For when you’ve had enough of overpriced bars and brunch
As beautiful as Victoria is, there is a bit of a problem: it’s small as hell. If you’ve lived here for a while, you can quickly run out of fun things to do. And of the things to do, too many tend to fall back on drinking. Bars, craft breweries as far as the eye can see, even the fancy brunch spots all over town are tempting you with mimosas.
If you want something fun to do with your friends without getting sloshed, here are a few ideas.
Victoria Bug Zoo
If you lived in or visited Victoria as a kid, chances are you already have some hardcore nostalgia for this place. This place is small but mighty, just like the many creepy-crawlies it houses. Tucked away on Courtney Street in the heart of downtown, the Bug Z–oo welcomes you to take a closer look at insects from all across the world.
Whether you love bugs or are wanting some immersion therapy to get over your fear of them, stepping out of the cold Victoria air into the warm, humid micro-climate within the zoo is like entering another world. You can take in everything they have to offer on your own, or stop and listen to one of the passionate educators amaze you with fact after fact. If you’re brave enough, you can even hold some of them.
For post-secondary students, it only costs $12 to experience this world of stickbugs, spiders, scorpions, mantises, and more.
Horror Escape Rooms
Think you’re brave, clever, and resourceful? Well think again, because Horror Escape Victoria will most likely humble you. Escape rooms — themed experiences with puzzles that you must solve under a time restraint — are not for everyone, but they’re most certainly worth giving a shot.
Horror Escape is right on the water on Wharf Street, and currently has three different rooms to choose from. I attempted Motel 66, the goriest of the rooms, and sadly “died.” I find that going to escape rooms with two or three people is the sweet spot, but choose your comrades carefully. Going in here with someone who isn’t level-headed or can’t handle stress can turn this high-octane experience into a disaster.
While they are a bit on the pricey side, about $30 per person for 45 minutes, it’s definitely worth the price of admission to see if you have what it takes to survive.
Board Game Cafes
Victoria is lucky enough to have not one, but TWO board game cafes where you can nerd out with your friends in public. Interactivity Café and Board With Friends are a stone’s throw from each other downtown, and both offer a massive collection of games to choose from.
Whether you’re a fan of the classics like Monopoly, a master of trading in Catan, or a connoisseur ready to tuck into a three-hour long game of Food Chain Magnate, there’s something for everyone. Fun games paired with a wide array of snacks to choose from is the recipe for a fun time.
Interactivity Café is $7 per person, while Board With Friends is $5, both of which are small prices to pay for unlimited playtime.
So those are a few options for fun things to do around town, but I suggest getting out and exploring the city yourself — there’s more to do than you might expect. If you feel bad about treating yourself to one of these fun activities, just think about all the money you can save by skipping the $18 cocktail.