Festivals & Events

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This time of year is all about taking in the culture of the city and enjoying the longer, warmer days by finding more activities to do outdoors, and there are a number of May things to do in Vancouver, BC that can help you do exactly that. Celebrate the arts by attending some of the many art festivals and performances around town. Likewise, get ready for summer by visiting a farmers market to stock up on fresh, local goodies or by attending a beer and tequila festival to discover what drinks you should have on hand for your summer barbecues and parties. Whether you are entertaining or want to be entertained, there is no shortage of things to do this month.

Discover Local Brews and Foods at Farmers Markets and Festivals

Raspberries at the West End Farmers Market. Creative Commons Licensed by Jennifer.

Raspberries at the West End Farmers Market. Creative Commons Licensed by Jennifer

One of the best things about this time of the year is the return of farmers markets. Most of Vancouver’s farmers markets open this month, with a few opening in June, so you can peruse through the stalls for fresh produce, meats, flowers as well as artisan food and arts and crafts. The Richmond Night Market is also now open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until October 12. The market features a variety of goods, with 80+ food vendors and 250+ retailers. You can also expect to find live entertainment and carnival rides.

Taps at Vancouver Craft Beer Week. Photo Courtesy of Vancouver Craft Beer Week.

Taps at Vancouver Craft Beer Week. Photo Courtesy of Vancouver Craft Beer Week

If you are looking for some new brews to wet your whistle this summer, indulge in Vancouver Craft Beer Week, which runs from May 29 to June and features a lumberjack theme this year. Whether or not lumberjacks are your thing, the week’s proceedings certainly will be, as the festival includes 60 breweries, over 30 venues and more beer events and tastings than you can you can imagine. The week kicks off with an opening night gala where attendees will receive a souvenir tasting glass, unlimited craft beer samples and canapés from the CRAFT Beer market. Other events throughout the week include a rare brews and barbecue tasting, a trivia night, sandwich and beer paring, a Belgian beer showcase, sour beer paired with six food courses, fruit beer tastings and more.

However, if you prefer your beverages slightly harder, there is also the Vancouver International Tequila Expo that features over 25 tequila and mescal brands. Better yet, tickets to the festival get you 20 tokens to use for drink samples.

Take in Vancouver’s Arts and Culture

Vancouver International Childrens Festival. Photo Courtesy of Vancouver International Childrens Festival.

Vancouver International Childrens Festival. Photo Courtesy of Vancouver International Childrens Festival

This May there are also a number of opportunities to take in Vancouver’s arts scene with performances and art shows. Enjoy a show set in a forest full of whimsical and enchanted creatures with Cirque Du Soleil’s Varekai. To check out visual arts, head to Art! Vancouver the first international art fair to be held in Vancouver, which is designed to showcase fine arts like paintings, sculptures and photography. During the festival collectors and visitors can go guided art tours, listen to lectures from prominent art professionals and see musical acts.

There’s even a chance for kids to experience arts and culture, with the International Children’s Festival. Performances include stories by Anne Glover featuring a woven loop of string, an extravaganza of circus, music, theatre and comedy all rolled in to one show put on by Les Parfaits Inconnus, French-Canadian folk music and a puppet show. Kids also have the opportunity to get an the action by learning circus skills, exploring a musical maze or playground, playing string games, creating origami or bicycle spin-art or getting their face’s painted.

More May 2015 Things to Do in Vancouver, BC

Victoria's Inner Harbour

Victoria’s Inner Harbour. Credit: Natalie Ortiz

Memorial Day weekend is nearly upon us and with it comes lots of great ways to spend time in Victoria. From farmers markets to boat races, there are tons of great things to do in Victoria this month.

Swiftsure International Yacht Race

The 72nd annual Swiftsure International Yacht Race kicks off on May 23 in Victoria, offering three thrilling days of sailboat races for participants and spectators alike. Thousands will flock to Victoria’s Inner Harbour to watch more than 175 vessels compete in five races over Memorial Day Weekend. Races begin 9:00am Saturday, with festivities running from Thursday through Sunday.

Victoria Public Market 

If the Swiftsure festivities have left you famished, swing by the Victoria Public Market. Located in the ground floor of the iconic Hudson Bay Co. building, the Public Market is home to an incredible assortment of both pre-made foods and ingredients that are sure to please. The Market is open Monday-Saturday 10:00am-5:30pm and 11:00am-5:00pm on Sunday.

Night at the Museum: Gold Rush!

Step into the shoes of a prospector or adventurer! The Royal BC Museum is hosting “Night at the Museum: Gold Rush!” on May 23-24 from 6:30pm-9:00am. This special event features a thrilling night of activities, games and more. The night will include a hunt for gold nuggets, a special IMAX screening and a behind the scenes tour of the museum! Admission is $80 per person with a 10% member discount.

More May Things to Do in Victoria

 

 

Happy spring! Even though we are already halfway through the month, there are still plenty of April things to do in Vancouver. Celebrate the joys of spring by taking in flowers at the Cherry Blossom Festival, going for a run, attending one of the many arts festivals around the city or cheering on the home team – the Vancouver Canucks – as they head in to the first round of playoffs for the Stanley Cup.

Cheer on the Vancouver Canucks in the Stanley Cup Playoffs

Vancouver Canucks hockey game. Creative Commons Licensed by Mr. Leung.

Vancouver Canucks hockey game. Creative Commons Licensed by Mr. Leung

April promises to be an exciting time in Vancouver, as the Vancouver Canucks head into the first round of 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs against the Calgary Flames. The first two games of the series will be held on April 15 and April 17 at Roger’s Stadium in Vancouver, while the second two games will at Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary. After missing out on the playoffs last year, the city of Vancouver is thrilled to be hosting the beginning of the playoffs and to have their team back in the action. However, the series will be close fought, as the Vancouver Canucks are ranked 5th in the NHL and are 2nd in the Pacific Division, while the Calgary Flames are ranked 6th in the NHL and are 3rd in the Pacific Division. Interestingly, the Vancouver Sun reports “every time the Canucks and Flames have met in a first-round series, the winner has advanced to the Stanley Cup Final.” We hope this is harbinger for the Canuck’s success and will be watching the next four games with baited breath, while cheering on the team.

From Photography, to Fashion, to Cuisine, the Arts Reign Supreme

Pentax Camera. Creative Commons Licensed by  Martin Taylor.

Pentax Camera. Creative Commons Licensed by Martin Taylor

The Stanley Cup playoffs are a huge event, but this month the city of Vancouver is also all about the arts. In fact, this there is a festival for almost every type of art you can imagine from culinary to performing arts, and everything in between. As Vancouver has produced some of contemporary art’s best photographers, there is no better than kick off a month’s work of art-related events than with a festival dedicated to photography. Called Capture, the festival is a celebration of local and international photography and lens-based art, featuring exhibitions at art galleries around the city, public installations and a series of community-based workshops, tours and arts talks. Whether you are a photographer or simply interested in learning more art of photography, this festival is sure to please.

Canstruction design from Disney.  Creative Commons Licensed by Chakshu101.

Canstruction design from Disney. Creative Commons Licensed by Chakshu101

If you are interested in design and giving back to the community and the world, there a two fascinating events this April that will likely leave you inspired. First up is Eco Fashion Week, which focuses on creating a more sustainable fashion with zero textile waste. In addition to viewing the beautiful collections created by the participating designers, one of the best parts of Eco Fashion Week checking out special challenge assignments such as the “Thrift Chic Challenge” or “68 Pound Challenge” that require designers to create collections from thrift store finds or repurpose old clothes into new outfits. Secondly, there is Canstruction Vancouver, which challenges teams of architects, engineers and designers to construct giant sculptures made entirely out of canned food. After the structures are built, they are viewable to the public as art exhibits. Last year’s creations included incredible designs like a huge traveling gnome, a Lego spaceman, hot air balloon, oyster and more! When the contest is over, all canned food is donated to the Greater Vancouver Food Banks. Stop by either event to see what innovative designs they come up with this year.

Samosas at EAT! Vancouver. Creative Commons Licensed by Kris Krug.

Samosas at EAT! Vancouver. Creative Commons Licensed by Kris Krug

Last, but not least, at the end of April through the beginning of May foodies will have the opportunity to eat their heart out at EAT! Vancouver Food + Cooking Festival. This week-long event showcases Vancouver’s extraordinary culinary culture and is the largest food festival in Canada. At the Eat! Vancouver, you will get to experience and taste Vancouver’s vibrant cuisine as well as great food from around the world, participate in hands-on workshops, attend collaborative chef dinner with some of the top chefs in Canada and watch as some of the best chefs and bar tenders in the country faceoff in fast-paced competitions.

The abundance of sporting and arts events occurring in Vancouver this spring will provide you with a chance to explore the vibrant and diverse culture of the city. Likewise, the variety of April things to do in Vancouver is just a taste of the exciting events to come during the warmer summer months.

More April Things to Do in Vancouver

If you are looking for April things to do in Seattle, all you have to remember this month are the four “Fs” – flowers, fairs, food and, of course, fun! The early spring weather has caused flowers to bloom around the greater Seattle area, and there are several festivals happening this month to celebrate them. April also features events that allow you to sample the delicious cuisine Seattle is known for or provide a chance to get the kids out of the house to make new friends. Whatever your interests are, you are sure to find plenty of activities to keep you busy.

Stop and Smell the Flowers

Tulip Fields. Credit: Melissa Sitrin.

Skagit ValleyTulip Fields. Credit: Melissa Sitrin

The perennial favorite Skagit Valley Tulip Festival has begun! With the aforementioned early spring the area has been experiencing, the flowers are already in full bloom, the valley appearing as though it has been covered with rainbow colored blankets. Stop by the RoozenGaarde to view the beautifully landscaped display garden that features a Dutch windmill and is filled will 100+ tulip varieties as well as daffodils, hyacinths, crocus, iris and specialty flowers. Behind the display garden is an additional 25 acre field filled with tulips and a 15 acre daffodil field. If you would like to see more manicured tulip displays, visit Tulip Town, which features expansive fields, gardens filled with unusual and hybridized tulips and indoor show featuring tulip bouquets set in front of painted murals.

In addition to the paid gardens, there are also many other fields that allow you to admire the flowers without paying a fee. If you are looking to avoid the crowds, try visiting the fields mid-week if possible. The festival runs the entire month of April, but since the flowers bloomed earlier this year, the earlier in the month you come, the more color and blossoms you will see. Make sure to plan your visit soon so you don’t miss the show.

Delight in Seattle Cuisine

Beecher's Cheese, one of the many tasty samples you will find at the Arcade Lights Festival. Courtesy of Savor Seattle.

Beecher’s Cheese, one of the many tasty samples you will find at the Arcade Lights Festival. Courtesy of Savor Seattle

Another much loved favorite, Seattle Restaurant Week, returns this month. With over 165 restaurants offering 3 course meals for only $30, you have the chance to visit any of the restaurants that were on your fall list that you did not make it to or revisit old favorites. If Restaurant Week is not enough to get your mouth watering, check out the Arcade Lights Tasting Festival at Pike Place Market. During this one night extravaganza, you will get to sample artisan food (you can expect both savory and sweet bites) along with craft beer, Washington wine and other drinks from over 60 local food and drink purveyors.

If you are looking for a little adventure along with your food, Argosy Cruises resumes their Tillicum Village Cruises and Salmon Bake mid-month. This trip transports you from the Seattle waterfront to Tillicum Village on Blake Island. Upon your arrival to the Village, you will served steaming calms and nectar followed by a buffet of alder wood smoked salmon. After the meal, you will be treated to a one-of-a-kind performance by the Tillicum Village dancers. You will also have time after the show to explore, shop or take a stroll on trails and beaches before cruising back to Seattle.

Enjoy Time with Your Whole Family at Fairs and Festivals

International Fountain at Seattle Center. Creative Commons Licensed by Dimi Talen.

International Fountain at Seattle Center. Creative Commons Licensed by Dimi Talen

Spring is a great time to get kids who have been cooped up inside all winter out of the house. Take your family to the Spring Fair at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds in Monroe to get outdoors. You’ll be able to see baby animals, pig races, a garden show and a demolition derby and enjoy rides and fair food.

There are also a few kid-friendly events taking place at the Seattle Center this month. The Seattle Center Whirligig! festival kicked off on April 3, and will run until April 19. This event is full of supersized inflatable rides, juggling, storytelling and live music that is sure to keep kids 12 entertained and busy for hours – an excellent way to get rid of any excess energy. Whirligig! Is closely followed by the Seattle International Children’s Friendship Festival, which celebrates the ethnic heritages of children at the festival through music, ballet and folk dance. Not only is this festival is a great way to teach children about other cultures, but it also and encourages kids to become friends with people from all backgrounds.

More April Things to Do in Seattle

The Butchart Gardens' Japanese Gardens in the spring. Credit: Brenna Ciummo.

The Butchart Gardens’ Japanese Gardens in the spring. Credit: Brenna Ciummo

Spring has definitely sprung in Victoria. The results of last month’s 39th Annual Flower Count have been tallied, and Victoria is proud report a whopping 17,257,368, 541 blooms, with the Bloomingest Community being awarded to the City of Colwood for the second straight year. Of course admiring the beautiful flowers is just one of many April things to do in Victoria. Earth Day is on April 19 this year, and there is no better way to celebrate than to get outdoors. Go for a bike ride, nature walk or hike through local forests, the options are endless!

Take Victoria by Bike

Bikes all ready to go. Photo courtesy of The Pedaler Bike Tours.

Bikes all ready to go. Photo courtesy of The Pedaler Bike Tours

Bicyclists rejoice! On April 19th, Victoria will be hosting the 5th Annual Saanich Cycling Festival. The event kicks off with the BIG Family Bike Ride at 11:00 am, which is 5 km mass participation bike ride along the Shelbourne Corridor to celebrate Earth Day 2015. To ensure younger children are also able to participate in the Earth Day ride, there is a shorter Kids Bike Ride for riders age six and under. During the festival there will also be stage entertainment, a bike rodeo, a biking skills challenge, face painting, a bouncy obstacle course and giant slide and even a treasure hunt with a bike as the prize.

If you are not able to attend the festival, there are still more biking adventures to be had in Victoria on several new cycling tours. Travel through Victoria’s historic and unique neighborhoods on the Bicycle Tour of Castles, Hoods and Legends. During the tour you will be able to take in scenic views of the Dallas waterfront, imposing mansions and the tallest totem pole in the world. You will stop at, and have the opportunity to explore, popular landmarks like Craigdarroch Castle, Chinatown, Beacon Hill and Cook Street Village.

Cyclists looking out to sea. Photo courtesy of The Pedaler Bike Tours.

Cyclists looking out to sea. Photo courtesy of The Pedaler Bike Tours

Cycling enthusiasts who also enjoy a good brew can experience some of the best craft beer in Victoria with the Hoppy Hour by Bicycle tour. Along your bike ride through Victoria, you will stop at three distinct breweries where you can sample the taps. If you want to continue the fun after the ride and try even more delicious beers, your guides will point you in the right direction. Finally, families of all ages, but particularly those with young riders will enjoy Family Fun on Bicycles, which can be tailored to the ages and skill levels of your kids and take you to visit petting zoos, feed seals, fly kites or check out native heritage sites.

More to Explore in the Victoria Outdoors

Redwood tree. Credit: Brenna Ciummo.

Redwood tree. Credit: Brenna Ciummo

The 39th Annual Flower Count may be over, but that does not mean the flowers and the wonderful weather are, in fact this is just the beginning! To celebrate the spring and summer weather, the Capital Region District (CRD) Regional Parks have a variety of naturalist-guided walks and hikes from April through June. Rent a car or take a bus and venture 20-40 minutes outside of Victoria to discover the tall trees of Devonian Regional Park, take in the spring wildflowers of Mill Hill (while learning interesting plant lore), enjoy a forest tea party or bird watch from Island View Beach Regional Park. Most of these guided tours are free and do not require registration unless noted on the tour. There is no better time to get outside, learn something new and explore new regions of Victoria.

More April Things to Do in Victoria

Mt. Hood from Portland. Credit: Steven Taylor.

Mt. Hood from Portland. Credit: Steven Taylor.

Based on the weather so far, it looks like Portland is in for an amazing spring, and likely a lovely summer as well. With so many sunny days already there is no better time to get outside, and luckily there are many March things to do in Portland that involve the outdoors. Compete in the popular Shamrock Run, take in the vibrant spring blooms or visit the Oregon coast for a chance to catch a glimpse of gray whales. This month, there are plenty of opportunities to have fun in the sun before the tourists arrive.

Don Your Green Apparel for St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day is almost here, so you might as well get dressed up in green apparel and go out and celebrate. Work on your goal to be healthier this year and pick up some extra (green) workout gear at the Shamrock Fitness Fair. At the fair you can also get warmed up for the Shamrock Run on Sunday, March 15 with Bootcamp, Yoga, Zumba and Conteporary Ballet classes on the main stage during both days of the festival.

Of course, there is more to St. Patrick’s Day in Portland than just running. Kells Portland will be hosting a multi-day Patrick’s Day Festival beginning the weekend before St. Patrick’s Day through the holiday itself. Bring your friends or family to enjoy traditional Irish music, dancing, food, boxing and more!

Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival. Creative Commons Licensed by Sarah McD.

Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival. Creative Commons Licensed by Sarah McD.

Get Outdoors and Explore Nature this March

Spring is a beautiful time in the Northwest, when a wide variety of plants are in bloom. One of the best ways to experience these flowers in all their glory is at the Wooden Shoe Tulip Fest, which features 40 acres of tulips in front of Mt. Hood and several local vineyards. Bring a picnic lunch, and even your dog, and explore the fields of flowers. While you are at the festival, make sure to check wooden shoe making demonstrations, crafter marketplace, photography classes and wine tasting at those nearby vineyards. There are also plenty of activities for kids, such as rides on the bump “Cow Train,” Easter activities and pony rides. Finally, don’t forget to grab some fresh cut flowers before you leave the grounds.

Just as the gray whales visit the San Juans and Seattle during the spring, they also pass by the Oregon coast on their journey north to Alaska. As a result, Oregon State Parks have designated March 21-28 as Whale Watching Week and places volunteers at whale watching sites along the coast, so they can help others spot the whales. These magnificent marine animals are only here a few times a year, so don’t miss out on this opportunity to see them. To learn more about the gray whales, you can visit the Whale Watching Center in Depoe Bay, Oregon, where rangers will be available to answer your questions.

More March Things to Do in Portland

VBW Glass Hero. Credit Victoria Beer Week.

VBW Glass Hero. Credit Victoria Beer Week.

The Northwest has some of the best craft beer around, and we love to celebrate this fact by hosting festivals. One of the most popular beer celebrations in British Columbia is Victoria Beer Week, which begins this Saturday on March 7 and runs until March 15. To learn more about all of events happening throughout the week, check out this guest post by Joe Wiebe from Victoria Beer Week.

Victoria Beer Week is a nine-day festival highlighting a broad selection of BC craft breweries and educating Victorians about craft beer. After a very successful launch that saw over 3,000 people attend 14 events in March, 2014, Victoria Beer Week is returning in 2015 with 23 events celebrating craft beer in BC’s “craft beer capital.”

Some of the most popular events from 2014 are returning, along with some exciting new options. The festival will once again kick off with the “Opening Cask Night” at the Victoria Public Market on Saturday, March 7. Last year’s Cask Night was one of the most popular beer events ever held in the city, and this year the event will feature every Vancouver Island craft brewery, including several new ones that have opened in the past year. In addition, three cideries and even a mead producer will be included. This event has gluten-free food and drink options (cider and mead only, not beer).

Snacks and Beer. Credit Victoria Beer Week.

Snacks and Beer. Credit Victoria Beer Week.

The first full day of the festival is Sunday, March 8, which also happens to be International Women’s Day. Victoria Beer Week is celebrating with “Pedalin’ for Pints,” a women-only bicycle tour visiting breweries where women play a prominent role. Another option that afternoon is “Beer School,” featuring two separate classes where sipping beer is part of the curriculum! In the evening you can look forward to the “Rookies & Legends Tap Takeover” at Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub, featuring an assortment of great beers from BC breweries.

Brewmasters Gary Lohin, Matt Phillips and Paul Hadfield. Credit Victoria Beer Week.

Brewmasters Gary Lohin, Matt Phillips and Paul Hadfield. Credit Victoria Beer Week.

On Monday, March 9, the Slow Beer Club features sour and barrel-aged “slow beers” at the Churchill Pub, while “Beer, Pizza, More Beer” is on at Pizzeria Prima Strada. Night options on Tuesday, March 10, include “Drink in the Story” at the Drake Eatery, where three brewmasters will tell the story behind one of their favorite beers and why they brew it. Or you can learn how to perfectly pair beer and cheese by attending “Beer, Cheese, More Beer” at the Garrick’s Head Pub.

New in 2015 is a major mid-week event called “Craft Beer Thunderdome,” which will feature 10 brand new, never-before-brewed beers launched by 10 of BC’s best craft breweries. This event will take place on Wednesday, March 11 at 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. outdoors under a thunderdome (OK, it is a heated tent) at Wheelie’s Motorcycle Café in Rock Bay.

Thursday, March 12, is the most artsy night of Victoria Beer Week, with a film screening and fantasy art show. On Friday, March 13, things get more cerebral with the “Craft Beer Revolution Town Hall,” where two separate panels will look at the new Vancouver Neighborhood Brewery scene and what the future of craft beer will look like in Victoria. Friday also features the return of the very popular “Definitive Victoria Brewery Crawl,” which visits several different breweries in an upscale limo bus. A Saturday tour option is also available.

Enjoying Craft Beer. Credit Victoria Beer Week.

Enjoying Craft Beer. Credit Victoria Beer Week.

This year, the festival has expanded to include the “Closing Cask Night” on Saturday, March 14. This finale will showcase more than 20 mainland breweries, including several of the hottest new breweries that have opened in Greater Vancouver in the past two years. Other options for that Saturday include the “Cooking with Beer” classes and the “New Brew Cruise” tour, which will visit three new breweries on the outskirts of Victoria.

Once again, Victoria Beer Week will finish with the Brewmaster’s Brunch at the Atrium on Sunday, March 15. The brunch is a delectable affair that includes six beer-paired brunch courses prepared by premier chefs from the “Island Chefs Collaborative.” Beyond these marquee offerings, numerous other events are scheduled at various Victoria venues throughout the week, including Tap Takeovers at local pubs, a Beer and Books event, and more. Check out, VictoriaBeerWeek.com for the full schedule, travel options including discounted hotel rates, and more information. Tickets are available online through EventBrite.

Even though it seems like the winter holidays were only a few days ago, March is already here, and with it come an abundance of events and March things to do in Seattle. Join in St. Patrick’s Day festivities around the city or catch a conference to have fun learning about the hobbies you enjoy the most, whether they are fashion, food, wine, comics or pop culture. Likewise, make sure to see the gray whales while they are in town this spring. Reaching up to 50 feet in length and weighing up to 35 tons, they are really are an amazing sight that should not be missed.

Catch Sight of Majestic Gray Whales

Gray whale tail. Credit: Jason Mihok

Gray whale tail. Credit: Jason Mihok

One of the best things about March in the Northwest is that it is time of year when gray whales pay us a visit. These magnificent marine mammals migrate north from Baja Mexico to Alaska each year, and March and April are the perfect time to catch a glimpse of these animals as they pass by Washington with their calves into tow. To get the best view of these majestic animals, hop on the Victoria Clipper III for a Gray Whale Watching Tour.

The tour departs from Pier 69 on Seattle’s waterfront and cruises through the waters of Puget Sound in search of whales and other sealife. As such, keep an eye out for Dall’s porpoises, harbor seals, otters, sea lions, bald eagles and other birds. However, there will be a trained naturalist onboard to help spot these animals, as well as educate passengers about them and answer any questions. Before returning to Seattle, the vessel will make a two hour stop at either Coupeville or Langley on Whidbey Island, providing passengers a chance to get off the boat to grab a bite to eat, shop or a walk on the beach.

Celebrate the Luck of the Irish in Seattle

Shamrock. Creative Commons Licensed by Charles de Mille-Isles.

Shamrock. Creative Commons Licensed by Charles de Mille-Isles.

Seattle may not dye any of its lakes or rivers green, but the city celebrates St. Patrick’s Day with the best of them with a weeklong festival. Seattle has been known to light up the arches at Pacific Science Center with green lights and lays a green stripe down the center of 4th Ave downtown (which is like a mini-parade itself) to mark the route of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The actual St. Patrick’s Day Parade takes place a few days before St. Patrick’s Day on March 14. The parade turns Seattle in to a sea of green and has been recognized by CNN as one of the “Five places to get your green on.” In addition to the parade, there is also the St. Patrick’s Day Dash, which is a 5k run followed by post-race party and beer garden. Last, but not least, is the Irish Heritage Week Festival, which features Irish music, dancing, genealogy workshops, the opportunity to learn Gaelic and to view movies and cultural exhibits.

Explore a Variety of Festivals in March

Emerald City Comicon

Emerald City Comicon

Those who want to do some more celebrating or learn something new after St. Patrick’s Day, there a plenty conventions and shows coming to town at the end of March. Women can enjoy a girls day out at the Northwest Women’s Show for a day full of new fashion for 2015, celebrity impersonations, hypnotism and firemen! Not long after the Women’s Show is the Taste Washington, where you can taste the food from many award winning Seattle cafes and restaurants and enjoy Washington’s fine wines. Besides sampling tasty bites, attendees can go to seminars taught by top national wine personalities and sommeliers to learn more about Washington wines and food pairings.

Finally, comic book and pop culture fans can get their geek on at the 13th Annual Emerald City Comicon. Visitors can look forward to opportunities to game with other enthusiasts and try out game demos, attend a variety of seminars, meet celebrities (with the chance for photo ops) and comic book authors and artists, and learn about the latest releases. Of course, there is also the opportunity to enter in to a costume contest, so make sure you dress up in your most creative outfit imaginable.

Spring is in the air, and there are several March things to do in Victoria that allow you to enjoy the warmer weather. Take some time out explore nature this month, whether at The Butchart Gardens, at other local parks like Beacon Hill or even while kayaking and paddle boarding. In addition to the new wildlife that spring often brings, there are also opportunities throughout the month to attend a workshop or two. These seminars cover everything from beer, to the arts and technology, so there is something to learn for all interests. There is no better time than this spring to get out and explore what is new in Victoria!

Winter Showers Bring Early Flowers

The Butchart Gardens in the spring. Courtesy of The Butchart Gardens

The Butchart Gardens in the spring. Courtesy of The Butchart Gardens

Although the official first day of spring is not until near the end of the month, on March 20, Victoria’s mild weather has caused many of the beautiful flowers in town to already begin blooming. To celebrate this unofficial start to spring, each year The Butchart Gardens and Tourism Victoria organize a Flower Count to tally how many blooms there are total, and each municipality is encouraged to have the “Bloomingest Community.” In 2014, the residents of Victoria counted 1,392,393,203 flowers total, with most blooms attributed to the City of Colwood. This year’s count will be from March 5 to March 11, so make sure to visit during this week to view the flowers Victoria is famous for; it is not called the “City of Gardens” for nothing.

Delight Your Senses with Culinary Festivals

Beer and charcutes at Victoria Beer Week. Courtesy of Victoria Beer Week.

Beer and charcutes at Victoria Beer Week. Courtesy of Victoria Beer Week.

Enjoy the best of the beverage and culinary world this month with nearly back to back festivals. Start the month off by wetting your whistle during Victoria Beer Week. During the course of the nine day series there are events that highlight the craft beers in Victoria (along with three cideries and even a mead producer), educating visitors and beer enthusiasts alike. You can look forward to seminars, movies, plenty of tastings and more! Just a few days after Beer Week is Culinaire, “Victoria’s Premier Food Tasting Experience,” which provides guests with the opportunity to sample food from the most unique restaurants and purveyors of fine foods and beverages in the area.

Use Your Spring Break to Learn Something New

Although March is spring break for many people, that does not mean you have to stop learning or can’t learn something new while having fun at the same time. Students, lifelong learners, thinkers, innovators and artists who are looking for fresh ideas should consider going to the week-long IdeaFest 2015 to discuss dozens of world changing ideas. There will be attendees from around Canada and over 50 free panels, workshops, exhibits, lectures and tours covering everything from the arts, technology, social behaviors and conservation.

Similarly, aspiring photographers can develop their skills by participating in the Royal BC Museum’s Focus on Nature Spring Break Camp. Attendees will learn how to capture fantastic nature shots while learning about photo composition and storytelling. Highlights include a special visit from a Wildlife Photographer of the Year, field trips to Beacon Hill Park and being featured in a mini-Wildlife Photographer of the Year inspired display. With some many opportunities to learn, if there is an area you would like to improve or learn more about, this is the perfect time to start!

More March Things to Do in Victoria

Victoria French Festival (Mar 5-8)

Love is in the air in Portland! With Valentine’s Day coming up this weekend, there are a number of options for fun and romantic dates. However, Valentine’s Day shouldn’t be the only event on your radar this month, there is also Chinese New Year, which falls on February 19 and is the biggest Chinese holiday of the year. In addition, this month there several chances to whet your taste buds on the craft beer and cuisine Portland has become famous for with the variety of culinary festivals taking place from the middle to the end of the month. Whether you enjoy, food, the arts, the outdoors or all of the above, there are plenty February things to do in Portland.

Verbena. Creative Commons Licensed by Patty Myrick

Verbena. Creative Commons Licensed by Patty Myrick

Spend This Valentine’s Day Enjoying Everything Portland Has to Offer

There is nothing sweeter than spending Valentine’s Day weekend sampling Oregon’s world-class wines at Valentine’s Wine & Chocolate Weekend or beers at Zwickelmania. Or if you are up for something a bit more adventurous, take your friends or significant other on the at My Muddy Valentine 5k Mud Run that features tons of dirt and mud, obstacles, beer, food, hot showers, mimosas and music. Top the day or night off with a tasty dinner at one of Portland’s restaurants followed by theater, dancing or music. Whichever option you choose will certainly be a nice change of pace from the typical dinner and a movie.

Lan Su Garden. Creative Commons Licensed by M.O. Stevens

Lan Su Garden. Creative Commons Licensed by M.O. Stevens

The Fun and Festivities Continue All February Long

As mentioned previously, the fun does not end with Valentine’s Day on the 14th. Stop by Lan Su Garden, which was created by Chinese artisan’s from Portland’s sister city of Suzhou, for Chinese New Year. You will get experience cultural activities like “Rolling in the Wealth,” a traditional activity of rolling oranges and gold coins through Lan Su’s front door, which is thought to bring good fortune and prosperity. There will also be lion dances, performances and activities for kids, and calligraphy and martial arts demonstrations.

If you don’t get to sample enough tasty cuisine during Valentine’s Day or Chinese New Year, there are still opportunities to sample other fare before the month ends. There is the ever popular Newport Seafood & Wine Festival , a bright spot that many Northwesterner’s look forward to during the otherwise drizzly winter as well the Chowder Challenge, a fun blind-tasting competition that allows you to sample chowders from at least 12 restaurants. If you would rather listen to something sweet, you can enjoy over 80 different performances at the Portland Jazz Festival. After this concert, you definitely won’t be singing the Blues.

More February Things to Do in Portland

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