Christmas Scene of the Parliament BuildingShopping in Victoria is different. Victoria is home to a great variety of local, boutique and all together different stores. No matter what type of gift you are looking for, Victoria can fit the bill with a non-big-box-store option. Collectables, toys and fun? Check. Clothes, shoes and bags? You better believe it. Home wares, trinkets and oddities? Got ‘em all! The boutique shopping scene is omnipresent throughout Victoria’s communities and is a defining part of the city’s culture. Women’s fashion reigns supreme, yet there is a definite niche for the men as well. However you define your own style, there is a selection of boutique shops where you can find the gift that is just right for the friends and family on your list. While you are at it, I am sure you will find something for yourself as well (and why not? The spirit of giving does not have a clause against giving to yourself!).
Shopping in Victoria is an adventure in cultures, architecture, style and socializing. With many of the boutique shops located right in the downtown core in the divisions of the Design District, Fort Street and Johnson Street, not only can a person enjoy the shops, but can also take in the historic architecture of the area. Many of the buildings the boutique shops are located in are historical buildings. I dare say it is almost impossible to not stop and take in the rainbow façade of the buildings along Lower Johnson, even on the rainiest of days. Getting out on the streets while shopping is also reinvigorating for a person’s Christmas spirit. Victoria is bursting with holiday cheer and decorations all over the city. I do not know if it is because we are a smaller city or because we are on an island, but the Christmas shopping experience feels more about the spirit of giving than it does the pressure to exceed commercial sales quotas by corporations. You will not have to worry about getting pepper sprayed in a mob here either. So all this shopping, all this holiday hoopla, all this walking, what else makes gift shopping in Victoria so special? The pubs, cafes and tea houses of course! There is no way better to beat holiday stress than one of the oldest relaxation techniques in the world. Tasty alcoholic concoctions, soothing varieties of tea and invigorating cafe drinks are sure to give you the boost you need to keep on your twinkle toes. Silk Road and Teaopia are must visit locations when you need to regroup for a second wind, while no holiday shopping excursion would be complete without a stop in the Bengal Lounge for a seasonal cocktail. Maybe extravagant drinks are not up your alley? Well Sauce Restaurant & Lounge makes a fantastic  classic Martini or Old Fashioned to punctuate a successful foray.  Visiting Victoria over the Christmas season is about more than just shopping and gifts. The very nature of the city is so much easier going and relaxed than our big city brethren that it is difficult to not stop and enjoy the surroundings while taking in a beverage or two. Our cozy little island city is warm in both weather and soul (not just from the drinks either!) and the boutique experience is hard to beat. Whether shopping for that rare find or one-of-a-kind trendsetting new bag for the perfectionist or a new pair of shoes because you wore yours out while browsing, Victoria’s collection of street side storefronts have got everything you need to leave something special for everyone under your tree.