For our third anniversary, we took a quick long weekend trip to Victoria, BC. I heard it was a great destination for a quick and relaxing weekend, and it did not disappoint! After work on Thursday, we Ubered out to downtown Seattle and stayed at The Sound Hotel. The Sound is close to the Victoria Clipper terminal and has great views of the Space Needle— How very Seattle of us!
The next morning, we woke up early to catch our ride, the Victoria Clipper, into downtown Victoria. It’s a 2 hour 45 minute sail into the port. They serve light food & drink options on board. It was nice to be able to read, relax and look out the window during our trip. There were a couple rough patches of sailing due to the weather, but other than that, it was an enjoyable ride.
This was an unusual trip for us since we were carless the entire time! Luckily, Victoria is quite walkable with their lack of Uber/Lyft and we ended up only taking a taxi once and the bus to our furthest destination (Butchart Gardens). Our hotel was centrally located right behind The Empress in the Harbor, which was great for a base hub for our various explorations.
When we arrived, we were trying to figure out if the weather would downpour, so we stayed close and wandered into the Parliament Building and the Empress (next to each other). It was neat to see some of British Columbia’s history, and a bonus was that it was free to visit! Another iconic building in Victoria is the Empress, and I really wanted to do High Tea there but it was hard to justify $80+ per person for tea and crumpets, so I found an alternative option later on in the trip at the Gardens.
Since we had arrived around lunchtime, we made our way over to Red Fish Blue Fish on the water for some casual dining. There was a line and considering it was starting to drizzle, we took that as a good sign. I had one of their Tacones and a Salmon Sandwich. It was so fresh and delicious— it definitely hit the seafood spot that I was craving.
After watching a dramatic sunset from our hotel room, we dressed up a little and went to our belated anniversary dinner at II Terrazzo, a cozy Italian restaurant. We both enjoyed our meals and were surprised by the large portion sizes given the type of restaurant we were visiting.
While the gardens are not in Victoria, they are one of the most popular attractions that tourists and locals make a point to visit. They are even a National Historic Site of Canada! The gardens are quite large and impressive with several different areas including a Sunken Garden (reminding us of our wedding location!), Japanese Gardens, Italian Garden, Rose Gardens, and others. There’s also a restaurant in the family’s former residence (where we had our Afternoon tea).
When we arrived via bus, we went straight to the information kiosk to make our Afternoon Tea reservations which gave us an hour to wander the gardens and then time to explore after our tea. It was one of the main highlights of our trip (mostly for me)! When in Victoria, BC, tea is a must! Plus, their crumpets and treats were surprisingly filling and delicious given my expectations. We also dodged a stray rain shower while we enjoyed our views from the residence. Poor Brighton knows that I love visiting botanical gardens, flower festivals and chasing wildflowers, but even he was impressed with the elaborate gardens.
After leisurely visiting the gardens, we bused back to downtown Victoria and had an early dinner at 10 Acres Bistro on their patio. They had a fantastic farm-to-table menu and the highlight was the creme brûlée + apple pie dessert. Two of my favorites in 1 dessert!
On our last day, we took the water taxi over to the Fisherman’s Wharf to see what was over there.
We were a little early as the shops/restaurants were seeming to just be opening when we arrived, so we walked to The Breakwater at Ogden Point. It has a scenic walk along the water, and this was the best weather we’d had since being in Victoria which I appreciated!
We walked back to the Wharf and had some more fresh fish for a quick lunch and took the water taxi back. The water taxi was a cheap and easy way to see Victoria harbor via water. Plus, it was a fun way to get around! If we had more time, we would’ve done the Harbour Tour that the taxi company also offers.
Finally, the highlight of the trip for Brighton was a very romantic activity… axe throwing! Nothing says “I love you” than throwing axes with your spouse! But for real, it was super fun and way less dangerous than I thought it would be. Located in downtown Victoria, Axe & Grind is a new spot that we were able to walk into and throw some axes for an hour. The staff is fun, relaxed and knowledgeable and gave us lessons on how to be safe and successful in our throwing. Brighton excelled at the one-handed throws and I did with the two-handed throws. They also had fun lumberjack costumes for us to dress up and take photos in. This was my type of activity!!
By the time we needed to head over to the ferry terminal, we were ready to go back home to Seattle! It was a lovely ride back and we didn’t have to drive the entire trip! What a change of pace for us. 🙂
Getting There & Where to Stay
- Stay at The Sound in Seattle
- The Victoria Clipper
- Doubletree Victoria Downtown
Attractions & Things to Do
- Wander Downtown Victoria & The Harbor
- Parliament Building & The Empress
- Fan Tan Alley & Chinatown
- The Butchart Gardens
- Afternoon Tea at the Gardens
- Fisherman’s Wharf & Water Taxi
- The Breakwater at Ogden Point
- Axe & Grind
Food & Drink
- The Ruby – Brunch
- II Terrazzo
- Bubble Tea Bar
- Red Fish, Blue Fish
- 10 Acres Bistro