Are you planning to visit The city of St. John this vacation or merely wondering about exploring new places in the city as a resident? Here are 12 absolutely mind-blowing places to check out in this beautiful part of Canada. Read through the article to not miss out on any of our personal favorite sites in the City of St. John.
But first, an introduction to the city – The city of St. John is the capital of the state or province of Newfoundland and Labrador. It is also the biggest city in Newfoundland and Labrador, which justifies its position as the capital of the region. It is one of the oldest cities to be discovered in North America, as proof has been found, which puts forth the fact that the town existed in times as early as the early sixteenth century.
Festivals like Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Festival, George Street Festival, Victoria Park Lantern Festival and the Festival of New Dance and Mardi Gras are sad, not held throughout the year, so you should be aware of things that you can do to plan a much-needed break from life and to disconnect.
It is home to a population of over 108,000 people and is the 20th largest city in Canada. It is the easternmost city in the Northern part of America and has a rich history. Much of this can definitely be attributed to the role it played in many historic wars fought internationally, like the War of 1812, the French and Indian War, the American Revolutionary War, among others. It is heralded by the locals as one of the most famous tourist attractions in the country.
Here are 12 really cool places that you can see and things that you can do in the city of St. John in Canada.
12 Reasons To Visit The City Of St. John:
1. Go to The Rooms
The city of St. John’s is one that has a lot of cultural and historical significance to Canada. One of the most recommended places that you should check out if you’re planning to absorb the rich history that the city offers, you should head down to The Rooms. The address that you’re looking for is 9, Bonaventure Avenue. It is a location that sits Downtown and has three significant historical offerings.
You can find an art gallery, a museum, and the Provincial Archives all in one place. This is a must-see sight for art enthusiasts and the people interested in historical artifacts. The Rooms were inaugurated all the way back in 2005 and can be seen from almost any point in the city of St. John.
2. Go to Cape Spear
Cape Spear is arguably one of the coolest names for a place that I have ever heard, and it is a slightly relaxed place to see after all. It is at a distance of about 8 kilometers outside of the city of St. John and is out on the far east, so east, that it is the easternmost point of the North American continent.
Cape Spear lighthouse is another beautiful attraction that makes a visit to the easternmost point worthwhile. The beam stares out into the sea, as a tower does. It is highly recommended that you watch the sunrise or the sunset at least once during your visit because the view is one that you probably won’t find in any other corner of the world.
The lighthouse was built all the way back in 1836 and is 184 years old in 2020. This makes the lighthouse the oldest one in the province of Newfoundland, the City of St. John, and Labrador.
Picnicking, bird watching, and hiking are among the other things that you can do at Cape Spear apart from just visiting the lighthouse.
3. Drive Along the Killick Coast Trail
Canada has a lot of places with cool names, and they really deserve them to be very honest! If you simply love driving along a trail like nothing else, then you simply have to drive along the 55 kilometers long Killick Coast Trail.
The view is simply stunning and goes through Cape St. Francis and Conception Bay. It ends on the other side at Topsail. Paradise Cove is a location on the trail that offers ferry rides. You can take a ferry here to see spectacular views of the hills among which Conception Bay is nestled in. The stretch back to the city of St. John passes through Route 21 and 20, another great time with a great view to drive by.
4. Signal Hill Hike
Signal Hill is one of the first places that you’ll actually end up checking out if you ask the amazing Canadian locals for advice. It is undoubtedly one of the city’s most popular tourist spots and landmarks. You can try your hand at hiking with a hike to the top of the Signal Hill.
The top of the Signal Hill offers you a beautiful view of the city and the ocean both. You can also check out Cabot Tower at the top of the hill, an incredible work of architecture that was constructed at the beginning of the twentieth century. The purpose of its construction was to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the discovery of Newfoundland by John Cabot, whom the Tower is named after. Cabot Tower is a National Historic Site of Canada, along with the Cape Spear Lighthouse mentioned above.
5. The (Former) Largest Church in Canada
Whether or not you’re a believer in the true son of God, you really should consider checking out the now second-largest church in Canada, the Basilica-Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. It is the mother church and the symbol of Roman Catholic Christians in the province of Newfoundland. Construction of the Basilica was completed in 1855, and it is the site of one of the most famous works of sculpture, The Dead Christ, made by John Hogan in 1854.
You can also find a museum at the Basilica which has artworks and other essential relics from the time it was built. It is truly a must-visit site for any tourist.
6. The Local Food
Food, in my opinion, is the best part of any culture in the world. And the option to try out local cuisine is one that is very tempting no matter where I’m headed. While you’re in the city of St. John, you should do the same. Food communicates a lot of emotions and messages subliminally. Messages that you can’t pick up on, otherwise.
If your taste buds love the way fish taste, then you’re in the exact place that you should be, as fish is the heart of the local cuisine in the city. This is explained by the relative closeness of the sea to the town. Try out a Jiggs’ Dinner as well, which something that is a meat lover’s dream (sorry, vegans!). Rabbit stew and moose pie are among the other dishes that are favored by the locals.
The quest to satisfy the sweet tooth is one that never truly ends. Visit the Purity Factories to pick up on sweet things that the city of St. John[p offers you.
7. Visit Wine Vaults
If you love someone who loves their drinks, then you’ve absolutely got to go and see the wine vaults in the city. The Newman Wine Vaults, which can be found around Water Street, is over three hundred years old!
The port-wine that came out of these wine cellars had an exceptional smoothness and flavor to them. You can head down to the wine vaults and have a sample of the fine Portuguese Port Wine yourself.
8. The Avalon Peninsula
There are over twenty-six trials in the East Coast Trail, and they range in length and difficulty to suit hikers of all ages and experience levels. It is recommended that you head over to the East Coast Trial website to thoroughly plan out the trial that you will be traversing based on your desired length and experience level.
The diversity offered in the trials is fantastic, and you can hope to truly feast your eyes on some incredible views while you walk. There are cliffs, bridges, and water bodies that you can pass.
9. Head Downtown
North of St. John’s harbor, you will find yourself heading Downtown on St. John’s. This is where you’ll find The Rooms. But that is not the only beautiful thing about the place.
Mile One Centre hosts sports games and is also a prominent concert venue in the city. Check out the dates on which your favorite musical talents are on the road, and there’s a good chance they’ll be playing the Mile One Centre. You can also watch a sport, as many teams use this stadium as their home ground.
If you’re a fan of the nightlife, then we’ve got you covered as well. The nightlife on George Street is a brilliant one, as the short street has mostly bars and pubs which stay open later than most others in Canada. George Street is also the site of the George Street Festival held in the summer, for six days.
Water Street is also another place that you can check out while you’re Downtown, and you might even be tempted to go shopping while you’re there. There are also a few great restaurants in that area that you must try out. This is also the place where you’ll find the famous Signal Hill that overlooks the entire city.
10. The Railway Museum
The Newfoundland Railway Terminal is home to the Coastal Railway Museum. The museum was opened in 2003 and beautifully captures the history of the railways with paintings, maps, and many other artifacts and relics.
There’s a really cool life-sized model of a passenger train from the 40s era. You can be assured that kids won’t get bored at this particular museum, because it has a specially designated area for them. The kids can play with Lego and go scavenger hunting, apart from playing with the model trains at the Coastal Railway Museum in the city of St. John.
11. The Johnson Geo Centre
The city of St. John has a lot of awesome things that you can do, and places that you can see. But the thing that makes this place stand apart from the others is the fact that it is a space center. Underground!
Signal Hill is where you can find the Johnson Geo Centre. It is a great place to take kids to learn about space and the natural beauty of the earth. There’s a lot of cool things that you can do here, including walking through a simulated volcano, a solar system installation, and cinemas for the related topics to make the entire thing irresistibly appealing.
Hibernia KidsPlace is also another feature offered by the Johnson Geo Centre that is specially introduced for the kids. It provides the kids an extended look at the moon, and at the various fossils found in the crust of the earth.
The kid in me is way too excited to let an opportunity to visit this place slip, and you should not either.
12. Take a Boat Ride
The pier, which can be found Downtown in the city of St. John, has boat rides, which offer you a glimpse of icebergs, whales, and seabirds while floating your way through the Atlantic Ocean.
The route the boats take passes by the Cabot Tower on the peak of Signal Hill, and towards the easternmost point on the North American continent, Cape Spear.
The Narrows, as these waters are locally known, is home to the largest population of humpback whales in the world. This could be a really brilliant opportunity to see one for yourself. You might also have the chance to catch a glimpse of the Atlantic Puffin while you’re sailing through the waters. The boat rides last somewhere around two hours, so you should plan your trip accordingly. Services start from 9:30 AM.
The City of St. John, much like the rest of Canada, has a lot to offer to tourists and residents alike. For the people already living there, it is a chance to get away for the weekend and have yourself a great escapade, a well-needed break, or a simple picnic with your family.
Given the enormous historical significance and cultural offerings that the city of St. John has to offer, it is no surprise that Canada is regarded as one of the most beautiful countries in the world to visit. Check out the other fun things that you can do while you’re in Canada here:https://icycanada.com/destination-canada-a-travelers-guide/.
This was our list of places and things to do in the City of St. John. Let us know if there are other hidden gems in this beautiful city of Canada that need a shout out in the comment section.