From pep talks to celebratory hugs, late night chats to travel adventures, your besties are always at the ready. It’s time to raise a glass and honor them, lady-style! Whether you’re needing some relaxed time to bond with mom or looking for an easy getaway with your BFFs, why not start a new tradition with your gal pals this year? Treat yourselves to a fun-filled Galentine’s Day in Victoria, BC starting with a quick and easy ride on the Victoria Clipper!

1. Brunch

Victoria locals are serious about brunch. So as your first order of business in town, why not nurture your girl bond over delicious goodies? Hip, with an upbeat vibe, the downtown breakfast staple Blue Fox Cafe has tucked its way into our hearts. Once inside, don’t be surprised if you enter into a staring contest with your menu as you decide among 12 different types of Bennies.

Filled with wild smoked salmon, red onion, fresh avocado and chipotle aioli, the Eggs Pacifico Bennie will make your mouth water. Credit: Katie Schlossberg
Filled with wild smoked salmon, red onion, fresh avocado and chipotle aioli, the Eggs Pacifico Bennie will make your mouth water. Credit: Katie Schlossberg

Country-chic The Ruby is another heavy hitter when it comes to brunch offerings, with no shortage of tasty home-style cuisine. Dig into a plate of one of the four different styles of breakfast tacos or splurge on sampling all four. You can also embrace the Canadian spirit by trying Breakfast Poutine (when in Rome…), cheesy and chock-full of eggs, sausage, bacon and potatoes, foodie fanatics in your group will be left salivating.

Spice up your morning with breakfast tacos. Credit: Katie Schlossberg
Spice up your morning with breakfast tacos. Credit: Katie Schlossberg

Feeling lucky? Head to Floyd’s Dinner on Douglas Street for some of the most creative meals around. Order up the restaurant’s infamous breakfast treat, the Mahoney and be prepared to take a few snaps of whatever mouth-watering concoction their chefs cook up for you (think towering treats shaped into dragons and more). Opt to flip a coin on your meal and to pay double or nothing!

2. Shop

You don’t need a holiday as an excuse to buy yourself or your gals a little something, retail therapy is an essential part of any girls’ weekend. Combined with a more than a handful of modern, trendy boutiques and an excellent exchange rate, it is easy to indulge in some serious, guilt-free shopping.

Shop like the locals on Fabulous Fort Street, offering several blocks of independent, artisanal shops. Pick up stylish and eco-friendly threads at Not Just Pretty followed by a quick trip to Ditch Records for some new vinyl.

Shop the fine threads inside Not Just Pretty. Credit: Destination Greater Victoria
Victoria’s Fort Street boutiques are full of fine threads. Credit: Destination Greater Victoria

Pace yourselves as another gold mine of shopping experiences is 15-minutes away in the artsy neighborhood of Fernwood. A community favorite, the bright, airy Luna Collective is your one-stop-shop for vintage threads and handmade finds.

Pretty stationary fill the windows at The Papery. Credit: Destination Greater Victoria

Looking for adorable housewares? Duck inside the well-designed Pigeonhole Home Store (the building itself even looks like a house!) to peruse a curated collection of antiques, glassware, rugs, books and more. Shopping has never been easier!

3. Sip

Need time to gossip, swap secrets and get caught up on the latest happenings? Head to the world-famous The Butchart Gardens. See stunning blooms and enjoy one of the most exquisite afternoon teas around.

Find your inner Zen inside the tranquil Spring Prelude garden where vibrant tulips, daffodils, tropical plants and orchids add a punch of color to winter days. Tuck inside the Dining Room Restaurant (the former Butchart family residence), order up tea and the accompanying three-tiered platter of savory and sweet treats and let the gabfest begin! Unwind as you stare out at the Italian Garden and Tod Inlet or soak in views Jennie’s private Garden.

Feast on three-tiers of tasty eats while being surrounded by a variety of gorgeous blooms. Credit: The Butchart Gardens
Feast on three-tiers of tasty eats while being surrounded by a variety of gorgeous blooms. Credit: The Butchart Gardens

Follow Victoria’s tea trail to the iconic Fairmont Empress and give yourselves the royal treatment with afternoon tea. After all, it is hard to beat the opportunity to cozy up on a plush couch with melt-in-your-mouth, house-made treats while you sip on a comforting cup of tea.

Indulge in exquisite tea at the Fairmont Empress. Credit: The Fairmont Empress
Indulge in exquisite tea at the Fairmont Empress. Credit: The Fairmont Empress

Be sure to save room for the fresh, house-made scones. Topped with preserves made from local berries and lavender grown in the hotel’s rooftop garden, they are irresistible. Want to get extra fancy? Add flutes of sparkling wine to your meal for sips fit for a queen!

4. Relax

Show a little love to you and your girlfriends by treating yourselves to some relaxing and rejuvenating spa time. Pop inside the recently renovated Willow Stream Spa at the Fairmont Empress, whose downtown location seamlessly marries luxury and convenience.

Soothe your soul in a manner of minutes with the Willow Stream’s unique Spa Ritual. A combination of a comforting soak in their thermal mineral bath plus a stop to relax in the eucalyptus steam inhalation room and sauna makes the experience simply divine. Then melt all your worries and concerns away with an indulgent 60-minute massage, facial or mani-pedi. If these treatments don’t leave you and your most overworked, stressed-out friend (you know the one) blissed out, we don’t know what will!

Whisk your stress away with a relaxing massage.
Whisk your stress away with a relaxing massage.

In need of some extra pampering? A quick 15-minute shuttle ride will land in you at the mecca of relaxation – Oak Bay Beach Hotel. An experience for the senses, get your glow on with a range of invigorating massages or opt for one of the fabulous facial treatments at the five-star spa.

Follow it up with a dip in the heated seaside mineral pools. Surrounded by spectacular views of the Salish Sea and Mt. Baker as well as the soft lapping of the waves against the shore, you’ll be lulled into a state of total tranquility.

Rejuvenate with a soak in a steaming hot seaside mineral pool. Credit: Destination Greater Victoria
Rejuvenate with a soak in a steaming hot seaside mineral pool. Credit: Destination Greater Victoria

5. Toast

If you want to toast to your sisterhood with tasty beverages all around, look no further than some of the fine local watering holes. Hit up Fernwood’s sophisticated Stage Wine Bar featuring a wide selection of the good stuff along with carefully curated cocktails.

When it comes time to pair your pours, peruse the bar’s extensive wine list, chalkboard of unique offerings or ask the friendly, expert staff to point you in the right direction. When you get hungry, order up a few of the restaurant’s small plates to share –pommes frites and pillows of gnocchi – yes, please!

Sip on whites ranging from light and fruity to rich and full-bodied at Stage Wine Bar.
Sip on whites ranging from light and fruity to rich and full-bodied at Stage Wine Bar.

In the spirit for cocktails? Grab a chair at the 14 seat Clarke & Co. bar for more outstanding cocktails created with locally-distilled spirits and house-made ingredients. Be adventurous, skip the menu and allow one of their talented mixologists to work their magic by whipping you up a custom cocktail.

For fine whiskey, stop by Argyle Attic and get a taste of Canada with the Trans-Canada Sour. A soul-warming concoction of Wiser’s deluxe rye, maple syrup, fresh squeezed lemon, Bittered Sling Plum & Rootbeer bitters, egg white and cinnamon.

One of the best things about Victoria is the array of talented musicians there are living and performing in the city. End the evening with a little night music at Northern Quarter, a snug spot where you can catch live acts often sans cover.

Kick back and relax with a tasty cocktail. Photo: Thomas Hawk
Kick back and relax with a tasty cocktail. Photo: Thomas Hawk

Kick back and forget about the world and sip on imaginative drinks such as Don’t Poke the Bear, which combines spiced shine, mango nectar, lime passionfruit and cinnamon syrup and tiki bitters into a tropical blend.

With great eats and sips, an abundance of boutique shopping and relaxing locales, Victoria checks all the boxes for a much-need weekend away with your girls in tow. As if you needed an excuse for some downtime, fun and little retail and spa therapy with your girlfriends!

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