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8 Best Neighbourhoods in Victoria: Where's the Best Place to Live in Victoria?

Posted by Ron Neal on Thursday, March 16th, 2023 at 11:11am.

Victoria Best Neighbourhoods

Set on the southeastern tip of Vancouver Island, Victoria is one of the oldest cities in the Pacific Northwest and one of the most popular for British Columbia homebuyers. The metro area's more than 350,000 residents enjoy a thriving Victoria economy, charming, unique neighbourhoods, and excellent access to the area's beautiful waterways and green spaces. Still, with a decision as significant as buying a home, deciding where exactly to put down roots can be challenging. So read on as we break down eight of the top neighbourhoods in Victoria, BC, and why they're worth a look.

Cook Street Village

Those looking to enjoy life in a quaint but bustling commercial district should check out Cook Street Village. The community straddles Cook Street from near Park Boulevard to just south of Fairfield Road, comprising a distinctive mix of commercial and residential properties. These few blocks contain an incredible amount and diversity of businesses like restaurants, grocery stores, and pubs that can keep residents well-fed and entertained for years.

Coffee shops, including Moka House Coffee and The Hot and Cold Cafe, are particularly popular. Nearby Beacon Hill Park provides some of Victoria's best green space, walking paths, and sports facilities, while waterfront park space is just a few blocks away. Despite the quiet, low-traffic feel of the neighbourhood, owners are still just a few minutes from downtown, making commutes a breeze.

Homes in the Cook Street Village area are primarily Victoria condos and townhouses, though some detached homes and small multifamily properties can also be found nearby. Some older or more modestly sized units can be found in the low to mid-$200s, while most homes sell from the $400s to the mid-$600s. Single-family properties and larger townhomes typically list in the $1–2 million range.

Cook Street Village Amenities

  • Extensive local shopping/dining
  • Beacon Hill Park
  • Cook Street Village Activity Centre
  • Close to waterfront Clover Point Park

James Bay

Living in the James Bay Neighbourhood

Victoria's oldest neighbourhood, James Bay, offers a trendy, diverse, highly-walkable area with the feel of a small-town fishing community right within the big city. Set on a peninsula between the Inner Harbour and the Strait of Juan de Fuca, it's one of the closest neighbourhoods to the downtown core of Victoria and also home to many of the city's most notable tourist spots.

Active residents can stroll the area's waterfront paths or check out the expansive Beacon Hill Park, while foodies will enjoy the many choices around Fisherman's Wharf, like The Fish Store and Il Covo Trattoria. James Bay is even home to some of Victoria's top cultural options, most notably the Royal BC Museum. Combined with extensive waterfront views and a funky, authentic feel, it's easy to see why it's one of Victoria's most popular communities.

Homes in James Bay are a mix of unique single-family detached homes and multifamily units. The latter group includes diverse options ranging from converted homes to mid-rise towers and provides the community's most affordable options. They start around half a million dollars but sell from the high six figures to $1.25 million more commonly. Luxury units can reach $5–8 million or more. Detached homes can be found in the $2 million range, though the area's most distinctive or newest homes can command even higher prices.

James Bay Amenities

  • Black Ball Ferry Line terminal
  • Fisherman's Wharf and Park
  • Beacon Hill Park
  • Royal BC Museum
  • Holland Point Park
  • Legislative Assembly of British Columbia
  • Breakwater Lighthouse

Vic West

As its name implies, Vic West is located on the city's western edge, across the harbour on the Esquimalt Peninsula. The once working-class neighbourhood of industrial facilities and shipbuilders has been transformed in recent decades thanks to its green space and proximity to the city's core. Two traditional bridges connect the area to downtown and the Selkirk Trestle, a walking and biking path that crosses the harbour and links to the Galloping Goose trail system. It's a top community for those who like to get outside, with more than a dozen parks and numerous other outdoor spots in this compact area, from Banfield Park on the Selkirk Waterway to Songhees Point Park on the south shore.

Condos, townhomes, and single-family detached properties are all available in Vic West. The latter group is mainly between Esquimalt Road and Skinner Street/Craigflower Road, while the former are primarily located around the community's edges. Condos can be found from the high $300s to $1.5 million, while townhouses typically sell from half a million to just over a million. Detached homes in Vic West are the priciest housing options, starting north of $1 million and reaching twice that or more in some cases.

Vic West Amenities

  • Banfield Park
  • Songhees Point Park
  • Victoria West Park
  • E&N Rail Trail and Galloping Goose Trail access
  • Victoria West Community Centre
  • Westside Village shopping centre


Fernwood is a charming, unique community northeast of downtown, bounded by Cook, Haultain, Fort, and Shelbourne Streets. Driving in Victoria is typically a breeze, but Fernwood's location makes travel around the area quick and easy.

The heart of the area sits at Fernwood Square, located at the intersection of Fernwood Road and Gladstone Avenue. This peaceful pedestrian plaza surrounds top neighbourhood restaurants like Stage Wine Bar and attractions like The Belfry Theatre, independent shops, and local businesses. Just down the street, the Fernwood Community Centre is a focal point for neighbourhood events. It even hosts a community orchard and garden full of delicious fruits, vegetables, and herbs for neighbours to share. Meantime, downtown is an easy walk or bike ride away, while excellent transit access makes it easy to get around the rest of Victoria as well.

Homes in Fernwood are a relatively even split of condos and single-family homes. Fernwood's detached homes are built in a mix of styles, with prices starting in the high six figures and reaching nearly $2 million. Condos are more budget-friendly, selling from around $400,000 to just over $1 million. Mid-rise buildings are more common throughout Fernwood, though newer high-rises are becoming more common on the southwestern tip closest to downtown.

Fernwood Amenities

  • Fernwood Square
  • Fernwood Community Centre
  • William Stevenson Park
  • Stadacona Park
  • Victoria High School


Living in the Esquimalt Neighbourhood

Just west of Victoria lies the township of Esquimalt, a waterfront community with a long maritime history. It's the home of Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt, an expansive facility that's been a significant feature of the neighbourhood since the mid-19th century and remains one of the area's largest employers. Neighbourhood parks, many of them along the water, are some of Esquimalt's top attractions, including Esquimalt Gorge Park & Pavilion and Saxe Point Park.

Golfers will enjoy the Gorge Vale Golf Club, while walkers can stroll numerous community paths, from the E&N Rail Trail to the West Bay Walkway. In addition, residents can enjoy a wide range of restaurants along the neighbourhood's primary commercial corridor, Esquimalt Road, like the local favourite Sunnyside Cafe or the Québécois cuisine of La Belle Patate.

Esquimalt homebuyers have their choice of detached houses, condos, and townhomes. More modestly sized multifamily units, including new construction properties, can be found from the mid-$300s. Single-family detached homes in Esquimalt start around a million dollars. Larger homes or luxury condos can sell for as much as $2–3 million, with those closest to the water often nearing the top of that range.

Esquimalt Amenities

  • Highrock Cairns Park
  • Saxe Point Park
  • Esquimalt Gorge Park and Pavilion
  • Esquimalt Recreation Centre
  • Gorge Vale Golf Club


The small community of Jubilee takes its name from Royal Jubilee Hospital, which has operated at the corner of Fort Street and Richmond Road since the late 1800s. This facility and associated medical centers like the BC Cancer Clinic make it an excellent community for those working in healthcare or who want to be close to medical services.

While Jubilee is mainly residential, it's immediately adjacent to popular areas of Oak Bay Avenue and the Hillside Shopping Centre for daily shopping and errands. Almost every top Victoria community is relatively close to this centrally located neighbourhood, whether residents want a charming evening in James Bay or a day on the beach in Oak Bay. Within Jubilee itself, Fort Street also offers a variety of shops, restaurants, and nightlife, including local favourites like Christie's Carriage House Pub.

Jubilee homes comprise a mix of condos and multifamily buildings along main roads, with single-family detached properties filling the remaining back streets. Condos can be found for as little as the high $300s but can reach more than $600,000 for larger, more amenity-rich communities. Homes start near the top end of this price range, though more commonly sell for around $1 million.

Jubilee Amenities

  • Royal Jubilee Hospital
  • Redfern Park
  • Begbie Green
  • Convenient to Hillside Shopping Centre

Swartz Bay

Those who prefer a more small-town, suburban vibe should take the 30-kilometre trip from Victoria to Swartz Bay on the northernmost tip of the Saanich Peninsula, just north of the town of Sidney. The town is best known as the location of a central BC Ferries terminal, which offers trips to Tsawwassen/Vancouver, Fulford Harbour/Salt Spring Island, and other southern gulf islands. With numerous marinas and boat launches, it's a paradise for residents who enjoy getting out on the water. Plenty of exploring can be done on land at several local parks, including Horth Hill Regional Park.

While most of the town comprises residential neighbourhoods and the ferry terminal, several popular restaurants like The Stonehouse Pub also exist. In addition, Swartz Bay is convenient for those who like to travel, thanks to its proximity to Victoria International Airport.

Large homes with spacious lots are common throughout Swartz Bay and the surrounding area, typically of an acre or more. The region also offers extensive waterfront space, much occupied by luxury properties with one-of-a-kind views. Houses start north of $1.25 million and commonly sell for up to $2.5 million. However, ultra-high-end homes can reach $5 million or more.

Swartz Bay Amenities

  • Extensive waterfront/beach access
  • Swartz Bay ferry terminal
  • Horth Hill Regional Park
  • Convenient to Victoria International Airport
  • Canoe Cove Marina and Boatyard
  • North Saanich Marina

Oak Bay

Living in the Oak Bay Neighbourhood

Oak Bay is a popular community east of Victoria, set along the shores of the body of water that gives the area its name. It was once a Victorian-era vacation district that blossomed into a full-grown city in the post-World War II years and remains one of Victoria's most desired suburbs. The waterfront provides some of the area's best amenities, from multiple marinas to waterfront green spaces like Uplands Park.

Nearby, residents can enjoy the shopping, dining, and nightlife of Oak Bay Village, which occupies a bustling stretch of Oak Bay Avenue. Golfers will also enjoy two local courses, including Victoria Golf Club, the oldest course in the country. In addition, it's a convenient place to call home for members of the University of Victoria community, which is located at Oak Bay's northern tip.

Buyers looking for a single-family detached home will find plentiful options in Oak Bay. Homes in Oak Bay list from around $1 million but more commonly sell in the $2–4 million range. However, listing prices of $5–8 million for the neighbourhood's share of Victoria luxury homes aren't unheard of. Condos are also available, mainly along Oak Bay Avenue and the southern parts of the waterfront. These start at just under half a million but can reach nearly $1.5 million for new luxury units.

Oak Bay Amenities

  • Oak Bay Village commercial district
  • Willows Park and Beach
  • Oak Bay Marina
  • Royal Victoria Yacht Club
  • Uplands Park
  • Trafalgar Park
  • Victoria Golf Club
  • Uplands Golf Club

Charm, Style, and Convenience in Victoria, BC's Best Neighbourhoods

From the quaint, fishing village feel of James Bay to the waterfront charm of Oak Bay to the convenience and amenities of Fernwood, it's hard to go wrong with any of these top Victoria communities. Buyers moving to Victoria will find options throughout these neighbourhoods, which offer varied condos, townhouses, and single-family homes for all tastes. With communities as unique as potential buyers, Victoria has something for everyone.

If you're dreaming about living in Victoria, contact The Neal Estate Team at (250) 386-8181 to get in touch with a local Victoria real estate agent who can help you find your perfect home.


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The Neal Estate Group is your #1 source for all of your Victoria BC real estate needs. Get in touch with us online or by phone at (250) 386-8181 to speak with a Victoria real estate buying or selling expert today. With decades of experience as a top selling Victoria REALTOR® and ranked in top 1% globally with over 5,000 transactions and $1 Billion SOLD, Ron Neal & The Neal Estate Group have the industry experience and market knowledge to help you make smart and informed buying or selling decisions. 

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