Downtown Sidney: A little getaway from Victoria
Sidney, situated at the shore of the Salish Sea, is a unique town with a variety of antique shops, galleries, eateries, and coffee shops. Just a 25-minute drive from Downtown Victoria and you can enjoy a lot of different activities like museums, water sports, or simply just strolling around town. Check out the rest of the day guide to plan your perfect day in Downtown Sidney!
Breakfast: Alexander’s Coffee Bar
Start your day right with a good cup of coffee/tea and some fresh baked goods. Alexander’s Coffee Bar on Beacon Avenue West has been serving the community since 1994. Don’t forget to check out this cozy little shop when you’re in Sidney.
Morning: Sidney Museum
Just a 2-minute walk from Alexander’s, and you will arrive at Sidney Museum where you can discover the natural history of the area. There are over 8,000 artifacts and a rotating monthly display in the museum. Admission is by donation.
Lunch: Fish on Fifth
Another 2-minute walk from Sidney Museum and you can enjoy some of the freshest fish and chips in town at Fish on Fifth. This restaurant is family-owned and operated for over 20 years. Apart from their various options of side orders like clam strips and popcorn shrimps, they also have vegan meals (AMAZING).
Afternoon Stop 1: Walk around Downtown Sidney
Sidney is a town full of local stores from books and fashions to flowers and gift shops. All the stores are within walking distance so you have plenty of time shopping or window-shopping.
The first recommended stop is The Haunted Bookstore on Third Street which is the oldest antiquarian bookshop on Vancouver Island. You can find some rare and antique books there and a vintage scent.
Another recommendation is The Farmer’s Daughter on Beacon Avenue. It is a fromagerie, bistro, and wine bar with a friendly atmosphere. They offer a large variety of cheeses from all around the world with an excellent wine selection to pair with.
Other than those 2 recommendations, there are a lot of different and unique stores in Downtown Sidney for you to discover.
Afternoon Stop 2: Shaw Center for Salish Sea
Connecting visitors with the Salish Sea through engagement, knowledge and awareness, the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea offers a fun and interactive experience for visitors of all ages. A top destination, the Centre is the largest aquarium on Vancouver Island, with 35 aquarium habitats featuring 3,500 marine animals including a giant Pacific octopus, rockfish, salmon, crabs and wolf eels, and a touch pool to get up close to colourful sea stars, urchins, anemones, and sea cucumbers. The Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea is a not-for-profit community aquarium and learning centre located on the Sidney waterfront, the traditional territory of the W̱SÁNEĆ First Nations.
Afternoon Stop 3: Beacon Park/Glass Beach/Sidney Pier
Let’s end the day with some sceneries. Just a few minutes’ walk from Victoria Distillers, there is this cute little waterfront Beacon Park where you can check out some interesting sculptures. Then, you can walk along the water and you will reach Glass Beach where you can pick up some sea glass (nice treasure hunt with kids). Once you’ve passed Diver’s Point, you are very close to Sidney Fishing Pier which is a perfect spot for photos (you might need some of those for the Gram). You can also just walk around and stay there to catch a spectacular sunset!
How to get to Sidney from Downtown Victoria?
Bus: Take no.70/72 (Swartz Bay) and they take you right to downtown Sidney. It is about a 50-minute to an hour bus ride.
Drive: Go on Patricia Bay Highway (Highway 17), turn right onto Beacon Avenue and you will be entering the downtown core of Sidney. It is about a 25-minute drive.
*Parking Tips: There is a lot of FREE street parking in downtown Sidney with a 1-hour limit or 2-hour limits. There is also free and paid off-street parking in Sidney and you can check out more parking information here.
There are a lot of wonderful annual events in the town of Sidney every year that you don’t want to miss. Check out their event calendar for more up-to-date information.
Biking can be another great option to explore Sidney as there are designated bike routes around the area. If you are looking for a more challenging bike trail, check out Lochside Trail which runs through Sidney and also connects the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal to the core of Greater Victoria. There is another trail that links to the Sidney bike route network called the Flight Path which goes around the Victoria International Airport.