The holidays are over, the resolutions have been made and there's no better place than Victoria to embrace the New Year. Whether you're visiting Victoria for a post-Christmas adventure or to escape the cold of your own hometown, there are lots of things to do and see! Here are ten ideas to get you started.
1. Immerse Yourself in Coastal Rainforest
This January, get outdoors and explore the spectacular beauty of Vancouver Island's temperate rainforests.
Whether you'd like to explore on your own (there are lots of great trails to choose from) or take a tour with Rainforest Tours, it's a wonderful way to get active and experience all that Victoria's wilderness has to offer.
Tip: Rainforest Tours' guides are all highly skilled and eager to share their love and knowledge. Tours are ideal for families with children.
Image: A walk through Mystic Vale at the University of Victoria
2. Celebrate the Harvest
While a visit to Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse is always a fantastic idea, a visit to the farm-based cidery on Wassail Day is truly something special to behold. On January 15, join them for a family-friendly day of Wassail celebrations that involve singing and drinking to the health of trees in the hope that they will thrive.
Fact: The ten-acre farm, located on the Saanich Peninsula, is home to over 1,300 apple trees including over 50 varieties of heritage apples.
Image: Wassail at Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse
3. Behold Our Winter Gardens
That's right, our gardens bloom year round in Victoria. They don't call us Garden City for nothing! This January, visit The Gardens at HCP (Horticultural Centre of the Pacific) where you'll be immersed the natural beauty of over five acres of gardens, wetlands, nature trails and bird watching sites. Tour the Winter Garden, Japanese-style Takata Garden and the Zen Garden.
Tip: Stick around for lunch afterward at Charlotte & The Quail.
On January 14, The Gardens at HCP will host the annual Saanich Seedy Saturday event which includes 30 garden vendors and a community seed exchange. There will also be a special presentation on Attracting and Feeding Bumblebees in Your Garden.
Image: Colourful winter blooms at the Gardens at HCP
4. Explore the City (and Learn the Local History)
Get bundled up and explore Victoria on foot this January. Meander on your own or choose from several themed walking tours with Discovery Walks, where you'll learn about everything from Victoria's ghostly history to the city's Royal ties to Queen Victoria.
Tip: Private tours are available upon request! You can also ask your tour guide to tailor their narration based on what topics you're most interested in.
Image: Victoria is super walkable! Stroll through downtown toward Dallas Road for spectacular views.
5. See an Art Show
In case you hadn't heard, 2017 is Canada's 150th birthday. In celebration of our great nation, The Island Illustrators Society has curated an art show that pays tribute to some of Canada's largest icons through vintage-style travel posters. Big Canadian Stuff: An Art Show for Canada's 150 will be on display at the Coast Collective Arts Centre in Colwood until January 29.
Tip: The Coast Collective Arts Centre is home to a fabulous artisan gift shop that showcases a large selection of locally-handmade works. All of the pieces for sale have gone through a selective jury to ensure only the highest quality pieces are available for purchase. Take home an authentic memento as a reminder of your visit to Victoria!
Image: Two pieces from the Big Canadian Stuff show. Artists: Kristi Bridgeman (left) and Ruth Bowman (right).
6. Check Out some Live Music
Here in Victoria, we're lucky to have such a vibrant arts and music scene. From indie shows to classical concerts and everything in between, you'll have no shortage of live music to check out while you're in town. Jazz lovers can see a Tribute to Dave Brubeck at the University of Victoria on January 21 or visit Hermann's Jazz Club. There is also live music every night at Irish Times Pub!
Tip: Visit our online event calendar to see all upcoming show listings.
Image: Live music at Irish Times Pub
7. Partake in Chinese New Year Celebrations
The Year of the Rooster has arrived! Celebrate Chinese New Year in Canada's Oldest Chinatown and allow the celebrations to transport you to another world. Explore small stores in Fan Tan Alley (North America's narrowest commercial street), discover the world's oldest tea tradition at Silk Road Tea or stop by Venus Sophia Tea Room and Vegetarian Eatery for a delightful and organic pairing of Chinese tea and a three-course afternoon tea.
Tip: Feeling lucky? The View Royal Casino will also be featuring Chinese New Year entertainment from January 22 - 27.
Image: The Gates of Harmonious Interest in Victoria's Chinatown
8. Toast to Robbie Burns
The Victoria Caledonian Brewery and Distillery recently opened their doors in Summer 2016 and are already making waves with their dynamic range of Scotch-style single malt whiskies and aptly-named Twa Dogs craft beer.
Join them for a special Whisky Night and Dinner in celebration of Robert Burns Day on January 25. Surrounded by artisan copper stills, you'll feast your eyes and delight your senses with an extensive bill o'fare (read: haggis, beef, cock-a-leekie soup, local oysters) and exclusive spirit pairings.
Tip: Even if you can't make it on the 25th, Victoria Caledonian regularly offers guided interpretive distillery tours and tutored tastings. Check their website for all the dates and times!
Image: Whisky tasting - always a good idea when visiting Victoria's craft distilleries.
9. Enjoy Boutique Shopping
Shopping is another fantastic way to experience Victoria while escaping the winter elements. Try Lower Johnson Street (LoJo) for a selection of local boutiques offering everything from handmade clothing to bespoke jewellery.
Tip: Check out our downtown shopping guide for the full scoop on Victoria's best shopping neighbourhoods.
Image: Colourful heritage buildings line LoJo in the heart of Victoria's downtown shopping district.
10. Say Hello to our Little Friends
A joy to both locals and travellers alike, a visit with our playful harbour seals is a must when in Victoria. Get to know our real locals by heading to Fisherman's Wharf or the Oak Bay Marina.
Both docks are home to playful resident seals who will do just about anything to get your attention.
Tip: While you're at the Oak Bay Marina, stop in for a west coast-inspired lunch with an unprecedented ocean view at the Marina Restaurant.
Image by @toriannrazzano on Instagram