(The Butchart Gardens/Instagram)

There are 8 days until Christmas and everywhere you go, the holiday spirit is in the air!

Across Victoria, stores are full of eager shoppers finishing up their shopping and the city is full of light displays.

With so much to do, we know it will be difficult to choose, but here are 26 things to do in and around Victoria this weekend, December 17th-19th:

Watch the Victoria Royals vs. Tri-City Americans

This weekend, the Victoria Royals face off in a double header against the Tri-City Americans. 

Tonight (Friday), it’s the Teddy Bear Toss night, where the crowd will shower the ice with teddy bears to celebrate the Victoria Royal’s first goal of the night. And on Saturday, the teams will go head to head again for the Christmas Classic.

  • When: Friday, December 17th and Saturday, December 18th; puck drops at 7:05 p.m.
  • Where: Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre, 1925 Blanshard Street
  • Tickets: Available online and at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre box office

Langford Holiday Village

The City of Langford is bringing the magic of the holidays to Starlight Stadium, with two full days of free and festive fun.

This weekend, Langford’s Holiday Village will transform the plaza around the stadium into a wonderland of Christmas cheer!

Family and friends can join Santa’s elves in the craft workshop to create their very own holiday decoration, and if you’re in need of a sweet treat you can visit the gingerbread kitchen to decorate locally-made gingerbread cookies!

While you enjoy the festivities, merry music will fill the air with roaming carollers as well as a fun line-up of local talent on the stage!

  • Where: Starlight Stadium, 1089 Langford Parkway
  • When:
    • Saturday, December 18th & Sunday, December 19th
    • 1 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Proof of vaccination is required for attendees 12+

Check out Victoria Buzz’s 8th annual Victoria Buzz Christmas Lights Tour Map

Grab hot chocolates for the family, hop in the car, and tune into 98.5 The Ocean and crank up the Christmas music as you head out on the Christmas trail!

With so many light displays around the capital region, we wanted to narrow down some of the best spots to catch the lights around town.

We put together three routes that take you past some of those big and beautiful displays. Keep checking back as we will continue to add more.

You can view the route here.

Lights of Wonder

The Lights of Wonder holiday celebration is back in the downtown core, bringing back the twinkling display for a second time.

The $500,000 light installation – purchased by the DVBA – launched in 2019 and brought over 75,000 people to Victoria’s epicentre.

The Lights of Wonder kicks off at 4 p.m. each day, it’s the perfect night cap to your holiday shopping – after all, you’ll have earned it!

  • Where: Centennial Square
  • When: 
    • December 16th through December 31st, including on Christmas Night
    • Sunday – Thursday 4 pm – 9 pm
      Friday and Saturday 4 pm – 10 pm

Bottle Drive for Victoria Hospice

This Saturday, a Bottle Drive has been organized to support the Victoria Hospice. 

Come by the Bottle Depot on Quadra street to donate your bottles or cans. If you have donations for pick up ahead of December 18th, you can contact Zoe at zhannahc@gmail.com

Where: Bottle Depot, 3961 Quadra Street

When: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday December 18th

Santa in Sidney

This weekend, Santa will be stopping by Sidney for a Covid conscious visit.

There will be volunteers present to take your photo for you, but you are welcome to take your own photos!

  • Where: Beacon Park Bandshell
  • When: 12 p.m. to 3 p.m., Sunday December 19th

Holiday Magic at Esquimalt Town Square 

If you’re looking for a fun Christmas outing, the Township Community Arts Council presents their Holiday Magic at Esquimalt Town Square. 

The event will feature music by Stephanie Greaves. Bring a lawn chair and a warm blanket and be sure to bundle up!

  • Where: Esquimalt Town Square, 1235 Esquimalt Road
  • When: 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., Saturday December 18th

Victoria Harbour Ferry’s Sleigh Boat Ride

This year, Victoria Harbour Ferry is introducing their brand new event, the “Sleigh Boat Ride”. 

The Sleigh Boat Ride will begin at the Causeway Floats and float all the way to Fisherman’s Wharf, accompanied by holiday music and holiday lights around the harbour. 

Once arrived at Fisherman’s Wharf, families will be presented with hot chocolate and churros compliments of Puerto Vallarta Amigos patio.

  • Where: Beginning at the Causeway floats to Fisherman’s Wharf
  • When: 4 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., December 11th to 23rd
  • Price: $30 for adults, $15 for children. Book your spot online here.

ReLove Market

ReLove, Victoria’s Premier Secondhand and Vintage Pop Up Market is back with a wide selection of vendors. 

This year, come shop secondhand at the Bay Centre and find some new favourites.

  • Where: 1150 Douglas Street, The Bay Centre
  • When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., December 18th and December 19th

O Christmas Tea Show

After twenty months away from the stage, British comedians James and Jamesy return with their all-ages show ‘O Christmas Tea’.

Get your tickets today!

  • Where: 805 Broughton Street, Royal Theatre
  • When: Shows at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Sunday December 19th
  • Tickets: Can be purchased online here.
  • Price: $29.50

Experience Christmas at Craigdarroch Castle

This December, Craigdarroch Castle presents the one-man version of A Christmas Carol, performed by actor Jason Stevens!

This performance, recommended for those ages 13 and up, will get you in the Christmas spirit for multiple shows over 8 days. Including Christmas Eve!

  • Where: Craigdarroch Castle, 1050 Joan Crescent
  • When: 6 p.m. and 8 p.m, December 17th, 18th, 22nd, 23rd and 24th
  • Tickets: $30 each or $25 for museum members. You can get tickets online or by emailing info@thecastle.ca.

Try Victoria’s first Popeyes Chicken

You can now enjoy the taste of New Orleans with the grand opening of Vancouver Island’s very first Popeyes Louisiana Chicken – and it’s right here in Victoria.

The new location is in Tuscany Village in Saanich, and will bring a whole new world of flavour to the city. 

Popeyes Canada hopes to open as many as five more franchises on Vancouver Island, with hopes of having their second location in Nanaimo completed by Christmas.

So stop in for their famous chicken sandwich, spicy chicken, chicken tenders, fried shrimp and more!

Skate at Uptown

The Rink at Uptown is ready to invite eager skaters in!

This holiday, guests will be able to skate for $5 per person and $2 skate rentals. Guests can book their 40 minute time spot online for groups up to 6 people. 

Waivers and masks are required in order to participate, so guests are asked to arrive five minutes prior to check-in to sign in and get laced up!

The festive fun is also for a good cause! 50% of proceeds from The Rink will be donated to 1UP Victoria Single Parent Resource Centre, in support of their Christmas Hamper Program.

  • Where: Uptown Boulevard, 3440 Saanich Road
  • When: 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., Tuesday to Thursday, 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., Friday, 12 p.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday and 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday

Get your pet a photo with Santa

This December, visit a PetSmart store near you for a photo of your pet with Santa. 

Participating PetSmart locations will be offering this free event, all you have to do is book an appointment and show up!

There are three PetSmart locations on Vancouver Island, including two in the Greater Victoria area at Uptown and Millstream Village Shopping Centre. 

Photos can be taken on your own personal device or on the store’s event camera. Photos will be delivered via email. 

You can also download the PetSmart app to use fun photo filters during the event.

  • Where: At your nearest participating PetSmart location 
  • When: 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. on December 18th and 19th
  • Price: Free! Book your appointment here.

See a comedy show at Hecklers 

After being closed for nearly two years, Hecklers is back to fulfill your comedy needs. Every Saturday night, enjoy a comedian followed by Comedy Here Often?’s The Late show.

  • Where: 123 Gorge Road East, Hecklers Bar and Grill
  • When: Sunee Dhaliwal: 7 p.m., Saturday, Comedy Here Often? The Late Show: 10 p.m., Saturday December 4th
  • Tickets: $20. Tickets can be purchased online here.

30th Annual Festival of Trees

The BC Children’s Hospital Foundation’s 30th annual Festival of Trees is back at the Bay Centre! 

This local tradition is the unofficial kick-off to the holiday season.

Stroll through over 70 Christmas trees decorated by local businesses in support of mental health programs at BC Children’s Hospital.

  • When: November 18th – January 4th, regular shopping hours
  • Where: The Bay Centre, 1150 Douglas Street
  • Admission: Free – vote by donation!

Try Tim Hortons new ‘Timbiebs’

Justin Bieber is helping bring three fresh flavours of Timbits in what both him and Tim Hortons are calling Timbiebs.

The pride of London, Ontario, teased the collaboration two days ago in an Instagram post and had fans wondering what was going on.

Now he’s helping bring three Timbiebs flavours – Chocolate White Fudge, Sour Cream Chocolate Chip, and Birthday Cake Waffle – to stores across North America.

See a movie at the drive in!

No, you haven’t been transported back in time, this is real! Legacy Drive-In has announced showtimes for their outdoor theatre at Westshore Motorsports Park this holiday season. 

This weekend, enjoy a holiday movie from the comfort of your car as you enjoy food by Westshore Burger Co. 

Tickets must be purchased in advance and it is recommended patrons arrive 30 minutes before showtime to ensure they get the best spot. 

  • Where: Westshore Motorsports Park (formerly Western Speedway) 2207 Millstream Road
  • When: A Christmas Story: 6:30 p.m., Friday December 17th, Home Alone: 6 p.m., Saturday December 18th, and Home Alone 2 – Lost in New York: 7 p.m., Sunday December 19th
  • Price: $30/car. Tickets can be purchased here

Purchase a calendar by a local photographer

Across Vancouver Island, local creatives have compiled their best and favourite work from 2021 into wall calendars for this upcoming year. These are available for pre-order and purchase!

These 12 month calendars will help keep you organized in 2022 while supporting local businesses and causes.

You can see our list here

Enjoy an eggnog latte

It’s no secret everyone was disappointed when Starbucks announced their fan favourite eggnog latte would be excluded from their holiday menu this year. 

However, this doesn’t mean you will go without this year!

Coffee shops across Victoria are now announcing their very own eggnog lattes and other holiday drink menus. This means you can still live your eggnog latte dreams while supporting local businesses. You can see our list here

Enjoy a charcuterie night out

Now that we are able to go out and catch up with friends over dinner again, we want it to be special. We want to go all out!

Getting dressed up, ordering a glass of wine and sharing a charcuterie board at a local restaurant can make you feel fancy and sophisticated.

Charcuterie boards give you a little bit of everything, meat, cheeses, pickled sides. It’s the perfect sharing dish to have while you discuss everything you’ve missed with your friends. 

You can view our list here!

Check out Victoria’s new British Shop

A brand new shop specializing in British treats has opened in Victoria and we’re buzzing with excitement!

Limey, the British Shop, opened as a single, family-run location in Kelowna. Now, they’re overjoyed as they expand to, in their words “the most British city in all of Canada”.

This fun and funky shop specializes in all things British, from sweets and crisps, to bangers, black pudding and Marmite.

  • Location: #101, 515 Chatham Street
  • Hours:
    • Monday to Saturday – 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
    • Sunday – 11 a.m to 4 p.m
  • Contact: (778) 432-4620

Try a Starbucks holiday drink

Holidays are back at Starbucks with some old favourites and a brand new addition to their festive menu!

Starting Thursday, November 4th, when you visit a Starbucks location your hot drink will come in a festive red Starbucks cup.

Try one of Victoria’s best crispy chicken sandwiches

Victoria is full of restaurants putting their own creative spin on the crispy chicken sandwich!

Reddit user u/beesmadehoney78 has been on the hunt, asking for the public’s help in finding Victoria’s best fried chicken sandwich.

Click here to see the list!

Try some of Victoria’s best cocktails

Reddit user u/westcoastwanderer has been on the hunt, asking for the public’s recommendations of the best cocktails in the city.

From this list, along with recommendations from industry professionals, we have created a quick guide to some local favourites. 

You can see the list here!

Get bubble tea!

What is your go to Bubble Tea order?

Milk tea, fresh fruit tea, or slush? Do you get tapioca pearls or coconut jellies? 

The possibilities are endless and, in Victoria, so are the options to get your favourite tea drink.

Not sure where to go? You can view our list of best bubble tea places to satisfy your craving here.

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