Inner Harbour

#1 in Best Things To Do in Victoria & Vancouver Island
Inner Harbour picture1 of 5
Inner Harbour2 of 5
S. Greg Panosian/Getty Images

Key Info

Wharf Street

Price & Hours

Free
24/7 daily

Details

Sightseeing, Free, Neighborhood/Area Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.8

scorecard

  • 5.0Value
  • 4.5Food Scene
  • 4.0Atmosphere

The Inner Harbour is Victoria's primary tourist neighborhood. The harbor itself – home to various fishing boats and colorful floating homes – is framed by wide pedestrian streets, often frequented by street vendors and buskers. Numerous cafes and restaurants line the sidewalks and provide the perfect locale to savor an afternoon cup of tea while keeping your eyes peeled for whales playing in the open water. The Inner Harbour also hosts some of Victoria's most popular attractions, including the Royal British Columbia Museum and the Parliament Buildings. If you're embarking on a boat or ferry tour, this is where you'll likely start your journey.

Although the majority of recent visitors recommended spending a few hours at the Inner Harbour for the view, some suggested devoting at least half a day as there is always something interesting to see and do. For an even more charming scene, return in the evening, when the Parliament Buildings are lit up. 

At the heart of Victoria, the Inner Harbour welcomes sightseers all day, every day. You don't have to pay to explore, but you should keep some cash on you in case your stomach starts to grumble or a souvenir catches your eye. You'll find the Inner Harbour across the street from the Parliament Buildings and the Fairmont Empress.

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More Best Things To Do in Victoria & Vancouver Island

The Butchart Gardens1 of 16
Parliament Buildings2 of 16
Type
Time to Spend
#2 The Butchart Gardens

These world-renowned gardens have impressed Victoria visitors since 1904. Resting on 55 acres about 15 miles north of the Inner Harbour, Butchart Gardens were carefully constructed by Jennie Butchart on her husband's former limestone quarry. Today, more than 1 million people stop by each year to meander along the property's flower-lined paths, which contain more than 900 varities. Visit on a summer evening to see the gardens illuminated by colored lights and to enjoy some musical entertainment. If you're planning a summer visit and want to avoid the crowds, heed the advice of garden staff and stop by before 10:30 a.m. or after 3:30 p.m.

Travelers describe the gardens as incredibly beautiful with awesome views and recommend that you bring a camera. They also advised setting aside several hours to make the most of the experience. If you need a break, retreat to one of the three eateries located on-site. There is also a carousel and boat tours available on-site.

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