Exploring St.John’s: One of the Oldest Cities In North America

When people think of vacation they imagine themselves soaking in the sun shine on a nice sandy beach, not soaking wet from walking around in rain and fog, which will likely be the case if you visit St. John’s, Newfoundland. But don’t let the horrible weather deter you. St. John’s is a beautiful city with as much character as there are bars on George Street.

Weather wise, August and September are the best months to visit. They tend to be the warmest (high 20’s ºC is usually as hot as it gets) and have the least amount of rainfall. The temperature can drop quite a bit in the evening though, so make sure to bring some warm clothes along with those shorts and tees.

If you’re planning to come to Newfoundland to see the icebergs then be prepared for the cold. Iceberg season is late May to June and with the ice comes northerly winds. Temperatures fluctuate a lot this time of year so layering will be your best friend. So, now that you know what to pack, let’s talk about what you can do once you land in this colorful city.

Museums

The Rooms – 9 Bonaventure Ave.

Hours – Monday, Tuesday, Thursday-Saturday:10-5; Wednesday:10-9; Sunday:12-5

Cost – Free(children 5 and under)-$10; they do offer free admissions to everyone on Wednesdays between 6-9pm

If you’re in St. John’s, you need to check out The Rooms. For one, it’s one of the coolest buildings you will ever see and has amazing views of the harbour and downtown. It’s also the best place to learn some Newfoundland history. If history is not your thing there are art exhibits and a cafe which sells really yummy food.

 

Johnson Geo Centre – Signal Hill

Hours – 9:30am-5pm everyday

Cost – Free(children 5 and under)-$12

This place is a must if you have kids that are into science. With exhibits ranging from the solar system to geology to the history of the Titanic, there is a lot to see and learn. Plus, it’s on the way to Cabot Tower (one of the biggest tourist attractions here) so why not stop in on the way.

Historical Sites

Signal Hill/Cabot Tower

Signal Hill - Cabot Tower

Located on the east end of downtown St. John’s, this historical site offers some of the best views in the city. It is the site of the famous Cabot Tower, which was built in 1898 to commemorate the 400th year anniversary of the discovery of Newfoundland by John Cabot. It is also where the first transatlantic wireless signal was received by Marconi in 1901. Cabot Tower is open to the public during summer months. There is a gift shop and some steep stairs that lead you to the top of the tower. It is a amazing view but if you’re afraid of heights, skip out on this one.

Cape Spear

You will need a car to get here but it is definitely worth it. Cape Spear is about a 20 minute drive outside of St. John’s and is site to one of the oldest lighthouses in Newfoundland and the remnants of a World War II coastal defence fort. During the summer months the lighthouse keeper’s family home is open to the public, giving you a look at what a home would have looked like in the 1800’s. You can walk the trails, explore the fort ruins, stand in the most easterly point of North America and get some really nice pictures to show your friends and family back home.

Food and Drink

George Street

If you are 19 or older and want to check out the night life, this is the place to go. It is a little street in downtown St. John’s that only contains bars. That’s it! There are 21 in total ranging from Irish pubs to dance clubs.

Looking to be Screeched-In Christian’s Bar is the best place to do it.

This is a very short list of the things to do here. The best way to experience the city is to just walk around downtown. Get lost, see the old building, eat a touton at the Bagel Cafe, talk to the locals and just take in the culture. You’ll love it here so much you’ll be planning you’re next trip before you even leave.

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