Parliament Buildings#3 in Best Things To Do in Victoria & Vancouver Island
The British Columbia Parliament Buildings are hard to miss. These neo-baroque structures with their impressive blue dome face off against Victoria's famed Fairmont Empress Hotel and make an excellent backdrop for an Inner Harbour stroll, especially at night when the facade is dressed in lights. But if you want a closer look at the building (which dates back to 1898), the parliamentary process and the history of the province, many travelers recommend a tour, raving about the well-informed guides. Although you can take a self-guided tour, you should consider tagging along on a free guided tour, according to recent visitors.
If you happen to be here when Parliament is in session, consider sitting in on one of the Legislative Assembly debates. You'll find a schedule of discussion topics on the Parliamentary Calendar. The Parliament Buildings are open every day during the summer from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. On weekends, visitors must join a free public tour. During the winter, the buildings are open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Complimentary guided tours run regularly throughout the day and last roughly 30 to 45 minutes. For more information, visit the British Columbia Parliament's visitor information website.
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#1 Inner Harbour
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.
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