Victoria itself is just a wonderful town to visit, but of course a must see is the Butchart Gardens.
My recommendation for anyone in the Vancouver, Canada area or Seattle to plan at least a couple of days to spend in Victoria. Our LandSea Tour was awesome but we really wished we had spent a couple of nights in town to see more and enjoy all it offers. Plus more time at the Gardens. A full day at the Gardens would have been terrific.
Fondest memory: Flowers and the charm of the town. A place that welcomes and really wants to make one spend more time there. It is an easy town for walking which is a plus. We feel we missed the opportunity to get to visit more of the town and learn more about it from the locals. Victoria is a romantic town and we easily see it as a place for couples to visit for a romantic getaway.
City Hall was one of the most challenging buildings to take a picture of.
There always were cars and buses in front of the building as it faces a busy intersection.
The red bricks are very unique and the buildings is very noticebla from a distance.
Also the center tower with the flagpole were part of the challenge.
At the rear of the red building is a very modern section build, quiet different.
Your best option is through the Victoria Clipper. It is a high-speed passenger only ferry between Victoria and Seattle. It specializes in day trips to Victoria from Seattle. They also have their own tour bus which they use to take their passengers on excursions right from the boat! Just search Clipper Vacations in Google and you will find a lot of useful information there!
Alternatively, get off the boat and walk to the Victoria Bus Depot. Board the Grayline Butchart Gardens Express. It's an express coach service to Butchart Gardens which will get you to and from the gardens for significantly cheaper than a tour bus and without the hassle of public transit. That should take 3 to 4 hours of your day. Once you are done that, perhaps take one of the narrated bus tours of Victoria which are approximately 1hr 30 minutes long. That will give you a good taste of the city in a short time and as well as some history and background. Finally, save some time to stroll around the inner harbour and do a little bit of shopping. If you have some extra time, pay a visit to the beautiful British Columbia Legislature. It's a great opportunity to indulge in more history and see some incredible architecture while learning about the BC system of government and best of all......the tour is free!
Fondest memory: What I love most about Victoria is strolling around the Inner Harbour or the Ogden Point Breakwater. You can't beat the scenery and the relaxing stroke of the sun coupled with the cool breeze of the ocean!
Favorite thing: I feel that the best way to see Victoria is to wander around the city by foot and explore the many streets. Don't be afraid to wander away the harbour area - many of the coolest shops I found were hidden away on Yates, View, Douglas, and Fort Streets. You'll find a lot of independently owned clothing boutiques, antique art shops, excellent used music/book stores, plus many other hidden gems.
Fondest memory: My fondest memory has to be of my trip to Victoria in the fall of 1993 when I was 14. I went with my friend Justine, and we had a blast! Her father dropped us in the city centre, and we just walked around and explored for hours. It was the first time I had really gone anywhere without my parents. It was fabulous! The picture is of myself, Justine, and her brother on a hilltop overlooking the city....
Favorite thing: As you probably guessed, Victoria is no doubt is great walking town. The area around the Inner Harbor as well as streets that lead to Chinatown are all excellent for walking. There are a lot of stores and shops along these streets. There are also several squares where lots of stores are concentrated. The architecture is also historic and beautiful.
BC Transit's system of city busses can take you more places in Victoria than you would realize! One of the nicest busses is the #11 bus, called "UVic via Gorge-Uplands" in one direction and "Gorge-Uplands via UVic" in the other. Either way you ride the bus, there is lots to see and do. For both trips you should start downtown, catching the bus along Douglas Street.
On the bus heading to UVic, you will ride up Fort Street (look out for Craigdarroch Castle) and then into the scenic Oak Bay area. The bus will take you through the Uplands, an area of exclusive mansions. You can get off the bus in this area and check out some of the great houses- my favorite is white one with gold urns on the roof- WHY? WHY? On the other side of the Uplands is Cadboro Bay... a quaint area with a nice beach for kids. Called Gyro Park, the beach has giant models of sea creatures and boats for your kids to play on (discourage play inside the octopus... it's just dirty in there). After the beach, catch the next #11 up to UVic and either wander through Finnerty Gardens, or transfer to a double-decker #14 and go back downtown. You can also catch a #11 back to town, but that's not as much fun!
From downtown in the OTHER direction, the #11 takes you through an area that I think is called Vic West or Esquimalt, but I've never been sure. There are lots of hotels and apartment buildings at first, but then the bus travels along the scenic Gorge waterway and you can watch for blue herons. Hop off the bus and walk along the water if you'd like. The #11 bus continues on to Tillicum Mall, which is definitely not one of the nicer malls in Victoria but it does have a brand new Old Navy store, as well as Winners (a crazy discount department store where you can occasionally find designer clothes for 50% off or so... GREAT deals on sunglasses!) From the mall, take the #11 back into town.
Favorite thing: Here is a picture of the dragonboat festival in the Inner Harbour area of Victoria. The event is small and less international in comparison to the Vancouver but everyone enjoys themselves. This picture shows the Parliament Buildings in the background which lights up at night. The boats are heading towards the Provincial Museum which is another 'must see' item on your vacation schedule in Victoria. On the third floor is an excellent miniature reproduction of a western pioneering town that is so well done you feel that you are actually there as you walk donw the cobblestone streets!
There are so much to do and to see in Victoria, you would be amazed! Downtown is nice to walk around and has the best restaurants ever,Very diversified!
You can go Whalewatching, sightseeing, museum touring, gardening, swimming in the cold cold ocean!
Fondest memory: What I miss the most from Victoria is when on a nice day, summer or winter, my friends and i would jump on motorcycles and just go up north on windy roads for hours. The views are breathtaking, we would drive until we were tired, usually in a town where none of us had stopped before, find a cool place to eat and rest and jump back on the bike and drive until sunset!
Favorite thing: Just walk around and enjoy the beauty of the city! Victoria is not a very big place, and you can easily walk most of it over a day or two. Of course, it helps if the weather is nice...however, Victoria won't lose it's charm even in the rain!
See the provincial museum's ethnographic exhibits. Informative and moving.
Fondest memory: Driving to Nanaimo--spectacular! Taking the ferry from Tsawassen to Washington state--the islands, forests, mountains, and waters of the Sound are all on breathtaking display!
browse the local artist booths at Bastion Square, located in downtown Victoria at the western foot of View Street. You'll find many fine items here, from hand made soap, jewellery, paintings, and more.
Photo: Tourists exploring Bastion Square on a Saturday afternoon on July 13, 2002. Photo taken by me! Click to enlarge.
Walking around the Harbour and taking in all the sites.
Victoria is a real tourist destination and it is so much fun to wander around and people watch.
the Parliment Buildings are a very pretty site when all lit up in the evenings
Butchard Gardens is another place not to be missed .
It is a beautiful Place to spend a afternoon.
And the FireworkShow they but on is Great!
Take a bicycle and ride the Galloping Goose trail. Follow either the trail to the BC Ferries or out to Colwood (and, if you are more ambitious, all the way to Sooke).
If walking is more your style, walk around the inner harbour and stop at the Empress Hotel for afternoon tea. The surrounding, decor, activity, and a little imagination will take you back to the elegance of the British Empire in the days of Queen Victoria.
Favorite thing: Take an open-top doubledecker bus tour of the city (www.sightseeing.ca or call 250-475-6950). They provide blankets if you get chilled and it is alot of fun and very informative. Also, you can hail a horse-drawn carriage, or a bike drawn carriage to wherever you're going. Any or all of these are a MUST when in Victoria!