British culture and island informality collide in Victoria. This sophisticated seaside city is full of historic sites, parks and gardens. Take a walking tour - many of which begin at Parliament Buildings at Victoria's Inner Harbor. Combined with majestic Empress Hotel, these monumental buildings give the city a regal European feel. See equally impressive modern structures, such as Royal British Columbia History Museum, or replicas of large, native Northwest Indian houses at Thunderbird Park. Unique attractions include Undersea Gardens, Miniature World, Maritime Museum, Chinatown and Royal London Wax Museum. A memorable places to visit is world-famous Butchart Gardens, with 5,000 fauna varieties. The dazzling gardens on Saanich Inlet are beautiful at night, when hundreds of lights sparkle along winding paths. Additional gardens in Victoria include Crystal Garden and the gardens surrounding Government House and near Craigdarroch Castle, a towering Victorian mansion complete with a tower and turrets. Tour this city in a horse-drawn carriage.
Vancouver is a thriving metropolis surrounded by natural beauty. With parks, beaches, gardens, museums, art galleries and the second-largest Chinatown in North America, Vancouver lives up to its promise of offering something for everyone. With modern buildings set against green, rolling hillsides, this city is breathtaking; no location offers a more spectacular view than Stanley Park - with a zoo, aquarium, totem poles and honking geese. A short walk from the park leads to Robson Street, which offers the town's best window-shopping. Stores with European flavor share the avenue with delicatessens and tea rooms ready to serve. As architectural heart of the city, Robson Square features a central plaza with a food fair and an old provincial courthouse, which now houses Vancouver Art Gallery. Be sure to stop at 8 Pender St. - "the narrowest building in the world." Other points of interest include the Museum of Anthropology; Japanese-style Nitobe Memorial Garden; and VanDusen Botanical Garden. Capilano Canyon is site of the world's longest and highest suspension footbridge.
Portland is well known for its cutting edge rock'n'roll, though Shakespeare, Broadway shows, ballerinas, chamber music ensembles and full blown classical orchestrations exist here. Try one of many outdoor activities available year round with views of some of the country's best scenery. Portland has historical and cultural monuments, museums, and historic sites. According to a recent CNN survey, Portland is one of the five most "kid-friendly" cities in the United States. Portland has OMSI (the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry), the nations fifth largest science museum, the Oregon Zoo, and the Children's Museum with a strict "please touch" policy. For adventure, head for the indoor North Clackamas Aquatic Park, with its four foot waves and water slides, or visit an old fashioned Oaks Amusement Park, featuring roller coasters, thrill rides, a train, go carts, and bumper cars.
Seattle is situated on Puget Sound, surrounded by the Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges. The city skyline is impressive with shimmering glass high-rises and 100-year-old buildings standing side by side. This beautiful port city came into its own after gold was discovered in the Klondike and 100,000 people passed through the Northwest in 1897 and 1898 on their quest for wealth in Alaska Visit the Klondike Gold Rush Museum or the Space Needle by day and enjoy a vibrant jazz nightlife in turn-of-the-century Pioneer Square where the city first took root.