A very popular attraction in Victoria is Butchart Gardens.  The gardens include a former limestone quarry that has been transformed into a sunken garden.  There are fireworks at the gardens on Saturday nights through the summer. The gardens are about a half hour drive from downtown Victoria.  

The Butchart Gardens aside, many of the landmarks that are of interest to a short term visitor are centred on the Inner Harbour and are within walking distance of each other.  There are the Empress Hotel, the Parliament Buildings (where you can take a free tour), and the Royal BC Museum.

The visitor who has a little more time may be interested in doing a whale watching cruise or visiting Craigdarroch Castle or the Emily Carr House.  Emily Carr was a major Canadian artist and writer, and her family home is in a residential area at 204 Government Street not far from the Inner Harbour. The documentary on her life, shown repeatedly, is inspiring and informative.  

The Royal British Columbia Museum is the major museum in Victoria. Permanent exhibits include the First Peoples Gallery, Modern History Gallery, Natural History Gallery, and Living Land, Living Sea Gallery.  Tickets may include a combination with or without IMAX.  Be sure you want to see one of the IMAX movies before paying extra.  The movies and the times are posted.   The National Geographic IMAX theatre is also housed inside the museum. The display of historic totem poles in Thunderbird Park next to the museum is free.

The Maritime Museum of British Columbia is small, but has much for those interested in the history of seafaring and the history of Victoria. Children will enjoy the Crow's Nest area, where they can play at being pirates; adults will be interested to see the tiny schooner Tilikum, whose hull was made from a First Nations dugout canoe, and sailed around the world in 1904.

Just outside Victoria and only five minutes from the BC Ferry teminal at Swartz Bay, is the beautiful seaside town of Sidney. Visitors here often go to the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre, an award-winning aquarium devoted to showcasing creatures of the Salish Sea. There are over 20 underwater habitats to explore, including a touch pool for some 'hands on' interaction with local wildlife.