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Victoria In January 2024: Things to Do + Events & Festivals

A trip to Victoria in January is the perfect way to kickstart your New Year for those looking to ease into their resolutions,

In this article, we’re making a case for why Victoria should be at the top of your travel list during the low season.

With its gentle winter weather and array of indoor and outdoor activities, you’ll soon see that Victoria, BC in January can offer a serene yet exciting experience.

Victoria in January

Victoria is the capital city of British Columbia, Canada, renowned for its historic architecture, beautiful scenery and vibrant arts scene. Located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, this charming city offers a blend of old-world charm and contemporary attractions, making it one of Canada’s most visited destinations.

The downside? During the peak tourist season, Victoria’s top attractions and vaunted Inner Harbour begin to resemble the crowded ferry terminals you’ll have to traverse to get here.

But not in January! You’ll have free reign to explore the sites and soak in the charm at your own pace!

So, before you dive into those New Year’s resolutions, consider a detour to Victoria in January. I think your gym membership can wait!

Let’s have a look at why Victoria is the perfect winter getaway for those looking for a quick escape.

Related: The Top Things to Do in Victoria in Winter

Why Visit Victoria in January?

Victoria in January offers a unique experience due to its pleasant weather, festive atmosphere, and special events. The city hosts the vibrant Victoria Whisky Festival, attracting whisky enthusiasts worldwide.

Additionally, the annual Dine Around & Stay in Town event allows visitors to indulge in local culinary delights at exceptional prices.

The winter blooms at the Butchart Gardens are also a sight to behold. Its Magic of Christmas event also lasts from early December until January 6th.

This makes January a perfect time to visit Victoria for a memorable holiday experience. So, why not plan a trip to Victoria in January?

⛴️ Heading in from the mainland? Be sure to check out our guide on getting to Victoria from Vancouver.

Victoria Weather in January

Victoria in January offers a unique charm, boasting Canada’s mildest winter climate, making it an appealing destination for those looking to escape the harsher cold found elsewhere in the country.

While much of Canada is blanketed in snow, Victoria often enjoys relatively mild temperatures. Averages typically range from 3°C to 8°C, with the odd warm spell for good measure.

Rain is more common than snow in Victoria in January, but it comes in light showers rather than heavy downpours, making it easy to plan around.

What Are the Top Tourist Attractions in Victoria in January?

As the capital city of British Columbia, Victoria is a popular tourist destination year-round. However, there are certain attractions that are best enjoyed during specific times of the year.

In this section, we will highlight the top tourist attractions in Victoria during January.


Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens is unquestionably Victoria’s #1 tourist attraction. While you might not typically associate Victoria in January with lush blooms and vibrant colours, the city’s relatively mild weather (by Canadian standards!) makes the destination a year-round attraction. You can also still catch the can’t-miss Magic of Christmas event until January 6th.

  1. Upon arriving at Butchart Gardens, be sure to purchase tickets and obtain a map to easily navigate the expansive floral displays.
  2. Begin the tour at the Sunken Garden, where you can admire the vibrant flower beds and picturesque landscaping.
  3. Next, make your way to the Rose Garden to revel in the fragrant blooms and serene ambiance.
  4. Continue on to the Japanese Garden, taking in the tranquillity and traditional design.
  5. Finally, conclude your visit at the Star Pond, where you can take in the serene setting and reflect on the natural beauty of the gardens.

In town for the weekend? Check out my 2-day Victoria itinerary to maximize your time.

the royal bc museum in victoria, bc.

Royal BC Museum

The Royal BC Museum in Victoria offers a diverse range of exhibits, including natural history, local First Nations artifacts, and interactive displays. The museum hosts special events and rotating exhibitions, providing a dynamic experience for visitors.

For an enriching day, take the time to explore the extensive collections and immerse yourself in the rich cultural and natural heritage of British Columbia.

January is your chance to visit BC’s best museum during the slowest time of the year. So you can absorb all that it offers without the crowds!

Looking to duck out of the weather? Have a look at our guide to the Best Museums in Victoria.

the fairmont empress hotel, one of the best hotels in victoria

Inner Harbour

Victoria’s bustling Inner Harbour is unquestionably the city’s beating heart. Though it won’t quite have the buzz of the summer months, the area will still be at the heart of any trip to Victoria in January. Here are a few quick tips:

  • Explore the scenic waterfront of Inner Harbour, which is home to iconic landmarks such as the Parliament Buildings, Fisherman’s Wharf, and the Empress Hotel.
  • Take a leisurely stroll along the harbour, admiring the bustling seaplanes, street performers, and local vendors.
  • During a warm spell, you can explore the area on a Victoria Horse Drawn Carriage tour.
  • Be sure to visit popular attractions like the Royal BC Museum and the Undersea Gardens, offering fascinating insights into the region’s history and marine life.
  • Satisfy your taste buds with waterfront dining at one of Victoria’s best restaurants and cafes, where you can enjoy fresh seafood and picturesque views.

Have a look at our selection of the best Victoria city tours to learn about the city’s history.

craigdarroch castle in victoria, bc.

Craigdarroch Castle

Craigdarroch Castle is a Victorian-era Scottish Baronial mansion that offers a captivating glimpse into the lives of the wealthy in the 1890s. With opulent furnishings, exquisite stained glass windows, and intricate woodwork, the castle showcases the grandeur of the past.

Visitors can explore the 39 rooms and experience the castle’s architectural brilliance. The facility also hosts events and exhibitions, adding a contemporary touch to its historic charm.

Fact: Craigdarroch Castle has been designated as a National Historic Site of Canada.

a traditional dragon dance during a lunar new year celebration in victoria's chinatown


Chinatown in Victoria holds a rich history, dating back to the mid-19th century when Chinese immigrants settled in the area. It has evolved into a cultural hub, preserving traditions and customs while contributing to the diverse tapestry of Victoria’s heritage.

The Chinese New Year’s parade sometimes falls in late January, though in 2024, it will take place on February 10th.

  • Explore the historic Fan Tan Alley, the narrowest street in Canada.
  • Visit the Tam Kung Temple, which is dedicated to the sea goddess Mazu.
  • Indulge in authentic Chinese cuisine at one of the many restaurants and eateries in Chinatown.
  • Discover traditional Chinese herbal shops and specialty stores offering unique items in Chinatown.
  • Experience the vibrant Chinese New Year celebrations if the lunar new year falls in January.

skiing on mt. washington, one of the best things to do near victoria in january.

What Are the Top Outdoor Activities in Victoria in January?

As the new year begins, the city of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada, offers a plethora of outdoor activities to burn off those holiday calories. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, adventure seeker, or simply looking for a fun way to spend a winter day, there is something for everyone.

In this section, we’ll explore some of the top outdoor activities to do in Victoria in January. So, bundle up and get ready to experience the beauty and excitement of Victoria in the winter!

Whale Watching

Several providers offer Victoria whale-watching tours from the heart of the Inner Harbour. While departures are reduced, you can still experience the thrill of seeing whales breach in their natural habitat in the heart of winter.

  • Choose a reputable whale-watching tour company with experienced guides. Prince of Whales is our favourite.
  • Dress appropriately for the winter weather.
  • Be prepared for sea conditions and the possibility of motion sickness.
  • Follow the instructions of the tour guide and respect the marine wildlife.


In January, hiking in Victoria remains a delightful and viable option, thanks to the city’s notably mild winter weather. One popular trail is the Galloping Goose Regional Trail, a scenic route that offers a mix of urban and rural landscapes.

Another great choice are the Mount Douglas Park trails, which provide a more challenging hike with the reward of stunning panoramic views of the city.

  • Plan your hiking route by considering the difficulty level and duration.
  • Check the weather forecast and dress accordingly, including appropriate footwear.
  • Pack essential items such as water, snacks, navigation tools, and a first-aid kit.
  • Inform someone about your hiking plans and expected return time for safety.
  • Respect the environment and follow designated trails, leaving no trace behind.

We’d recommend selecting a trail closer to home this time of year, such as the two mentioned above. And remember to bundle up! Otherwise, you can enjoy less crowded trails, offering a peaceful experience of Victoria’s natural landscapes.

Skiing and Snowboarding

Did you know Vancouver Island has its very own ski resort? Located in the Comox Valley about 3 hours north of Victoria, Mt. Washington provides islanders with their own winter wonderland. The Mt. Washington ski bus is our recommended method of transport if you don’t have wheels.

  1. Check out the Mt. Washington ski bus schedule and pick up a ticket for $61.67.
  2. Grab your Mt. Washington lift tickets online.
  3. Get the right gear: skis or snowboard, boots, helmet, and appropriate clothing. Rental packages are available on-site.
  4. Take lessons to learn or improve skills in skiing and snowboarding and to learn safety measures.
  5. Stay updated on weather and avalanche forecasts.

the art gallery of greater victoria

What Are the Indoor Activities to Do in Victoria in January?

Victoria has plenty of indoor activities to enjoy during the month of January. Escape the winter weather and discover the city’s vibrant arts scene, peruse its world-class museums, and try some of its delicious local cuisine.

Let’s take a closer look at these exciting indoor activities to do in Victoria this January.

Visit Victoria’s Art Galleries

January in Victoria is the perfect time to explore the city’s numerous art galleries. They not only provide shelter from the winter weather but also offer a chance to engage with the artistic heart of the city away from the summer crowds.

  1. Research: Look for the top art galleries in Victoria, such as the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, the Mark Loria Gallery, or the Madrona Gallery.
  2. Plan your visit: Check the opening hours and any special exhibitions happening during your visit.
  3. Explore the collections: Take your time to appreciate the diverse art forms, from traditional to contemporary works.
  4. Engage with the art: Attend guided tours, workshops, or artist talks to gain a deeper understanding of the artworks.
  5. Purchase souvenirs: Consider supporting local artists by purchasing unique art pieces or merchandise from gallery gift shops or some of the small studios spread throughout the downtown core.

Attend a Concert or Show

Another great way to escape the cold is to attend a Victoria concert or event. January tends to be on the quieter side, but local venues such as the Royal Theatre, Save On Foods Memorial Centre, and Hermann’s Jazz Club will typically have something that should tickle your fancy.

  • Check local event listings for concerts and shows happening in January.
  • Purchase tickets in advance to secure your spot at the event.
  • Arrive early to find the best seats and avoid the last-minute rush.

Explore the Local Museums

Check out our article on Victoria’s best museums for a complete list of educational ways to cure the January blues. You’ll find a wide variety of options for all interests and age groups.

  1. Check the schedules of the museums for any special exhibits or events.
  2. Research the history of the museum and the featured artists or collections.
  3. Plan your visit during off-peak hours for a more intimate and personal experience.
  4. Engage with the museum staff for insights and recommendations.

Sample the Local Cuisine

In January, most people are tightening their belts after the holidays. Nevertheless, Victoria’s best restaurants and the vibrant Victoria craft beer scene will surely tempt you to put your New Year’s resolutions on hold.

  • Explore the Victoria Public Market to sample fresh produce and local delicacies.
  • Visit authentic restaurants to savour traditional Victoria dishes like fish and chips, seafood chowder, and Nanaimo bars.
  • Participate in Victoria food tours to experience a variety of culinary delights while learning about the city’s history.
  • Embark on a Victoria Brewery Tour to learn why the city has been dubbed Canada’s craft beer capital.

the magic of christmas event iat butchart gardens in victoria in january

What Are Some Special Events in Victoria in January?

If you are planning a trip to Victoria in January, you are in luck! This section will highlight some of the special events happening in the city during this time. From a whisky festival to a botanical wonderland, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

The Victoria Whisky Festival

In recent years, local distillers like Macaloney’s and Sheringham have begun to receive international recognition for their sensational spirits. Every January, this popular festival allows you to taste some of the best local offerings alongside whiskies from around the world.

  • Be sure to visit the official website of the Victoria Whisky Festival for all event details and ticket information.
  • Take the time to explore the festival’s itinerary in order to fully enjoy all of the tasting opportunities and educational seminars available.
  • Make the most of your time at the festival by engaging with fellow whisky enthusiasts, distillers, and experts to expand your knowledge and appreciation of whisky.

Related: Victoria’s Best Bars: A Newbie’s Guide

Dine Around and Stay in Town

Victoria’s Dine Around and Stay in Town event began in 2002 and has since become an annual culinary tradition. Typically lasting from mid-January to well into February, the initiative aims to showcase Victoria’s diverse and thriving dining scene while encouraging visitors to explore the local hospitality and accommodation offerings.

  1. Explore Participating Restaurants: Check the list of restaurants offering special menus and prices for the annual Dine Around and Stay in Town event in Victoria.
  2. Make Reservations: Book tables in advance due to increased demand during this popular culinary tradition.
  3. Enjoy Diverse Cuisines: Indulge in various global and local culinary delights from different restaurants.
  4. Experience Stay in Town: Consider lodging options close to dining venues for convenience.
  5. Embrace the Festive Atmosphere: Immerse in the lively ambiance created by locals and visitors during the Dine Around and Stay in Town event.

Related: The Best Hotels in Victoria

The Magic of Christmas at Butchart Gardens

If you haven’t had your fill of festive lighting, Santa costumes, and Mariah Carey bangers, the Magic of Christmas event at Butchart Gardens lasts through the first week of January.

  1. Book your Butchart Gardens + shuttle tickets for round-trip transport from the Inner Harbour.
  2. Bundle up and make your way through the Twelve Days of Christmas displays, sing along to the festive music, and check out the incredible light displays hung amongst Butchart’s stunning winter blooms.
  3. Stop in at the coffee shop to grab a hot chocolate and gingerbread in front of the fire.


Things to Do in Victoria in January FAQs

What are some winter activities to do in Victoria in January?

Victoria in January offers a variety of winter activities that cater to different interests, thanks to its mild climate and vibrant cultural scene. Butchart Gardens remain a delight, with beautiful lights and seasonal displays. Walking tours of downtown and Chinatown are also a great way to get oriented.

If you’re looking to stay indoors, visiting local museums and art galleries and taking advantage of the local culinary and craft beer scenes would be preferable.

What is the weather like in Victoria, BC, in January?

In January, Victoria, BC, experiences the mildest winter weather in Canada, with temperatures ranging from 3°C to 8°C. The month is characterized by cool, damp conditions, with more rain than snow and occasional clear, crisp days.

Are there any special events or performances happening in Victoria during the winter season?

Yes, the Magic of Christmas event at Butchart Gardens continues into the first week of January. The popular Victoria Whiskey Festival offers the chance to sample whiskies from around the globe. Foodies will also enjoy the Dine Around and Stay in Town festival, which highlights the local culinary scene.

In years when the lunar new year falls at the end of January, the Victoria Chinese New Year’s Parade in Chinatown is also a highlight.

Is Victoria a good place to visit during January?

Yes, Victoria is a good place to visit in January. The city offers Canada’s mildest winter climate, making outdoor activities a possibility. Additionally, the winter low season means fewer crowds, allowing for a more relaxed exploration of its attractions, parks, and cultural sites.

Ready to pack your bags to visit Victoria in January?

Victoria, BC, in January presents a unique opportunity to experience the city’s charm without the hustle of peak tourist season. With its mild winter climate and array of indoor and outdoor activities, Victoria offers a peaceful yet engaging getaway.

We hope this guide inspires you to consider the Garden City for your winter travels, where the warmth of the city cancels out the coolness of the season.

So, we invite you to embrace the season and discover all that Victoria in January has to offer.

Safe Travels ❄️

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