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Victoria Travel Guide
Get Your Bearings in VictoriaWhere to Stay
Victoria is a charming city on the water that’s accessible from Vancouver by ferry. Much of the city is within walking distance and you'll find the majority of hotels in the city center. From indulgent luxury to affordable convenience, Victoria has what you’re looking for to rest your weary head. Even if you don't stay at the Fairmont Empress in James Bay, it's worth a visit. Enjoy views of Parliament buildings, crisp ocean waters and beautiful mountains beyond the water.
Hot Tips: Victoria is about a 30-minute car ride from the ferry terminal and it's advisable to book on a tour bus or look into the city bus to get you downtown. Taxis are also available for hire.
What to Eat
Enjoy some Pacific West Coast cuisine when you're visiting Downtown, Burnside, Harris Green, James Bay and Oak Bay restaurants. These lovely neighborhoods will delight your taste buds and provide a soothing evening stroll after dinner when the weather is favorable. Fisherman's Wharf is a fun spot to sit and eat because it's right on the water and the views are spectacular.
Caution: Weekend brunch hours tend to be popular amongst locals. Avoid a wait by getting to the restaurant when they open first thing.
Be Sure to Sample: Fresh seafood! You're right on the water, so the fish isn't going to get any fresher. Local Albacore tuna and salmon are favorites.
Things to See
This charming city is home to some of British Columbia’s oldest buildings. As the province’s capital, the Parliament buildings are worth a visit. Much of the parks, museums, galleries and gardens are all within walking distance within the city center. If you do have access to a vehicle, exploring outside of the city limits will bring fruitful adventures that are picture-worthy and memorable.
Caution: Due to some attractions being seasonal and having varying hours, call ahead so you don't risk disappointment if they aren't open.
Hot Tips: The Royal BC Museum is the perfect escape from a rainy day in Victoria, while the West Coast Trail is not to be missed on a sun-filled day.
Places to Party
As a university city, Victoria has its fair share of pubs and a handful of lounges and nightclubs. The majority of them are located right downtown. Younger crowds may want to head closer to the University where nightlife is geared towards this academic crowd. Although Victoria is geographically far from the UK, the impact the British have had on the city cannot be missed as you sip a pint in a cozy pub.
Hot Tips: Nightlife tends to be slightly more spread out, so you may need to take public transportation or a taxi to get to your destination.
Where to Shop
Government Street, Trounce Alley, Bastion Square, Market Square, Fort Street, Chinatown, Old Town and Oak Bay Village are delightful areas of Victoria where you will find everything from boutique shops, familiar brand stores and unique trinkets that will remind you of your visit to this seaside city. Aside from Oak Bay Village, these other shopping districts are a short distance apart and are very walkable.
Hot Tips: Market Square should be on your list of places to check out when shopping in Victoria.
Best Local Souvenir: Locally designed apparel or art from one of the boutique shops downtown.
Ready for Your Dream Vacation?
Victoria, the capital city of British Columbia, is located on the southernmost tip of Vancouver Island, halfway between Seattle and the city of Vancouver. Founded as a Hudson's Bay Company fort in 1843, the city was named in honor of Queen Victoria. Much of Victoria's British-influenced charm remains, thanks to an abundance of old Victorian homes, cricket fields and pubs. The tradition of afternoon tea is still alive and well in Victoria, although the city is anything but stodgy. It's a food city, with hip bistros on every corner, and some of the West Coast's most innovative cuisine. In fact, Victoria boasts the second highest number of restaurants per capita in North America (San Francisco is #1). Victorians are passionate about their city, and many cite the excellent climate as the reason. Mild year-round temperatures allow residents to get out and hike, kayak and picnic in the parks, harbours and gardens that surround them.