Chill at Port Alberni’s hip shops, foodie and photo spots

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Vancouver Island is known for coastal beauty. But at the heart of the island, Port Alberni is an oft-overlooked gem, tingling with new experience for photography buffs, nature lovers and cultural explorers. 

Did you know the town of Port Alberni, on unceded Nuu-chah-nulth First Nation territory, verges on one of the longest ocean inlets in the world? Its geography pretty much destined it to be a hidden gem and it most definitely is: a lush green Island valley rich with local produce, ocean shores, mountain views, Indigenous culture and a rootsy local scene.

Local hot spots and photo ops 

As you travel the island, make time to get into Port Alberni and uncover this Island gem. Keep your camera ready, and be sure to tag #ExplorePortAlberni to share your favourite moments.

Unwind with nearby nature & scenic views

Immerse in the local scene

Check out cool events

Enjoy unique stays
 


 

Unwind with nearby nature & scenic views


Hike the Alberni Lookout
The best way to get the lay of the land, and an unbeatable view, is to hike this quick, relatively easy 4km (round trip) to the lookout. It’s a classic, especially when you stock up with some snacks at Coombs Country Candy starting out.

Read more here on this and other hiking ideas.

Alberni Lookout Port Alberni BC photo spot
Photographer: Chris Istace
Capturing the moment at Alberni Lookout.

Meet the water buffalo at Coleman Meadows Farm 
See water buffalo and taste yogurt and cheese made from their milk, on market day at the farm. The gardens are beautiful for a stroll as well. 

Bringing the herd in at Water Buffalo Dairy, Coleman Meadows Farm in the Alberni Valley, BC.
Photographer: Chris Istace
Water buffalo passing by at Coleman Meadows Farm.

Stroll Victoria Quay 
Here you’ll find two towering Welcome figures carved by the local Hupacasath Nation (pictured above, in the banner), a First Nation Whaling monument, and maybe even spot a black bear across the Somass Estuary!

 

Immerse in the local scene


Port Alberni shopping & commercial districts
Grab a coffee and maybe a bite at Grassroots, and wander the Port Alberni waterfront and its array of local galleries, shops and (on Saturdays) farmers market to make cool discoveries of your own. You can also explore Uptown, another shopping area and Port Alberni’s original downtown. 

Port Alberni BC Harbour Quay Grassroots shopping
Photographer: Chris Istace
Checking out the local scene by the waterfront at Harbour Quay.

Sweets & treats
While at Harbour Quay, the Donut Shop is a must-stop for a treat. This locally famous sweet spot is colourful and fun. Time it right and you can even watch the donuts being made! Of course, for families and those with a sweet tooth, Coombs Country Candy is another road trip necessity.

port Alberni BC Donut Shop
Photographer: Chris Istace
Locally famous, the Donut Shop is a must stop.

Food & drink
Dog Mountain Brewing’s bright, eye-popping interiors and sunny patio views are perfect for photo ops that will inspire envy among your friends. 

For a great spot to have a hearty meal with a view by the water, pop over to Fish & Duck Resort on Sproat Lake. Catch dinner and a sunset here!

At Clutesi Haven Marina, near Victoria Quay, you’ll find various food trucks including members of the local Tseshaht Nation serving up authentic Island food by the water.

 

Check out cool events

From live music festivals to sporting events, Port Alberni has some great seasonal events to round out your visit. 

The Five Acre Shaker summer concert series delivers classic West Coast festival vibes, with amazing live acts in a beautiful setting.

Lightning on the Lake, Port Alberni’s annual regatta, has been running since 1928 and revs up the lake action with races and festival fun.

Alberni District Fall Fair is the annual harvest celebration, bringing the bounty of the season to the people. Fun and tasty!

Check out FestivalSeekers to explore more events and festivals happening in the region, and across BC.

 

Enjoy unique stays


Swept Away Inn
It doesn’t get more unique than a stay on a vintage steamboat, in the harbour!

Houseboat on Sproat Lake 
Rent a houseboat from Fish & Duck Resort and truly live the lake life on the island, in your own floating hotel.

Char’s Landing Public House 
This alt-style AirBnB in a former local church is at the heart of the action, connected to a live venue for all you music and festival lovers.

Visit the Alberni Valley Tourism website for more local accommodations listings.

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