A 36-hour itinerary in Victoria

My friends recently surprised me with a belated birthday visit to Victoria! I had been feeling a bit homesick and was missing them so it was a treat for them to knock at my door!

However, I quickly realized that two of the four of them had never really been to Victoria before, and I (obviously) was the one with the most experience out here, so I had to, on the fly, figure out what the best 36-hour itinerary for them was.

In case your friends surprise you for your birthday and you have to take them around the city for a 36-hour trip, first of all… what a weird coincidence, but second of all, here is my list for the must-sees in such a limited time.

You can click on any of the names to learn more about them on their websites!

Hatley Park

For a blog that talks about my life at the University of Victoria, it’s kind of ironic that the first place I recommended my friends to go to was a different university.

Before they had surprised me, they took a quick trip to Royal Roads University located in Colwood, just outside of downtown Victoria. RRU is home to a beautiful castle that I believe is also used for classes and banquets!

The grounds of the castle are even more incredible with Japanese and Italian gardens. It’s like you’re living out your Mama Mia dream! (plus, it’s free!)

Bin4 Burger Lounge

With almost 20 different types of burgers on their menu, from Wagyu to plant-based, there is definitely something for everyone here (who doesn’t like a good burger?!).

I had been to Bin4 before, but I had never actually had a burger from them, and after I had the “Big Spenny”, I thought to myself, “it’s almost as if burgers are their whole schtick.”

Chocolats Favoris

Some people say they have a sweet tooth – I say I have 32. I took them to my favourite ice cream place, Chocolats Favoris, the only location outside of Ontario and Quebec.

Ice cream dipped in the richest chocolate possible with a walk down to the Legislature right as the lights illuminated the building, tell me if there’s a more wholesome night in Victoria than THAT!

TT Mix Karaoke

We ended our night with some karaoke. Let me say that I am not a sporty person at all, but if there is anything I am the most competitive about, it is karaoke. If you were a fly on the wall, you would have seen me yelling Iggy Azalea’s verse on Ariana Grande’s “Problem” or Cardi B’s “Bodak Yellow”. And yes, I did lose my voice the next morning.

Mayfair Shopping Centre

To be honest, this one was the… oddest stop on the itinerary, but one of my friends was at the mall and another one wanted to check it out. Since they were from Vancouver, they were a bit underwhelmed to see the mall, but for Victoria’s standards, it’s actually one of the best ones and closest to a big city mall that you can get!

Spoons Diner

Hands down, my favourite brunch spot ever. I like to tell my friends that Victorians love brunch and waiting in line. We waited about 15 minutes before heading in which was actually the shortest I’ve ever waited for Spoons. There are so many things on their menu and I am very indecisive, so I went with “The Prusa”: whatever they wanted to make me. I could choose whether I wanted my food sweet or savoury and if I had any allergies/if I was vegetarian, but everything else was fair game. I had the most incredible grilled chicken breakfast sandwich and potatoes!

UVic Tour

UVic was the whole reason I moved out to Victoria, and none of my friends have ever seen campus before, so I gave them a quick little tour of this little place I like to call home! (And since I’m actually a campus tour guide in real life, if you book your own campus tour, I could be the one touring you around too!)

PKOLS (Mount Douglas)

If you think Victoria is beautiful from the ground, you HAVE to see it from the top. We drove to the top of PKOLS and spent an hour taking in the sights, walking up and down the rocks and of course took all the pictures we could! This one was probably my favourite spot.

Beach Drive

Who needs Beverly Hills? Beach Drive reminds me so much of LA County with these beautiful beachside houses and giant waves as the wind fills the waters. It was a great place to end our trip with my little “Party in the USA” moment!

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