Uh-oh! Mother’s Day is comin’ up quick, and Memorial Day is going to be hot on its heels. Don’t let May slip away! Whether you’re looking for a family getaway or just itching for a little easy exploration, look no further than our neighboring seaside city to the north – Victoria, BC!

Hop aboard the Victoria Clipper ferry in downtown Seattle for a quick, scenic cruise past the Olympic Peninsula, snowcapped Mount Baker and maybe even a pod of orcas! In less than three hours you’ll arrive right in the heart of the city’s Inner Harbour with a wealth of activities awaiting you. To get your trip planning kicked off in earnest, we’ve collected up 10 things to do in Victoria, BC this May.

1. Explore Downtown Victoria, BC on a Rolling Barrel Pub Crawl – Starting May 1

Soak up the sun and sip some suds on a Rolling Barrel Pub Crawl around BC’s capital! Welcome spring’s arrival while you cruise through Victoria’s charming downtown on a guided, pedal-powered trolley. Get a taste of the city and cycle your way to three favorite local pubs for some of the best snacks and beverages Victoria has to offer! Book this tour with Clipper, learn more.

2. Twilight City Tour – Starting May 2

Make the most of spring’s sprawling sunsets with a Twilight City Tour of Victoria. Discover the city’s most scenic spots during the glow of dusk, and watch as downtown begins to twinkle with thousands of lights. End your evening on a spectacular note with a bird’s-eye view of Victoria and the Olympic Peninsula from atop Mt. Tolmie. Book this tour with Clipper, learn more.

3. The Butchart Gardens City Tour – Now – October 13

Guys, trust us. No visit to Victoria is complete without a visit to the world-renowned Butchart Gardens! While we firmly believe that there’s no wrong time of year to go, springtime – with its verdant foliage and billions of blooms – is a particularly compelling time to plan a visit.

The real kicker? With complimentary luggage delivery or storage at the Clipper terminal, this trip could not be easier! Just hop off the Victoria Clipper ferry, drop off your bags and enjoy a guided tour of the city on your way over to The Gardens. Cruise by historic spots like Bastion Square and architectural marvels such as the more than 100-year-old Victoria City Hall before arriving at The Butchart Gardens’ front gates. Easy as pie! (Or, easy as house-made berry trifle from their Blue Poppy Restaurant. Yum!)

Book this tour with Clipper, learn more.

4. Cheese & Meat Festival – Victoria – May 11

Taste the best charcuterie provisions the region has to offer at Cheese & Meat Festival – Victoria. Sample cured meats from artisans such as North Vancouver’s Two Rivers Meats Co. and dine on inventive cheeses like Woolwich Dairy’s tangy chevre. Wash it all with a selection of local wine, beer or cider!

5. Celebrate Mother’s Day – May 12

Show mom how much you love her with a day of pampering in Victoria. Does she have a green thumb? A trip to the world-famous Butchart Gardens is just the ticket! Want to make her feel like royalty? Spend a regal afternoon sipping Afternoon Tea at the historic Fairmont Empress. Is Ina Garten her idol? Make a trip to Oak Bay Beach Hotel for their gourmet Mother’s Day Brunch, complete with a sweeping oceanfront view.

6. Maya: The Great Jaguar Rises exhibit at the Royal BC Museum – May 17 – Dec 31

Spend the day learning all about the powerful culture that rose in the tropical rainforests of Central America at the Royal BC Museum’s newest exhibit, Maya: The Great Jaguar Rises!

For the first time in North America, explore the immersive display covering the civilization’s art, jewelry, beliefs and a feature on the 30 Mayan languages still spoken today. (Insider tip: Don’t miss the exhibit’s nearly 10-foot-long statue of a man with jaguar attributes!)

Save time to spend another hour or two exploring the museum’s extensive collection of displays. Boasting an IMAX theater, a native plant garden and one of the largest natural history exhibitions in the country, you may need to plan a return visit to see everything the museum has to offer!

 7. Victoria Highland Games & Celtic Festival – May 18 – 20

From bagpipes and drums to whisky school and caber tossing, the Victoria Highland Games & Celtic Festival is bound to make you feel like you’ve traveled across the pond! Nibble on a meat pie and sip your way across two different beer gardens, then catch some live Celtic music and Irish Dance performances. Even Fido can get in on the fun with dog events and agility competitions at the festival’s three days of authentic Highland fun!

8. Victoria Day Parade – May 20

Take in the largest event of the year (attracting more than 100,000 people!) in BC’s capital city at the Victoria Day Parade! Enjoy live music from Canadian and American marching bands, cultural performances and incredible floats along the two-mile route. After the parade, stroll over to Centennial Square for “Celebration Square,” a free event with activities the whole family can enjoy.

9. Swiftsure International Yacht Race – May 23 – 27

What better way to enjoy a spring day than from the water’s edge! Find a spot along scenic Clover Point to catch the Swiftsure International Yacht Race, the largest of its kind on the West Coast. Watch as more than 200 yachts jockey for the best starting position before they head off with their sights set on the finish line at Ogden Point!

10. The Breakwater Barge – May 25 – September 28

Every Friday the Ogden Point Breakwater Barge transforms into the most happenin’ open-air hot spot in Victoria! Celebrate the end of the week with an array of local food trucks, live music, craft beer and cider on tap. (Insider tip: Head over around sunset for one of the most spectacular views in the city!)

Bonus: Picot Spring Market at Sea Cider – May 27

Crack open a frosty bottle of cider in the orchard from which it came at Sea Cider’s annual Picot Spring Market. Grab some friends and a picnic blanket and head over to the charming farmhouse cidery for a day of live music, a local artisan vendor market, raffles and even a floral bouquet workshop! Plus, toast to spring’s arrival with discounted bottles of house-made cider – our favorite is the zesty, perfectly balanced Ginger Perry.

Overflowing with blooms and replete with waterfront vistas, Victoria is the perfect place to usher in the sunshiny splendor of springtime! Discover a few of Victoria’s hidden gems in between activities or check out our Instagram feed for ideas on how to explore around the city over the much anticipated Memorial Day weekend!

Book Your Victoria Trip Now


Feature Photo: Scott Meis