The last month of the year is here and with it comes an abundance of holiday things to do in Victoria. You’ll find a number of places to view festive decorations and lights, ice skating, holiday performances and even last minute shopping opportunities. While this season also brings extra shopping and preparing, take a break from the hustle and bustle and allow yourself some time to take in the holiday happenings. Many of these activities are filled with cheer and will cause you to remember that the holidays really can be a lot of fun.
City Lights Shine Bright All Month Long
This year holiday festivities start early since the beginning of December falls on a Monday. Help launch all the fun by attending the 7th Annual Centennial Square Christmas tree Light-Up and watch as the Christmas tree blooms into life with thousands of lights. There will be plenty of free treats and musical performances to keep any little ones engaged, so be sure to stick around for the Island Farms Santa Light Parade afterwards. The parade features marching bands and floats decked out in, what else, lights!
You can experience even more holiday décor and lights if you venture outside of the downtown Victoria. Hop aboard the Festive Victoria Tour to see popular attractions like Craighdarroch Castle in their holiday finest. The Butchart Gardens also goes all out for the holidays, covering all their gardens in lights and even creating an ice skating rink, making the Holiday Lights Tour something you don’t want to miss.
Enjoy the Holidays Indoors and Out
In addition to lights, there a number of other December things to do in Victoria. The Fairmont Empress is bringing ice skating downtown by opening a rink to the front lawn, complete with opportunities to warm up with cider or hot cocoa. There is also a variety of indoor entertainment around town, from performances of the Nutcracker, Christmas Carol, A Christmas Story, singing by the Irish Tenors and more.
If you like sweet treats, Canada’s 6th Annual National Gingerbread Showcase will be on display at Laurel Point now until January 4. These creations are made entirely out of candy, but please don’t eat them, no matter how tempting they may be. However, do look for the entry submitted by Clipper Vacations! Making gingerbread houses is not the only sweet thing Clipper is doing this season. If you take a picture sharing a kiss with family, friends or pets under the city’s biggest mistletoe, your picture could win you round trip tickets for two to Seattle aboard the Victoria Clipper ferry. If that isn’t sharing the love, we don’t know what is.
Last Call for Last Minute Shopping
Of course, the holiday season wouldn’t be complete without shopping. Luckily there are plenty of markets that open up in and around town to help satiate your needs. There is the Victoria Public Market Artisan Corner, which sets up in Victoria Public Market every Saturday and Sunday, from November 15th until Christmas. This special section provides an opportunity for many of Vancouver Island’s talented artists to sell and show off their amazing work. Similarly, the Bastion Square Holiday Pop-Up Market features locally produced crafts and sumptuous treats that make for great stocking stuffers. Finally, there is a special night market at Ship Point during the lighted ship parade.
Before the end of the holiday season, make sure to take advantage of the free horse-drawn trolley rides, which circulate through the downtown area on the weekends leading up to Christmas. A fun and unique way to travel, these rides make last minute shopping easier and allow you to take in all the lights and sights around Victoria.