36 Hours in Victoria, British Columbia

On lush Vancouver Island, this urban jewel offers innovative restaurants, gorgeous parks and gardens, and museums that celebrate the area’s many cultures.

Comments: 38

  1. On Sunday mornings during the summer, the water taxis put on a 'ballet' in the Inner Harbor. One of our yearly highlights is to watch them practice.

  2. What? No visit to the Emily Carr house? This your first time there?

  3. Hi Sid, re-read section 4, Emily Carr House was visited on the trip. I also recommend Craigdarroch Castle and the Restaurant at Oak Bay Marina. But hey, I live here!

  4. Victoria is where I live so I want tell you about any good restaurants you left out. However you really should visit the Abkhazi Gardens if you like gardens. It's the best private garden I know of in the Pacific North West. If you like books, as well as Munro's, visit Russell Books on Fort.

  5. Victoria is, as a city to visit, is like the person you loved long ago who you run into, have a coffee, a chat and leave wondering why you ever cared. It is nice, but leaving it for what you know will be the last time will not stir deep feelings. Victoria is not a destination, it is a place you pass through on the way to destinations.

  6. I beg to differ. As expats seeking sanity from the Trumping of America, we love this beautiful city. There's a reason so many people smile at you as you walk the incredible coastline and parks--they feel equally as lucky to call Victoria "home." Deep feelings stirred, indeed!

  7. While in Beacon Hill Park, visit the petting zoo which is very popular and features nunmerous animals. A favourite is the miniature goats; the zoo runs the famous goat stampede morning and afternoon, after opening and before closing.

  8. No side trip to Butchart Gardens? I love Victoria but would never go withour also going to Butchart.

  9. Victoria is a very pleasant place to spend a day to two wondering around. We liked taking the train up the coast and back.

  10. Victoria has great coffee. Some tips: Bows & Arrows Coffee (a $10 taxi ride from downtown - but worth it as it is a very cool space), Bean Around the World in Chinatown (personal favourite), and James Bay Coffee and Books (its an experience - like a trip back in time to the hippy days of the 60s). For a tip you won't find in a tourist brochure - a walk through the historic Fernwood neighbourhood is a great way to spend an afternoon before taking in a play at the Belfry Theatre.

  11. How can you go to Victoria and not visit Butchart Gardens? It’s a must even if you are not into plants or flowers.

  12. Everything looks beautiful and sounds wonderful, but I hope that there are places to eat and sleep that are a bit more reasonable for the working class than those mentioned in the article. Or can we peasants get a discount if we agree to wash the dishes and clean the sheets? There must be, because I heard a famous Canadian song: "Oh Canada, glorious and FREE..."

  13. Victoria is not a chap town for lodging (neither is Vancouver). Having the US dollar worth more than the Canadian loonie (their dollar coin) helps reduce the shock. But to do it on the cheap, I recommend the two hostels in town. Both are walking distance to the Conservative synagogue (the oldest functioning Canadian synagogue with fabulous architecture) a lovely place for Jews to spend a Shabbat morning. Check out the Ark and torah coverings--they are so spectacular that they have been featured in a past USCJ calendar. During Sukkoth, I got to enjoy the rooftop sukkah at the oneg. If traveling or sleeping alone, a hostel bed with other travelers will work fine. If traveling with a companion you wish to sleep with, you can reserve a bedroom (but don't wait as they fill up very fast).

  14. Hey Michael. There are a ton of places to eat that are reasonable. Everything from a falafel to an nice vegetarian lunch if that's your thing at around the 10 dollar mark Canadian. And that famous song you quote is our national anthem.

  15. No trip to Victoria is complete without a visit to the Parliament. It's a historic building and an architectural marvel. Guided tours are provided by guides dressed up like Queen Victoria. Both fun and educational.

  16. Buchart Gardens is a MUST see. Eye candy everywhere!

  17. Missing tea at Murchies (with a newly purchased book from Munros), a chocolate from Rogers and deep breathes in all three - Victoria is a city that delights the nose of book lovers, tea lovers and chocolate lovers. Lunch at Pags. Also, its China Town is older than Vancouver's :)

  18. Shipwrecked here 30 plus years ago. Found heaven on the tip of an island

  19. Yes, you did, Tony. if l got a job there today l'd move tomorrow.

  20. I grew up in Vancouver and spent a great deal of time in Victoria as my paternal grandparents had retired in the city. Both sets of parents moved there in the 1990's and the 2000's. It was nice to split my time between them when I would come from Calgary to visit. All the places noted are wonderful. I highly recommend doing the tour of the Legislature building. Learn about west coast history and Canada's relationship with England.

  21. There are definitely better hotel choices than the Best Western for the money in Victoria. Oak Bay Beach and the Delta at Ocean Pointe are way better, and for similar costs to the BW Plus I would look into the Coast Victoria or the Inn Laurel Point instead.

  22. I have been to Victoria twice, and I can say that this is one city for which 36 hours seems about right.

  23. Get to Victoria and visit its beautiful inner harbour before it is destroyed by the inevitable oil tanker spills courtesy of the Kinder Morgan pipeline being built by Alberta.

  24. In his determination to pander to Big Oil in Alberta and a Texas pipeline company, Justin Trudeau, Canada's very own Trump, is trampling on the rights of Indigenous peoples and the democratically expressed views of the majority along the B.C. coast, including Victoria. See it before it's trashed.

  25. http://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/support-for-kinder-morgan-pipeli... Get your facts straight before you post. 43 First Nation whose land is crossed by the pipeline, have already signed socio-economic impact agreements. And I can tell you, BC First Nations know what they are doing and employ the best lawyers.

  26. Wow, all that misinformation in one sentence. Any potential oil spills would be nowhere near Victoria. The pipeline, built by Kinder Morgan, not Alberta, terminates in Burnaby and oil tankers have been using it for decades.

  27. No Butchart Gardens? Worth a trip just to see them. You missed something special.

  28. A decent overview on a very special place that we would prefer the world not know about. Incredibly beautiful (it's hard to beat snow capped mountains rising from the sea, visible from near and far) coupled with a Mediterranean climate (in Canada!). Remote enough to keep the hoards away, it is heaven on earth. I disagree with the comments that Butchart Gardens is not a must. The whole city is a garden. My favourite article on Victoria from Canada's Globe and Mail sums this unique gem best for me: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/facts-and-arguments/after-i-moved-t...

  29. not bad. hit most of the right spots. i would recommend John's place for the brunch (yeast waffle and good diner atmosphere) and much more reasonable. and what about Cenote? it is just next to Agrios, downstairs. check it out!

  30. And on your scenic trip along the coast, stop and marvel at the geography that makes up Victoria Golf Course that gives Pebble Beach a run for its money. In the summer avoid the tourists with a trip to Cook Street Village right next door to Beacon Hill Park and have a double cheeseburger at Big Wheel followed by and coffee at Moka House.

  31. I’m soooo lucky to live in this beautiful city!

  32. Surprising to find an article about Victoria that omits reference to Butchart Gardens. If you're ever in Victoria, and even if you only grudgingly like plants/flowers, do yourself a favor and take a bus to these gardens. They're spectacular.

  33. I'm astounded by the omission. If there is ONE SINGLE thing to see above everything mentioned here, it's Butchard Gardens. I can't fathom the reasons for not mentioning it.

  34. I disagree with commenters who say Buchart Gardens is a must. We went when we visited Victoria several years back and it was so overrun with tourists it was not enjoyable. You literally could not move along the paths without being pushed around and you couldn’t see the flowers for all the selfie sticks in your way. Also, although there are many beautiful and well-tended flowers, I got the impression we were wandering a large garden center with every square inch packed with perennials. It didn’t feel like a natural reflection of the region, just an extremely densely planted spectacle.

  35. I live here in Victoria. We always check the cruise ship schedules before going to Butchart gardens. You must have been there when one, two or three of them were docked. There are buses waiting at the wharf that bring the ships' thousands of passengers directly to Butchart gardens. We were caught there one day when the crowds arrived and it was just as you describe.

  36. While in Seattle on business for three weeks, a co-worker and I visited Victoria. The ferry ride from the U.S. was a fantastic boat ride. We took the tourist bus and ended up at a Chinese restaurant. The harbor area is nice. The water taxis did a ballet, and that was quite entertaining. Watching the seaplanes come and go was exciting. I remember a nice ice cream store in the downtown area. For a day trip, Victoria was a great place to do nothing, especially traipsing around extensively with no destination in mind. I would like to have a few days in Victoria with the NYT's 36 hour itinerary.

  37. Foo and Be Love are two great restaurants to consider!

  38. I love Victoria. Thanks for this article. I recently visited this charming city for the second time and went to Craigdarroch Castle for the first time (thecastle.ca). It was well worth the time spent there. We caught the bus (2.50 Canadian $) at Fort Street (a one-way street) and Government and got off at Moss Street and returned on Yate Street which runs parallel to Moss.