The attractions and activities that make Victoria so appealing to visitors will not be up and running in January: the Inner Harbour buskers and entertainers, the harbour ferries, the summer buzz. Instead it will seem very much a small, albeit attractive, city going about its daily business. Butchart is always well tended and cultivated but will be more subdued in January than the more prolific seasons. You can see the seasons by opening the following link and then scrolling down to winter. There are further links to open as well:
Americans seem to love Victoria no matter what the season. The weather in Victoria in January will be no different than in Seattle, and if you're looking for somewhere different, you can certainly get a lot out of a two day visit. The tourist attractions stay open year round, like the Royal BC Museum (worthy of 2+ hours), the Empress Hotel, tours of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia (Victoria is the capital city of the province of BC)... plus the smaller attractions like Craigdarroch Castle, Emily Carr House, etc. I haven't even included the typical city strolls like the shops, pubs, restaurants and cafes along Government Street, Fan Tan Alley in Chinatown, and so on. If it's not pouring rain, a stroll down to Dallas Road to the waterfront, which is beautiful, and even a quick stroll through Beacon Hill Park. You can play it by ear once you're there whether you want to visit Butchart Gardens. I wouldn't go to Victoria FOR Butchart Gardens in January... I'd go to Victoria to see Victoria, if that makes sense. However, Butchart will be lush and green - you just won't see any flowers in bloom.Edited: 26 September 2014, 00:36
If you are there early in January, you can walk around the Gardens and look for the 12 Days of Christmas Display. They have all the lights until January 6th. That can be fun, if you haven't experienced it before.