5 Tips for Visiting Victoria BC
After a long awaited weekend to Victoria, I’m refreshed for the new workweek! I’ve hit up Vancouver and other cities in British Columbia, but have never made the trip to Victoria. For some reason, I always thought it was a place for posh and old people to visit. After finding a great hotel deal online to Hotel Zed, I had to see for myself what Victoria was like.
So what’s my verdict on Victoria? It’s the perfect getaway for Seattle-area residents, as it is just a short ferry ride away. Everything worth doing can be seen and done within a long weekend. Whether you’re planning a romantic getaway or a weekend with your close friends, here are 5 tips for getting the most out of a visit to Victoria BC.
Know When to Use a Taxi or Bus
Most of Victoria’s attractions are within the downtown area – shopping on Government Street, afternoon tea at the Fairmont Empress Hotel, sailboats in the Inner Harbour and the Royal BC Museum. However some popular places, like Craigdarroch Castle and Butchart Gardens, are far from the downtown area. Depending on how much time and money you have, taking the bus will cost 2.50 CAD each way but will take a long to get to the destination. Taxis are expensive yet convenient. If you happen to drive to Victoria, use the car to drive to far out places but keep it parked when touring the downtown city area.
Choose Which Ferry to Take
There are two main companies that serve Washington State residents going to Victoria BC – the Victoria Clipper and Black Ball Ferries. Victoria Clipper is the fastest, at around two hours each way, and leaves from Downtown Seattle. Victoria Clipper is pricier than Black Ball Ferry, especially if you’re going with your family or a group of friends. Black Ball Ferry is what I chose to go on because I wanted to drive there to save some money and do some pit stops on the way to Port Angeles (where the Black Ball departs from), but the car and ferry commute definitely took a long time (around five hours) compared to the Victoria Clipper. Next time, I plan to take the Clipper for convenience.
Plan Your Evenings
I found out the hard way that many of Victoria’s attractions close early in the evening, even on weekends. Most of the shops on Government Street stay open at night, so that is an option if you like to shop when traveling. Look up nighttime activities so you’re not stuck walking around looking for something to do. There always is the option of a cozy night of watching Netflix at your hotel!
Take Advantage of Happy Hour
I noticed that the majority of restaurants around Victoria were pubs or had more of a chill atmosphere than a formal dining experience. There were a lot of signs outside around Government Street about Happy Hour deals every night. So save a little on your trip in Victoria and hit up Happy Hour when you need some dinner! I recommend walking down Trounce Alley for a few yummy restaurant options.
Explore Outside of Downtown Victoria
While trying to find Craigdarroch Castle, my friend and I noticed how beautiful and grand the houses are in Victoria. Many had old character and detailed architecture that you don’t see much of in houses anymore. My favorite part was seeing the vast views of Victoria and Vancouver Island from the viewpoint towers at Craigdarroch Castle.
Tourism Victoria sponsored part of my trip, but all opinions and tips are solely mine. Make sure to check Tourism Victoria’s website and Downtown Victoria location for activity ideas and vacation deals!