The Ultimate Pacific Northwest Travel Guide: Part 1- Vancouver and Victoria, BC
I recently spent 5 days in the Pacific Northwest and fell in love with yet another destination I’m quite sure to return to. This trip was a bit of a different experience for me as I spent some of it sleeping in a tent, but more on that in Part 2.
I’d been hearing such great things about Vancouver, British Columbia for quite a while. When I mentioned this to my boyfriend Phillip, he jumped at the chance to plan this trip. Together, we got to experience and appreciate another part of Canada (remember our trip to Mont Tremblant?) just in time for Canada Day! We also made our way over to beautiful Victoria, BC.
If you’re looking for destinations with lots of charm and natural beauty, put Vancouver and Victoria on your list.
Alaska Airlines has frequent flights to Seattle and Vancouver. We knew we were ending our trip in Seattle so we opted to fly into Sea Tac airport, rent a car and drive to Vancouver. It was a 6 hour nonstop flight from New York City to Seattle and a one-hour drive to Vancouver from there.
On day 2 we took a 90 minute ferry ride from Vancouver to Victoria which was $90 USD per vehicle. BC Ferries provided a first class experience. This convenient way to travel throughout Canada also brings some beautiful views of Galiano Island and the San Juan Islands along the way. Buy your tickets in advance and arrive to the ferry about 30 minutes early. There’s a cafe on the boat, but you MUST stop into Sweet Thea Cake Company for a croissant at the Ferry hub before boarding.
Vancouver is a quaint, walkable city with lots of food and drink options. After 10 hours of travel we were ready to enjoy the laid-back lifestyle of the Canadians. Since we would be in the city for less than 24 hours, we narrowed the down neighborhoods we would visit to Gastown, the Waterfront district and Granville Island.
Eat and Drink
My favorite picks are Cactus Club Cafe for the best cocktail menu and light bites. Fresh fruit cocktails and frose are the specialty there. Get the guacamole with chimichurri sauce. It’s one of the best guacs I’ve had! There’s music and a big crowd. Sit at the bar for faster service.
Granville Island is a seaside village and foodie haven. Wild Canadian Seafood serves up lots of yummy options like poutine, chowder and plenty of seafood straight from the Pacific Ocean. My must-try here was the lavender chai latte served with lavender rum. Yum! On a Sunday, most places close on the earlier side, so definitely get here early to enjoy.
Stay at the Delta Inn and Suites, Vancouver in Gastown which offers easy access to most neighborhoods by foot with comfortable, well designed and spacious rooms. The hospitality and efficiency of service here is one of the best I’ve experienced for a chain hotel.
24 hours in Vancouver was just scratching the surface, but the short time spent here just gives us an excuse to go back and see more!
See and Do
The Butchart Gardens are by far the most beautiful public gardens I’ve ever been to. You simply cannot visit Victoria without going here. Once home to the Butchart family, this has since been turned into fifty-five acres of exquisite gardens.
Visit for the 5 different gardens and stay for lunch, afternoon tea, or gelato.
Stay, Eat and Drink
Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub and Guesthouses is a triple threat. With a waterfront restaurant, brewery and rooms right on site, Spinnakers is the perfect destination for your time in Victoria.
Upon arrival to Spinnakers you’ll be greeted with a beer flight and chocolate truffle tasting. Dine on the outside patio with views of the harbor or sit upstairs in their brewpub.
The Heritage House is a beautiful Victorian home converted into 5 guest rooms. Each room provides a homey stay with a full bathtub, fireplace and patio. If you followed along on my instagram stories, you got a sweet tour of our room!
Out on the town
After checking into our home away from home for the night and getting a buzz going, we walked along the harbor into town to see what else Victoria had to offer.
Although a bunch of places were closed in observance of Canada day, we managed to find a great bar in downtown Victoria. Bard and Banker is another establishment full of history. The bar opened in 1885 as the Bank of British Columbia. Robert Service was a banker, but an even more successful bard (poet). His writings became so profitable that he was able to leave the banking industry and focus solely on his writing. Hence the name, Bard and Banker. He lived most of his life in France and the wine list here is heavily influenced by that.
Besides the cool history, this place has a great vibe and gave me feels of a classy London pub.
An Unphogettable send-off
We capped off our stay in Victoria at Green Leaf Vietnamese Bistro. This authentic Vietnamese cuisine did not disappoint. We had heard that Asian food in this region was a must-try and I wholeheartedly agree!
I hope you enjoyed part one of my guide to the Pacific Northwest. Stay tuned for parts two and three coming soon!