Perfect Weekend in Victoria, BC
One of our favorite weekend getaways with Olivia was visiting Victoria, BC in June 2014. We were living in Seattle and I was pregnant with Adele and dying to go back to Victoria. My grandparents took me & my sister during middle school and we just loved it. After looking at some pictures of the city, it didn’t take much convincing for Chris to want to go too. We decided the last weekend in June would work best for us, and it ended up being a perfect time to go. We made all of our reservations through Clipper Vacations and they made it very easy. That included the round trip ferry boat, hotel, and Butchart Gardens tickets with them.
We left on a Friday afternoon and made it just in time to the ticketing office for Victoria Clipper at Pier 69. Much to our relief, they allowed strollers and wheelchairs on first. We skipped to the front of a line, about 300 people long, and walked right onto the boat. We chose a perfect seat for us and we stayed very comfortable the entire time. Since Olivia was only 8 months old at the time, we didn’t have to purchase any tickets for her. The ferry wasn’t full so she got her own seat anyways, which was great. We brought a few snacks and books to keep her entertained. And before we knew it, the three hour ride was over and we were pulling into the harbor.
We were the last ones to get off the boat. It didn’t bother me at all though since we got to take in all of the beautiful scenery there. We went through customs and caught a cab to our hotel, only about a mile away. Most hotels and tourist spots are walking distance from the harbor. That was actually the only time we took a cab and it was only because we had luggage with us.
It was a clear night and the water taxi’s were bustling all over the place. The dusk lighting was perfect for the many photo opportunities around town. Before we left Seattle, my grandmother reminded me of the beautiful hanging flower baskets all over the city. They are still there and so gorgeous! It definitely adds a lot of character, and color, to the streets here.
After dropping our stuff off at the hotel, we started to walk around town. Before we knew it, it was way past dinner time and almost Olivia’s bedtime. We found a few restaurants that didn’t have a wait, but they were all bars and patrons under 21 are not allowed in. Obviously we had Olivia with us so we had to continue our hunt. We found a nice, loud restaurant.. Perfect for us! Except that by the time the waiter brought our drinks, Olivia was just so tired and started having a pre-bedtime fit. We should have known better! So we took our food to go (steak & seafood ha) and went back to the hotel. Chris gave Olivia a bottle, laid her in the crib, and we ate our food from a styrofoam box 🙂 Live and learn!
The next morning we got up and walked to The Empress Hotel for breakfast. We had a window seat and watched all the people outside, which of course Olivia loved. She got lots of compliments for her good behavior at breakfast and her cute hairbow.
Afterwards we headed out to the gardens and took some pictures. It was kind of overcast and looked like it might rain. We were scheduled to visit the Butchart Gardens at 11, so we went ahead walked over to the bus terminal and hopped on a bus just in time for it start raining. Olivia took a nap on the way there, while we listened to the bus driver give us lots of information about Victoria and, of course, the gardens.
As soon as we pulled in the parking lot, the rain stopped! Our timing couldn’t have been any better. We found a café and grabbed a coffee to enjoy while walking. The gardens couldn’t have been prettier! It was so clean and well manicured, and even with bus loads of tourists being dropped off, we still managed to find some great photo spots without people in the background.
We walked around for a couple hours and then took our bus back to Victoria. We walked through some souvenir stores, bought Olivia a book published in British Columbia, Good Night World, and then went back to the hotel to restock the tote bag. Olivia’s afternoon nap lined up perfectly with our stroll through the streets so we enjoyed ourselves with some ice cream and snacks while she slept. As we approached the water, we couldn’t help but notice the GIANT sailboat parked at the marina. Chris was in envy of it so we walked down to get a closer peek. There was a lot going on by the marina so we stopped to take it all in – a water taxi show, jugglers & magicians, and food trucks. We ate dinner outside at the harbor and shared the best sweet potato ravioli in the world. We are now hooked on the stuff.
Sunday was our last day here and we had a few more things we wanted to do before heading back home to Seattle. We grabbed breakfast on our walk to the Parliament building that we wanted to tour. There was a free hour long tour at 11 so we walked around town some before getting there on time. The most interesting fact to me was that the Queen of England is the only person currently allowed to walk through the front gates and everyone else must enter through a different entrance. Olivia took a nap in the Björn on Chris while we toured and she woke up afterwards on our walk to lunch. It was a beautiful day outside and we just wanted to eat somewhere on a patio and enjoy the perfect weather.
After lunch, we walked around the harbor again and got a cone of piña colada cheesecake soft serve ice cream. Hello deliciousness! This was quite possibly the best ice cream I’ve ever had!
We had just a few hours left before our ferry started boarding to go home. We wandered around the lawn in front of the beautiful Parliament building and enjoyed the fantastic weather we were getting that day. Olivia loved sitting outside where we could watch dogs and other kids play too.
We had a great weekend in Victoria and so thankful that we made the time last summer to go! I’m dying to go back to Canada now!