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Explore the capital like a local with these insider tips
In Victoria, traditional tourist draws are taking a creative turn as fun, entrepreneurial offerings usher in new options for exploring B.C.’s capital. Tour the city through the backstreets (yes to charming neighbourhoods; no to Parliament) and swap your afternoon tea for little plates of cicchetti.
For an elegant home-away-from-home with killer location, Magnolia Hotel & Spa is outstanding. Guest rooms are newly refreshed, with plush and irresistible interiors that will tempt you to cut your evening early and invite you to lounge in bed a bit longer the next morning. Get a room with a harbour view and you can watch the float planes land and take off – from bed, of course – while sipping fresh coffee (thanks, Keurig).
Feeling nibbly? Catalano is the hotel’s restaurant and bar, where you can order the gorgeously green Coastal Gin & Tonic (spiked with spirulina) while snacking on an assortment of cicchetti – small sharing plates that were made for happy hour. Must tries: arancini (deep-fried risotto balls), crispy polenta fries and the meatball flight (duck, pork, beef).
Tip: Cicchetti are half price from 4-6 p.m. and after 9 p.m.
Take a guided tour of Victoria by bike and get an authentic feel of how this city loves its neighbourhoods and neighbours – because Victoria also loves its cyclists. The Pedaler offers themed tours that break up the cycling with stops at eateries (Eat. Drink. Pedal.), breweries (Hoppy Hour Ride) and even castles (Castles, Hoods & Legends).
The Beans & Bites tour is an easy and pretty 10k ride through neighbourhoods like downtown, Fernwood and Chinatown. Stops can vary, but often include local favourites like Bubby’s Kitchen, Fernwood Coffee Company and Bon Macaron. This is the perfect balance of sightseeing, exercise, caffeine and sugar.
719 Douglas Street, Victoria. 778.265.RIDE(7433)
Back in the day, Fort Street was best known for its lineup of antique stores. Today, people flock to Fort Street for the food, everything from steaming bowls of comfort noodles to artisanal imported cheeses to house-cured sausages. Check out:
Fans of local, craft beer, spirits and ciders will be impressed with Victoria’s homegrown, award-winning offerings. Whether you’re looking for a few pints, sleeves, shots or flights, there’s a tasty drink waiting for you in Victoria. Better yet, take a tour and learn about how humble grains and hops turn into liquid gold.
Check out Tourism Victoria for more information about visiting Victoria!