13 Things To Do In St. John’s, Newfoundland: Ultimate Bucket List Adventures

St. John’s Newfoundland is a stunning city in Canada known for its breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean, colorful houses, and rocky hills. If you’re planning our trip and need some ideas of things to do in St. John’s, Newfoundland, this guide will come in handy.

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Top 13 Things To Do In St. John’s, Newfoundland

Hike To Signal Hill National Historic Site

Signal Hill National Historic Site is one of the top things to do in St. John’s, Newfoundland. This is where Marconi received the first wireless transatlantic signal in 1901. This trail, known as “The North Head Trail” will grant you breathtaking views of the rugged Atlantic coastline.

Along the hike, you can find informational plaques that tell the story of the city’s military history and the iconic Cabot Tower that educates you on the area’s marine history.

Get Screeched In In St. John’s

When in Newfoundland, getting “Screeched In” is an absolute must and one of the fun things to do in St. John’s. Screeched In is a fun tradition that involves a ceremony (conducted in pubs across the city) where you take a shot of Screech (a type of rum), kiss a dead codfish, and say a local phrase that will earn you the honorary title of a ‘Newfoundlander’.

Tourists are treated as family when participating, and the atmosphere that this creates is just something out of this world. To truly immerse yourself in the culture of this town. It is one of the unique things to do in St. John’s, Newfoundland, and an experience you shouldn’t miss.

Hike The East Coast Trail

The East Coast Trail network is over 300 kilometers and covers everything from dense forests, and rugged cliffs to serene beaches, offering stunning views along the way. While hiking, you might encounter abundant wildlife, like seabirds, whales, and also icebergs. 

Enjoy A Walking Tour Of Downtown St. John’s

Downtown St. John’s is known for its bright-colored row houses, which people refer to as “Jellybean Row”. Here you can find charming local boutiques, art galleries, and culinary hotspots.

The downtown area is also home to several historic landmarks, including the Basilica of St. John the Baptist and the rooms, Newfoundland and Labrador’s largest public cultural space.

Learn About St. John’s On A Historical Walking Tour

A historical walking tour is the perfect way to get to know the city while learning interesting facts about its past. Guided tours will take you through the city’s historic landmarks, from the iconic Government House to the Basilica Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, each with stories that date back centuries.

Guides are mostly locals, so you’ll have an experienced person to tell you about the best places to visit, the less-concurred times, as well as exciting facts.

Take In The Nightlife On George Street

George Street is the heartbeat of St. John’s nightlife, known for having the most bars and pubs per square foot of any street in North America. Here you can find traditional Irish pubs filled with laughter, locals, and great pints. 

Further, many bars host live performances by local musicians, offering a chance to experience Newfoundland’s rich musical heritage. You can attend exciting events like the annual George Street Festival and Mardi Gras.

See Wildlife On A Boat Tour

Booking a boat tour to admire the incredible wildlife St. John’s has to offer, is a great addition to your trip. You can see stunning animals up close, such as humpbacks, minkes, and even massive blue whales. 

Other animals you can find, if you’re lucky, are puffins and bald eagles, so make sure to keep your eyes wide open and your camera ready at all times!

Experience St. John’s Through Food

Flight of beers from Quidi Vidi Brewery one of the things to do in St. John's, Newfoundland.
Flight of beers from Quidi Vidi Brewery

You can’t leave St. John’s without trying out the mouth-watering local cuisine, more specifically, cod. This fish has played a central role in Newfoundland’s history and culture, and this heritage is reflected in the many ways it’s prepared in St. John’s. 

From the traditional fish and brews, – salted cod served with hard bread, scrunchions (fried pork fat), and a hearty helping of molasses, to the modern cod tacos you’ll find in trendy downtown eateries.

The city’s restaurants, pubs, and cafes take pride in serving fresh, locally sourced seafood, offering a farm-to-table experience. Cod fishing tours also allow visitors to catch their dinner, providing an authentic Newfoundlander experience. 

Visit The Johnson GEO Centre

Johnson GEO Centre is another one of the top things to do in St. John’s, Newfoundland. The center is built on the ancient rock of Signal Hill, and is the perfect place to learn about Earth’s geological history and Newfoundland’s unique geology.

It features interactive exhibits that will make the learning process easier and more fun, so no matter if you’re a fan of science or just looking for a different type of activity, this one will surely make your trip more memorable.

See The Rooms

The Rooms are considered the city’s largest public cultural space, and feature a museum, art gallery, and provincial archives. It is the perfect place to learn more about St. John’s and admire historical artifacts, as well as to read through the multiple archives available.

Explore Quidi Vidi

Quidi Vidi, also known as “The Gut”, is a charming fishing village that features brightly colored houses, a tranquil harbor, and hilly landscapes.

Quidi Vidi Brewery is a famous spot in the village, thus it produces a wide range of craft beers using pure iceberg water. Apart from this, you can find the Plantation, a special place for local artisans where they showcase their creations. Quidi Vidi perfectly encapsulates Newfoundland’s beauty, charm, and rich heritage, making it a must-visit spot in St. John’s.

Visit Cape Spear Lighthouse National Historic Site

The Cape Spear Lighthouse, located on the Easternmost tip of North America, is another must-visit landmark in St. John’s, Newfoundland. As a National Historic Site, visitors can step back in time and learn about the life of 19th-century lighthouse keepers and their families. 

At the top of the lighthouse, you can enjoy breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean, and you’ll have a chance to see icebergs, whales, and seabirds if the sky is clear.

See The Harbor And Water Street

The harbor overlooks the Atlantic Ocean, and you can easily take a ferry to take a better look from above. On the other hand, you can spend time on Water Street, the oldest street in North America, known for its mix of historic architecture and trendy venues.

Water Street features plenty of shops, art galleries, and restaurants we recommend you explore. 

Where To Stay In St. John’s, Newfoundland

St. John’s, Newfoundland

Sheraton Hotel Newfoundland

The Sheraton Hotel Newfoundland is located at the base of Signal Hill, and has multiple amenities like free Wi-Fi, an indoor pool, plenty of dining options, as well as a 24-hour fitness center.

DoubleTree by Hilton St. John’s Harbourview

The DoubleTree by Hilton is located at 2 Hill O’ Chips and is just 15 minutes away from the center of the city. The hotel houses Little Sparo, a restaurant that serves incredible Italian cuisine, and also has great amenities like free Wi-Fi, a fitness center, and the famous DoubleTree Chocolate Chip Cookie.

Cozy Pet-Friendly Home

An option for pet owners is this incredible guesthouse, Cozy Pet-Friendly Home. Located at 104 Seaborn Street, it features various room amenities such as a refrigerator, workspace, and free Wi-Fi. It also has outdoor furniture and access to free parking, which is a great plus.

It is within walking distance of the MUN Botanical Garden, and near seafood restaurants and local landmarks.

I use booking.com to book all my hotel accommodations when I travel. Explore more of the hotels in St. John’s, Newfoundland that suit your budget.

 

Where To Eat In St. John’s

One of the things to do in St. John's, Newfoundland is grab a flight of beers from Quidi Vidi Brewing Company.
Quidi Vidi Brewery

Quidi Vidi Brewery

Located in the historic Quidi Vidi Village, this brewery features various craft beers brewed on-site (which you can sample), as well as guided tours that educate you on their brewing process and history, and incredible food trucks.

The Iceberg beer is a local favorite, and it is made with 20,000-year-old iceberg water. We highly recommend you try it out!

Duke of Duckworth

The Duke of Duckworth is located in downtown St. John’s and has a stunning menu with a variety of British and local classics, as well as an impeccable selection of beers and ales. The warm atmosphere and friendly staff will make you feel at home, so make sure you add this pub to your list. Be sure to indulge yourself in the best fish and chips in St. John’s. It was so delicious I had two servings!

Mallard Cottage

Mallard Cottage is located in the surroundings of Quidi Vidi Village and has a menu that changes daily, offering the best dishes and combinations made with seasonal locally sourced produce and seafood. Whether you’re in for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, visiting Mallard Cottage is essential to your St. John’s itinerary. Whether you’re in for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, visiting Mallard Cottage is a must for any St. John’s itinerary.

Getting To St. John’s, Newfoundland

There are various ways to get to St. John’s, Newfoundland and here you can find a brief guide about the top options so you can easily determine which one is the best for you.

How To Get To St. John’s By Car

You can get to St. John’s by car via the Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 1), thanks to the city’s broad connections to other parts of Newfoundland. Depending on where you’re driving from, your journey might take a few hours. For example, if you’re driving from Port aux Basques, you’ll get to St. John’s in approximately nine hours.

Make sure you analyze the weather conditions for the season you’re planning on making your trip, as they can become a challenge, especially in winter. 

How To Get To St. John’s By Plane

The most efficient way to get to St. John’s is by plane, and the St. John’s International Airport (YYT) is just 10 minutes away from the city center. The airport offers regular direct flights from major cities in Canada, such as Toronto, Montreal, and Halifax, operating with well-known airlines like Air Canada, WestJet, and Porter Airlines.

Best Time To Visit Newfoundland

View from the water of St. John's, Newfoundland
View of St. John’s, Newfoundland

When planning your trip, it is essential to determine when you’re going to visit Newfoundland. Summer (July to August) offers warm temperatures and excellent festivals like the Royal St. John’s Regatta and the Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Festival. 

Spring (April to June) will give you the best time to view icebergs, as well as to admire the incredible wildlife.

How Many Days Do You Need In St. John’s, Newfoundland?

Ideally, you need to spend 3-4 days minimum in St. Jonh’s, Newfoundland to properly discover the place and do many outdoor activities. This guide gives you a wide range of options you can add to your St. John’s itinerary that will suit your vacation time, so no matter if you visit St. John’s for a day or a week, you’ll get to explore the city like a pro.

Things To Do In St. John’s, Newfoundland Conclusion

There are many things to do in St. John’s, Newfoundland that make it a wonderful city that combines history with modern charm. Its natural beauty will leave you breathless, and we can’t forget to mention the mouth-watering cuisine you can try. Whether you’re a history fan, an outdoor enthusiast, or simply someone looking for a relaxing trip, St. John’s is the perfect place for you.

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