Well, it’s been two months since we took this trip but my excuse is that you may find it more enjoyable to visit now that the summer high season has ended. (How’s that for turning procrastination into a benefit?) Fewer tourists and cruise ships make it a lot nicer to maneuver through downtown. On the minus side, though, it’s more likely to rain so the crossing could get a bit rough.
I won’t begin to attempt a comprehensive travelogue, especially at this late date. There’s a ton of info online, after all. The lovely thing about Victoria is that you leave the very American city of Seattle and three hours later it feels as though you’re in Europe. Heaven for an Anglophile like me.
We stayed in Seattle the day before and the day after, which made for a nice little getaway. There’s plenty to do in both cities if you have time.
But if you only have 24 hours, as we did, here’s a quick snapshot.
We board the Victoria Clipper ferry in downtown Seattle. Food and drink options, plus a basket of free chewable Dramamine. Because who wants to be sitting near someone who’s seasick for three hours? (Tip: half a tablet keeps your stomach calm without making you too sleepy.)
(Can we say “Bad hair day?!?”) Arrive at Victoria’s Inner Harbour around noon. Check in at our hotel, the Grand Pacific, which is modern and spacious.)
Lunch: Steamship Grill and Bar. Waterfront views and delicious seafood in a beautiful Beaux Arts building. A glass of wine and now I really feel that I’m on vacation. Check out this adorable water taxi!
Walk off lunch: Victoria’s easy to get around on foot. Other attractions, such as the famous and gorgeous Butchart Gardens, are a short ride away.
Up Government Street past Parliament and Royal BC Museum…
to Market Square, lower Johnson St. shopping area (LoJo to the locals) and Canada’s oldest Chinatown.
After sampling a couple of chocolate shops, my recco is Pure Lovin’ Chocolate in twisty, cramped, Dickensian Fan Tan Alley, named after a popular gambling game from the 1940s.
There are flowers everywhere!
Amble back to hotel via Wharf Street to enjoy views of ferries and seaplanes.
Cocktails and dinner: If you don’t opt for the Empress Hotel’s lavish and pricey afternoon tea — or aren’t staying there — grab a drink before dinner in the Q bar and scarf down their yummy charcoal-dusted popcorn.
The restaurant is good too.
After dinner, stroll through the public spaces and lavish grounds of this venerable grande dame, and see the government buildings all lit up.
The next morning, we grab some coffee and explore the neighborhood, which is quiet and peaceful. Winding up with a scenic walk along the Foster pathway, named for (and presumably funded by) David Foster, Canadian musician and ex-husband of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ Yolanda.
We catch the 11:30 ferry back to Seattle, which arrives at 2:15 pm — time to enjoy the city!
What a lovely travelogue/commentary on this trip! And lovely photographs, all of which makes me long to go to this part of the world again, SOON! I realize that it has been 20 years since we were last there.
Thanks for your kind comments! Do go… I had last been nearly 20 years ago as well and I don’t think it’s changed much but that’s part of its charm. Hope to get back to Vancouver next summer, which I got tired of when I used to shoot commercials there twice a year but am now eager to revisit 🙂
Great travelogue–now I want to go! How fun!
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Thanks so much, Laura! It really is a lovely city and worth a few days if you’ve never been!
Thank you for your lovely comments about Victoria. We who live here are very happy that visitors find much of the same charm and character that attracted us to live here. I might point out that the photo of the “government buildings all lit up” is most assuredly not the Legislature; in fact the photo was not taken anywhere in Victoria at all. Somewhere you must have a photo of the Legislature at night, and it would no doubt be beautiful.
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Thanks so much, Doug, for taking the time to write! I wonder where that photo came from… thanks for catching the error. I’ve been to Victoria 3 times and could easily have mixed this up with something else. Looking forward to returning whenever it is safe to travel again. 🙂 Alisa