The day before Thanksgiving my family and I decided to take a day trip to Victoria, British Columbia. We took the Victoria Clipper which normally leaves at 8 a.m. but due to rough waters that day we left at 9 a.m. I highly recommend killing some time at the cafe before you get to the waiting area. They filled my parents coffee to the brim and had really good bagels. The line for the cafe was pretty long though so be prepared to wait.

Getting on the Victoria Clipper felt a lot like getting on a plane. They had attendants that would check your bags, and you had to go through customs. My dad told me they are very picky about letting people in, pending what you tell customs you’re doing. Luckily since we were going for just a few hours, we had no problems.

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Victoria was about as cold as Seattle has been the past few weeks: high 40’s. This limited us a bit, but weather doesn’t really impact the fun required to go shopping!

We spent most of our time walking down Government street. The first store we went into was called “Out of Ireland Irish Importers”, which I would recommend going to if you’re Irish. We also went to the Bay Centre which reminded me of Westlake in Seattle. None of the stores in the mall tickled my fancy enough to go inside but I would recommend checking out Jugo Juice.

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We spent a majority of our time at Bard and Banker. This place was a historic building that was a bank for 100 years before becoming  a year-round Christmas store, and  the present day bar. Bard and Banker had various booths tucked back that had placards labeling what offices/rooms they used to be. There is no way to accurately describe the style of this restaurant except that the wood work was stunning.

My dad and I got the Rotisserie Chicken sandwich which was so good I didn’t even stop to breathe. My mother got the fresh salmon which she also loved.

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We also went to China Town and got to see one of the most narrow alleyways that used to lead to their red light district. My first China Town experience was in New York so this didn’t really compare, although their Chinatown is the second oldest China Town in North America. I would go check out all the Chinese stores and markets because they had some cool authentic nic-naks.

We got back to the states around 8 p.m. and the water was not nearly as rough. Overall the food was my favorite part of the trip but I think a day trip to Victoria would be more valuable during the summer.

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The Newbie’s Guide to the Pacific Northwest is always looking for suggestions on what to do next. Talk to us on social media with hashtag #NewbiesGuidePNW with your ideas!