7 Best Places to See Christmas Lights in Victoria, BC

The Magic of Christmas at the Butchart Gardens in Victoria, BC

Victoria doesn’t always get snow in December and for those used to a white Christmas, it might not feel quite like the holidays. One way to find the holiday spirit is to look at the beautiful Christmas light displays, scattered all across the city. We always find that these colorful lights make us feel in the mood for the holiday season!

To help you find the best Christmas light displays in Victoria, we’ve compiled a list of the best places to go. Pack your family into the car with some thermoses of hot chocolates and check out all of these amazing holiday displays. Enjoy!

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Best Places to See Christmas Lights in Victoria, BC

1. Parliament Building and the Inner Harbour

Christmas lights on the Parliament Building in Victoria, BC

Victoria’s Inner Harbour is always quite beautiful but during December, it’s festively decorated with all kinds of Christmas lights. Admiring the lights as you walk around downtown Victoria is an excellent way to feel the magic of Christmas!

During December, the Parliament Building becomes lined with red, green, and white lights, like a gingerbread house with icing edges. The water fountain lights up with Christmas colors. As well, many of the ships in the harbor string up lights along their masts and ropes.

Wander around downtown Victoria on Wharf Street and the Inner Harbour Causeway, sipping a hot chocolate and enjoying the sparkling lights. It’s a magical way to spend an evening!

There are also many other Christmas events in Victoria’s downtown, such as the Gingerbread Showcase, the Santa Ballet, and Santa’s Light Parade.

2. Butchart Gardens – The Magic of Christmas Event

Christmas lights at the Butchart Gardens in Victoria, BC

One of the most spectacular Christmas light displays in Victoria is at the famous Butchart Gardens. Each year, the Butchart Gardens sets up their “Magic of Christmas” display, featuring the Twelve Days of Christmas.

The beautiful gardens are filled with thousands of sparkling Christmas lights. Walking through the Butchart Gardens Christmas display is a magical experience!

While the gardens open earlier in the day, the best time to visit the Magic of Christmas event at the Butchart Gardens is during the evening. At night, you can really enjoy this incredible light show. Don’t miss the sunken garden.

Grab a hot cider from the cafe and walk around for hours enjoying sparkling lights and Christmas music. There’s even a merry-go-round for children!

3. Times Colonist Christmas Lights Map

Well-decorated house with lots of Christmas Lights in Victoria

Every year, the Times Colonist publishes a map showing the locations of houses that are well decorated with Christmas lights. You can spend the evening driving around and enjoying each of these lit-up houses around Victoria.

All of the houses on the Times Colonist list are self-submitted by homeowners in Victoria. Anyone who wants to show off their Christmas light display can submit their address to the map.

Usually, the Times Colonist Christmas lights map is released in mid-December. Driving around to view the beautiful lights is the perfect way to spend the evening with your family and friends!

Or, decorate your own house with strings of outdoor Christmas lights and submit your home to the map!

4. Oak Bay Village

During December, Oak Bay Village on Oak Bay Avenue is decorated with beautiful Christmas lights. This charming little shopping center in Greater Victoria is an excellent place to walk during the winter when it is festively lit.

Sparkling strings of lights are strung above the sidewalks and trees are colorfully lit like candy canes. On the corner of Oak Bay Avenue and Foul Bay Road, the city usually sets up a Charlie Brown Christmas display. As well, the Municipal Hall gets festively adorned with Christmas decorations.

Overall, Oak Bay Avenue during Christmas is an excellent place for an evening stroll with a warm tea or hot chocolate. Oak Bay Village is also a wonderful area to walk during the daytime, with plenty of adorable local stores and coffee shops to explore.

5. Lights of Wonder in Centennial Square

Lights of Wonder at Centennial Square

Walk through a forest of lights in Centennial Square each December with the Lights of Wonder event. This sparking event is full of Christmas cheer and an excellent way to spend an evening!

Each year, the city of Victoria sets up trees of lights, as well as other lighted Christmas designs, near the downtown area. It’s quite an impressive display of Christmas lighting.

Wander through the Lights of Wonder displays for free during the second half of December. Enjoy festive treats from local food truck vendors and be entertained by Victoria’s Christmas performers and musicians on the stage. This is a great event for a date night or a family outing!

6. IEOA Truck Light Convoy

The IEOA Truck Light Convoy on Oak Bay Avenue

If you want to see thousands of dazzling Christmas lights, the IEOA (Island Equipment Owners Association) Truck Light Convoy is one of the best things to do.

Every year, this procession of sparkling, decorated trucks drives along Dallas Road from the Ogden Point Breakwater by downtown Victoria, along Beach Drive to Oak Bay Avenue, through View Royal, and all the way to Langford. They bring Christmas cheer to a huge part of Greater Victoria!

While there are many Christmas parades around Greater Victoria (like Santa’s Light Parade), the Lighted Truck Convoy is one of the best due to its lengthy parade route. It never feels too crowded. Also, many Victoria residents don’t need to go far to view this parade – it might even pass by your front door!

The IEOA Truck Light Convoy also raises food and money donations for charity. Support your community by donating to the food drive and enjoy some bright lights while you’re at it!

7. Sea of Lights Boat Parade

While Victoria doesn’t get much snow, the city has a few unique Christmas light events that you won’t see in other parts of Canada. One special way to view Christmas lights in Victoria is the Sea of Lights Boat Parade.

Between Cadboro-Gyro Beach and Willows Beach, lit-up and decorated boats sail past the city. These lighted sailboats look amazing on the dark ocean!

The lighted boat parade is held by the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club. These holiday boats collect food for a food bank and donations for local charities throughout the event.

Watch the festively decorated ships sail past from the popular Willows Beach, Cattle Point, or Cadbury-Gyro Beach. There’s often hot cocoa and a beach fire!

Best Hotels for Christmas Holidays in Victoria

  • Fairmont Empress Hotel: One of the most popular, luxurious, and iconic hotels in Victoria. At Christmas, eat s’mores around a fire on their veranda, enjoy disco Christmas parties, and Christmas-themed tea services.
  • Hotel Grand Pacific is a mid-range hotel located nearby the ocean in downtown Victoria. The rooms are comfortable and each has its own private balcony!
  • Days Inn by Wyndham is a more budget-friendly hotel option. Even so, it has an on-site restaurant, pool, hot tub, and all you need to have a wonderful time!

Top Travel Tips & Resources for Victoria, BC

  • Travel Insurance – If you’re travelling internationally, travel insurance is a must for any trip. Being covered by insurance is especially important when you’re going to an adventure-filled place like British Columbia. If you injure yourself while adventuring, you want to have insurance! We recommend using SafetyWing for international travel insurance. They are affordable and have great policies for travellers, digital nomads, and remote workers. Also, SafetyWing provides COVID-19 coverage, which many other insurance companies don’t cover.
  • Car Rental – We find the best deal on vehicle rental prices using RentalCars.com. They compare the prices for different car rental companies so you can find the best deals out there!
  • Accommodations – We prefer booking all of our hotels, hostels, and other accommodations through Booking.com because they have a flexible cancellation policy. Also, there are lots of different options on their platform, from hotels to vacation homes. Alternatively, Expedia and Hotels.com are good for booking accommodations. For vacation home rentals, VRBO is an excellent choice (they have lower fees than Airbnb, many of the same properties, and are more ethical).
  • Flights – You’ll find many good flight deals on Skyscanner or Google Flights. You can book flights through these websites and they’ll help you find the best prices and flight times. If you fly at less popular times (e.g. mid-week or red-eye flights), you can also save some money.
  • Tours – Get the most out of your vacation by taking a guided tour! This is a great way to see the city, adventure to exciting new locations, and learn about the local culture. Viator or GetYourGuide are great options for booking tours.