The Best Areas to Stay in Victoria, Canada
The Best Areas to Stay in Victoria, Canada

Best Areas to Stay in Victoria, Canada

Where to Stay in Victoria – A Guide to the capital of British Columbia

Victoria is the capital city of British Columbia. Located on the rugged southern tip of Vancouver Island and nicknamed “the most English city in North America” and “The Garden City,” Victoria is famous for its historical architecture, lovely public parks and its many annual festivals and events. In this post, we will explore the best areas to stay in Victoria, BC.

Some of the main tourist attractions in Victoria‘s City Centre include Beacon Hill Park, the Legacy Art Gallery, Centennial Square, The Bastion Square Public Market. If you’re travelling with kids, Downtown Victoria is also home to some family-friendly attractions such as Miniature World, the Victoria Bug Zoo and The National Toy Museum Of Canada. See accommodation in Downtown Victoria.

The city’s Inner Harbour area is also home to some Victoria landmarks like the Royal BC Museum, the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia building, the Inner-Harbour Pathway and the iconic Fairmont Empress Hotel. See accommodation in the Inner Harbour.

Not far, James Bay is famous for its maritime heritage and Fisherman’s Wharf Park, a floating pier with seals and food stalls. See accommodation in James Bay.

Other unmissable attractions in Victoria, BC include Beacon Hill Park, the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria and Craigdarroch Castle.

Victoria is also a great starting point to exploring some of the most incredible natural spaces in British Columbia. The main natural attractions in and around Victoria include Thetis Lake, Galloping Goose Trail and Discovery Island.

Whale-watching is another popular activity in this BC city. If you’re travelling to Victoria between May and October, you might be able to catch a glimpse of these cetaceans as they migrate from the Arctic Ocean to the tropics. Here’s a list of some of the best dolphin and whale-watching tours in Victoria.

Due to its coastal location in the south of British Columbia, Victoria has a Mediterranean climate. Considered the mildest climate in all of Canada, Victoria experiences four distinct seasons. Summers are hot and dry, with temperatures typically ranging between 10 and 23 ºC. Meanwhile, winters are mild and rarely snowy, with temperatures around 3 and 9 ºC. The best time to visit Victoria is from spring to mid-autumn (April to November), during these months, the temperatures are pleasant and you can enjoy outdoor activities and sightseeing. The whale-watching season takes place from May to October.

To get to Victoria by air, the city is served by the Victoria International Airport. Located 22 km north of downtown Victoria, this airport offers connections to several domestic destinations (including Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto and Ottawa), as well as some holiday spots in Mexico (Cabo, Puerto Vallarta and Cancún).

Victoria is not served by VIA Rail services. That said, the city is well-connected through a network of long-distance buses to other BC and Northwestern USA cities and towns. See bus routes, schedules & fares.

To move around town, Victoria has a very efficient public transport system consisting of several bus routes operated by BC Transit. This city also offers regular taxis and mobile apps like Uber, and you can choose to rent a car for your trip.

The best area to stay in Victoria, BC is Downtown. This district offers the best transport connections while being close to the main attractions. See accommodation in Downtown Victoria.

Other great districts to keep in mind when choosing among the best location in Victoria include James Bay, Chinatown, Inner Harbour and West Shore.

Keep reading to find out more about the best areas to stay in Victoria, BC.

Promoted Property
Fairmont Empress Hotel

Overlooking Victoria’s beautiful Inner Harbour, this historic hotel features extensive spa treatments and a selection of on-site restaurants. The Royal British Columbia Museum is 5 minutes’ walk away.


Best Location in Victoria, British Columbia: A Quick Guide

Below, you’ll find a list of the best areas to stay in Victoria, depending on your travel style. Keep reading this post to find all the information you need about each particular area.


Best Hotels in Victoria, BC by Theme

Something more specific in mind? Here’s a list of some of the best hotels in Victoria. No matter your reason for visiting the city or style, you’ll find it here!


The Best Areas to Stay in Victoria, British Columbia

Downtown Victoria is home to a wide selection of luxury and mid-range accommodation. Here, you can find great chain hotels like the Best Western Plus Carlton Plaza Hotel and upscale boutique hotels like the Magnolia Hotel & Spa or Hotel Rialto.

Located right next to the harbour, the small and vibrant Downtown Victoria district is home to the some of city’s most important historic landmarks.

Considered the commercial, nightlife and tourist epicentre of the capital of British Columbia this lively neighbourhood is considered the best area to stay in Victoria.

The area is roughly centred around Bastion Square, the city’s historic heart. This historical pedestrian mall is flanked by pubs and restaurants and contains a ceremonial arch. At its western edge, Wharf Street offers incredible Inner Harbour views and a wide range of dining and shopping venues.

Nearby, colourful Johnson Street is considered Victoria’s main hipster hangout. Here, you can find the usual mix of indie record and clothing stores, local designer boutiques, quirky cafés and bookshops. Johnson Street Bridge connects Downtown Victoria to Victoria West.

For travellers with a sweet tooth, Roger’s Chocolates is a historic site and local Victoria treasure. This gourmet chocolaterie, located at 913 Government St, has been operating since the late 19th century.

Downtown Victoria’s northern end is occupied by the city’s Chinatown, a National Historic Site of Canada. This vibrant area, the oldest Chinatown in Canada and the second-oldest in North America is home to local attractions like Fan Tan Alley, the Gate of Harmonious Interest and the Tam Kung Chinese Temple.

At the southern edge of downtown lies the famous Inner Harbour. This busy area is home to several of the most important Victoria attractions including the Royal BC Museum, The Maritime Museum of British Columbia, and the impressive Legislative Assembly of British Columbia.

Many whale-watching boat tours and international ferry services and depart daily from the Inner Harbour wharves.

If you’re travelling to the British Columbian capital for business, Downtown Victoria hosts many of the city’s tall office buildings and skyscrapers and it’s also home to many business-oriented hotels. The Victoria Congress Centre is located in the Inner Harbour area. Likewise, Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre, the largest sports and entertainment venue on Vancouver Island is located nearby.

Downtown also has some of the best shopping centres in town, including the Bay Centre shopping mall.

As it couldn’t be otherwise, Downtown Victoria is the best-connected area in the city. Several bus lines connect the main downtown thoroughfares to the outlying districts of the city.

Best location in Victoria, BC for tourists - Downtown Victoria
Best location in Victoria, BC for tourists – Downtown Victoria
Where to stay in Victoria, BC - Downtown
Where to stay in Victoria, BC – Downtown
Where to stay in Victoria, BC - Downtown Victoria
Where to stay in Victoria, BC – Downtown Victoria
Best area to stay in Victoria, British Columbia for nightlife - Downtown Victoria, BC
Best area to stay in Victoria, British Columbia for nightlife – Downtown Victoria, BC
Accommodation in Downtown Victoria - Click on the map to see all available accommodation in the area
Accommodation in Downtown Victoria – Click on the map to see all available accommodation in the area

Why is this a recommended area to stay in Victoria:

  • Heart of the city
  • Great restaurants
  • Best area for sightseeing
  • Best area to stay without a car
  • Great transport connections

2. Inner Harbour

Victoria’s Inner Harbour is home to the British Columbian capital’s top luxury hotels. Here, you’ll find the iconic Fairmont Empress Hotel and the Hotel Grand Pacific. For a more budget-friendly alternative, you can check out The Embassy Inn.

Located directly south of Victoria’s Downtown district lies Inner Harbour.

Considered the main tourist district of Victoria, this lively area offers some of the city’s top historical and cultural attractions.

The Inner-Harbour Pathway offers incredible views of the port, as well as summer festivals and shows.

Perhaps Victoria’s most recognizable landmark, the Fairmont Empress Hotel was built in 1904 and is the most iconic hotel in British Columbia and a National Historic Site of Canada.

Not far, the Royal BC Museum, founded in 1886, offers an interesting collection of natural and human history artefacts, interactive displays and the British Columbia Provincial Archives. Likewise, The Bateman Gallery exhibits the works of painter and naturalist Robert Bateman.

The neo-baroque British Columbia Parliament Buildings are the headquarters of the province’s parliament. You can take a guided tour of the grounds and buildings.

The harbour itself and its adjacent streets are flanked by restaurants, cafés and bars, making it a great area in Victoria for dining and nightlife.

Victoria’s Inner Harbour is well-connected to the rest of the city via frequent buses. To reach the nearby areas of Downtown and James Bay, you can also walk.

Best neighbourhoods to stay in Victoria, Canada - Inner Harbour
Best neighbourhoods to stay in Victoria, Canada – Inner Harbour
Where to stay in Victoria, BC for sightseeing - Inner Harbour
Where to stay in Victoria, BC for sightseeing – Inner Harbour
Accommodation in Inner Harbour - Click on the map to see all available accommodation in the area
Accommodation in Inner Harbour – Click on the map to see all available accommodation in the area

Why is this a recommended area to stayin Victoria:

  • Good area to stay without a car
  • Best area for nightlife
  • Tourist attractions

3. James Bay

James Bay is a great place to find small, family-run inns and B&Bs. Some great options include Heathergate Cottage and Suites and Fisher House Victoria Bed and Breakfast.

James Bay is Victoria’s oldest neighbourhood.

It is known for its vibrant and lively waterfront and charming Victorian houses and apartment buildings.

James Bay is located southwest of Downtown Victoria.

This lovely district filled with colourful houses is home to iconic Victoria landmarks such as Fisherman’s Wharf, a lively waterfront attraction offering food stalls, shops and whale-watching tours.

The eastern end of Fisherman’s Wharf displays a collection of float homes.

James Bay has a mixture of a maritime and colonial atmosphere. It also offers horse-drawn carriage rides.

Beacon Hill Park has manicured gardens and a petting farm, and also offers panoramic views of the Olympic Mountains in the distance.

James Bay is a great area to stay in Victoria for those looking for a more peaceful environment than the one offered by the more central districts.

Where to stay in Victoria, Canada - James Bay
Where to stay in Victoria, Canada – James Bay
Accommodation in James Bay - Click on the map to see all available accommodation in the area
Accommodation in James Bay – Click on the map to see all available accommodation in the area

Why is this a recommended area to stay in Victoria:

  • Historical area
  • Fisherman’s Wharf
  • Royal Museum

4. Chinatown

Chinatown is a great place to stay in Victoria. This area offers several tourist apartments including top-rated options like Harbour Breeze and Pandora Alley.

Victoria’s Chinatown is the oldest in Canada and second-oldest in North America after San Francisco’s.

This area is also one of the most popular areas among tourists visiting the city.

Occupying the northern end of Downtown, Victoria’sChinatown is located next to other places of interest in Victoria, such as the Bay Centre Mall and the Fan Tal Alley; an alley full of galleries, beauty centres, restaurants, apartments, and offices.

This neighbourhood is connected with the rest of the city through several bus stops located on Pandora Avenue and Douglas Street.

To move to Downtown Victoria and the Inner Harbour area, you can just walk.

Today, Chinatown is a vibrant neighbourhood in the city; it has several hotels, bars and shopping areas.

Best areas to stay in Victoria, British Columbia - Chinatown
Best areas to stay in Victoria, British Columbia – Chinatown
Accommodation in Chinatown - Click on the map to see all available accommodation in the area
Accommodation in Chinatown – Click on the map to see all available accommodation in the area

Why is this a recommended area to stay in Victoria:

  • Historical area
  • Great food

5. West Shore

West Shore is a community made up of the neighbourhoods of Colwood, Langford, Metchosin and The Highlands. Given the proximity between these neighbourhoods, you can walk or bike.

Most of this area has a rich heritage and a connection with nature, which makes it one of the best areas to stay in Victoria.

This area is ideal for those travelling with family and for romantic getaways, with attractions such as Fort Rodd Hill and the Fisgard Lighthouse.

To enjoy some art, the Coast Collective Arts Centre’s public gallery features art and crafts.

To go shopping, the West Shore shopping centre offers fashion shops, cafés and restaurants.

West Shore in Victoria is an excellent place to stay in the capital of British Columbia thanks to its its wide range of hotels for all tastes.

Where to stay in Victoria, British Columbia - West Shore
Where to stay in Victoria, British Columbia – West Shore
Accommodation in West Shore - Click on the map to see all available accommodation in the area
Accommodation in West Shore – Click on the map to see all available accommodation in the area

Why is this a recommended area to stay in Victoria:

  • Great area for sightseeing
  • Cheap accommodation
  • Malls

Best Location in Victoria, BC – Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best area to stay in Victoria, BC without a car?

The great news is that you don’t need a car to enjoy all that Victoria, BC has to offer! The city centre is compact enough that you can walk anywhere, and most tourist areas are easy to travel on foot and connected by buses. The best area to stay without a car is Downtown Victoria.

What is the best area to stay in Victoria, BC for sightseeing?

James Bay, located southwest of the Downtown area offers the quintessential Victoria experience: colourful houses, a lively waterfront, and iconic buildings such as the Parliament and the Royal BC Museum. It is the best area for tourists in Victoria.

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