30 Hours in Victoria BC with kids
With only 30 hours in Victoria and so much to do, we weren’t even sure where to start. Honestly I had only planned the first day of our two-day trip. We would head up on the Victoria Clipper Saturday morning, have afternoon tea, check into the hotel and then take the bus out to Butchart Gardens. What else could we possibly do to fill our time all day Sunday?
Plenty! Victoria is an extremely walking-friendly downtown. During the holidays the place is just over flowing with extra activities not seen the rest of the year. Tourism Victoria is across the street from the Fairmont Empress if you should have any questions or need suggestions as to what to do.
Carolers lined Government Street as we wandered by the restaurants and shops of Old Town and Antique Row. Chinatown, all 5 blocks of it, borders the north side of Old Town. Noodles shops, kitschy souvenirs and even a little durian fruit reminded us of similarly cold and sunny weekend last year when we were in Beijing.
The Fairmont Empress was hosting the Festival of Trees through the New Year. Dek loved to check out all of the ornaments, many of which were actual toys; a little too tempting for such tiny fingers.
The Downtown Winter Market was serving up hot Italian sandwiches, fresh picked mushrooms, homemade ice cream, pasta and holiday baskets of garlic. The band was warming up for a free concert. Locals chatted with band members and vendors while they did a little shopping and wait for the show to start.
We weren’t able to hop on the Free Horse-Drawn Trolley ride during our stay because Dek passed out in the Ergo both days of our trip. Kids on board were having a great time though. Dek certainly loved to watch as the horses went by whenever he was awake.
At night the city lit up like, well, a Christmas Tree. We caught the tail end of a boat parade in the inner harbor and had just missed the Annual Lighted Truck Parade. The Legislative Building and the Fairmont Empress were glowing beacons on the harbor as we headed home after a spectacular wander through Butchart Gardens.
When we woke up Sunday morning we went in search of breakfast. I asked the bell hop where he ate and he pointed me to his favorite joint, John’s Place. As he put it, if you had a few too many last night, this was the place to go. I figure being pregnant can probably equate to a hang over in some ways, so we were on our way. Simple, but hearty eggs, French toast and bacon awaited us. The place was known for its’ eggs Benedict, of which I am not a fan, but they sure looked pretty. The restaurant fills up fast so get there early if you can.
After breakfast it was time for some shopping. Victoria is filled with souvenir shops if that is what you are into, but it is also home to some great boutiques, toy stores, comic book shops, and one heck of a Christmas store called The Original Christmas Village. This place was packed from floor to ceiling with anything and everything Christmas. Ornaments, snow globes, nativity scenes, stockings, ribbon, you name it they had it. To be honest, it freaked me out a little.
With a little over an hour left in our trip, my pregnant body needed some nourishment. The sandwich shop we chose on Government Street was not very good. My answer to this was to reward myself with a hot fudge sundae at The Soda Shoppe on the corner of Government and Humboldt Streets. Make sure you ask for extra hot fudge though. They can be a little skimpy. And no, Dek got none of it. I told him it was too hot to eat, which appeased him. Oh what a sneaky mom I am.
Filled with sugar and a few purchases, we happily boarded the Clipper back home. We definitely did not take advantage of all that Victoria had to offer, but we did get a good overview. This summer we hope to head back so we can get a peek of Butchart Gardens when it is in full bloom. I also hear that the Royal BC Museum is pretty impressive. With Dek getting more interested in activities we may need to check out the Butterfly Garden and Pacific Undersea Garden. We will definitely be taking a whale tour one of these trips as well.