Victoria B.C. travel tips?
September 11, 2005 8:48 AM   Subscribe

The two of us will be spending four days in Victoria B.C. What lesser known things-places-activities should we not miss?

Tea at the Empress, Buchart Gardens etc. yes we have the guide books but we know there are always those special items that seem to slip through the cracks. We are 60 & 57 but young in mind, not athletic, enjoy cooking, gardening, wildlife, music, art. We don't like groups (such as "tours" or "cruises") and are more bed and breakfast - ethnic food types. Any suggestions?
posted by leafwoman to Travel & Transportation around Victoria, BC (18 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I spent last xmas break up there (it was v. cold but still fun) and the highlight for me was having dinner at the Sooke Harbor House. It's about 20 minutes west of Victoria in the tiny town of Sooke Harbor. It's an incredible little inn that makes elaborate meals based on whatever local ingredients they can buy and pick that day. It's pricey (about $250 USD for the two of us with wine and tip and all) but one of the nicest meals I've ever had.

Other than that, we spent a great deal of time at our hotel, a nice modern place near Buchart Gardens that had a spa (massages and my first facial) and it had a great restaurant as well. I think the whole trip was about eating at nice places, since it was just below freezing each day and night, so we walked around downtown Victoria a lot.
posted by mathowie at 9:17 AM on September 11, 2005

Best answer: I moved to Victoria last October and have spent a lot of time exploring the place. Here is a list (sorry for the self link) of my favorite places and day trips.
posted by Staggering Jack at 9:50 AM on September 11, 2005

The Victoria Bug Zoo! My wife and I love that place.
posted by jdroth at 10:25 AM on September 11, 2005

More here.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:41 AM on September 11, 2005

I lived there for three years... and can most definitely second the suggestion for Sooke Harbour House. You'll either need to take the BCTransit bus out to Sooke, or rent a car. Just head north on Douglas until it turns into the highway, and follow the signs.

Other things...hmm... the Galloping Goose Trail is absolutely lovely to walk along. It's a nature trail made along a former railway line. I used to bike into Victoria from Metchosin every day. Amazing, absolutely beautiful.

If you head out to Metchosin along the trail (or drive; it's basically en route to Sooke), Metchosin Lake is gorgeous, and there's some lovely hiking in the woods around it.

Dinner at Il Terrazzo is a wonderful thing. Caveat: I haven't been there in... jebus, 6 years. So they may not be as good anymore.

Go to the parliament buildings, and walk down the street immediately to their west. You'll be missing the cherry blossoms, but James bay (15 minute walk south) is full of gorgeous old houses and gardens.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:52 AM on September 11, 2005

Drive from downtown all along Dallas Road and Beach Drive. Stop at the Ross Bay Cemetery.
posted by Savannah at 11:09 AM on September 11, 2005

Best answer: I did a mind dump in a pevious thread for someone coming to Victoria with pre-teen boys -- thinking you are young at heart some of it may be of interest to you. emails in profile if you need to clarify anything.

Sooke Harbour House has been rated at least once as the best restaurant in Canada.

Also, propose a Victoria meet-up. Who knows how many mefites there are here?
posted by Rumple at 11:21 AM on September 11, 2005

There are fantastic tide pools at the west end of the island, on the road west of Sooke. I forget the name of the place, but it's at the southern trailhead there at the end of the island. Long drive, but pretty cool.

I definitely second the Sooke Harbour House for dinner. It's fantastic. The hotel is great too.

The 17 Mile Pub is a cool little roadhouse for a casual lunch.
posted by Nelson at 11:56 AM on September 11, 2005

It's a bit cliche, but if the weather isn't rainy I suggest renting a little scooter and driving up along the scenic route from Dallas Rd towards the university.

It's a fun way to explore the city, and see some pretty glorious sights from the handily placed observation points.
posted by generichuman at 2:06 PM on September 11, 2005

I loved the Royal BC Museum as a kid. Wonderful section that recreates a mine shaft with tracks, dimly lit caverns in all directions -- very cool. Of course, I think I was 9 at the time.
posted by dreamsign at 2:26 PM on September 11, 2005

Some of what makes Victoria unique is the art. Depending when you are going, I would definitely check to see what is happening at the Belfry Theatre, Pacific Opera Victoria, and the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, among others. There's a great new Dance Series too, that might have something.

For restaurants L'ecole Brasserie for dinner, Demitasse and Lady Marmalade for breakfast or lunch
posted by miles1972 at 2:47 PM on September 11, 2005

I've always been extremely fond of the Lotus Pond (617 Johnson Street), a Buddhist-vegetarian restaurant downtown. It's not very fancy on the inside but the food is perfect - cheap, simple and tasty. The deep-fried wontons are to die for.
posted by Gortuk at 4:06 PM on September 11, 2005

It was a looong time ago when I last visted Victoria, but I *still* remember the petting zoo at the aquarium. Yeah, aquarium, but I guess you can get that at the tide pools...
posted by PurplePorpoise at 5:09 PM on September 11, 2005

Response by poster: dreamsign, we go on vacations to feel like we are 9 again.
posted by leafwoman at 6:05 PM on September 11, 2005

We were there a month or so ago and our time was limited but we did manage to go to the Church and State Winery which is up the peninsula on the way to Butchard Gardens. We just looked around, but it looked like a nice facility for lunch or dinner and the wines are pretty good.
posted by mikel at 6:51 AM on September 12, 2005

Stop in for some great beer at the Swans Hotel Pub. Then take a walk down Fan Tan Alley (its just up the block on Pandora Avenue) - very narrow with an eclectic mix of shops. At the other end you will find a small China Town which is sort of fun. Rebar is a great restaurant, regardless of whether you are a vegetarian or not. The food is delicious and interesting.
posted by caddis at 10:42 AM on September 12, 2005

If you would rather relax with an alternative smoke, a shop in a little alley-like mall on the south side Johnson Street near Wharf Street appeared to have some BC bud available.
posted by caddis at 11:05 AM on September 12, 2005

Oh man, I had the best lunch meal at Rebar. Highly suggested but then I'm a vegetarian.
posted by mathowie at 7:58 PM on September 12, 2005

« Older Parkster   |   Is my laptop keyboard kaput? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.