Downtown Victoria is worth a visit, quite apart from the historic buildings and museums there. The streetscapes are clean and interesting: the atmosphere is festive during the summer months, with buskers singing, playing, posing or fooling around for donations, and artists selling jewelry, caricature paintings and all manner of souvenirs. There are special events non-stop throughout the summer months, many located right at the Inner Harbour. Check for events at this site.
The Empress Hotel
This venerable, recently renovated 'grande dame' of the Inner Harbour is one of the landmark buildings for which Victoria is known. One can walk through the elegant halls of a bygone era, where Rudyard Kipling or Ernest Hemingway once sipped tea or absynthe and where more than a few royals have bunked down for a night or two.
The Inner Harbour
Take a walk around the Inner Harbour where you can watch many artists paint or draw portraits of tourists, buskers perform their tricks, mimes surprise you with their acts, and musicians will serenade you. It is a very lively area on the waterfront with beautiful yachts and sailboats as a backdrop.
From late February to late October, tour the Inner Harbour with one of those fun little 12-passenger ferries as they wind their way through the harbour and the Gorge Waterway. Walk along the waterfront one way, then take a harbour ferry back.
You can buy a few pieces of fish at the fishmonger's stand to feed the harbour seals, have fish and chips at Barb's or take a great whale watching tour at Sea King whale tours.
Art Gallery of Greater Victoria
The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria has a permanent collection of 15,000 art objects. Art from Asia, Europe and North America with primary emphasis placed on Canada and Japan. In addition, there are gallery events and temporary exhibits throughout the year. Check the gallery calendar at this site.
Victoria Bug Zoo (for kids)
If you have a chance, crawl, fly or wriggle your way to the Bug Zoo! An amazing world of insects and spiders. Discover roughly 50 fascinating species including giant walking sticks, beautiful praying mantis, glow-in-the-dark scorpions, hairy tarantulas, and Canada’s largest ant colony.
Miniature World (for kids)
Feel like Gulliver while walking among miniature villages with more than 85 miniature dioramas and displays, from historical to futuristic.