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the festive lighting at the bc legislature showing off the the victoria bc christmas spirit.

12 Victoria BC Christmas Events & Activities (2023)

Looking for a festive list of Victoria BC Christmas activities? The city transforms into a winter wonderland every holiday season, offering a blend of traditional charm and modern festivities.

Whether you’re an islander or a first-time visitor, the city’s yuletide spirit is contagious. In this guide, we’ll unwrap the top Victoria Christmas activities that make the Garden City a magical destination during the holiday season.

The Top 12 Victoria Christmas Activities

Imagine a place where Christmas isn’t just a day on the calendar but a season of joy, lights, and unforgettable experiences. Welcome to Victoria, where the holiday spirit is alive in every corner.

This guide is your ticket to exploring the best Christmas activities in Victoria, perfect for families, couples, and solo adventurers alike. So, let’s get moving to seek out the quintessential Victoria Christmas experience.

Related: The 12 Best Victoria Things to Do in 2023


an aerial shot of butchart gardens around christmas shows the attractions fabulous light display.

Explore the Magic of the Butchart Gardens Christmas Lights

Imagine walking through a garden where every turn is a new surprise of lights and colours.

That’s the Butchart Gardens during Christmas.

Starting in Victoria in December, this iconic attraction transforms into a festive paradise, making it a top Victoria Christmas activity for the whole family throughout the holiday season.

The gardens are adorned with thousands of twinkling lights, creating a mesmerizing display that lights up the night. It’s a perfect spot for families, couples, and first-time visitors. Don’t forget to grab a hot cocoa as you stroll through this winter wonderland!


a bus in holiday decor during the victoria santa claus parade.

Attend the Annual Santa Claus Parade

In Victoria in winter there’s nothing quite like the joy of a Santa Claus Parade.

Victoria’s annual parade is a spectacle of floats, bands, and, of course, Santa himself! It’s a great way to kick off the Victoria Christmas celebrations, with its somewhat early November 25th

The parade winds through the city’s streets, so find a cozy spot along the route, bundle up, and enjoy the festive cheer. It’s a fantastic event for families and travellers alike, offering a glimpse into Victoria’s community spirit. So head down to Belleville and Government at 5:20 pm, and let the festivities begin!

the father of christmas exhibit at victoria's royal bc museum.
Instagram: @royalbcmuseum

Visit the Royal BC Museum’s Seasonal Exhibits

The Royal BC Museum isn’t just about history; it’s about making history fun and festive! During Christmas, the museum hosts special seasonal exhibits that are both educational and entertaining. The popular Father Christmas in Oldtown exhibit transports you back to the holiday season during Victoria’s pioneer beginnings.

These exhibits also feature Christmas traditions from around the world, making it an enlightening experience for visitors of all ages. It’s a unique way to add a touch of culture to your Victoria holiday activities—and the new Winterfest Christmas Market outside also promises to become a Victoria holiday staple.

A horse drawn carriage travels through Victoria, BC

Take an Inner Harbour Horse-Drawn Carriage Ride

Imagine snuggling up under a warm blanket, the sound of horse hooves clip-clopping on the cobblestone streets, as you embark on a magical journey through Victoria’s twinkling Inner Harbour. This is what awaits you with a Victoria horse-drawn carriage tour, an unmissable addition to your Victoria Christmas activities.

As the carriage rolls gently through the streets, you’re transported into a scene straight out of a classic Christmas movie. You’ll see Victoria’s main attractions, all dressed up in their holiday best, with their thousands of twinkling lights, offering a breathtaking view reflecting off the waters of the Inner Harbour. The romance of the experience is palpable, creating a cozy bubble as you traverse the city’s festive landscape.


A woman sips a hot drink at a victoria bc christmas market.

Experience the Magic of Victoria’s Christmas Markets

Christmas markets are truly magical, and Victoria’s are no exception. Imagine rows of charming stalls, each brimming with unique crafts, local artisan products, and mouth-watering treats. Looking for something new? The Royal BC Museum features the first annual WinterFest outdoor multicultural holiday market on December 2nd and 3rd.

You’ll find everything from hand-knitted scarves to homemade jams, perfect for those special Christmas gifts. The atmosphere is buzzing with holiday spirit, often accompanied by live music and the aroma of seasonal goodies. It’s a must-do for anyone wanting to experience the heart and soul of Victoria Christmas 2023.

Related: Victoria in January: The Perfect Winter Getaway

a crowd watches a show at victoria's famed royal theatre.
Instagram: @royalmcphersontheatres

Enjoy a Festive Show at the Royal Theatre

Ready for a night of entertainment? The Royal Theatre in Victoria puts on some of the most enchanting Christmas shows. Whether it’s a classic Nutcracker ballet or a modern Christmas play, the performances are sure to leave you spellbound.

It’s a wonderful way to spend an evening soaking in the artistic side of Victoria’s Christmas celebrations. And here’s a tip: book your tickets in advance, as these shows are quite popular and tend to sell out quickly! Check out the Royal Theatre calendar for more information.

a look at the holiday lighting on the parliament buildings during the victoria bc christmas season.
Courtesy: Tourism Victoria

Take a Victoria Christmas Lights Tour Around the City

One of the best Victoria Christmas activities is simply touring the city to see the dazzling light displays. Many neighbourhoods in Victoria go all out with their decorations, turning ordinary streets into sparkling festive avenues. You can opt for a guided tour or just wander around the city at your own pace.

Don’t miss the famous landmarks like the Parliament Buildings and the Empress Hotel, which are lit up spectacularly for the holiday season. A stroll through the Inner Harbour is a delightful experience for all ages and a great way to see the city in a whole new light. For a quick bonus, the new Lights of Wonder Festival in Centennial Square promises to be a valuable addition to the Victoria holiday arsenal.

Related: The 13 Best Victoria City Tours for Travellers

Instagram: @fairmontempress

Indulge in a Festive Afternoon Tea at the Fairmont Empress

For a touch of elegance, how about afternoon tea at the Fairmont Empress? This isn’t just any tea; it’s a Christmas-themed extravaganza with seasonal treats and delicacies. The Empress is known for its exquisite service and stunning settings, making this experience a luxurious treat.

Alternatively, you can hit up the Veranda overlooking the harbour to partake in a holiday tradition that includes smores, hot drinks, and other holiday treats. Trust me, it’s a perfect way to relax and indulge during your Victoria holiday activities. Remember to dress up a bit – it’s an experience worth savouring in style!

Participate in the Gingerbread Showcase

The Gingerbread Showcase in Victoria is not just for kids; it’s an artistic display that amazes visitors of all ages. Local bakers and amateurs alike gather at the Parkside Hotel & Spa to create intricate gingerbread houses that are nothing short of architectural masterpieces. The level of detail and creativity is astounding.

You can stroll through the displays, vote for your favourites, and maybe even get inspired to create your own gingerbread house back home. Celebrating its 15th anniversary, the event is a sweet addition to your list of Victoria Christmas things to do. Not to mention, it’s a Habitat for Humanity fundraiser, so it’s all for a good cause!

Instagram: @thebaycentre

Check out the Festival of Trees at The Bay Centre

Christmas shopping is a vital part of any holiday season, but it doesn’t always leave you in a festive mood. That doesn’t have to be case at the Bay Centre, where the annual Festival of Trees features up to 100 sponsored trees to spruce up your shopping experience.

The festival functions as a fundraiser, with local businesses and individuals sponsoring their favourite seasonal saplings. This year, funds will go toward cancer research at BC Children’s Hospital. So why not continue with the spirit of giving by helping to eradicate this terrible disease?

an exterior photo of the victoria public market during the holidays.
Instagram: @victoriapublicmarket

Explore the Festive Magic at Victoria Public Market

The Victoria Public Market transforms into a festive hub during the Christmas season. It’s not just about shopping; it’s an experience. With live music, cooking demonstrations, and seasonal offerings from local vendors, it’s a place where you can taste, shop, and explore.

You can also opt to hit up their Christmas Night Market on December 12th, from 4:00 to 8:00 pm. Whichever you choose, the market is a great spot to find unique gifts and indulge in some delicious holiday treats. It’s a must-visit for foodies and anyone looking to immerse themselves in the local culture.

Looking for a quick Christmas getaway? Check out our list of the best day trips from Victoria.



Victoria Christmas FAQs

Victoria transforms into a festive wonderland during Christmas, with its charming downtown and Inner Harbour areas adorned with holiday lights, bustling Christmas markets, and a range of events that capture the holiday spirit. It’s a perfect blend of traditional charm and modern festivities, ideal for travellers, families, and locals alike.

Absolutely! Families can enjoy a variety of activities like the magical Butchart Gardens Christmas lights, the festive Santa Claus Parade, or checking out the Royal BC Museum. There are also numerous interactive holiday displays and events specifically designed for children.

Dress warmly for the winter weather, plan your visit to popular attractions like the Butchart Gardens in advance, and don’t hesitate to explore the city on foot to fully experience the festive decorations and atmosphere. Also, check local event schedules, as some activities may require pre-booking.

Victoria typically experiences mild winter weather during the Christmas season compared to many other Canadian cities. Daytime temperatures usually range from 3°C to 8°C (37°F to 46°F), which cool somewhat overnight. While it’s rare, the city can occasionally see snowfall during this time. Mostly, visitors should expect chilly and damp conditions, with a mix of rain and overcast skies.

The Butchart Gardens’ Christmas light display is a breathtaking spectacle. Visitors can expect to see the gardens transformed into a vibrant, colourful wonderland with thousands of twinkling lights. The display includes themed areas, such as the magical Twelve Days of Christmas display, and often features festive entertainment and carolers, making it a truly immersive holiday experience.


Ready to Unwrap your Victoria BC Christmas itinerary?

As our festive journey through Victoria, BC, comes to a close, we hope you’re filled with the excitement and warmth of the holiday season. Our picturesque city’s festive spirit is a reminder of the joy and wonder that the holiday season brings.

From the twinkling lights of Butchart Gardens to the romantic carriage rides along the Inner Harbour, Victoria’s Christmas charm is unmatched. So, pack your mittens and a merry heart, and get ready to experience the magic of Christmas in Victoria!

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