19 Hidden & Unusual Things to Do in Victoria, BC

Are you tired of the same old tourist traps when visiting Victoria, BC? Do you want to explore beyond the typical activities and uncover some hidden gems? Look no further!

In this article, we’re going to take a deep dive into some unusual things to do in Victoria that will leave you with new experiences and memories.

From quirky museums to floating in a hot tub, get ready to discover Victoria’s off-the-beaten-path wonders. Grab your sense of adventure and let’s get started!

1. Quazar Arcade

Ready for a blast from the past? Step into Quazar’s Arcade, an all-ages classic video game haven in downtown Victoria. Nestled in the historic Trounce Alley, this retro-inspired room is about to blow your mind!

You’ll find a rotating selection of 50 arcade games and 16 pinball machines – all buzzing with nostalgia. You thought Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Mario Bros, and Donkey Kong were gone forever? Think again.

Did you know that Quazar’s Arcade has one of the largest collections of pinball machines in BC? Bonus points right there. Not to mention, they serve local beverages like Discovery Coffee and Phillips Soda for that extra buzz.

While you’re bound to have an electrifying time, don’t expect every game from your childhood. Their selection varies, but you’ll always discover unexpected gems.

So who’s up for the challenge? Whether you’re a seasoned arcade pro or introducing the young ones to the classics, Quazar’s Arcade is a top pick for a uniquely retro gaming adventure in Victoria.

Walking Ghost Tour Victoria BC
Photo Credit: Viator

2. Ghost Tour of Downtown Victoria

Get ready to explore the eerily fascinating side of Victoria with a captivating Walking Ghost Tour. Why take an ordinary stroll when you can experience a unique, spine-tingling adventure?

Your local guide, dressed in black, will lead you through the city’s spooky streets and share bone-chilling tales of its dark history. You and your fellow thrill-seekers will shiver with excitement as you uncover stories of hauntings, hangings, and, well, a sprinkle of romance too!

The tour concludes in one of Victoria’s most haunted areas, leaving you with a sense of enchantment that you won’t soon forget. Not only that, walking tours are a great way to keep things eco-friendly while discovering a city’s hidden gems.

The tour begins at the Visitor Information Centre, but there’s a seasonal twist. During October, they switch things up, so be sure to check in advance for the exact meeting point.

Oh, and be prepared – this ghostly tour isn’t for the faint of heart. But if you have a taste for the eerie and unusual, this is an ideal thrill to quench that thirst.

3. Walk the Hidden Alleys in Downtown Victoria

Feeling adventurous? Downtown Victoria’s got a treat for you – get ready to explore some unexpectedly cool hidden alleys tucked away in the corners of the city.

These alleys are like secret passageways, each with its own charm and personality.

What’s in store? Think quirky shops, artsy murals, and charming cafés. The most famous one, Fan Tan Alley, holds the title of the narrowest street in Canada! You’ll feel like you’re discovering a whole new world as you wander further in.

These alleys aren’t just fun to explore, they’re also steeped in history. Many date back to the late 1800s, reflecting Victoria’s rich past. Keep your eyes peeled for unique architectural details as you stroll.

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4. Interactivity Board Game Cafe

If you’re looking for a unique and fun experience in Victoria, be prepared for some good times at the Interactivity Board Game Cafe. With over 1000 games to choose from, there’s never a dull moment in this lively spot.

This quirky place is split into two sections – one catering to families and the other for the 19+ crowd. You’ll immediately feel the buzz as you and your pals dive into Victoria’s largest board game selection.

On top of the games galore, they also serve up delectable snacks, homemade milkshakes, and a variety of beverages to keep you fueled.

What makes this spot a can’t-miss destination are their team of game gurus. The staff are ready to teach you new games and offer advice, ensuring your experience is next-level.

If you fall in love with a game, they even have the option to purchase it; 5% of game sales go back to providing games for local schools.

The Interactivity Board Game Cafe is your one-stop shop for socializing, snacking, and gaming. While it may be busy at times, it’s worth the wait.

This little gem is perfect for casual gamers, competitive spirits, and everyone in between. As long as you’re ready to embrace the friendly chaos, you’ll leave with a smile on your face.

Fairmont Empress Hotel Interior
Fairmont Empress Hotel Interior

5. Visit the Fairmont Empress Hotel

Ready for a quirky, upscale rendezvous in Victoria? Make your way to the Fairmont Empress Hotel and soak in the grandeur. This historical gem flaunts its iconic elegance and is not just another hotel, but an experience you shouldn’t miss.

The atmosphere here is unparalleled. The classic architecture, luxurious interiors, and top-notch service will make you feel like you’ve stepped into another era. But what really sets this place apart is its fascinating history and quirks.

Fun fact: Did you know that this Victorian landmark has a resident ghost? Rumor has it that Francis Rattenbury’s specter roams the halls. We’re not saying you’ll bump into him, but isn’t that something to talk about?

And as for pro tips, don’t miss the chance to indulge in the exquisite afternoon tea and the signature Empress Blue Gin & Tonic at The Q.

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6. Victoria Bug Zoo

Visiting Victoria and looking for a quirky adventure? The Victoria Bug Zoo is the perfect spot for an out-of-the-ordinary experience.

At the Bug Zoo, you’ll encounter fascinating insects, arachnids, and other many-legged marvels.

Looking for charisma amidst the crawlies? Keep an eye out for giant tropical bugs that might even give you a wave with their antennas! The atmosphere is lively and buzzing (pun intended) with excitement.

What sets this place apart is its educational aspect, coupled with hands-on interaction. Their well-informed tour guides will give you the lowdown on each critter’s unique habitat while providing safe animal handling opportunities.

Capture your visit on camera, because let’s be real, no one’s going to believe you held a tarantula without proof!

The Bug Zoo also offers party room rentals. If you’re daring enough, you could celebrate your birthday with these creepy crawlies.

Truth be told, some visitors might be a bit squeamish about getting up close and personal with bugs. But for the brave, this unique adventure will definitely stand out in your travel memories.

7. Miniature World

Have you ever been to a world of tiny miniature scenes? Say hello to Miniature World in Victoria, BC!

This quirky spot located in downtown Victoria is home to over 85 miniature dioramas and displays, giving you the illusion of being a giant among tiny worlds.

It’s not just a random collection of small things; they’ve got themed exhibits like Frontier Land, Fantasy Land, and even The Great Canadian Railway. You’ll have fun exploring in the tiniest of ways.

Miniature World is nestled within the famous Empress Hotel. Most people might overlook this tiny gem due to its location.

You’ll find the atmosphere fascinating and feel like you’ve been sucked into some of your favorite storybooks. It’s an unconventional experience that appeals to curious souls and young-at-heart folks!

Fan Tan Alley Victoria BC
Fan Tan Alley Victoria BC

8. Chinatown & Fan Tan Alley

In Victoria, you’ll find a charming little gem: Chinatown and the famous Fan Tan Alley! Strolling through these lively streets, you’ll be immersed in a colorful cultural experience.

The narrowest street in Canada, Fan Tan Alley is lined with unique shops and eateries that give you a taste of the area’s rich history. It’s the perfect spot for some retail therapy and a bite to eat.

Make sure to check out the hidden garden tucked away at the end of the alley – it’s a delightful oasis amidst the hustle and bustle. And don’t forget to snap a selfie in front of the vibrant street art.

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9. Little Jumbo Restaurant & Bar

Step into the Little Jumbo Restaurant & Bar, a hidden gem that takes you back to the Prohibition era.

As you wander down the hallway to find this speakeasy-style spot, you’ll be immersed in a cozy atmosphere with exceptional service. The establishment won the best commercial design on Vancouver Island in 2014, keeping its historic charm alive.

Little Jumbo offers an intriguing menu, featuring mouthwatering dishes like Little Jumbo Burger and Albacore Tuna.

Savor their delectable cocktails, crafted by skilled bartenders who love to mix things up!

10. Mile 0

Get ready to start an adventure at Mile 0, the beginning of the Trans-Canada Highway! This iconic marker on Douglas Street lights up with excitement, as it’s the starting point of an epic route that spans over 8,000 km across Canada.

The atmosphere here, close to the stunning Victoria waterfront, is a mix of serene beauty and invigorating energy. With Beacon Hill Park as your backdrop, it’s hard not to feel inspired.

What makes this spot stand out is the tribute to Canada’s hero, Terry Fox. A statue commemorating his Marathon of Hope captures his strength, spirit, and unwavering determination.

Here’s a tip to make your visit extra special: bring a map or a Canadian flag for a perfect photo op. This is where countless journeys begin, and it’s an amazing spot to explore before diving into Victoria’s other quirky attractions.

So, is Mile 0 worth your time? For history buffs and road trip enthusiasts, definitely. But even if you’re just passing through, it’s a must-see to appreciate the effort and passion that went into creating such an extensive highway connecting an entire country. Pros? You get to snap a cool pic and learn about Canada’s transportation history. Cons? Maybe it’s not for everyone, but hey, don’t knock it till you try it, right?

Munro's Books Victoria BC
Photo Credit: Munro’s Books Victoria BC

11. Munro’s Books

Hey there, bookworms! Get ready to explore a hidden gem in Victoria – Munro’s Books. This place isn’t just your average bookstore; with its cozy atmosphere and unique features, it’s a haven for literature lovers.

The store’s high ceilings, elegant chandeliers, and perfectly organized shelves are visually stunning. But Munro’s isn’t all about aesthetics – it boasts a fantastic selection of titles ranging from local favorites to international bestsellers.

Did you know Munro’s is housed in a historic neo-classical building? That’s right. It adds a touch of grandeur to your book shopping spree. And if you’re lucky, you might even stumble upon a literary event during your visit.

While Munro’s has a wonderful ambiance and a diverse selection, some visitors might find it overwhelming due to the size and variety of books. Don’t worry, the friendly staff will help you navigate the literary labyrinth.

12. Rent a Hot Tub Boat

If you’re looking for a unique and fun way to enjoy the waters around Victoria, BC, then renting a Hot Tub Boat will be right up your alley.

You’ll be cruisin’ in style as you float down the Gorge Waterway while chilling in an actual hot tub. Talk about a one-of-a-kind experience!

This awesome activity is all about combining relaxation and adventure, with options to soak in some Epsom salts, jam to your favorite tunes, and even have a refreshing dip.

You don’t need a boat license to pilot this bad boy, and it can accommodate up to six of your pals. So grab your crew and get ready to soak up the sun and the stunning views.

Be prepared to become the center of attention as you float by other boats and shoreline onlookers. They’ll be green with envy, but who wouldn’t be? It’s not every day you see a hot tub boat cruising the waterways!

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13. National Toy Museum of Canada

Ready for a blast from the past? Check out the National Toy Museum of Canada in Victoria! It’s nestled inside Cherry Bomb Toys, so prepare for a double whammy of nostalgia.

This quirky museum showcases a diverse collection of vintage toys from the 60s, 70s, 80s, and even 90s. It’s an ideal spot for toy fanatics and anyone who loves to reminisce good ol’ memories.

The exhibits change constantly, meaning there’s always a surprise waiting for you behind these walls.

Entry is by donation, so you decide your ticket price. The museum is open Tuesdays to Sundays, from 12PM to 5PM, and closed on Mondays. Be sure to clear a slot in your schedule for this!

Hatley Castle Victoria BC
Hatley Castle Victoria BC

14. Tour Hatley Castle

Fancy a sneak peek into a majestic fairy tale setting? Head on over to Hatley Castle, nestled on the grounds of Royal Roads University in Victoria. It’s like stepping into a movie scene, and spoiler alert: several films have actually been shot there!

Stroll the vibrant Italian gardens or roam the slightly wilder Japanese gardens. You might even spot a peacock or two strutting around. Standing by the water’s edge, the stunning architecture will leave you in awe. Snap a selfie, but watch out for photobombing peacocks!

Guided tours are available only from May through September, but garden access is complimentary year-round.

While it might not be as well-maintained as the Butchart Gardens, the undeniable charm of Hatley Castle, along with its gardens and resident peacocks, offers a delightful and unusual experience for castle enthusiasts and garden lovers alike. Just make sure to wear comfy shoes for all that exploring!

15. Abkhazi Garden

Ever wanted to stroll through a garden fit for royalty? Look no further than the Abkhazi Garden in Victoria. This hidden gem, set in a heavenly heritage home, offers a serene escape that’s not your everyday tourist spot.

This garden was created by Prince and Princess Abkhazi back in 1946 – it simply oozes history and character. You can sense the passion that went into creating this verdant wonderland at every turn.

You’ll wander through otherworldly foliage and soak up an atmosphere that can best be described as pure magic.

The teahouse, for example, offers an exquisite spot for an afternoon refuel or a spot to catch your breath after exploring the lush landscapes.

The garden is open from 11am-5pm with the last admission at 4pm, and the teahouse operates from 11am-4pm. So, plan accordingly to maximize your visit.

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16. Shop at the Historic Market Square

Looking for a shopping experience that’s a bit off the beaten path? Victoria’s got you covered with its Market Square.

This quaint, hidden gem is nestled in a charming heritage setting, offering tons of interesting boutique shops that you won’t find anywhere else. The vibe here is nothing short of magical, making it a sweet addition to your Victoria bucket list.

One of the coolest things about Market Square is its blast-from-the-past ambiance. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a different era as you wander through the unique shops, selling everything from quirky fashion finds to locally crafted treasures.

Plus, if you’re a history buff, the architecture itself will be a treat for your eyes!

When you’re done exploring the shops, you can take a breather at one of the nearby cafes. Locals love to spill the tea about the square’s storied past, so don’t be shy about striking up a conversation. You never know what fun tales you might unravel in the process.

Market Square’s got oodles of character, a lively atmosphere, and hidden gems aplenty. The only downside might be that you leave with a slight dent in your wallet.

Market Square Victoria BC
Photo Credit: Market Square

17. Bike Around Victoria

Ever wanted to feel like a local while exploring Victoria, BC? Grab your bike and let’s pedal our way into an adventure!

There’s no better way to discover the city than by biking around Victoria. You’ll not only enjoy the fresh air and stunning views, but also discover hidden gems and experience a unique side of the city.

One must-visit spot is Beacon Hill Park. As you ride through the park, keep an eye out for the Great Blue Heron Colony near Goodacre Lake – it’s a sight you don’t want to miss!

Pro tip: the best time to spot these feathered friends is during nesting season (spring and summer).

Don’t let your adventure end there; take your wheels for a spin along the picturesque Galloping Goose Trail or the scenic Seaside Loop. The views will leave you breathless, and you may even stumble upon charming fishing villages along the way!

If you’d rather stick to a group, join this Victoria Castles and Neighborhood Bike Tour.

On this guided tour, you’ll explore historic neighborhoods, castles, and bike-friendly streets. One downside: it might be a bit touristy. However, the knowledgeable guides, fun routes, and fascinating stories make up for it.

18. Victoria Event Centre

The Victoria Event Centre is a quirky, offbeat spot that’s bound to pique your interest. Nestled in the heart of Victoria, this non-profit, multi-purpose venue is all about arts, culture, and community.

As you step inside, you’ll be greeted by an eclectic atmosphere that’s brimming with creativity. From live performances to workshops, the possibilities are as diverse as the folks who frequent the place.

They have a sweet monthly newsletter to keep you informed on all the happenings. From ticket giveaways to artist interviews, it’s your backstage pass to the coolest events in town.

While the uniqueness and vibrant atmosphere of the Victoria Event Centre are definite pros, it’s worth noting that the venue can get a tad crowded during popular events. Keep this in mind as you plan your visit.

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19. Go Bouldering at BoulderHouse

Love flexin’ those muscles? Try bouldering at BoulderHouse, a one-of-a-kind climbing experience. The atmosphere is super inviting, and there’s a great mix of people pushing their limits on those colorful walls.

BoulderHouse offers 8 color-coded climbing circuits, each with 5 to 6 problems that’ll challenge you from technical slab climbing to powerful overhangs.

This place is Victoria’s first bouldering-only facility; they’re all about top-quality route-setting and training for both newbies and seasoned climbers. Plus, they’re known to host events and competitions to keep things fresh.

First-timers might find it a tad intimidating, but once you’re on those walls, you’ll be hooked. For the experienced climber, new challenges await daily.

Final Thoughts

Life is too short to stick to the same old routine so step out of your comfort zone and experience something truly unusual in Victoria, BC.

Whether you’re a local or just visiting for a few days, these activities are guaranteed to spice up your itinerary.

Check out our article on things to do in Victoria at night for even more adventure-packed ideas. The possibilities are endless, so grab a friend (or two) and let’s make some magic happen!