstairs Cabaret (in Bastion square). Above the popular pub Darcy’s, the place gets busy on Saturday after the pub crowd are kicked out at 01:00 when the (awesome) rock cover band finishes. Upstairs is a good size and plays a wide variety of music. The staff often ignores all patrons but their friends but with a bit of persistence you’ll get a drink.
- The younger crowd tends to head to Plan B. Its a younger crowd so if you are into that head here for an awesome time. They play a good mix of top 40 and house music. Lots of parties are thrown here and there is a large UVIC crowd who goes here on weekends. How can you go wrong with stripper poles and cages?
- Club 9one9 is probably the largest club in Victoria, with a sunken dance floor and multiple bars. Used to be called Legends and was very popular. in the basement of the Strathcona hotel which also features the Clubhouse, Rooftop and Big Bad John's
- For rock and 80s fans, go to Rehab (formerly Evolution) at 502 Discovery. They play classic and modern rock, retro, electro etc. depending on the night. Retro night on Wednesday’s is especially popular and the drinks tend to be a bit cheaper. The crowd is really mixed, all ages and walks of life.
- Victoria's gay crowd, although usually more comfortable at Lucky or Hush, will occasionally show their support and hang out at Paparazzi (formerly known as Prism) the “official” gay bar on Johnson St. The music is pumping and special drag shows or karaoke contests are often. Straight people are welcome…sort of…if they are willing to have a little fun anyway. This place is also home to the only good Karaoke night in town.
- Another “sort-of” gay bar is Hush. The music is almost purely pounding trance and other dance music genres and anyone is welcome. The bar is fairly small but you can find it on Government St. This is basically where everybody went after the City of Victoria completely destroyed the awesome rave scene that used to happen here.
- Redd's Roadhouse Pub (Redd's Pub), 3020 Blanshard St (In front of Topaz Park), ☎ +1 250 382-4400. 11:00-23:00. Sports bar featuring all sports events in huge TV screens, daily specials, game nights and live bands. $30.
Victoria is full of little shops tucked away in every nook and cranny in the centre. Souvenir shops are all around the Inner Harbour. Although people generally think Victoria is a tourist destination only, there are more than just tourist shops.
- Americans so inclined may want to take the opportunity to pick up a Cuban Cigar or two. Just don't expect to be able to bring any back with you through Customs.
- Government Street, from the Inner Harbour up to Chinatown, is the biggest (and rather touristy) shopping drag. The best way to go is just to wander the streets but make sure you check out some little gems like Market Square, at the bottom of Johnson St. In the summertime there's live music here.
- Fort Street is otherwise known as Antique Row. From Blanshard to Cook Streets, Fort Street is lined with small antique shops and auction houses.
- The Inner Harbour has artisans selling their crafts during the summer (and part of spring and fall as well sometimes), and Bastion Square (off of Government Street) often has a summer craft market as well.
- LoJo or Lower Johnson Street has several higher-end fashion boutiques. It's a good place to find local and international designer clothes.
This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Victoria (British Columbia) on Wikivoyage.