Road Trip: Victoria, BC

This charming coastal city on Vancouver Island is only a three- to five-hour trip northwest of Seattle
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Where: Victoria, British Columbia, a charming coastal city on Vancouver Island that’s a three- to five-hour trip northwest of Seattle (via the Victoria Clipper, clippervacations.com/seattle-victoria-ferry; or by car and state ferry; wsdot.wa.gov/Ferries).

Why: The iconic Fairmont Empress Hotel (Victoria, 721 Government St.; 250.384.8111; fairmont.com/empress-victoria) recently finished phase one of a two-part renovation, unveiling 235 revamped guest rooms ($299–$599), a new fine dining restaurant (Q at the Empress) and a makeover of the Lobby Lounge, where the traditional Tea at the Empress has been in place since 1908 ($75–$120, children $37.50; 250.389.2727). Indulge in a midafternoon delight of ethically sourced loose-leaf teas, raisin scones and much more. Then peruse the rooms’ new look—modernity with a nod to the past—featuring local Canadian artwork and design touches that embrace the hotel’s legacy and the city of Victoria herself.


Feast Your Eyes
: The nearby Butchart Gardens (prices vary; 250.652.5256; butchartgardens.com) offers weekend-only tours in November through the lush greenhouses, where visitors can chat with the gardeners and peek at the upcoming holiday decor.

See the City: For more happenings in and around Victoria, from scenic hikes to the trendiest eats (and for some delicious eye candy), check out Tourism Victoria on Instagram (@tourismvictoriabc).

Holiday Bonus: Time your visit for Saturday, November 26 to enjoy sparkling floats and vehicles at Island Farms Santa’s Light Parade at 5:45 p.m. in downtown Victoria.

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