11 Ways to Celebrate Family Day in Victoria

July 27, 2023 – 02:41 pm

Family day is right around the corner! Whether you're celebrating with your kids, your partner, your parents or your friends, this special day is a chance to let your people know that you care. We've put together a list of fun ways that you can spend the day with your family, no matter who they are.

1. Take in Some Arts and Culture

If you're in the downtown area, there are lots places to explore arts and culture. Start your day at Legacy Art Gallery to see authentic First Nations art pieces and The Mystery of Grafton Tyler Brown, a special Black History Month exhibit on race, art and landscape in 19th century British Columbia.

Victoria's historic Steamship Terminal is home to the Robert Bateman Centre, a multipurpose art space that's great for families. Here you'll explore several exhibits, including collaborative collections and Bateman's own celebrated paintings, sketches and sculptures of the natural world. Admission is free on Family Day for anyone under 18 years of age!

Image: Legacy Art Gallery

2. Spend the Day in Sidney By the Sea

Just a short drive up the Saanich Peninsula (about 25 minutes north of downtown Victoria) lies the beautiful, oceanside community of Sidney. A wonderful place to explore with kids, start with a visit to the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea, where your little ones will be enamoured by undersea creatures and even get some hands-on experience in the touch tank.

Image: Sidney Family Day

3. Visit the BC Aviation Museum

Also located on the Saanich Peninsula (right next to the Victoria International Airport), the BC Aviation Museum is a great place to visit with family. Here, you'll see lots of cool aviation artifacts and over 20 restored aircraft displays. Ask one of the many knowledgeable tour guides to share stories of their own experiences or answer any questions that you have about items on display.

Image: BC Aviation Museum

4. Enjoy Family Day at the Victoria Public Market

Feel like a local as you join in the hustle and bustle of the Victoria Public Market at the Hudson. Family Day will be extra special as the market will be buzzing with free live music, face painting, a free photo booth, cooking demonstrations and crafts for kids. There are always lots of awesome local food vendors to choose from, too!

Image: Victoria Public Market at the Hudson

5. Get Adventurous in the Outdoors

Explore the outdoors with your pack! Choose from one of Victoria's many hiking and walking trails or take part in a CRD Family Fun Guided Hike with an experienced local guide.

A visit to the Goldstream Nature House is always a great idea, especially with kids! Their informed staff will teach your little ones all about Vancouver Island's native flora and fauna, and at this time of year you might even spot some Bald Eagles out in the estuary. Hike up to "Little Niagara" falls or opt for a more intense hike option to the summit of Mount Finlayson.

Image: A mature Bald Eagle at Goldstream Provincial Park, image via Goldstream Nature House

6. Explore Modern History

Canada's Oldest Chinatown is super kid-friendly, but a truly fun experience for families of all ages. Shop local in Fan Tan Alley, Canada's Narrowest Commercial Street. Snap a photo under the Gates of Harmonious Interest and enjoy lunch at Don Mee Seafood Restaurant.

For history buffs, a visit to Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site is a must when in Victoria. Wander through the coastal artillery fort and see the beautifully preserved Fisgard Lighthouse, which was built in 1860 as a beacon for the British Royal Navy's Pacific Squadron. Admission is free this year for Canada's 150th anniversary!

Image: Fisgard Lighthouse

7. Meet the Locals

No visit to Victoria is complete without seeing the resident harbour seals at Oak Bay Marina or Fisherman's Wharf. These chubby cuties are called "dogs of the sea" for a reason, and will do just about anything to get your attention!

To meet our largest residents, book a family whale watching trip where you'll be treated to unprecedented coastal views and the best seats in the house for wildlife viewing. Keep your eyes peeled for marine life like humpback whales, orcas, and sea lions.

8. Get In Some Playtime!

For a relaxing afternoon with family, head to Beacon Hill Park where you will see totem poles, roaming peacocks, beautiful early spring blooms and stunning fountains. There's also a playground with a kid zone for climbing and playing. Tip: Make sure to grab a soft-serve ice cream cone at the Beacon Drive In

Stop in for a yummy lunch at Bubby Rose's Bakery & Cafe or Bubby's Kitchen, both located on Cook Street. If the weather is nice, take your meal to go and enjoy a picnic at Willows Beach or Gyro-Cadboro Beach. Both parks have large playgrounds and sandy beach access, perfect for play time or a relaxing family stroll. There's even a mini zip-line at Gyro Park.

Image: One of Victoria's many First Nations Totem Poles

9. Celebrate Family History at the Royal BC Museum

Cross the street and you will find yourself at the Royal BC Museum, where you'll get a sneak peek and some hands-on interactive activities for the upcoming Families: Bonds and Belonging exhibition and share what family means to you.

See the Pacific Opera of Victoria perform pop-up operas in Old Town and in the Forest Diorama, and make sure to visit the Greater Victoria Public Library's mobile library that will be set up right out front.

Image: Royal BC Museum

10. Splash, Skate, Scale and Cycle

For indoor family fun, hit up one of Greater Victoria's many recreation centres. From swimming to ice skating, you're sure to find an activity that everybody can agree on. You can also head to Epic Escape Victoria and work as a team to escape from a locked room before the clock runs out, or try indoor rock climbing at Crag X Climbing Gym.

If the weather cooperates, a family bike ride in Victoria is always a wonderful way to see the city and spend some quality time with your loved ones. Rent bikes from The Pedaler Cycling Tours and Rentals or sign up for a guided bike tour.

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