Planning your Visit

Whether you are planning a short trip to Nanaimo or an extended trip to the area there are lots of optionsfor getting to beautiful Vancouver Island.  This site will help you get here, stay here and play here.  The resources available are intended to be a good starting point for planning your visit and of course will depend on your particular needs and preferences.

Vancouver Island University - Nanaimo Campus

Address: 900 Fifth Street, Nanaimo, BC, Canada V9R 5S5

GPS coordinates: 49°09'21.9"N 123°57'57.3"W

Parking Map

Getting Here: By Land, By Sea and By Air

By Land


See local bus schedules, maps, trip planner and rider info at Nanaimo Transit. Travelling by bus from outside of Nanaimo?  See the Greyhound website.


From South of Nanaimo take the island highway North, and ensure you follow the by-pass route marked“Hwy. 19 to Parksville that begins just south of the city ("Nanaimo Parkway" on the map). Stay on the Parkway until you see the sign for Vancouver Island University/5th Street (first traffic light after connecting to the Parkway). Turn right and proceed downhill. Our campus is on the left.

From North of Nanaimo take the Nanaimo Parkway bypass follow the parkway until it climbs up the side of Mt. Benson as it begins to level out, you'll come to the exit for Vancouver Island University via 5th Street. Turn left and proceed down the hill. Our campus is on the left.


Paid parking is in effect at VIU.  Visitors may park in the General Parking lots and at metered parking– see Campus Map for lot locations. For assistance in the parking lot or emergencies anywhere on campus at any time, call on Security, available 24/7.

By Sea


BC Ferries travels to Nanaimo from both Horseshoe Bay and Tsawwassen.  This link will help you plan your trip with all the info on schedules, reservations and more.

Horseshoe Bay (West Vancouver) to Departure Bay (Nanaimo) [1 hour 40 minutes]

Tsawwassen to Duke Point (15 minutes south of Nanaimo) [2 hours]

By Air


Harbour Air or Seair offer seaplane service to Vancouver Island and from downtown Vancouver and Richmond next to the Vancouver International Airport as well as from destinations on the Sunshine Coast.


 Helijet offers service between Vancouver and Nanaimo.


Fly to and from the Nanaimo Airport on Air CanadaWestjet, or Island Express Air.

Staying Here


Below you will find some accommodations that are close to campus and that many of our visitors have stayed at while visiting VIU.

If you are planning to visit between the end of May and end of August, for reasonable rates stay in our VIU Student Residence.

To enjoy the pleasures of the harbour and waterfront walk, parks, entertainment, restaurants and shopping, stay in a downtown Nanaimo hotel.

  • Coast Bastion Hotel – great views of the Nanaimo Harbour and Georgia Strait.  Minutes from Harbour Air seaplane terminal, (and pet-friendly).
  • Dorchester Hotel – charming heritage hotel across from the waterfront (also pet-friendly).
  • Painted Turtle Guest House – for hostel accommodation in the heart of downtown Nanaimo.

A bit further from downtown, but still close to VIU and to amenities.

  • Ramada Inn – great rates and convenient – easy access to transportation, downtown Nanaimo and its amenities.
  • Grand Hotel – premier accommodation in north Nanaimo, close to shopping malls, movie theatres, parks and beaches.


Local Dining


For good meals and baked goods at reasonable prices and prepared by our Culinary Arts and Professional Baking students look no further than our Main Cafeteria and Lower Cafeteria. The Discovery Room offers a fine dining experience with meals prepared by our Culinary Arts students and served by our Hospitality students. Other on-campus options include Jumpin' Java for coffee and snacks in building 305 beside the library's main entrance and Subway, in building 165 adjacent to the gymnasium. The Students' Union also operates the Students' Union Pub with good food at great prices.

University Village

Restaurants at University Village Mall (about a 15 minute walk down 5th street) include Subway, Starbucks, Ai Sushi Go, Baby Salsa Mexican and Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken.


Nanaimo boasts a diverse selection of restaurants in downtown Nanaimo.

Playing Here

There's a lot to do in the Nanaimo area, below is a list to just get you started!

See the Tourism Nanaimo website and the Nanaimo Region Guide & Map to get information on all the amenities, events, shopping and attractions in this area.

Feeling energetic?

Exploring on foot?

Looking for history, culture, art?

Exploring by car?

Shopping and Movies

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