I’m strolling along the Inner Harbour, where a steady stream of seaplanes and boats crisscross the water. My son is mesmerized by all the activity, but my attention is caught by the majestic buildings across the street: the elegant Fairmont Empress, built in 1908, and the stately B.C. Parliament Building–our destination. It feels like I’ve stepped back in time, with horse-drawn carriages passing in front of the beautiful turn-of-the-century architecture.
Mom Tested, Family Approved: A Weekend in Victoria, British Columbia
I’m pulled back to the present as a street performer starts up his act near us: juggling while balanced atop impossibly tall stilts. A crowd starts to gather and we watch for a few minutes before continuing on. There’s a number of performers along the water’s edge from a hipster band playing soulful indie music to a woman painted copper from head-to-toe, standing as still as a statue. My son is delighted by all this free entertainment, so we take our time and let him set the pace.
We’ve just filled our bellies with the best fish ‘n chips I’ve ever had (I’m seriously contemplating going back to Red Fish Blue Fish tomorrow for more), but when we pass by a food truck selling ice cream cones piled high with soft serve, we can’t resist getting some for dessert. We’re still licking our ice cream, catching the melting drips, as we head up the stairs from the harbor to the B.C. Parliament Building. Free tours are offered here daily, but we’re in it for the outside view. We’ve heard that every night at dusk, over 3,300 light bulbs illuminate the building.
So we hang out on the lawn while we wait, people watching while our son burns off some energy running around in the grass. The anticipation builds as dusk approaches, then suddenly all the lights come on at once. There’s a collective gasp, and a magical spell is cast over everyone there. It’s truly romantic and beautiful, like a scene out of a movie. I’m charmed, and our son is equally entranced. We take it in for a few minutes, snap some photos to capture the moment, then head back to our hotel with full bellies and happy hearts.
This is why Victoria, BC tops my list of amazing weekend getaways. It’s a kid-friendly destination and fun for adults, too. With a charming, historic downtown, an amazing foodie scene, top-notch tourist attractions, and an abundance of natural beauty, there’s plenty to keep the whole family happy and entertained for a weekend (or longer). Here are my musts for hotels in Victoria (and things to do) for your next weekend getaway or family vacation.
Where to Stay in Victoria
Any parent knows that the accommodation can make or break a trip when you’re traveling with kids. The Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort checks all the boxes: a convenient location (right on the harbor in the heart of Victoria), reasonable prices, a spa, and fitness center for the adults, and all kinds of fun amenities for the kids. There’s an indoor saltwater pool, nightly storytime in the lobby (complete with milk and cookies!) and babysitting services.. Playpens, cribs, and highchairs are free to borrow, and they even fold the towels into cute animal shapes for a playful touch. The hotel also has a great onsite restaurant called LURE where kids under six eat free. It features fresh, local food, and has a beautiful waterfront patio.
Delta Hotels by Marriott Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort
More Ideas For Things To Do in Victoria on your Long Family Weekend:
Shop and eat at Victoria Public Market
– Check out Victoria’s Chinatown, the oldest Chinatown in Canada and the second oldest in North America after San Francisco.
– Indulge in fancy soft serve ice cream at Chocolats Favoris.
– Visit Hatley Castle, a beautiful castle with manicured gardens that was the location for several movies and TV shows (X-Men, Deadpool, Arrow, and Smallville, among others).
– Tour the famous Butchart Gardens and ride the carousel there.
– Explore the Victoria Butterfly Gardens where you’ll find over 3,000 butterflies, flamingos and other tropical birds, and koi ponds. It’s just down the road from the Butchart Gardens and is a favorite with kids.
– Do as the locals do and enjoy a day at Willows Beach (sandy shores and shallow water, as well as a toddler-friendly playground).
– Visit Fort Rodd Hill and the Fisgard Lighthouse–the first lighthouse on the west coast of Canada. It’s a scenic spot, and you can tour the inside of the lighthouse, too!