Winter Romance: 7 Victoria Weekend Date Escapes for Seattleites

Your phone buzzes. Your other half has added another pin to your “vacations” bucket list. It’s now well into winter and it’s been months since your last trip out of the country together. You think to yourself…if only there was a way to escape the usual day-to-day just for a weekend. But, wait!

There’s a quick getaway that’s closer to home than you might think. A brief ride aboard the Victoria Clipper will land you in one of the world’s most romantic cities. From indulging in local cuisine to soaking in mineral spas on the oceanfront, to discovering quaint boutiques and British architecture, Victoria is the perfect winter date for weekend nomads.

Butchart Gardens Holiday Lights

1. Explore the Romantic side of Victoria by Carriage

Soak in the holiday scenery with a carriage ride through downtown. Photo: Carrie McLachlan
Soak in the holiday scenery with a carriage ride through downtown. Photo: Carrie McLachlan

After embarking on a quick and easy water trip to Victoria, head straight for downtown Victoria in search of coffee and a scone (or two) at a nearby coffee shop. One of our favorites, Habit Coffee, is centrally located on Johnson Street and offers sustainable roasts from around the world. Once you’re both warmed up again, hail a horse and carriage and settle in together for a romantic sightseeing trip around town.

Head for peaceful Beacon Hill Park and take in the winter scenery. Then, return to the serene Inner Harbour and watch as boats drift lazily in and out. Follow it up with Spanish small plates at The Tapa Bar in Trounce Alley or a cocktail at Little Jumbo on Fort Street. For an especially romantic evening, head to the holiday Ferris wheel in Centennial Square to catch stunning views as you soar above the city.

2. Immerse yourself in breathtaking Views

Unwind and enjoy the sun setting over the Inner Harbour at the Inn at Laurel Point.
Unwind and watch the sun set over the Inner Harbour.

When it comes to the Inner Harbour, there’s no better place to soak in the view than from your room at the Inn at Laurel Point. For extra brownie points, book the Romance Package, and pamper your sweetie with a botanical bath kit, sparkling wine and in-room breakfast. If you want a special date dinner, head downstairs to the award-winning Aura waterfront restaurant. There you will enjoy a special winter menu featuring dishes such as lavender honey marinated duck or pistachio and parsley crusted rockfish.

Enjoy the night on the restaurant’s patio, wrap up in a blanket together and share some bubbly as the Harbour turns into a sea of bobbing lights. A little insider tip, be sure to check out the restaurant’s amazing breakfast. Their Eggs Benny is heavenly, and the only one we’ve ever had with tangy grapefruit melon salsa.

3. Spend an evening under the Stars

Arm in arm, skate under the soft glow of twinkling lights. Photo: The Butchart Gardens
Arm in arm, skate under the soft glow of twinkling lights. Photo: The Butchart Gardens

What could be more romantic than acres of illuminated displays? Well, the Butchart Gardens ice rink, of course! Put on your mitts, lace up your skates and glide underneath soft twinkling lights to the sound of seasonal music. Afterward, enjoy a cup of hot chocolate while you meander through the “Twelve Days of Christmas” light displays scattered throughout the grounds.

If you’re visiting later in the season, warm up and daydream about Butchart’s season of bloom in the Spring Prelude Indoor Garden. The fragrance-filled indoor display brims with everything from orchids to lilies and is complete with a Koi pond. For something even more special, head over to The Dining Room for tea for two.

4. Heat Things up with a Yoga Class

A colorful array of smoothies are available at the Imagine Cafe. Photo: Imagine Studio + Cafe
A colorful array of smoothies are available at the Imagine Cafe. Photo: Imagine Studio + Cafe

Now, we know what you’re thinking. One of you just isn’t made to do yoga (we won’t name any names). Fear not newcomers. Imagine Studio & Café offers gentle, Hatha-style yoga classes for yogis of all levels. Combine a mood elevating workout with fresh kombucha and smoothies brewed right next door and we’ll bet you’ll both leave feeling renewed, refreshed and ready to enjoy the rest of your day together.

5. Escape to a Seaside Oasis

With a stunning view of the coastline, Oak Bay Beach is quite the romantic place to stay. Photo: Oak Bay Beach Hotel
With a stunning view of the coastline, the Oak Bay Beach Hotel is quite the romantic place to stay. Photo: Oak Bay Beach Hotel

Thick clouds of steam wrap around you as you steep in one of three outdoor mineral baths with a surreal panoramic vista of the coastline. If relaxation is the name of the game for your weekend together, there’s no better place to soak the stress away than at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel and Spa.

Treat yourself to a couples massage or mani-pedi. Then indulge in dinner at the Snug Pub, and enjoy floor-to-ceiling ocean views. Later on, bundle up and head out for moonlit walk along one of Oak Bay’s walking trails. Away from the sprawling city, it’s just the two of you and the crashing waves against the coastline.

6. Enjoy a Classic and Cozy ReTReat

Cuddle up on the Veranda and watch the Inner Harbour fade into night. Photo: The Fairmont Empress
Cuddle up on the Veranda and watch the Inner Harbour fade into night. Photo: The Fairmont Empress

With its high tea, luxurious rooms and dining area, the Fairmont Empress is quintessentially Victoria. Needless to say, you’ll be treated like royalty during your stay. Cozy up in the Lobby Lounge for the hotel’s festive afternoon tea. Or, pop down to the brand-new Q Bar, where you’ll find a vibrant selection of specialty cocktails (did someone say Empress Sour?). End your night cuddling fireside on the harbor-facing Veranda, cocoa or spiced cider in hand.

7. Indulge in Sensational Sips

Taste some of Vancouver Island’s finest wines at sprawling vineyards.
Taste some of Vancouver Island’s finest wines at sprawling vineyards.

If the weather outside is frightful, delight in a day trip north to the Cowichan Valley and warm your soul with a tall glass of wine. If you are not familiar with the geography of Vancouver Island, the lush, open countryside is home to over 15 tasting rooms offering sparkling wines, pinots and ciders. Spend an afternoon sampling  award-winning wines from three different vineyards as part of a Cowichan Wine Country Tour, complemented by cheese and balsamic vinegar tasting.

Don’t wait another year to escape the concrete jungle with your loved one. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a city quite as romantic this side of Venice. So, go ahead, close down that Pinterest account and take some photos for yourself this winter with a weekend date escape to Victoria.

Book Your Victoria Trip Now

Clipper Recommends:

  • Need to get some holiday shopping done for each other? Grab lunch at the Public Market at the Hudson, then split off and peruse their holiday pop up market for local handmade goods, complete with gift-wrapping! Wednesday through Sunday.

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