British Columbia

Weekend Getaway: Victoria, B.C.

If you’re looking for an easy weekend get-away, Victoria on Vancouver Island is just a short jaunt from Seattle, and offers a wide variety of options for filling your weekend. Of course, if you’re going in the winter, you’ll still probably be greeted with rain, but sometimes rain in a new city is just less annoying. Sometimes.

Victoria, B.C

Getting There

You have a few options for getting to Victoria, and it depends entirely on if you want your car or not. If you do not need a car, you can take the Victoria Clipper, which is a passenger only ferry leaving 3 times daily from downtown Seattle. It drops you off in downtown Victoria, so it is actually possible to rely solely on your feet and cabs if you want to ditch the car. The ride takes around three hours.

If you want your car, you’ll need to take one of the car ferries. You can either leave on the Washington State Ferry from Anacortes, which will drop you off in Sidney B.C. (about 20 minutes away from Victoria) or you can take the Black Ball ferry from Port Angeles, which will drop you off in the heart of Victoria’s downtown.

If you want to splurge on fancy (and beautiful) transportation, you can always catch a Kenmore Air float plane straight to Victoria’s Inner Harbor.

What to Do

Victoria’s Fisherman’s Wharf

Victoria’s Fisherman’s Wharf

Fisherman’s Wharf – This tiny and colorful dock village is a cute place to check out! There are food and drink options, including seafood at Barb’s Fish and Chips and tacos from Puerto Vallarta Amigos. There are also a few souvenir shops, kayak and SUP rentals, fishing boats, and the coolest houseboats. You are allowed to walk around and admire the floating houses, but a sign reminds you that real residents live there and to keep things quiet so try to keep your commentary on the down low. Please note, Fisherman’s Wharf becomes a bit sleepy in the winter with a lot of the businesses closing down.

The sleeping moss lady at Beacon Hill Park

The sleeping moss lady at Beacon Hill Park

Beacon Hill Park – This place is by far the best of the best when it comes to city parks. The park is huge and located on the shores of the Juan de Fuca straight. It’s COVERED with numerous ponds and fountains and a pride of peacocks. Yes, real peacocks ambushing your picnic! It’s the best. There is also some pretty incredible art at the park including the sleeping moss lady, who might win for best park art of all time. Can this place be any cooler?

Inner Harbor – The harbor is where the ferry boats dock when dropping off passengers, and it includes many streets that lead into the downtown area. This part of downtown is littered with restaurants and bars, and is a perfect place for afternoon shopping and souvenir buying. You can easily stroll it on foot and make sure to plan plenty of time for shopping and pub crawling.

It might be small, but Victoria is home to Canada’s oldest Chinatown

It might be small, but Victoria is home to Canada’s oldest Chinatown

Chinatown – Also located downtown, this Chinatown is extremely tiny (really just one street!), but a fun place to checkout and take a stroll down. There is a large red arch that welcomes you to the area and an ornate and beautiful Chinese public school in addition to groceries, shops, and restaurants. Despite it’s small size, it is the oldest one in all of Canada!

Eat & Drink

Bao – Located in Chinatown next to the public school, Boa is a delicious Asian fusion restaurant with a warm vibe. Everything on the menu is amazing, so we recommend getting the truffle ramen and a mix and match of all the boa. Wash it all down with some sake and bring a friend to help you split more dishes!

La Taqueria Pinche Taco Shop

La Taqueria Pinche Taco Shop - It might lure you in because it has the most instagramable floor in the city, but once you taste the tacos, you’ll forget all about your Instagram feed. All of their meat tacos have delicious flavor, but they also have an awesome selection of vegetarian tacos. We loved the hongos and the rajas con cream. And for the love of God, please order one of their fantastic margaritas with the spicy rim.

Pagliacci’s – Not to be confused with Seattle’s pizza chain of the same name, Victoria’s Pagliacci’s is a cozy and fun Italian joint that has been around since 1979. They have a large menu featuring a variety of pasta dishes plus seafood and steaks and soft focaccia bread! They also have free music from 8-10pm nightly.

Victoria Public Market – While pretty small, the public market is a great place downtown to stop in for some light shopping and a snack. There are currently around 13 vendors that make up this little market, and you can get your fill on tacos, teriyaki, sandwiches, waffles, pie and more!

Big Bad John's

Big Bad John’s - No city is complete without a bonafide dive bar, and Big Bad John’s has Victoria covered. It’s a self-declared “hillbilly” bar that opened in 1962 where country music is played, stiff drinks are poured, and you can throw peanut shells on the floor. The walls are covered in dollar bills, interesting art, and the occasional bra or two. It has everything you want in a dive bar and is a great place to get your night started, people watch, or drown your sorrows in a dark corner.

What else do you love about Victoria? We feel like we have barely scratched the surface, and we can’t wait to go back and explore more!

Vancouver Vacation in 48 Hours

Vancouver, B.C. is a beautiful city with a lot to offer. As Seattle locals, we admit to a smallll bias, but even trying to take our own personal thoughts out of the equation, we think Seattle has a small edge on Vancouver in regards to vibe and overall cool factor. Vancouver does have some things we don't, like an Olympic Village, a hockey team, and an accessible beach right downtown. Long story short, it's a sprawling city with much to do and everyone should visit at least once!

If you are looking for a fun weekend away from the U.S. of A., we definitely recommend checking out the chillest city in Canada. Here are our recommendations for 48 hours in Vancouver, B.C. 

The lovely Vancouver skyline

The lovely Vancouver skyline


Whether you are driving or flying you will need to grab some dinner as soon as you get into town on Friday night. We recommend heading straight to Gastown, a hip and fun neighborhood full of great restaurants, bars, and shopping. Before you grab your dinner go see the famous steam clock on the corner of Cambie and Waters St. It's one of six in the world and every quarter hour it "chimes," shooting steam and whistles. If you aren't hungry yet, explore Gastown's many boutique shops. 

Left: Six Acres is a bar that welcomes you in, Right: Soft Peaks Salted Caramel soft serve

Left: Six Acres is a bar that welcomes you in, Right: Soft Peaks Salted Caramel soft serve

From there we have a few recommendations for dinner. Our favorite would be to walk down Waters St. to Six Acres. This is our favorite spot to take visitors since their menu caters to just about everyone and they have friendly service and a great central spot for people watching. Rodney's Oyster House is great for lovers of seafood and the German in us loves Bauhaus too! If you are looking for something casual, head over to the first brick and mortar location of Tacofino. This spot gained fame in Tofino as a food truck and when they finally set up shop in Vancouver a couple years ago they were welcomed by hoards of lifelong lovers of their fish tacos! 

After dinner go grab some casual dessert at Soft Peaks. Their soft serve ice cream is to die for! 


Alright, rise and shine -- it's going to be a busy day! First stop, Stanley Park. Our favorite way to explore Stanley Park is by bike. Stop by Spokes Bicycle Rentals and pick up your ride for the morning. Take the bike path into the park and either just explore the many trails or head around the sea wall for amazing views of the city, Burrard Inlet, English Bay, and the Lions Gate Bridge. Stanley Park is also home to the Vancouver Aquarium and we highly recommend a trip here. You could spend a whole day here exploring, but for a short weekend trip budget two hours and plan to see the highlights! They have a wonderful program to save orphaned or injured sea life so you can see amazing creatures here including beluga whales, dolphins, and sharks. Oh, and don't forget the otters and penguins, so cute! 

The dolphins getting a quick bite to eat at the Vancouver Aquarium.

The dolphins getting a quick bite to eat at the Vancouver Aquarium.

Lion's Gate Bridge from Stanley Park Seawall

Lion's Gate Bridge from Stanley Park Seawall

Capilano Suspension Bridge

Capilano Suspension Bridge

After Stanley Park head to North Vancouver. It would be great to have a car over here because things are spread out, but you can get around via bus or Uber too. First things first, grab lunch. La Taqueria has the best street tacos in the city. Seriously, order as many as you can eat because they are delicious. From here, head up to your suspension bridge of choice. Most people want to experience Capilano Suspension Bridge - it's huge, it's famous, and it will be crowded. It also costs $40. If you are okay with a slightly smaller suspension bridge we recommend heading to Lynn Canyon. This park has a beautiful suspension bridge that is free to access and much less crowded. 

Grouse Grind

After you are finished swinging in the trees, catch the gondola up Grouse Mountain (you can also hike to the top, but you might hate us after). The ride itself is wonderful and at the top you have tons of options for exploring. In the warm months you'll be greeted with amazing views of the city, lots of hiking trails, and access to zip-lining and paragliding! In the winter this mountain turns into a beautiful ski resort, with good skiing, an ice skating rink, and warm fires to hang with friends. 

After you are done at Grouse Mountain you've earned another delicious meal. Vancouver is known for its Asian cuisine. Don't leave without trying at least some variety. Vij's is Vancouver's premier Indian restaurant and is a can't miss. There is often a wait, but it's worth it for the mouthwatering meats and sauces you'll experience once you're inside. Make sure to order the lamb popsicle side. Another great spot is Dinesty Dumpling House; don't leave without trying their soup dumplings. 


Wake up and head to downtown. Twisted Fork is waiting for you with delicious brunch. If you like us at all you'll have the bloody mary and eggs benny, but the ultimate choice is your own. From here there are a few keys spots you still need to hit up to truly experience Vancouver. 

Granville Island Public Market is a wonderful market stuffed full of food, artisan goods, and fresh produce. It's definitely no Pike Place Market, but it's still a fun place to explore and shop! We also recommend a visit to Van Dusen Botanical Gardens. Regardless of the season this is a beautiful public garden to take a stroll through.

Granville Island awaits. Bring an empty stomach!

Granville Island awaits. Bring an empty stomach!

When you're ready to grab lunch walk over to Meat and Bread for a sandwich. This will put you near the waterfront. Vancouver has done a wonderful job of building out an amazing path that let's you walk the length of downtown overlooking the Burrard Inlet. The path juts out and around their stunning convention center and allows you to check out some of the great public art the city has installed. 

There are also two great museums, Museum of Vancouver and Science World. They take some time to explore, so you'll probably have to pick one or the other if your trip is short. Science World would be the obvious choice if you have kids in your group. Museum of Vancouver is great for the history buff. 

If you get through everything on this list, props to you! It will be a busy weekend. Regardless of what pace you move at or how much you see, Vancouver is a bustling, beautiful place and everyone can enjoy it. 

Seasonal things to check on when in town

Sporting Events - Vancouver has three great sports teams. Check their schedules before your trip to see if you can snag tickets. 

Richmond Night Market - This amazing, sprawling market is usually open from May - October in Vancouver's neighboring town Richmond. There are over 200 retail stalls and 500 food stalls. 

Celebration of Light - Each summer Vancouver hosts this international fireworks competition spans three nights and offers some of the best firework displays you've ever seen! 

Summer Festivals and Concerts - The city comes alive in the summer months when the weather is perfect. Check this calendar to see what is going on around the city when you're visiting. 

48 Hours in Tofino, B.C.

Wild Pacific Trail

Wild Pacific Trail

There are certain places on this planet that are good for your soul. Tofino, British Columbia is one of these places. When you drive into town everything slows down, you release all the stress of the day-to-day and you just relax. Here is how to make the most of your time in this little slice on heaven in the PNW. 

Day One: 

If you leave Vancouver on the morning ferry (8AM) you'll arrive in Tofino around 1:00 PM that day. As you drive into town you'll be hungry, grab lunch at Tacofino, Canada's most famous food truck (RoS Tip: baja style lingcod tacos). After filling your belly with fish tacos (aka crack tacos) head to your accommodations and get settled before some more activities. Our favorite spot is Tides Inn. If you are into friendly service, spacious rooms, and great views check it out. After dropping off your luggage, we recommend seeing a little bit of what Tofino has to offer. Chesterman Beach is one of the most popular places to check out. Take in all the surfers (many are beginners! Get inspired if you have never surfed before, you can do it!) and enjoy the sandy beach. During low tide you can even hike out to an island just a little ways out on the sand bar for a little adventure. 

After spending some time at Chesterman Beach we wouldn't be surprised if you were a little thirsty. Luckily, Tofino Brewing Company is just up the road and offers a variety of craft beer to quench your thirst (RoS Tip: Spruce Tree Ale).

After sampling some flights and walking away with a 4-pack of bottles to enjoy on your own later, head back to your lodging and get cleaned up. It's dinner time! And the eating in Tofino is phenomenal. Spend night one at Shelter Restaurant. They are the pinnacle of local eating and offer up mouth-watering grub at a reasonable price. (RoS Tip: Anything with the locally caught salmon, get at least a few oysters, and try one of their cocktails. It was probably constructed with items from the garden out back!)

Oysters and salmon at Shelter

Oysters and salmon at Shelter

After dinner head to one of the local beaches and build a fire, listen to the surf, and crack open a bottle or two (or three or four) of your Tofino Brewery bottles. 

Day Two:

Start the day early and head to Ucluelet to hike the Wild Pacific Trail. It will take you around an hour to do the fairly easy hike and the views are spectacular. Then head back to Tofino and spend an hour or so exploring the main street. There is great shopping, including the Roy Henry Vickers Gallery (can't miss!), our favorite clothing shop, Habit Clothing, and tucked away behind the bank, Merge, sells all things local! You can also duck into a number of coffee shops for a hit of caffeine and check out some of the local surf shops. 

Probably about time for lunch now, eh? (we are in Canada, therefore you must work "Eh?" into your vernacular). Check out Sobo, you won't be disappointed. Or just go back to Tacofino, because you are probably addicted now and need another dose. No judgement, sometimes street food can be like spring break in Cabo, you forget your good sense and then wake up later feeling ashamed of what you did while under its spell. It happens to the best of us, just blame it on the taco high.

Now you have a wide open, beautiful afternoon available to you. You just have to decide what you want to do. Easier said that done sometimes. 

A. Surf? Use Surf Sister if you need lessons or rentals. Surfing is an amazing, freeing experience. Try it out if you haven't before and don't worry, the waves are small so falling is almost enjoyable. 

B. Hike? Pacific Rim National Park offers a bazillion trails. Pick one and head out into the wild. 

C. Take a tour? Great.Decide what you want to see. Hot spring? Bears? Whales? Seals? Ocean Outfitters has you covered. Great guides who respect the environment they are exploring.

D. Rent a bike and explore some more? Tofino Bike Company has got you covered.

After you return from afternoon adventuring head out for your final dinner, no doubt by now you have earned it. There is no other spot to have your grand finale than Schooner Restaurant. It is one of the oldest spots in town and that  means they have had years to perfect their dishes. Get the halibut. We repeat. Get. The. Halibut. (and the calamari.. and maybe a few cocktails too).

Schooner Restaurant

Schooner Restaurant

Day Three:

Wake up, grab a coffee and a pastry at Tuff Beans Coffee House and head over to our favorite local beach, Tonquin Beach, for an AM picnic. It is a short hike down 100 stairs (isn't as bad as it sounds) to the sand and once you arrive take in all the beauty around you and appreciate the time you've had in this small paradise. 

You'll want to leave town around 11AM to catch a ferry back to the mainland. As you drive out of town plan some time to stop at Chocolate Tofino for a bag of goodies to take with you on the road + an ice cream cone -- because you're on vacation and no one can tell you not to have that ice cream cone before lunch. No one!