A collection of random thoughts on traveling to Victoria, B.C. - what to pack, how to prep, and other things to know:
- The Victoria Clipper is the easiest (and most fun) way to get to Victoria from Seattle. You can also drive and take the B.C. Ferries over, or fly up there.
- Get to the Clipper early! Boarding starts about an hour before departure, and the early bird gets the best seats.
- Always good to pack layers, an umbrella, good walking shoes and a pair of sunglasses, no matter what time of year. It’s not super cold but being near the Harbour can get a little windy.
- If you’re riding the Clipper, you can check in two bags and carry on another bag and a personal item.
- If you get any kind of motion sickness, I highly recommend taking the free Dramamine they have aboard the Clipper. I took some last year when we went up there during a storm that had major swells. This year, I decided not to take any. Though there wasn’t a storm, the Strait of Juan de Fuca was still choppy enough that I was queasy and nauseous for the last half hour of our ride up to Victoria.
- Downtown Victoria itself is very small and easily walkable. I recommend renting a bike or car if you want to see many of the beaches and parks, Hatley Castle / Sooke area or The Buchart Gardens. Public transportation and taxis are abundant in the downtown corridor. No Uber, though.
- There are a lot of tours available to explore Victoria - in specific landmarks like the Royal B.C. Museum, Parliament, Craigdarroch Castle or Butchart Gardens. I hear the Ghost Tours are really fun. The Victoria Food Tour is a great way to explore the Downtown area!
- Many of the restaurants and coffee shops offer free wifi, but some do not.
- Fun fact: Victoria’s Chinatown is the second oldest Chinatown in North America (after San Francisco)
- Red Fish Blue Fish is a really popular stand on the Harbour - but it’s only open during the summer. We found this out the hard way after walking around looking for it 😔
- Buchart Gardens is great but can be very touristy. We went during the evening last year to see the Holiday Lights. It was beautiful and so fun, but very cold!
- The Downtown Victoria Business Association has a great events calendar if you’re looking for seasonal things to do in the city and beyond.
My top five things to do in Victoria:
- Explore the alleyways
- Drinks at Clive's Classic Lounge
- Murchie's Tea Shop
- Afternoon tea at the Fairmont Empress
- Holiday lights at the Butchart Gardens
I'm giving away a round trip for two aboard the Victoria Clipper! Enter to win multiple ways below, today through Wednesday, November 30th at 11:59p.m. PST.