30 Hours in Victoria BC with kids

 In Canada, Food, Holidays

Carolers take to the streets to serenade shoppers as they walk up Government Street

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?

Say hello to a bear at one of the many souvenir shops in downtown Victoria

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.

No matter where you travel the entrance to Chinatown looks the same

The faint smell of durian fruit spread over the street from a small market in Chinatown. It was either really cold or not very good durian since I couldn’t smell it 3 blocks away.

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.

Celebrate the season at the Downtown Winter Market this December

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.

Free horse-drawn carriage rides were a family favorites for visitors and shoppers

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.

Watch out stars, Victoria is giving you a run for your money

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.

John’s Place filled us up and kept us walking through Victoria on a cold winter morning

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.

Zydeco was our favorite curio shop filled with t-shirts, onesies, hats, gag gifts and posters

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.

Even the biggest Scrooge had to get a chuckle out of the street performers

Watch candy being made at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory or get lost in a crazy Christmas wonderland at the Original Christmas Village

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.

Historic buildings and relics abound in the small side streets throughout Old Town. Wander on through and be surprised with what you find.

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.

Take a stroll along the inner harbor as you make your way too and from sights, your hotel or just back to the boat you came in on.


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Showing 14 comments
  • paulaturner

    I love how you take your readers on this journey with you….
    So amazing….

  • Lisa

    Sounds like you covered a fair bit in 30 hours!

  • More Kids Than Suitcases

    Victoria is fun in the winter, but it’s really awesome in the summer. You’ll really enjoy your return trip.
    I’m definitely going to look for John’s Place next time I’m there.

    • Reply

      John’s Place is right off of Douglas on Pandora. Definitely kid friendly and really tasty. Can’t wait to get back when it’s warm!

  • Sophie

    Thanks for the introduction to Victoria. Sounds (and looks) like a nice and lively town.

  • Sonja

    I just love to see how different cities decorate and light up for the holidays! Thanks for sharing!

  • eckids

    I’ve never been to a market in Victoria-it looks lovely:) Looks like you had fun too!

    • Reply

      You have to get up there. I’m still living on a little travel high from our trip. We can’t wait to go back. So quick and easy to get to from Seattle. And no driving!

  • Sarah V.

    We’re hoping to visit Victoria with our daughter this spring, so I was really excited to see your post. Looks like you had a great time!

  • hikinginparadise

    Kind of Random but noticed you use the ergo carrier. Did you know that it was invented here in Hawaii by a maui woman?

    • Reply

      We are huge fans of the Ergo in our house. Had no idea it was invented by a woman in Maui. Not surprising though. Great ideas come out of the islands.

  • Colleen Lanin (@TravelMamas)

    Yet another place I’d like to visit in Canada! Maybe I need to plan a big ol’ road trip across Canada trip?!

    • Reply

      I’m really starting to feel the same way too! Between living in the PacNW and having Gone With Family egging me on, we actually may do it one day 😉

  • Kris Farring

    One of the most amazing things about Victoria is that if you have a dog you can let them run free along the Dallas Road park below Beacon Hill Park. This is one of the most expensive pieces of undeveloped real estate in the country and it is reserved for letting dogs run free. That was the condition of its donation to the city. And there are lots of pet friendly hotels to stay as well.

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