Experiencing Christmas Season in Victoria BC
December in Victoria is a little cloudy and sometimes rainy, but boy do they know how to celebrate Christmas! The whole downtown area and farther out was decked out in gorgeous Christmas lights and decorations. Compiled from my weekend getaway, here are the best places to experience Christmas season in Victoria BC.
Walk along the docks and walkways of the Inner Harbour to view the main buildings of Victoria all lit up in Christmas lights at night. Places like the Fairmont Empress Hotel, the Parliament Buildings and more will be festive and bright. The Inner Harbour is the best place to get a panoramic view of them all. If you’re lucky, you might even get to see the docked sailboats prettied up with some fun light shows and decorations!
The Fairmont Empress Hotel
No hotel in Victoria goes bigger and better than The Fairmont Empress… especially when it comes to Christmas decorations! If you plan on staying there or indulging in their famous afternoon tea, make sure to check out the Christmas trees lining their hallways. Each one is sponsored and decorated by local companies for charity. For families visiting with children, head out to the ice rink in front of The Empress for a night of fun!
Victoria’s main shopping street is strewn with lovely Christmas lights and cheer during this season. It is the perfect place to go shopping for presents and maybe stop for a drink at a pub in the days leading up to the big day. And right next to the McPherson Playhouse is a festive ferris wheel and live holiday performances at night! Maybe catch a nice play there while you’re at it!
Craigdarroch Castle was built by a wealthy coal baron, Robert Dunsmuir, in 1890 and has greatly attributed to Victoria’s rich history ever since. I love the festive atmosphere the volunteers and employees at Craigdarroch created for Christmas time, with plenty of wreaths adorning the stained glass windows outside and Christmas trees and garlands spread around about the detailed rooms inside. Walk around the castle and imagine what life was like for the wealthy a few centuries ago with some holiday flair to it!
Of course I save the best for last… nothing compares to seeing the Christmas lights at Butchart Gardens! This year, they set a theme to the 12 Days of Christmas and it was so fun figuring out which light decorations matched what day. They really go all out and do a fantastic job at coordinating Christmas lights with the gardens. Butchart Gardens stays open late during the Christmas season so guests can see the lights in full bloom… er, brightness, I mean.
Planning to visit Victoria during the holidays? Make sure to check out Tourism Victoria’s calendar of events for Christmas inspiration and cheer!