Explore the perfect combination of big-city luxury and traditional small-town charm that is St. John’s.
St. John’s, our province’s capital, is the perfect combination of big-city luxury and traditional small-town charm. It is the oldest city in North America, and has become a rare destination full of character and charisma, with a contemporary, sophisticated edge.
Downtown St. John’s is home to a working port, years of history, dozens of award-winning restaurants, and the bright houses of Jellybean Row. An active arts community and energetic music scene ensure the city’s oldest streets are busy well into the night.
Cabot Tower, at Signal Hill National Historic Site, overlooks the city and harbour. It is here where Marconi received the first transatlantic radio signal, ushering in the modern world of telecommunications. The North Head Trail winds around the tower and is popular for both locals and visitors, offering unparalleled views of The Narrows and Downtown St. John’s. It’ll carry you through the Battery, where tiny wooden homes still cling valiantly to cliffsides ravaged by ocean waves. Some sections of the trail are narrow and adjacent to steep drops. A chain has been installed in the side of the cliff to be used as a handrail to help hikers safely navigate this section.
Visit The Rooms and see the province’s most extensive collection of artifacts, art and historical records.
Wander the twisting, colourful, tree-lined streets on your way to visiting the provincial art gallery at The Rooms, Commissariat Provincial Historic Site, Government House, or one of the many churches like the Basilica Cathedral. The Grand Concourse walkways will impress you with their variety, as 160 kilometres of trails run between St. John’s and neighbouring towns. The loop around Quidi Vidi Lake is a popular spot, and you may catch sight of rowers practicing for the Royal Newfoundland Regatta, held the first Wednesday in August. Visit Quidi Vidi Village at the eastern edge of St. John’s and sample craft beer at the Quidi Vidi Brewery or check out up-and-coming artisans at the Plantation. Back on the Grand Concourse, walk the Waterford Valley following the Waterford River to charming Bowring Park.
Exciting tours are plentiful in St. John’s, giving you the opportunity to learn more about the city’s culture and history—or even practice your photography with a pro—while taking in the sights and sounds. Boat tours in the area offer whale watching, iceberg viewing, and fishing. Out there on the ocean, you’ll see the city and its surrounding craggy cliffs with a brand-new perspective.
Rise early to catch the sunrise at Cape Spear Lighthouse, another of our many National Historic Sites.
Rise early to catch the sunrise at Cape Spear Lighthouse, another of our many National Historic Sites. This is the first sunrise in North America, at the most easterly point of land on the continent. You can also join the East Coast Trail here for a hike. Continue on to Petty Harbour for some sightseeing or a boat tour with a side of fishing. Make a meal with your fresh catch, knit a net, or weave a sailor’s knot with Fishing for Success.
Take a detour to Torbay, Flatrock, and beyond to marvel at the breathtaking coastline and the mighty Atlantic Ocean. If it’s the right time of year, join the locals and watch the capelin roll in at Middle Cove Beach.
Road Trip Tips:
Please check exact directions and road conditions before you start each road trip. Visit www.511nl.ca for current road conditions.
Distances are estimates and for guidance only. Routes can be taken as is or in reverse order.