Neighbourhood Spotlight: Arts and Innovation District

At the northern cusp of Downtown sits Victoria’s Arts and Innovation District, a neighbourhood identified in the City’s Victoria 3.0 plan as a transformative area within Rock Bay. The historically urban industrial area is set to emerge as a hub for employment and the arts.  

Those who know this area know that it is already dotted with craft breweries, public art and great coffee. The Arts and Innovation District is an easy walk or bike commute to the downtown core, making it a favourite destination for locals and visitors alike. Upcoming development is set to bring even more vibrancy to this already appealing area. We’ve picked out a handful of our favourite places in and around the District that we hope you’ll love too!  


Need your morning jolt, or looking for a weekend brunch spot? We’ve got the scoop on the best places to go!  

  • Discovery Coffee – Along Discovery Street is the ‘OG’ Discovery Coffee location – and perhaps our favourite of their four cafes – with a warm, cozy vibe and the smell of the fresh-baked goodness of their ever-popular Yonni’s Doughnuts wafting in from next door! 
  • Jam Café – There must be something about great things starting out in this neighbourhood… Jam Café opened its first location along Herald Street back in 2012. Amassing a loyal patronage from its community, the comfort-style breakfast and lunch cafe is the perfect spot for your weekend brunching! 
  • Habit Coffee – Another original location that has since grown beyond the Arts and Innovation District is… Habit Coffee! The charming exterior, exposed brick inside, and a good cup of coffee make this a location worth visiting, and its commitment to sustainability is equally as much of a draw. Did you know they operate carbon-neutral? 

There is no shortage of places to go in the neighbourhood for a bite to eat or to sip on something cool and refreshing… especially with patio season upon us. Check out our go-to spots! 

  • The Drake Eatery – A craft beer lover’s dream, The Drake Eatery offers an exciting tap-list lineup of over 29 beers! If beer isn’t your thing, a selection of ciders, wines, and non-alcoholic drinks are also available, and the menu – which is dedicated to local, and west-coast inspired fare – has something for everyone. 
  • Tacofino – How can we make a list of food spots without including Tacofino? Tacofino has a special place is our hearts (and stomachs) with a tried-and-true menu of tacos and burritos that make for the perfect lunch during the workday! 
  • Phillips Tasting Room – Enjoy a craft beer from the 16 different offerings on tap at Phillips Tasting Room – and come sunny months, make sure you take advantage of their beautiful patio space! 
  • Vancouver Island Brewing – Visit the taproom and try the great selection of local brews – including their award winning and seasonally available Hermannator Ice Bock. Be sure to also keep an eye out on their events calendar for fun tastings, live music and more!  
  • Dumpling Drop – Whether you opt to dine in or takeout, Dumpling Drop is a local favourite of ours for all occasions. And if you want to take some home for later, they offer frozen dumplings to go. You can enjoy their dumplings anytime!  
  • Citrus & Cane – Perhaps one of the most ‘Instagram-able’ cocktail bars in Victoria with a playful combination of tropical and mid-century modern décor, Citrus & Cane is a must-visit when you are in the neighbourhood!  
  • End Dive – A funky little seafood restaurant that is playfully absurd and consciously local, End Dive offers something delightful and a little bit different for a dining experience!  
  • Check out Chinatown – Just beyond the edge of the Arts and Innovation District is the bright and vibrant Chinatown – the oldest Chinatown in Canada and second only to San Francisco in North America. Victoria’s Chinatown is brimming with beautiful architecture and rich history. When you visit, don’t forget to enter through the Gate of Harmonious Interest archway along Fisgard Street for the full experience! 
  • Visit the Famous Fan Tan Alley – In the heart of Chinatown, Fan Tan Alley is a well-known (and not so hidden) gem that contains many small shops, an art gallery, and specialty food retailers within its narrow corridor!  
  • Victoria Public Market – Located in the historic Hudson Building and open 7 days a week, the Victoria Public Market boasts a variety of local food vendors and artisans to check out! 

Looking for an opportunity to set up some roots in this neighbourhood? Chard is proposing to bring an exciting three-tower residential project to Victoria’s Arts and Innovation District. Through a partnership with BC Housing, the development will provide 450 homes to the community and will include condo, purpose-built rental, and below-market rental long with a community serving retail, a full-size grocery store and a dedicated childcare facility. 

Learn more about this upcoming community here.