Updated October 3, 2019

As November rolls around, Victoria begins to see its first frosty mornings. Crisp, fresh air greets the lungs as you stroll around town, seeking out the city’s array of twinkling light displays and festive decorations. Window shop along Johnson Street until the smell of java lures you into one of downtown’s quaint coffee shops. Or ring in the holiday season with carols and sweet eats. Ready to get your cozy autumnal trip planning underway? We’ve got 11 things to do in Victoria, BC this November to get you started!

1. Behind the Scenes Greenhouse Tour at The Butchart Gardens

Credit: @thebutchartgardens

Calling all plant-aholics! Get an inside look behind the magic of The Butchart Gardens with a guided tour of the greenhouses on their property. Learn all about how their jaw-dropping horticultural displays are conceptualized and mapped out. We bet you’ll dig it! (Have more time? Make it an overnight getaway with Clipper!)

Round out your day at Butchart with their seasonal spread of Afternoon Tea, presented in The Gardens’ homey Dining Room Restaurant. Nibble on an outstanding array of house-made treats, crafted with care from top quality, locally-sourced ingredients paired with their signature blends of loose-leaf teas. Between the warm, welcoming service and the intimate atmosphere, you’ll walk out feeling like a close personal friend of Jennie Butchart herself.

2. Victoria International Jewish Film Festival – November 2 – 5 

Credit: @vijffest

Immerse yourself in some Jewish culture at the Victoria International Jewish Film Festival, back for its fifth year at The Vic Theater. On opening night, take in “Golda’s Balcony, The Film,” starring Tovah Feldshuh in a recreation of her award-winning Broadway performance in William Gibson’s one-woman play.

3. Winterbrau at Canoe Brewpub – November 9 – 10

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Celebrate a bounty of seasonal winter ales at the 8th annual Winterbrau festival! Hosted at waterfront fave Canoe Brewpub, sample suds from more than 20 breweries around BC alongside hors d’oeuvres prepared by Canoe’s stellar culinary team. Throw in live music from Bucan Bučan and a classy little taster glass, and you’ve got one of the best beer-based events of the year!

4. Empress Whisky Weekend – November 16 – 19

Credit: @fairmontempress

Spend a spirited weekend at the Fairmont Empress for their first-ever Whisky Weekend! The storied hotel has partnered with renowned Scottish Scotch distillers, Dalmore, for a ritzy weekend of exceptional cuisine and expertly crafted cocktails.

Get a glimpse behind the scenes with the Empress’s world-class chefs before the final event of the weekend – the Dalmore Royal Sunday Feast. Decadence from beginning to end! Book this hotel with Clipper, learn more.

5. Canada’s National Gingerbread Showcase – November 16 – January 5

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Delicate, frosted creations take the spotlight at this year’s Gingerbread Showcase held at the Parkside Hotel & Spa. Stroll through the festive lobby and admire the efforts from amateur and professional bakers alike.

Vote for your favorite by donation, with all proceeds going to Habitat for Humanity Victoria. Whatever the confectionary creators come up with, it’s sure to light up your kids’ faces (and yours!) with glee. Book this hotel with Clipper, learn more.

6. Get Your Holiday Shopping Underway

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Discover Victoria’s growing boutique shopping scene with a stroll around downtown! Cruise along the candy-colored storefronts of Lower Johnson Street to check out stores like Rook & Rose, Little Gold and Still Life.

Then, hang a right and head up Government Street for some incredible vintage finds at Duchess & Duke and handmade clothing inspired by nature at Smoking Lily. With far fewer downtown crowds and an exchange rate in favor of American visitors, this is the perfect shopportunity to start crossing some things off your holiday to-do list!

7. Festival of Trees – November 21January 6

Credit: @thebaycentre

This year’s 28th anniversary of the Victoria Festival of Trees is keeping up their tradition as the unofficial kick-off to the holiday season in BC’s capital! Held at the Bay Centre, each tree is unique in its own way–from eccentric to exquisite. Going beyond touching the hearts of those who visit, the event also benefits the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation.

8. Out of Hand Artisan Fair – November 22 – 24

Credit: @joannalovettsterling

“OOH” is a fitting acronym for Victoria’s much-anticipated annual artisan fair, Out of Hand, which provides an outlet for local artists and vendors of natural goods to display their fall bounty. It’s the perfect place to seek out stocking stuffers! Plus enjoy gourmet food, a pop-up Etsy boutique as well as offerings from craft distilleries and wineries to sip on while you ponder your purchases!

9. VIDEA’s Fair Trade Fair – November 23

Credit: @videavictoria

Get some holiday shopping done while supporting a worthy philanthropic cause at VIDEA’s Fair Trade Fair. Browse through more than 30 vendor booths offering a vibrant array of unique, ethically-sourced products.

Chat with the diverse group of vendors and warm up with a steaming cup of coffee or tea–Fair Trade, of course! Feeling lucky? Enter their drawing to win some cool prizes.

10. Magic of Christmas Dinner and Dance – November 30

Credit: @thebutchartgardens

Ring in the Christmas season with an evening of holiday festivities at The Butchart Gardens’ Magic of Christmas Dinner and Dance! Dine on a tempting buffet from their culinary experts while live music drifts through the air.

After dinner, bundle up for a caroler-led stroll through The Gardens and prepare to be dazzled by an exclusive preview of their annual Christmas Lights display. Wrap up the evening at The Blue Poppy Restaurant with a swank spread of desserts and groove to the big band stylings of The Chris Millington Band.

11. Christmas Kickoff at the Empress – November 30

Credit: @fairmontempress

Kick-off the holiday season with the whole family in the most delicious fashion–with cookie decorating and hot chocolate at the Empress! Fuel up on Mr. Claus’s favorite snack, then head out onto Government Street to join the throngs of locals taking in the city’s annual Santa’s Light Parade.

Keep the cozy vibes going on the hotel’s sprawling patio, where you can enjoy hot beverages, festive treats and s’mores around the fire! Book this hotel with Clipper, learn more.

There are two options when brisk fall begins – hibernation or a whole-hearted seasonal embrace. Whether you choose the former and experience the fiery colors this season is known for, or the latter via artisan markets and lively beer festivals, there’s a fall activity for everyone in BC’s capital this month!

While you’re out and about, slow down and stop to take in the sights, sounds and smells of Victoria mid-fall: leaves crunching underfoot, local coffee wafting out of your cup and array of glowing lights brightening the evening sky. Pure autumnal goodness!


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Featured image courtesy of Destination BC