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72 Hours in Victoria: Spring Itinerary 

Posted on March 15, 2019

With flowers blooming left and right, spring is the perfect time to enjoy a few days in beautiful Victoria. Here’s a 72-hour itinerary to help you plan your next visit. 

What to pack:

  • Camera
  • Good walking shoes
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses and/or rain jacket (check the forecast!)
  • Comfortable clothing (for walking/cycling)
  • A bathing suit
  • Your appetite!

 

DAY 1

11:00 am | Arrive in Victoria

Depending on where you’re coming from, you can choose to get to Victoria by ferry, aeroplane, or seaplane. From Vancouver, we recommend Harbour Air Seaplanes or BC Ferries. From Washington State, take the Clipper, Black Ball Ferry Line, or Kenmore Air for a seamless and picturesque journey to Vancouver Island. 

 

Image: Harbour Air Seaplanes

 

Once you arrive, settle into your hotel. The Parkside Hotel & Spa is a fantastic option within minutes of downtown, and the Magnolia Hotel is another favourite, located right near the Inner Harbour. You can also scope out spring accommodation packages to find deals on hotels in Victoria

 

12:00 pm | Lunch at Canoe Brewpub

Walk over to Canoe Brewpub Marina & Restaurant to enjoy lunch with a waterfront view. The menu features elevated pub classics made using local, fresh ingredients that happen to pair nicely with Canoe’s own fleet of craft beers. We recommend trying a sampler or “flight” of craft beer alongside your lunch. 

canoe brewpub

canoe brewpub
Images: Canoe Brewpub

 

1:30 pm | Explore Downtown Victoria

Get acquainted with Victoria’s charming downtown neighbourhoods with an afternoon stroll. Start in Chinatown and make sure to duck down Fan Tan Alley, one of the most Instagrammable places in Victoria, to find quirky shops and take some photos. Continue along Government Street and walk down Lower Johnson, which is lined with gorgeous local boutiques, then explore Trounce Alley with its shops, galleries, and tapas bars (Bodega, Tapa Bar Restaurant).

Tip: Stop in at Madrona Gallery or Sean Schuster Fine Art Gallery to see a collection of fine Canadian artwork and photography. 

 

lower johnson street boutique shopping victoria bc
Image: @alexbordon_ on Instagram

 

4:00 pm | Break at The Drake

Once you’re ready to get off your feet, head to The Drake Eatery on Pandora Avenue. This craft beer bar has a cool, open atmosphere and is popular with locals, likely in part because it offers an extensive menu of renowned international and local craft beers from breweries like Phillips Brewing & Malting Co., Hoyne Brewing and Driftwood Brewery. Choose to sit indoors or on the back patio overlooking historic Market Square.

Tip: If you love craft beer, check out the Victoria Ale Trail, part of the self-guided BC Ale Trail

 

6:30 pm | Dinner at 10 Acres

For a truly farm-to-table experience, have dinner at 10 Acres. A unique downtown location with three separate dining areas in one building, you can choose from the Commons (casual, industrial atmosphere with oyster bar, great sushi and a live DJ), the Bistro (a true restaurant experience), and the Kitchen, which has been described as “slightly finer dining, inspired by land and sea.” Each eatery sources the majority of its ingredients from the namesake 10 Acres organic farm, located in North Saanich. 

We recommend: Fresh oysters and prosecco at the Commons, signature rotisserie chicken at the Bistro, the five-course tasting menu at the Kitchen. 

 

10 acres commons oysters
Image: 10 Acres Commons

 

9:00 pm | Live Music or Theatre

After dinner, take in some live music or theatre. Irish Times Pub and The Bard & Banker Pub (both on Government Street) have nightly house bands, and there are lots of other great venues around the city where you can find jazz, indie, or electronic music. Check out the online event calendar or visit Do250.com for more live music listings. If you prefer theatre or opera, research what’s happening at The Royal & McPherson Theatres

 

DAY 2

9:00 am | Breakfast at Nourish Kitchen & Cafe 

A perfect introduction to Victoria’s unique brunch culture, Nourish Kitchen & Cafe will charm you with its warm atmosphere (in a James Bay heritage home) and simple, elegant touches. We recommend trying the Benny Gone Nuts or Sleeping Beauty Pancakes. 

 

nourish garden
Image: Nourish Kitchen & Cafe

 

10:30 am | Bike Tour of Victoria

On a spring day in Victoria, the two best ways to get around are on foot or by bike. We recommend booking a guided tour with The Pedaler Cycling Tours and Rentals, who offer both traditional and e-bikes depending on riders’ ability level. The Castles, Hoods & Legends tour is a 2-hour excursion through which you will experience iconic landmarks of historic Chinatown, Craigdarroch Castle Historic House Museum, Beacon Hill Park, the scenic Dallas Road waterfront, and be introduced to local favourites Moss Rock, Cook Street Village, and artistic Fernwood. 

 

craigdarroch castle pedaler bike tour victoria
Image: The Pedaler

 

12:30 pm | Lunch at Steamship Grill

After your bike tour, simply walk across the street to Steamship Grill & Bar, which is located right on the waterfront in the historic Canadian Pacific Railway Steamship Terminal Building. Sit on the patio where you can enjoy lunch while watching over the bustling Inner Harbour.

 

2:00 pm | The Saanich Peninsula - Sidney and The Butchart Gardens

The Saanich Peninsula is a gem of southern Vancouver Island, home to expansive beaches and sprawling vineyards. If you’re driving, start by visiting the seaside town of Sidney, about 35 minutes away from downtown. Admire the many boutiques and bookshops along Beacon Avenue, take a selfie on Sidney Pier, and pay a visit to Victoria Distillers who are known for their award-winning craft gin. 

 

victoria distillers empress gin
Image: Victoria Distillers

 

A 15-minute drive from Sidney is the world-famous Butchart Gardens, which erupts into a sea of vibrant colour each spring. During the spring months, you’ll see stunning tulip displays, lush greenery and fragrant blossoms and starting June 1 you can experience the Night Illumination from dusk until dark. Slow down and soak in your surroundings as you meander through the expansive gardens. 

Tip: If you enjoy cycling, the Saanich Peninsula is a fantastic place to explore on two wheels, with lots of winding, coastal roads and scenic areas. 

Night Illumination at The Butchart Gardens
Image: The Butchart Gardens

Dave Hutchison Images
Image: @davehutchisonimages

 

6:00 pm | Dinner at The Beach House

On your way back toward downtown, stop for dinner at The Beach House in scenic Cordova Bay. Perched high on a bluff above sandy, expansive Cordova Bay Beach, you’ll be treated to stunning ocean views as you sip local wines and dine on west coast-inspired dishes.

Tip: We recommend trying the West Coast Paella: fresh, wild salmon, halibut, jumbo prawns, mussels, chorizo and saffron rice served in a hot iron skillet. 

 

8:30 pm | Interactivity Board Game Cafe

After dinner, enjoy a fun, easy night out at the Interactivity Board Game Cafe. Grab one of their famous milkshakes and choose from over 500 games to play or buy. They’re open late (midnight or later) so this is a great option if you want to go out, but are looking for an alternative to Victoria’s bar scene. 

 

DAY 3

9:00 am | Coffee 

Victoria’s burgeoning coffee community is backed by dedicated, skilled baristas who take pride in their craft. The result is a speckling of incredible coffee shops throughout Victoria, each offering a slightly different take on espresso, filter coffee, tea, and snacks. We recommend Caffe Fantastico, Agrius by Fol Epi and Hey Happy

Once you’re appropriately caffeinated, start your day with a walk along the scenic Songhees Walkway. Cross the brand new Johnson Street Bridge and continue along the coastal pathway where you’ll see an interesting perspective on downtown Victoria from across the Inner Harbour. It’s also a great place to watch the float planes land and take off from the water. 

 

habit coffee victoria bc
Image: Habit Coffee by @cafesherethere on Instagram

 

10:30 am | Brunch 

Brunch is an institution in Victoria, and by this time you’ve probably already realized that when it comes to the most important meal of the day, Victorians don’t mess around. You’ve probably also realized that brunch doesn’t have to put you into a sugar-induced food coma. Here on the island, fresh seafood and locally-inspired dishes are the name of the game. 

Visit Agrius on Yates Street for house-made and local flavours inspired by the season. If you're still looking for more, check out this blog post on Must-Try Brunch Spots in Victoria

 

12:00 pm | Royal BC Museum or Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

After brunch, experience some local culture and history with a visit to the Royal BC Museum or the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. The museum is in the midst of preparing to open a brand-new exhibition, Maya: The Great Jaguar Rises, which opens on May 17. They also have several permanent collections that can be viewed year-round, including Our Living Languages, a groundbreaking interactive exhibition that celebrates the resilience and diversity of First Nations languages in BC. 

The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria is a must-visit for any art lover in Victoria. When it first opened in 1951, exhibitions were held in the historic 1889 mansion that is now adjacent to its seven modern galleries. With almost 20,000 works of art, the gallery is home to one of Canada’s most important Asian art collections and a permanent display of work by celebrated BC artist Emily Carr.

 

art gallery of greater victoria
Image: Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

 

2:30 pm | Snack Break

If you opted to stay downtown and visit the Royal BC Museum, pop over to La Taqueria Pinche Taco Shop on Fort Street for a quick pick-me-up. Their authentic Mexican street tacos are to die for, and two or three will tide you over between brunch and dinner later on. If you opted to visit the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, head over to the Oak Bay Beach Hotel and grab a snack at Kate’s Cafe. 

 

la taqueria victoria
Image: La Taqueria Pinche Taco Shop

 

3:00 pm | Boathouse Spa at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel

You’re on holiday, which means it’s okay to indulge a little bit. Treat yourself to a massage or facial at the Boathouse Spa & Bath, and take time to soak in the outdoor, oceanfront mineral pools before or after your treatment. 

 

6:30 pm | Dinner at The Marina Restaurant or Vis a Vis 

For a memorable final evening in Victoria, enjoy an upscale dinner at The Marina Restaurant in Oak Bay, which overlooks the Oak Bay Marina. Choose from elevated classics like panko crusted Fanny Bay oyster burger or hot smoked salmon salad. Alternatively, dine at Vis a Vis on Oak Bay Avenue, a quaint French bistro with a romantic flare. 

 

oak bay beach hotel victoria bc
Image: Oak Bay Beach Hotel

 

9:00 pm | Cocktails 

Cap things off with a handcrafted libation at one of Victoria’s many fine cocktail bars. Head to the Chateau Victoria, home to Clive’s Classic Lounge and Vista 18 Westcoast Grill & Wine Bar, a restaurant with spectacular views over the city. We also love Little Jumbo Restaurant & Bar and Clarke & Co. who are both known for their quaint atmospheres and creative cocktail menus. 

 

#ExploreVictoria

Please note: Time of day is provided to give visitors a general sense of activity duration. Please check with individual businesses for hours of operation, and then go at your own pace.