In case you haven't heard, it snowed this week in Victoria. WIth more chilly weather in the forecast, we thought we'd help by suggesting some of our favourite places to get cosy and beat the winter blues.
1. The Mint
It's located underground and primarily lit by candles and overhead strands of twinkling lights, so you know it's going to be cozy. The Mint offers a fantastic cocktail menu and wonderfully creative food options, plus they often have live music in the evenings.
2. Royal BC Museum
The Royal BC Museum is a great place to escape the cold as you'll want a couple of hours to explore and wander through their many galleries and exhibits. Grab a hot cup of coffee from the café and stay for an IMAX film if you're still not ready to brave the cold.
3. Penny Farthing Pub
A quaint space in the heart of Oak Bay Village, the Penny Farthing Pub is a cozy place to soak in some Christmas cheer and warm up with a hot toddy.
Image: The Penny Farthing Pub
4. Spa Magnolia
It's important to treat yourself, and a visit to the Spa Magnolia is a wonderful way to do just that. Warm up with a cup of tea and a relaxing spa treatment.
5. James Bay Tea Room
You'll feel right at home at the James Bay Tea Room. Stop by for their popular Afternoon Tea served daily featuring hot crumpets, house made scones with clotted cream and jam with sweet treats, fruit and a warming pot of tea.
6. Russell Books
This family-owned bookstore is one of the most well-known and loved in Victoria, and for good reason. Russell Books has three stories of floor-to-ceiling shelves that are packed with books, plus overflow stacks that you'll have to be careful not to tip over as you browse. It's a super cozy shop and a book-lovers' dream come true.
Image: Russell Books
7. Northern QuarterWith live music every night of the week, a fabulous bar and cocktail menu, and seasonally-inspired share plates, locals know that Northern Quarter is the place to be. Warm up with their ‘One Night in Bangkok' cocktail, which is made with chili-infused vodka and pineapple.
8. Fairmont Empress
Recently renovated with luxury at the forefront, the Fairmont Empress is always a great place to escape the cold at this time of year. Sip a holiday-themed cocktail at Q Bar or treat yourself to a massage at the Willow Stream Spa.
9. Garrick's Head Pub
Image: Bastion Square and Garrick's Head Pub exterior.
10. Ferris' Grill & Oyster BarUp a narrow flight of stairs in one of Victoria's downtown heritage buildings is Ferris' Grill & Oyster Bar. It's bustling, but cozy, and a great place to enjoy west coast comfort food on a cold day.
11. Perro NegroJust a few steps away, adjacent to Ferris', is Spanish tapas restaurant Perro Negro. It's got that whole cold-outside-cozy-inside thing going on, plus a selection of incredible share plates and a fully-functioning cocktail and wine bar.
12. The Bard & Banker
Ornately decorated at Christmas time and located inside an old bank building, the aptly-named Bard & Banker Pub is a cozy Scottish pub where you can soak in some holiday cheer over a pint of ale or a hot apple cider.
Image: The Bard & Banker. Photo by Brandon McGeachie.
13. Alix Goolden HallFormerly a church sanctuary, Alix Goolden Hall features a vaulted ceiling, carved wooden pews and intricate stained glass windows. The acoustics in the space are unprecedented, making it a cozy and beautiful space to enjoy live music on a winter's day.
14. Sooke Harbour House
Situated on the Strait of Juan de Fuca overlooking the picturesque Olympic Mountain Range, the Sooke Harbour House is a wonderfully relaxing place to warm up on a cold day. Enjoy a hot bowl of soup and watch the world go by.
15. Villa Eyrie Resort
Perched at the summit of the Malahat, the brand new Villa Eyrie Resort will have you feeling miles away from the cold as you cozy up with the best view in town. Many of the rooms have their own fireplaces and Jacuzzis where you can unwind and relax in total privacy.
Image: The view from Villa Eyrie Resort
16. Bartholomew's English-Style Pub
Bartholomew's (or Bart's as it is known to locals) is the place to stop for a pint and hearty pub fare. Be sure to visit for their hugely popular music bingo every Thursday but get there early to get your table!
17. John's PlaceWhat better way to warm up than with a cup of hot coffee and a hearty brunch? Start your day with a visit to John's Place, where you'll be charmed by the vintage décor and pleased with the extensive classic brunch menu.
18. The Bay Centre
The Bay Centre is a toasty shopping sanctuary in the heart of Downtown Victoria. If your fingers are freezing and you'd prefer to browse indoors, this shopping centre is the place to do it. Plus, it's totally decked out for the holidays with twinkling lights and over 50 decorated Christmas trees.
Image: The Bay Centre. Photo by Brandon McGeachie
19. The Butchart GardensThere are five seasons at The Butchart Gardens, and Christmas is one of them. Bundle up and take a stroll through the lit gardens, enjoy a ride on the indoor carousel and take a spin on the ice skating rink. Then warm up with a hot apple cider or a cup of tea at the Blue Poppy Restaurant.
20. Craigdarroch Castle
Filled with beautiful antiques and festooned with Victorian inspired Christmas décor, it is easy to spend hours browsing at Craigdarroch Castle. Throughout December there will be live festive music playing along with special Christmas tours for kids to learn about festive traditions from Christmas trees to toys.
21. Whale Watching
Just because it's cold outside doesn't mean you need to stay completely indoors. Enjoy a wildlife viewing tour with BC Whale Tours, where you'll enjoy prime wildlife viewing while staying toasty warm on one of their completely covered boats.
Image: Orca sightings with BC Whale Tours. Photo by Thomas J. Mitchell
22. Belfry Theatre
In the heart of the charming neighbourhood of Fernwood, the Belfry Theatre is a small but ornate theatre venue with a lot of character and a cozy vibe. Take in a live show on a rainy afternoon or evening in Victoria.
23. Oak Bay Beach Hotel
With rustic red brick walls and original wooden beams, Kate's Café at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel is the perfect spot to get comfortable with your favourite book. Pull up an armchair by the fire side and warm up with a freshly baked treat or delicious house-made soup.
24. Clive's Classic Lounge
House-made liqueurs, bitters, syrups and shrubs make the handcrafted cocktails at Clive's Classic Lounge a unique and noteworthy experience for anyone. This cozy bar, located within the Chateau Victoria Hotel & Suites, also features a great menu with a focus on international comfort cuisine.
Image: Clive's Classic Lounge
25. Murchie's Tea & Coffee
Established in 1864, Murchie's Tea & Coffee has been importing specialty teas and coffees from around the world for over 100 years. On a blustery day, escape the chilly weather with a hot pot of tea and a yummy slice of cake.
26. Irish Times Pub
Possibly the cheeriest pub in town, Irish Times has live music every day and offers a great selection of traditional Irish pub food to warm you up from the inside out.
Take the kids up to Sidney for a day of indoor adventures. Discover the secrets of the Salish Sea at the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea then uncover your own sparkling treasures at Mineral World Scratch Patch.
28. Hatley Castle
Experience the tranquility of Hatley Park National Historic Site on a Guided Walking Estate Tour. Your guide will show you around the grounds while sharing information about the area's history then take you inside to warm up in the main building (which you might recognise from films including X-Men and Deadpool) for an exclusive tour.
Image: Hatley Castle
If you do end up heading outside for some fresh winter air, a walk along Dallas Road is always a great way to enjoy blustery weather. Start at the Breakwater Bistro and continue toward Cook Street Village. Stop at Beacon Hill Park to make a snow angel and then warm up with a coffee at Bubby Rose's Cafe & Bakery on Cook Street.