Where to shop: Chintz & Company
I dare you to visit Chintz & Company and not blow your decor budget. The Victoria branch of this West Coast fine home decor chain sprawls over more than 20,000 square feet in an old waterfront welding factory. Furniture big and small, rugs, accessories, textiles, artwork and faux botanicals all abound here...and they're all beautiful. 1720 Store St., chintz.com.
Where to shop: Victoria Public Market
Foodies and locavores alike can't skip this site. Located in a historic Hudson's Bay building, this is Victoria's first major public market to open in more than 50 years. Grab lunch at a tasty take-out spot like Roast or Vij's Sutra, and shop for gourmet souvenirs, such as birch syrup and infused salts, at Island Spice Trade. 6-1701 Douglas St., victoriapublicmarket.com.
Where to eat: The Guild
Specializing in British comfort food made with ingredients from local producers, The Guild also features a wide selection of microbrewed and craft beer - curious options I saw on tap there included Chrome Satan, Old Rasputin and Schadenfreude. But what impressed me most was the spot's rustic decor: a soaring vintage hammered-tin ceiling, tarnished metal tabletops and weathered- and carved-wood accents. Simply stunning! 1250 Wharf St., theguildfreehouse.com.