Some of these ideas are free, some are really affordable for any budget, and some are a bit higher up there (re: cooking classes). The point here is to share some of my favourite things to do in Victoria and hopefully spark some creative and perhaps romantic, ideas for your remaining summer days! I won’t waste any more time, lets get straight to the point. Here, in no particular, order except for points numero uno et dos are the events, activity suggestions, date ideas, and other fun goings-ons in Victoria this summer that will get you out enjoying this incredible city, whether you are a local or a visiter looking for a locals experience:
1- Picot Night Markets
Picot Night Markets every Thursday this summer until August 31st from 4-9pm. Duh. Check it out here and click HERE to see all the beautiful photos Rachael Alexandra took from each night. We have over 100 different vendors that we are hosting this year, and each week we have about 35 different vendors, so that means each week is different from the last! You're bound to find foods, locally made goods and some fun things for the kiddos each night. Live Music by some of Victoria's finest musicians goes from 5:30ish to 8ish. Did we mention its outdoors, in the charming Fernwood Square, and free? You can also use the hashtag #picotnightmarkets on instagram. Okay, enough about us, onto some other cool stuff.
2- Outdoor Movies
Next to our own markets, this is THE summer event I look forward to the most each year. And its FREE! There are two "theatres", one at Bullen Park in Esquimalt with showings on Wednesdays and one in Beacon Hill Park, with showings every Friday and Saturday night in August. Here's the schedule for both this summer. Absolutely 100% you will see me there. I recommend arriving early and making it a picnic evening too. I'll make popcorn at home, bring a bottle of wine, my favourite tumblers, blankets, and bug spray if I'm at Beacon Hill. Don't underestimate the bug spray.
3- Bites, Brews & Bands on the Barge
There’s this floating barge docked on the inside of the breakwater, and every Friday night at 5:30 they set up for great live bands and for just $2 you can get on this thing, hangout all night with your friends, eat great food from the Kraken Food Truck and drink the finest beer and cider that the island has to offer from Seacider, Hoyne, Phillips & Driftwood. Check out their band line up here
4- Summer Star Parties
Summer Star Parties every Saturday at the Astrophysical Observatory.... Need. I. Say More??? Bonus: Its free. But make sure to get a ticket! Check it out here. Remaining summer dates are: July 29th, August 5th, 12th, 19th, 26th, September 16th & 23rd.
5- Canoe along the Gorge
Pack a picnic and head out along the Gorge for an afternoon of simple delight. Plenty of places to pull off and jump in for a swim.
6- Stand-up Paddle boarding
Also known as SUP. Check out Shoreline or Trek , both will set you up with rentals and all the gear/ knowledge you need. Bonus: They open early, have a cafe, and you can get your java at the same time you set out for the early morning calm waters. Trek only has 2 to rent, so give them a call. They are along the Galloping Goose right next to Fantastico Coffee & Fol Epi Bakery, with a 1 minute walk to a dock you can get right into the water from, Coastline is a but more of a journey but they have more than 2 in stock!
7- Live Music at Northern Quarter
Great little venue with great variety of bands. I've seen a New Orleans blues band, Victoria Folk, and 70's DJ play all in the same week. With someone on stage every night, you're bound to find something you've fun you've just been waiting to discover here. Oh, and make sure you hit up Benji's Pub Quiz. Mmmhmm. Check out their full schedule here
8- Salsa Dancing Lessons
This one is on my personal "summer date night" to do list, and I have yet to check it off, but both my partner and I are keen to try it! Turns out, it's Victoria's only latin dance restaurant. Since I haven't been there yet, yet is the key word, I'll let you check it out here
9- Take a cooking Class
Both Cook Culture and the London Chef have specialty cooking classes with a curated selection for chefs to learn from. The difference of the two: Cook Culture has one kitchen, so depending on the class it could be demonstration only or have some hands on cooking. London Chef: Everyone has their own cooking station. They are usually themed around worldly dishes, so you get to learn about another cultures food and the tips & tricks that come with it to re-create it at home. Add some wine to that and call it the best date idea I am always up for. Not just for romance though! I've gone with girlfriends and I'll regularly go with my parents when they come to visit.
10- Take an Art Class
There are quite a few workshops and classes that are available through different schools or shops around town, here are just a few places to check out:
- Poppet Creative - In Fernwood, classes ranging from drawing, painting, mixed media, weaving, embroidery, and more
- Vancouver Island School Of Art Workshops
- Date Night Pottery classes at Hands on Clay Collective- You may just be taught by some of our favourite potters that we work with in the shop, like Melissa June or Sarah Leckie!
11- The patio at Glo
This is probably the best patio in the whole city. It has comfortable lounge seats, lots of plants, over head string lights, and its right on the Selkirk Waterway. Ride your bike along the Galloping goose or catch the Harbour Ferry from downtown, it will drop you right off at their patio. Oh, and their Happy Hour starts at 2. 'Nuff said.
12- Type a letter at the Cute Factory
Also known as the Regional Assembly of Text on Lower Johnson St, you can rent a type writer for $2/ 20 mins, and with the assortment of stationary, stamps and paper, you can really create something heartfelt and original. I love this idea for a date- type each other a letter, seal it, and take it somewhere special to read to each other.
13- Take your favourite board game to a pub or patio
My personal favourite are Crib & Backgammon. We travel with them in our backpacks and sit down somewhere for a few drinks. Loser picks up the tab.
Well folks, I could keep going with this list but then you'd be staring at a screen more than you'd be out enjoying the summer. So get to it!