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How to Spend Your Christmas Getaway in Victoria, BC

Looking for some festive ways to spend your weekend in Victoria, BC? We've got you covered from festive events and activities to local hot spots for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Take the MV COHO over from Port Angeles, WA (about a 2.5 hour drive from Seattle) and arrive in the Inner Harbour of downtown Victoria. During this time of year, we have an 8:20am sailing or a 2:00pm sailing from Port Angeles.

Save BIG when you book your Christmas Magic holiday through us. Packages are from $169 USD pp/do and include your ferry, a hotel stay in Victoria, and The Butchart Gardens admission with round trip shuttle transportation from downtown Victoria. 



Christmas Magic in the Inner Harbour of downtown Victoria

Christmas Magic in the Inner Harbour of downtown Victoria.

Day One - Arrive in Victoria for an Overnight Stay

8:20am Depart from Port Angeles. We recommend taking the 8:20am sailing to maximize your time in Victoria!
If you are traveling in a vehicle, you must be at the terminal 60 minutes prior to your departure, or 30 minutes prior for walk-on passengers.

9:50am Arrive in Victoria, go through Canada Customs, and check into your Victoria hotel. If you are unable to check-in early, the hotel can store your bags complimentary until your room is ready. The Butchart Gardens Christmas lights are in the evening, so we recommend experiencing some festive activities in downtown during the day.

12:00pm Go for lunch in downtown Victoria. Victoria has many local restaurants to choose from... All within walking distance of our terminal and hotel partners! We recommend one of the following:
- Boomtown (950 Yates Street): A popular spot for tacos & burritos with an impressive outdoor patio.
- Burger Crush (787 Fort Street): Burgers, shakes & hand-cut fries with vegan options.
- Foo Asian Street Food (769 Yates Street): Easygoing place serving varied Asian street food, beer & cider in a contemporary space with a patio.
- The Drake Eatery (517 Pandora Avenue): Relaxed bar and eatery serving thoughtfully sourced comfort food dishes and a large menu of craft beer. 
- Gozen Sushi Bar Izakaya (1005 Langley Street): Japanese small plates with an extensive sushi menu.

Christmas in Victoria's Chinatown

Christmas in Victoria's Chinatown. Credit: Destination Greater Victoria, Brandon McGeachie.

1:00pm Do some local Christmas shopping. Government Street is home to a variety of iconic shops, such as Rogers' ChocolatesMurchie's Tea & Coffee, Merchant Quarters General Store (clothing, shoes and home), and Munro's Books. Be sure to check out Low Jo (Lower Johnson Street, off of Government Street); home to many local boutique shops including Rook and Rose (flower and lifestyle), Still Life (clothes and accessories), and ANIAN (durable, earth-friendly clothing)

Festival of Trees at The Bay Centre

Festival of Trees at The Bay Centre.

3:00pm Continue your shopping journey at the Bay Centre, and check out the Festival of Trees at the same time! Wander through all levels of the mall and vote by donation for your favorite. All proceeds go to BC Children’s Hospital. The Festival of Trees is on for the entire month of December.

4:00pm Enjoy an early dinner before heading to Christmas Magic at The Butchart Gardens. We recommend one of the following: 
- Pagliacci's (1011 Broad Street): A classic Victoria resaurant serving pasta, steak, and endless focaccia bread.
- Nobu Kitchen + Bar (490 Pandora Avenue): A fusion of Japanese favorites and Canadian dishes. 
- Sult Pierogi Bar
(609 Yates Street): Industrial-style hub serving Eastern European-inspired dishes like dumplings, sausages & sauerkraut.
- Little Jumbo (506 Fort Street #102): Cozy, urban speakeasy providing a chill atmosphere, an imaginative, elevated menu and craft cocktails.

Christmas Magic at The Butchart Gardens

Christmas Magic at The Butchart Gardens. Credit: The Butchart Gardens.

6:00pm Depart from the Fairmont Empress Hotel to The Butchart Gardens. Make sure to check in at the kiosk outside of the Fairmont about 15 minutes prior to your scheduled departure. 

Please Note: The shuttle departs from the Fairmont Empress Hotel at 6:00pm daily and 4:00pm on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. If you reserve the 4:00pm shuttle, you must return on the 7:00pm shuttle from The Butchart Gardens. If you reserve the 6:00pm shuttle, you must return on the 9:00pm shuttle. 

6:35pm/6:40pm Arrive at The Butchart Gardens. Grab a warm beverage from their Coffee Shop, and walk through the Twelve Days of Christmas display. You will have just over two hours to leisurely explore The Butchart Gardens.

9:00pm Depart The Butchart Gardens back to downtown Victoria. 

9:35pm/9:40pm Arrive at the Fairmont Empress Hotel. If you are interested in exploring the nightlife of downtown Victoria, there are some great local pubs and cocktail lounges. We recommend one (or more!) of the following:
- Wind Cries Mary (45 Bastion Square): Homey restaurant offering refined share plates.
Whistle Buoy Brewing Company (Market Square, Lower Courtyard, 560 Johnson Street): One of Victoria's newest micro-breweries located in Market Square featuring a large dog friendly patio and a cozy taproom.
- Citrus & Cane
(1900 Douglas Street): Fashionable bar presenting cocktails, beers and wine amid retro-style surroundings.
- Block Kitchen & Bar (538 Yates Street #101): Restaurant and bar serving an Asian-fusion menu designed to be shared alongside amazing cocktails.

Brunch at Heron Rock Bistro

Brunch at Heron Rock Bistro.

Day Two - Explore Downtown Victoria Before Going Back to Port Angeles

9:00am Eat breakfast at one of Victoria's top brunch spots. We recommend one of the following:
- Heron Rock Bistro (435 Simcoe Street): A Canadian bistro with occasional live music, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner 7 days a week.
- Frankie's Modern Diner (910 Government Street): A contemporary diner serving classic breakfast dishes with a modern twist.
- John's Place (723 Pandora Avenue): A Classic Diner serving up nostalgic breakfast and brunch dishes.
- Nourish Kitchen & Cafe (225 Quebec Street): Farm-fresh mains and snacks in a Victorian house.

Want something a little lighter? Try one of these coffee shops/bakeries instead:
- Rise and Grind (1294 Broad Street): Daytime cafe for breafast and lunch sandwiches, wraps and salads in casual digs with counter service.
- Crust Bakery (730 Fort Street): A local hot spot offering an array of baked goods, pastries and coffee.

11:00am Marvel at the handmade gingerbread creations (that are 100% edible!) and vote by donation for your favorite at the annual Gingerbread Showcase happening at the Hotel Grand Pacific (right across the street from our Victoria terminal!). All proceeds go to Habitat for Humanity Victoria. Visit their website for more information.

Christmas at the Pendray Tea House

Christmas at the Pendray Tea House.

12:00pm Experience winter tea at the Pendray Tea House this holiday season, located across the street from our Victoria terminal. Choose from a selection of fine teas, as well as elegant tea plates filled with assorted breads, sweets and pastries.


2:00pm Enjoy a cozy horse-drawn carriage tour with Victoria Carrige Tours. Book a private carriage tour and take a unique journey through downtown Victoria and the surrounding areas. 

Horse-Drawn Carriage Tours
Beacon Hill Park Tour (60 minute tour): Delight in escaping the city by traveling to the crown jewel of Victoria, Beacon Hill Park. Catch a glimpse of local wildlife while enjoying the serenity Beacon Hill Park has to offer. Travel along the coastline of Dallas Road where the Salish Sea meets the Olympic Mountains. Return through the Victorian historical district of James Bay where you will feel as though time has stood still.
The Royal Tour (75 minute tour): Experience the melodic hoof beats as your eyes indulge in the natural ecosystem of Beacon Hill Park. The beautiful landscape will capture your imagination as you are told stories of then and now. Featuring an extended experience overlooking the Salish Sea and Olympic Mountains portraying the true beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Engage in local tales of the historical James Bay neighborhood.


4:00pm Depart from Victoria. 
If you are traveling in a vehicle, you must be at the terminal 90 minutes prior to your departure, or 30 minutes prior for walk-on passengers.

5:30pm Arrive in Port Angeles and go through US Customs.

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