Downtown Victoria is easy enough to explore, especially if you're staying at Ocean Island. But did you know that Victoria has many other neighbourhoods worth exploring? To make things easy, we summed up our favourite things to do in each neighbourhood. Most of these are within walking distance to downtown Victoria (20-30 min) but you might want to take a bus to Oak Bay. Have fun and explore Victoria!
Close to town you'll find Fernwood - one of the most artsy neighborhoods in Victoria! Check out Fernwood Square with the wish tree, a tree full of little notes with wishes written on them. You can grab a bite or drink at the Fernwood Pub or Little June, located right in the heart of Fernwood. Wander around and check out the many heritage houses in this area. Looking for a nice drink in the evening after walking around Fernwood? Try Stage Wine Bar! While they're mostly known for their selection of wines, they're also one of Victoria's only absinthe bars!
Quadra Village is about a 15 minute walk from downtown. There's the Woodenshoe Deli which sells a lot of Dutch pastries and afterwards you can visit Caffe Fantastico, one of the best coffee places in town. Check out their thrift stores at the end of the strip and if you're into gaming; there's a vintage game store located in the heart of the village as well! In case you want to go for a swim in Victoria biggest pool, visit Crystal Pool for all day swim sessions.
Probably the wealthiest neighbourhood in Victoria with lots of mansions. If you plan to be rich in the future and looking for a nice neighbourhood to settle down in: Rockland is your spot. Walk up to Cook & Rockland to grab one of Bubby Rose's delicious muffins and maybe a beverage while you're at it. Walk up on Rockland and visit the Government House's gardens, open till dusk. In case you haven't noticed, this neighbourhood is quite posh and therefore it should come as no surprise that you'll find Craigdarroch Castle and the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria there. Both are tourist attractions and great to visit.
Technically it's own municipality, Oak Bay is one of the most beautiful neighbourhoods on this list. Close to the beach, but also to downtown Victoria, this neighbourhood has all the British grandeur from the past, cute cafes and many eateries. Oak Bay is furthermore known for its beautiful hill parks, such as Anderson Hill Park or Walbran Park, which both offer stunning views of the Olympic mountain range. Make sure to check out the Marina & Willows Beach for a nice afternoon by the water. Last but not least, we absolutely recommend visiting Cattle Point on a clear night. It's an urban sky park, meaning that there's almost no light pollution and there are great views of the night sky.
Fairfield is close to town, but also close to beautiful Beacon Hill Park and of course - the ocean.
Cook Street Village is pretty much at the heart of Fairfield and home to many shops, including Empire Donuts for the best donuts in town, Moka House for a really good cup of coffee and Big Wheel Burger for the best burgers. From Cook Street Village, walk a couple of blocks to the ocean or Beacon Hill Park and enjoy a relaxing afternoon.
James Bay is the oldest neighbourhood in Victoria, which is the main reason you'll find so many character homes there. Still, that's not the only thing this neighbourhood is known for! Right by the ocean, James Bay is known for it's quirky pub The Bent Mast, which hosts events on most nights. Another great part of James Bay is colourful Fisherman's Wharf - complete with floating homes and great fish & chips restaurants. Last but not least, if you want to go for a late night stroll - visit the Breakwater Area and walk out on the pier, the latter offering your great views of the ocean and mountain range.
And that about sums it up! Although these are our favourite things to do in the different neighbourhoods, this list is no way meant to be conclusive. You'll see for yourself when you explore Victoria! :-)