February is the month for romance and celebration. Of course, this is not too surprising, as Valentine’s Day is the main holiday in February people tend to think of. However, Valentine’s Day does not have to be just a day for couples, it is a great time to do something nice for anyone in your life that you care for, whether that is your significant other, your friends, your siblings, your parents, your grandparents or even your pet. When it comes to treating your loved ones, the sky is the limit. Take them to a show or out to dinner, send flowers or a card or simply just give them a call to let them know you are thinking of them. Conversely, Valentine’s Day is not the only cause to celebrate this month. The Chinese New Year is a few short days later on February 19th and is another great opportunity to spend time with family and enjoy the variety of February things to do in Victoria.
Do Something Sweet for Your Sweetie
Voted as the third “Most Romantic North American City” by a USA Today Reader’s Choice Award contest in February 2014, Victoria is definitely a great destination for a Valentine’s Day getaway. To begin with, there are a number of romance and spa packages at Victoria hotels, allowing you and your sweetheart to get pampered with champagne, chocolates, breakfast, late checkouts and relaxing spa treatments. Besides fine accommodations, you can enjoy sumptuous, multi-course dinners at Church & State Wines and Merridale Ciderworks. Of course, you cannot forget dessert, especially on the day when chocolate is de rigueur. Make sure to stop by the Death by Chocolate Buffet at the Empress’ Bengal Lounge to delight your senses with the amazing chocolate confections created by their award-winning pastry team.
Finally, there activities available for all interests throughout Valentine’s Day weekend. Nature lovers can take a romantic stroll through The Butchart Gardens or take their romance on the water with Victoria Harbour Kayak Tour. The tour makes a couple of stops at popular landmarks along the way, so you may want make a date of the excursion and pack a picnic lunch or bring along your wallet to taste some of Victoria’s famous seafood. Likewise, those who enjoy the arts can listen to music from a variety of genres at the Valentine’s Special Traveling Roadshow or those with four legged friends can have their pooch join in on the Valentine’s Day fun by bringing him or her to the Valentine’s Day Dog Party, costumes for you and your pet are encouraged and there are opportunities to win prizes!
Spend Lunar New Year Exploring and Celebrating in Chinatown
Another big event happening this month is Chinese New Year or Spring Festival, which marks the beginning of the Chinese Lunar Calendar and is a time to celebrate the new year and spend time with loved ones. As such, why not celebrate the Year of the Sheep in Victoria’s historic Chinatown, which is the oldest in Canada and second in age to San Francisco’s in North America. Make a weekend getaway out of your visit with the Victoria Overnight Chinese New Year Package, featuring a round trip Victoria Clipper cruise, accommodations at the Hotel Grand Pacific, a welcome gift upon your arrival at the hotel a special Chinese New Year afternoon tea service, featuring Asian inspired treats handmade by Chef Rick Choy and limited edition Chinese loose leaf teas.
Once you have settled in, explore Victoria’s Chinatown, which remains an active place and there are a several cultural events that have been planned to help ring in the new year as well as opportunities for shopping and dining. The Victoria Chinese Commerce Association kicks off the celebrations on February 11, with their special Gala Dinner and Live Auction, including a tasty dinner at Don Mee Seafood Restaurant, delightful auction items and fun. During the week of Chinese New Year, the Royal BC Museum will be offering three 30 minute guided spotlight tours of the Chinatown exhibit in their Modern History Gallery. Called “The Chinese Community in British Columbia,” the tours explore the contributions that the Chinese community has made to BC.
If you are into tea, you can learn even more about several of the Silk Road teas you enjoyed at Grand Hotel Pacific during the free Chinese Tea Ceremonies and tastings on February 21 and 22 at Silk Road’s Chinatown location. The Chinese New Year festivities culminate on February 22 with a parade, lion dance, Kung Fu and Tao demonstrations and dragon performances. However, before you leave Chinatown, you should also make sure to visit the famously narrow Fan Tan Alley and the “Gate of Harmonious Interest,” which was created in Victoria’s sister city of Suzhou, China.
More February Things to Do in Victoria
- Victoria Film Festival Feb 6-15
- Harlem Globetrotters Feb 10
- Valentine’s Day Spirit Release & Five Course Dinner Feb 14
- Valentine’s Day Dinner Feb 14