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
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.