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Things To Do In Saint John’s Newfoundland

Winterset In Summer Literary Festival

Newfoundland Travel Guide: Best Things to Do in ST. JOHN’S

Meet great filmmakers, songwriters, and authors from across Newfoundland and Canada at the Winterset in Summer Literary Festival. This is the festivals 20th year and features Margaret Atwood, Linden MacIntyre, musical performances, cooking authors, past winners, new finalists, emerging writers, and much more.

Cape Bonavista Lighthouse Bonavista

PW27+HV Bonavista, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, map

Bonavista Lighthouse is a candy cane colored lighthouse and was definitely worth the detour. Its also one of two easy-to-see puffin colonies. All you have to do is head towards the back of the lighthouse and youll see them on a giant rock to the right just off the coast. There are also a bunch of trails following the coast around the lighthouse.

These puffins are much farther though, so bring your longest telephoto lens .

Things To Do In St Johns: Hike Signal Hill And The East Coast Trail And Explore The Culture

From the pristine coastline landscapes and mesmerizing national historic sites to the world-class galleries and unique museums, theres plenty to explore in the small yet buzzing city of St. Johns. Two days doesnt scratch the surface of what Newfoundland has to offer, so heres an itinerary with the top tried-and-true experiences that make St. Johns unique.

Start your adventure at the Signal Hill National Historic Site, the citys most famous landmark that gives you a 360-degree view of the city, harbour and sea. Put on your hiking shoes and work your way up from the Battery, a village filled with vibrant houses, to the Cabot Tower, a historic monument built in 1898 to commemorate Queen Victorias Diamond Jubilee and John Cabots discovery of Newfoundland. As you make your way down the hill, stop by the Johnson Geo Centre to dive deep underground and learn about the earths geology through interactive exhibits and guided tours.

George Street Festival

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Visit Canadas Second Largest Church

At the time it was built, the Basilica-Cathedral of St. John the Baptist was the largest church in the country. Today, it is Canadas second largest church.

The church construction was completed in 1855 to symbolise Roman Catholicism in Newfoundland. It is a beautiful Lombard Romanesque style basilica that features the Carrara marble The Dead Christ sculpture by Irish sculptor John Hogan, the two-ton St. John Bell and a 1955 great pipe organ.

In the Basilica Residence there is a museum that exhibits religious art and artefacts, historic artefacts of the basilica, and furniture and decorations that were once in the residence rooms. There are also photographs of bishops and archbishops of St. Johns.

Cape St Marys Ecological Reserve

16 of the Best Things to do in St. John

Saint Brides, NL A0B 2Z0, Canada, map

This ecological reserve is home to the most accessible seabird colony in North America so it is popular amongst birders. Youll find thousands of gulls, razorbills, black-legged kittiwakes, northern gannets, and cormorants. Beyond the birds, there are trails to explore along the dramatic coastline.

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Whale And Iceberg Tours In St Johns

If youre visiting St. Johns during the warmer months of the year youll want to take advantage of the citys unique proximity to wild Atlantic coastlines. The harbour offers nature lovers easy access to cruising by boat where youll encounter wild whales, pretty puffins and jaw-dropping iceberg on the drift.

Looking to whale watch during your visit to St. Johns? Humpback and Minke whales usually arrive after the middle of May and often stay through to the end of September. The peak of the season for sightings is typically mid-June to mid-August.

Looking to book an iceberg cruise during your visit to St. Johns? The icebergs glide through Iceberg Alley from Spring to early Summer. April and May are the months when icebergs are most plentiful, but they may be locked up in sea ice, solocal experts suggest visiting late May and early June for the best viewing experience.

The best whale watching and iceberg tour in St. Johns is offered by Iceberg Quest Ocean Tours.

230 Signal Hill Rd, 709-772-5367

Looking for the best views of St. Johns, Newfoundland? Hike to the top of Signal Hill National Historic Site to enjoy jaw-dropping panoramas over the capitals iconic harbour.

Signal Hill was the site of St. Johns harbour defences from the 17th-century to WWII. Its also where Guglielmo Marconi received the worlds first transatlantic wireless signal in 1901.

Fantastic Things To Do In Saint John New Brunswick

Saint John New Brunswick just might be the most underrated city in Canada. But during our two visits, we found plenty of things to do in Saint John, that will completely surprise you. With historic buildings converted to chic coffee shops and micro brewpubs, local artists setting up shop downtown, and nature at your fingertips, Saint John has quickly turned into one of Canadas coolest cities to visit.

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Get Friendly With Sea Creatures

While youre out at Cape Spear, make the 15-minute drive south to the Petty Harbour Mini Aquarium. The tiny but delightful aquarium has a catch-and-release philosophy, so each spring a diving team collects crabs, sunstars, Atlantic cod and other fish, urchins and jellies, and each September, the aquarium invites the public to an animal release party at the marina. Kids will adore the multiple meet-and-greet touch tanks and the beluga whale skeleton, which is suspended from the ceiling. The shorthorn sculpinswith big heads, wide mouths and wee bodiesare crowd pleasers. Petty Harbour is also home to Chafes Landing, a rural seafood restaurant featured on You Gotta Eat Here! and Anthony Bourdains Parts Unknown. Find out more about the Petty Harbour Mini Aquarium.

Fun Things To Do In St Johns Newfoundland With Kids

Best Things to Do in St. John’s Newfoundland

Today I am thrilled to have Jessie Voigts from the Wandering Educators sharing the Best Things to Do in St Johns Newfoundland with kids. Jessie is the publisher of Wandering Educators, a travel library for people curious about the world. She is constantly looking for ways to increase intercultural understanding, and is passionate about family travel, study abroad, and international education.

Jessie founded and directs the Youth Travel Blogging Mentorship Program, teaching teens all around the world. As an educator, I love following her site and always enjoy reading her articles. Hopefully you will enjoy her adventures as much as I do!

St. Johns, Newfoundland is a storybook place filled with jellybean-colored houses, set on a windswept rock, and called the City of Legends. Its the perfect place for family travel, because theres so much that is unique to the area, while some things are familiar. The food is amazing and kid-friendly , and the people are oh, so welcoming. Here are my top 5 things to do in St. Johns for you and your family.

You will enjoy walking the hills, spotting cool colors, and perhaps having a photography challenge within your family for best photo of these beautifully painted houses?

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St Johns International Circusfest

St. Johns International CircusFest

National and international circus performers and troupes travel to the St. Johns International Circus Fest to showcase their skills and entertain people of all ages. The festival hosts a multitude of performances, circus shows, along with workshops and professional development sessions.

Hike Along The Peninsula

The East Coast Trail consists of different coastal trails on the Avalon Peninsula. There are 26 trails in total, with the entire network of trails being a total of over 300 kilometres.

Trails range in length and difficulty, heading through historic communities and wilderness. Pass over a suspension bridge, through a provincial park, through ecological reserves and over spectacular cliffs.

Before heading off, be sure to go to the East Coast Trail website to plan your hike. Here, you can chose the level of difficulty you wish to hike, and it will then list the trails that suit this level.

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St Johns Flights & Accommodations

Looking to book your flights and accommodations for St. Johns?

I love booking all of my flights and hotels on Expedia and collecting points towards free rewards.

I use Airbnb when Im traveling on a budget, and I have a separate blog post all about how to find the best Airbnbs.

From the adorable and colourful houses, to the stunning landscapes, to the unique slang words, Newfoundland is a very charming place that has caught my heart.

We spent a lot of time in St. Johns, and Id definitely love to come back in the summer when it isnt rainy and freezing cold.

I dont regret coming during the fall at all the changing leaves made for gorgeous landscapes.

Perhaps just a little less wind wouldve been nice.

Have you been to Newfoundland before? What are the best things to do in St. Johns? What did you have on your Newfoundland road trip itinerary? Let me know on or !

If youre planning a trip to Newfoundland, you might enjoy these posts as well:

Be sure to keep up with me on , TikTok, , , and if you arent already!

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The Perfect St Johns Newfoundland 48

The Top 10 Things to Do in St. John

Two things you need to know before we get started.

  • If you know me well then you already know that when it comes to food, one of my favourite places to visit is the markets. Well, that and breweries and coffee shops. Right up there with coffee shops are bakeries. Im not sure what it is but there is something about the smell of freshly baked bread and the waves of steam that slowly floats out when its broken open.
  • As I mentioned off the top, some of the friendliest people you will ever meet in Canada are from Newfoundland. These people will eventually become your friends for life.Case and point:During our Screeched In Ceremony my brother and I befriended a really cool local named Danielle. She has offered to give up some of her favourite spots for this post!
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    Go For A Night On The Town On George Street

    Did you know St. Johns has the highest density of bars per capita of anywhere in North America? Yeah, we like to drink. The majority of those are on George Street, a small street downtown off water street. Head there for an evening of bar-hopping fun. Expect a late night out the bars in Newfoundland stay open until 3 am , and you usually dont stumble out until past 4.

    If you visit during early August, youll get to join in for George Street Fest a week-long festival of outdoor concerts on George street. The entire street gets closed off so you can walk around with your drink between bars. Its so much fun!

    If you want to catch a late-night snack , hit up the Ziggy peel goods truck for poutine. Or if you prefer to sit down with friends to cap off the night, The Celtic Hearth restaurant is just a couple minute walk away on Water Street. Its open 24 hours and serves great pub fare.

    Maritime Music On George Street

    Newfoundland is a center for traditional Maritime Music, a style characterized by its strong Scottish and Irish influences and by the songs and ballads of sailors and fishermen. Hard to classify, Maritime Music usually features fiddle and guitar and often piano, and although its sounds and rhythms vary, it’s a distinctiveand addictivestyle that carries a strong sense of its seafaring roots. The place to hear it is on the two-block George Street, the tiny but active entertainment district in St. John’s.

    That’s not the only kind of music you’ll hear here, especially during the early August George Street Festival, when top Newfoundland bands gather for five days and nights of music. In October, George Street celebrates Mardi Gras with more music.

    But you don’t need a festival to find music and conviviality in friendly George Street’s restaurants and terraces. The street is closed to traffic in the afternoons and throughout the night .

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    Go As Far East As You Can

    Cape Spear is North Americas easterly most point. One of its main draws is the Cape Spear Lighthouse, which is the oldest existing lighthouse in the province!

    The lighthouse is a national historic site and boasts a very unique style of architecture for its era . In 1955 the lighthouse was rebuilt using the original light.

    Further changes were made to the area during WWII and remnants of this can still be seen today. The scenery here is also quite spectacular and another great reason to visit.

    Support Local Stores Downtown

    Things to do in St. John’s, Newfoundland – Ladies Lookout and North Head Trail on Signal Hill

    Be sure to spend an afternoon strolling around downtown St. Johns during the day. Make your way through Duckworth and Water street, browsing the shops for souvenirs and local crafts. Some of my favorite shops are Posie Row & Co., Model Citizens, and Johnny Ruth.

    A post shared by Destination St. Johns on Dec 3, 2019 at 3:35pm PST

    If you get hungry, theres no shortage of delicious restaurants and cafes to dine in. Bring your appetite and visit Sun Sushi on Duckworth Street for all-you-eat Sushi. Make sure to save room for the matcha green tea ice cream!

    Another place I love to eat downtown is Rocket Bakery try the toutons, a which is a delicious Newfoundland pancake. The fish cakes here are also delightful.

    If you need a cat fix, be sure to visit the Mad Catter Cafe, where you can play with cats while enjoying a coffee. All proceeds go to the humane society.

    You could also join a historic walking tour of downtown to learn about the unique history and culture of Newfoundland.

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    Obriens Whales And Birds Tour

    Speaking of whale and bird watching establishments, if you get the chance to visit Bay Bulls check out OBriens Whales and Birds Tour. It was the main reason for coming out here and trust me, you will not regret this tour as you will see a wide display of wildlife which will leave you gasping with beauty. At the end of the tour as we head back to shore, the host broke out into song, singing classic Newfoundland folk tunes. This distinctly reminded me of the songs I heard in Dublin, Ireland.

    We were lucky to see an Iceberg here as they usually dont visit these parts. I guess that made up for not seeing whales.

    Day 3 The Race To Bonavista

    I call it a race but really it worked out quite well for us to head up to Bonavista which is all the way over in the Eastern region of Newfoundland.

    In my research, Bonavista and that whole peninsula came up time and time again. Friends recommended it as well. The question however was whether we could do it as a day trip and that’s where I stumped most people. Mapping it all out, it seemed possible so we decided to give it a shot. What makes it an ambitious day trip is that 3.5 hour drive so 7 hours there and back but is totally worth it.

    We started off working our way all the way from the tip which is where you’ll find the Cape Bonavista Lighthouse. We didn’t spend the money to climb up the lighthouse but the the views of the Atlantic and the craggy coastline back towards Bonavista were just brilliant. This part reminded me of Ireland and Iceland the most. The rugged and seemingly untouched terrain made me want to stop every few metres to take a photo of the landscape where water met land. From here you’re only minutes away from The Dungeon which is this big natural bridge has formed as a result of the collapse of a sea cave.

    Bonavista itself is a picturesque oceanside village that’s larger than most and as a result you could see in action many fishing boats heading out into the water or unloading their catches. It’s also a village of significant history with the Ryan Premises National Historic Site which we unfortunately had to skip.

    What you’ll see:

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    How To Get Around St Johns Newfoundland

    St. Johns main downtown core is quite small and is very walkable. It will take you a maximum of 30 minutes at a leisurely pace to walk from one end to the other. However, there are a number of spots outside of the downtown core that you may want to visit such as Cape Spear, Quidi Vidi or Signal Hill that are not within an easy walking distance. There is the East Coast Trail which links all of these spots together while Signal Hill is a moderate hike from the downtown area.

    If you want to see further out areas on a budget hop on The Link Metrobus which connects downtown St. Johns, Signal Hill and Quidi Vidi for a set day, 2-day or group fee. Metrobus is also available throughout the city if you opt to not walk.

    Unfortunately, there is no public transportation to Cape Spear so the only options are taxis or driving . If youre planning on travelling around Newfoundland renting a car is absolutely worth it.

    Slip In An Educational Outing

    12 Things to Do in St. Johns Newfoundland in 48 Hours

    On the short drive up Signal Hill, youll spot Johnson Geo Centre, which is built in a natural rock basin. Package the two outings together by having your kids experience this non-profit geological interpretation centre, which tells stories about our planet, province, people, future and space. One area of the centre is devoted to the Titanic, which hit an iceberg just 350 kilometres off the coast, and another showcases provincial rocks like Labradorite. A play nook, café and gift shop promise welcome distractions, as do summer talks and tours about fossils, space, constellations and the like. Outside, have the kids mug with bronze statues of Newfoundland and Labrador dogs. In the Geo-Vista Park next door, wander eight walkways to admire more rocks, plants and structures from early settlements. Find out more about the Johnson Geo Centre.

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