Whether you live in Victoria or are planning to spend Christmas in Victoria there are plenty of holiday events and things to do at Christmas. While some events have had to be cancelled and some might look a little different, there are still quite a few options around the city to make sure you are in the holiday spirit.
When it comes to booking hotels for victoria at Christmas, this is definitely something that you will want to plan ahead for. Visiting Victoria is popular all year round and Christmas is a great time to get out and about in the city.
By the end of this post, you will have quite a few ideas for Christmas in Victoria as well as December events in the capital region. I will also include information on where to stay in Victoria at Christmas, the weather in Victoria in December and overall winter information if you have never visited the city before.
The Best Things to do in Victoria at Christmas
There are quite a few events in December in Victoria to get locals and visitors into the holiday spirit. From light displays to holiday shopping, there are a range of activities for all ages. Make sure you pick up the best drink gifts before holiday shipping cuts offs.
The Magic of Christmas at the Butchart Gardens – November 27-January 6
One of the most popular Christmas events in Victoria, The Magic of Christmas at the Butchart Gardens is back with COVID-19 safety measures in place. Take in The Gardens’ spectacular display of lights while indulging in copious amounts of hot cocoa.
Masks are required at Butchart Gardens this Christmas. You must also purchase a timed entry ticket. You can do that here.
Hours and Dates: 2021 Dates TBD
A Taste of Victoria Food Tour
Why not take a small group tour around Victoria and enjoy a food tour. The taste of Victoria tour, This 2-hour tour walking tour begins at the Victoria Public Market and includes stops at The Gates of Harmonious Interest, Fan Tan Alley, Market Square, Bastion Square, Trounce Alley, Government St., and the Inner Harbour Causeway. Depending on the day, there are between 6-8 tastings along the route, as we discuss the history and quirks of beautiful Victoria, B.C. Tastings can include, pierogis, southern-styled biscuits, meatballs, craft beer, French patisserie, chocolate, and much more!
Hours and Dates: 11am & 2pm Daily except Sundays. Closed Dec 24, 25, 26, 27How to Book? Click here for online booking
Beacon Hill Park Carriage Tours
Horse Drawn Tours in Victoria are one of the most popular things to do at any time of year. But if you are spending Christmas in Victoria, the tour is even more magical. Discover the beauty of downtown Victoria on this 45-minute Beacon Hill Park carriage tour. Hop into your horse-drawn carriage and travel in style along the winding roadways around Beacon Hill Park — Victoria’s oldest and, many would say, most attractive park. Discover top local attractions including St Anne’s Academy, the Empress Hotel, and the Church Of Our Lord, and listen as your driver shares tales and folklore from Victoria’s dim and distant past. Head along pretty pathways and enjoy fine views over the vibrant flowerbeds, peaceful ponds, and manicured lawns.
Festival of Trees
Back at the Bay Centre is the Festival of Trees in Victoria for Christmas.
Location: Bay Centre 1150 Douglas St
Dates: Nov 19th 2020 – Jan 3rd 2021
12th Annual Gingerbread Showcase —November 21-January 3
Check out the work of professional and amateur bakers showing off their creative abilities at the annual Gingerbread Showcase, supporting Habitat for Humanity Victoria. This year’s theme is “Coastal Living.” This year’s showcase will be hosted at ten locations around the community.
Dates: November 21st 2020 to January 3rd 2021
Locations: Parkside Hotel & Spa (810 Humboldt St), TRE Fantastico (810 Humboldt St), Marriott Inner Harbour (728 Humboldt St), DoubleTree (777 Douglas St), Chateau Victoria (740 Burdett Ave), Vintage Spirits (653 Pandora Ave), Sidney Pier Hotel and Spa (9805 Seaport Pl), Flush (2537 Beacon Ave), Seawards Souvenir & Apparel (2506 Beacon Ave # 107), Peninsula Gallery (2506 Beacon #100)
See The Parliament Buildings
Great for visitors and locals is the BC Legislature Parliament Building across from the harbour.
Christmas in Victoria at Craigdarroch Castle
Providing a unique glimpse into authentic Victorian traditions, each year Curator Bruce Davies and the museum’s staff at Craigdarroch Castle assist long-time decorator Sherry Kerr to meticulously evoke Christmases’ past in the Castle’s period rooms. You’ll spot vintage toys tucked under the tree, festively decorated mantles throughout the home, and a Christmas feast setting fit for Canada’s own royal family, the Dunsmuirs.
Tickets must be purchased online in advance. This site is not wheelchair accessible or stroller friendly facility.
Location: 1050 Joan Cres
Dates: Dec 1-31st 2020 (Closed Dec 25th and 26th) 10:00 – 4:30
Oak Bay Shopping
Get into the holiday spirit by shopping in Oak Bay Village in Victoria this December. The decorative lights and holiday feel will get you in the mood.
Festive Tea at the Empress — December 5 & 12 then Daily December 19- January 2
The Empress’s signature afternoon tea tier is reimagined for the holiday season to include holiday sweets and treats. Enjoy local carolers singing traditional holiday songs on select dates in December from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Location: Empress Hotel 721 Government Street
2020 Dates: Dec 5, 12, Dec 19 – Jan 2
Breakfast at Santa’s Workshop
Visit the David Foster Foundation Theatre as it is transformed into Santa’s Workshop for a family-style breakfast with socially-distanced, individual family seating. Included in Santa’s Workshop are house-made cookie decorating at each table, tea and coffee service, and a distanced visit from Mr. Claus himself.
We are offering theatre seating for groupings of 2 to 6, ensuring we maintain the provincial health guidelines and physical distancing protocols of the hotel. Tickets must be pre-purchased online.
Location: Oak Bay Beach Hotel 1175 Beach Drive
2020 Dates: Dec 5, 6, 12, 13, 19, 20
Holiday Light Tour with LA Limosines
Looking for something special to do within your bubble this holiday season? What about a holiday light tour! Sit back and relax as we take you through beautifully lit Victoria neighbourhoods and downtown. This is a fun outing for kids and adults alike.
2020 Dates: Dec 10th – Jan 3rd
Contact: LA Limo
COVID-19 Information for Victoria
Greater Victoria remains a safe destination for travel this winter with a low number of active cases and transmission rate.
Victoria and Vancouver Island have received the World Travel & Tourism Council’s Safe Travels stamp, designed to help travelers identify destinations and tourism businesses around the world that have adopted globally standardized health and hygiene protocols so visitors can experience “safe travels.”
Many businesses request the use of masks, so it is recommended to travel with one at all times. It is probably the most famous Victoria Christmas lights display.
Location: 501 Bellevue St
Victoria BC December Weather
Located in a sub-Mediterranean zone, Victoria enjoys the mildest climate in Canada. However, Victoria weather in December is cool and wet and there is often frost in the winter months. Victoria is a popular city in BC and there are so many things to do any time of the year. Ensure you dress appropriately to ensure your visit is comfortable.
There is an average of 18 days of rain, so pack a rain jacket just in case. The average high is 8C and low is 4C (thats 46F to 40F)
Where to Stay in Victoria at Christmas
More Resources for Visiting Victoria Canada
If you are just starting the planning, you can also have a read of other British Columbia destinations for Christmas. Check out my guide to Whistler at Christmas for some other holiday ideas!
How to Get to Victoria from Vancouver
Victoria lies on Vancouver Island and can be accessed by air or by ferry. There are flights from YVR Vancouver Airport to YJJ Victoria Airport and also Harbour Seaplanes that fly from Downtown Vancouver to Downtown Victoria. Helicopter service also exists with Helijet.
Ferry is the other option to get to Victoria from Vancouver. Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal is about 30 mins from downtown Vancouver and has several ferries per day (every hour at peak season). If you have a car you can drive on the ferry, you can take a bus from Vancouver that will continue into Victoria, or you can walk on and take public transit into the city.
Ferry reservations are currently reccommened for vehicles. Otherwise, waits of up to a few hours are common.
Renting a Car in British Columbia
Rental Cars are very popular in British Columbia. There is just so much to see and there is not a train or bus network outside of Metro Vancouver or Victoria. If you plan on leaving Vancouver and want to see even the local ski hills, I suggest a rental car. You can get a rental car before you arrive.
5 Things to Bring with You to Victoria
A good rain jacket is always a good idea, and you might want a warmer layer for cool wet winters.
A good power bank to charge phones and other devices is always a good idea. After a day of videoing, GPS and taking photos, the last thing you want is a dead cell phone. These are inexpensive and come in handy during the day. If you are flying to BC, make sure you keep any power banks in your hand luggage, as security will often remove them from checked bags (I have found that out the hard way before).
A Universal Adapter is going to be handy for international visitors. Canada uses the same plugs as the USA but if you are coming from somewhere else abroad, grab yourself one before you arrive.
A good guidebook is something I always get when I am researching a new location. Lonely Planet is the usual go-to, but also check out these.
Reusable shopping bags are available to buy everywhere, but if you want to get a compact one before you arrive, it is a good idea.
Reusable water bottles are also a good idea. You can buy bottled water anywhere that you can get drinks, but Canada does pride itself on recycling as much as possible, and why shell out wasteful dollars when you can drink the tap water all over British Columbia.
Featured Image Photo Credit: Tourism Greater Victoria / Brett Ryan
Lindsay Nieminen is the creator of UncoveringBC.com. She grew up and still lives in the suburbs of Vancouver with her family. She aims to inspire inform, and educate others about traveling in her home province of British Columbia. She is also the creator of carpediemourway.com which aims to show parents how to seek out adventure at home or abroad, with their children in tow!