As the capital city of British Columbia, Victoria has a whole lot to offer visitors. There are lots of tourist attractions that you’ll want to see, of course, but as well there are cool streets, great restaurants, and lots of great indie stores to check out too. Here’s how to pack as much as possible into 48 hours in the city.
9AM JAM CAFE
542 HERALD ST. VICTORIA, BC V8W 1S5
Start your Victoria visit with a hearty breakfast at the trendy new Jam Cafe. The pulled-pork pancakes are to die for, and the pan-fried oatmeal oozes with lemon curd and blueberries. The coffee there is excellent too.
As the oldest Chinatown in Canada, and second only in North America to San Francisco, the area has a cool vintage feel. Take a walk around, being sure to walk down Fan Tan Alley, which is famous for being the narrowest street in Canada, and has some fun stores nestled in there. Close by are LoJo (Lower Johnson Street) and the Design District, which are packed with boutiques, vintage stores and cool cafes.
11AM ZIP LINE
5128C SOOKE RD. SOOKE, BC V9Z 0E2
Feeling adventurous? Why not add a small group zip-line tour to see the sights? Just 30 minutes away on Vancouver Island, the zipline park is home to eight lines and more than 1,000 feet of aerial action. Your tour also includes a 10-minute ATV ride and two suspension bridges over the beautiful rainforest canopy.
1PM RED FISH BLUE FISH
Grab fish and chips, or a more upmarket version using Pacific halibut, wild salmon, albacore tuna, Qualicum scallops and Fanny Bay oysters, at Red Fish Blue Fish. This take-out operates out of a renovated shipping container, and is a locals favorite. Find somewhere to sit on the harbor, and watch the float planes taking off.
2PM ROYAL BC MUSEUM
675 BELLEVILLE ST. VICTORIA, BC V8W 9W2
At the Royal BC Museum you'll learn about BC history from its First Nations people and onwards through modern times. There are more than 7 million objects in the museum's collection, and they're curated in an interesing way that goes both inside and out of the museum building.
4PM THE FAIRMONT EMPRESS HOTEL
Take afternoon tea at the Faimont Empress Hotel, where they've been serving it on the very best china since 1908. Treat yourself to dainty sandwiches and lovely pastries, served in a classic hotel lounge as a pianist accompanies procedings. After, take a walk around the harbor, taking in the pretty old buildings situated all around (or you could take a horse drawn carriage ride from just outside the hotel).
Dining at Rebar is a healthy but absolutely delicious experience. Here you'll find clean eating vegetarian, vegan, and fish dishes, as well as fabulous desserts and a great wine list. Be sure to pick up one of their best-selling cookbooks to take home.
10PM CLIVE'S CLASSIC LOUNGE
For a late night drink, head to Clive's Classic Lounge where Victoria's beautiful people hang-out. The skilled mixologists will guide you through their impressive menu and serve you up some delicious boozy creations to help you finish off your first night in Vancouver right.
9AM WILLIE’S BAKERY
537 JOHNSON ST. VICTORIA, BC V8W 1M2
Serving up baked goods since 1887, Willie's Bakery is the oldest in British Columbia. Here you get a decent breakfast, and good coffee, in a heritage building with a casual atmosphere.
10AM DOWNTOWN ART WALK
812 WHARF ST. VICTORIA, BC V8W 1T3
Discover 18 downtown galleries by following the downtown art map, which you can pick up at any of the galleries, or the Tourism Victoria's Visitor Centre. Whether you're into paintings, photography, or more folksy art, you'll find something you love in Victoria. If art isn't your thing, then stroll Government Street, where you'll find interesting stores selling everything from handmade chocolates to designer clothes.
1PM BIG WHEEL BURGER
Fresh and locally sourced, the burgers at Big Wheel Burger are ground fresh daily, using locally raised, hormone and antibiotic free meats. They also serve hot dogs, chilli dogs, great shakes, floats and more.
2PM BEACON HILL PARK
JAMES BAY VICTORIA, BC
Walk off that burger at Beacon Hill Park, an urban oasis where you'll find manicured lawns and flowerbeds, as well as the world's tallest, free-standing totem pole carved from a single log, a cricket pitch and a children’s petting zoo. If you're lucky, you might get to hear a band playing in the bandshell from June through September.
4PM PACIFIC UNDERSEA GARDENS
A little cheesy and kitsch but good fun regardless is the Pacific Undersea Gardens, an aquarium on a boat, that showcases the local marine life.
7PM SPINNAKERS GASTRO BREWPUB
308 CATHERINE ST. VICTORIA, BC V9A 3S8
Spinnakers is Canada's oldest brewpub, and also happens to be a gastropub, meaning you can get a great feed there as well as craft beer. One interesting thing that Spinnakers does is beer and chocolate pairings, which make for a fun and delicious evening's entertainment.
WHERE TO STAY: THE MAGNOLIA HOTEL
623 COURTNEY ST. VICTORIA, BC V8W 1B8
The Magnolia Hotel is a large boutique property, with a great spa, located in the middle of Victoria. Rooms are gorgeous, with great views over the city.