Things to do in St. John's, Newfoundland

St. John's is the capital city of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and if you're visiting Newfoundland, it's likely that you'll end up landing in St. John's before making your way out to the other parts of the beautiful island. But that in no way means that St. John's is just a quick layover before you head out. There are some great things you can do in and around the city, and here are 10 of them!

1. Photograph Jellybean Row

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If you've seen those ads put out by the Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism Board enticing you to visit Newfoundland, you've probably seen the rows of beautiful coloured houses featured in them. Called the Jellybean Row, these colourful homes are not actually just on one street, but are actually scattered around the downtown area, so take a walk around to spot these cheerful and charming buildings!

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2. Visit Quidi Vidi - Home of the Iceberg Beer!

Quidi Vidi was once a historic fishing village. It is now a neighbourhood of St. John's but still has that sleepy, small fishing village feel to it. At Quidi Vidi, you can do tastings or a brewery tour at Quidi Vidi Brewery. The famous Iceberg Beer which is brewed with 25,000 year old iceberg water is brewed here. I'm not a big beer fan, but I liked the Iceberg Beer a lot. It has a really light, crisp taste to it. 

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You can also have a meal at Mallard Cottage at Quidi Vidi. You'll find Mallard Cottage at the top of many of the 'places you have to eat at in St. John's' lists, and I can confirm that the food there is pretty amazing! It was the best meal I had in Newfoundland. Mallard Cottage is very busy though, and you might be turned away if you don't have a reservation, so try to do that ahead of time!

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Quidi Vidi located at Quidi Vidi Village Road, St. John's, Newfoundland.

3. Visit Cape Spear

A few weeks ago, I wrote about my visit to the easternmost point of North America, Cape Spear. Cape Spear is also home to not one, but two lighthouses, one of which is the oldest surviving lighthouse in Newfoundland. Some people choose to go there to catch the sunrise, but make sure you do a quick weather check before you head out because the weather can be a bit unpredictable and it can get quite foggy there!

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4. Learn the Story of Terry Fox

For those of you not familiar with the story of Terry Fox, he was a Canadian who was diagnosed with bone cancer at the age of 18 which resulted in his having his right leg amputated. He wanted to raise awareness and money for cancer research so he decided to do a Marathon of Hope - a run all the way across Canada - to do so. Although he unfortunately succumbed to cancer before he was able to complete his journey, his story and strength inspired a nation. He began his run in St. John's in April 1980, but to this day, there are still annual Terry Fox Runs held around the country. 

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In St. John's you'll find a Terry Fox Monument, paying tribute to this brave young man. It's worth a visit to learn more about his story and his cause.

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The Terry Fox Monument located at 1 Water Street, St. John's, Newfoundland.

5. Visit The Rooms

The Rooms is a wonderful museum in St. John's where you can learn about Newfoundland and Labrador in detail. It covers the history, nature, art, and culture of this beautiful province and if you are in the city on the first Wednesday of the month between 6PM and 9PM, entry is free! How great is that? 

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There's also a great restaurant in the museum where you can enjoy some delicious eats (with an iceberg beer!) while looking out through massive glass windows over the city!

The Rooms located at 9 Bonaventure Avenue, St. John's, Newfoundland.

6. Have a night out at George Street

For those of you who enjoy some good nightlife, pay George Street in St. John's a visit. The street isn't long but it's packed with bars, pubs, and restaurants. In the daytime it's pretty quiet but it all comes to life at night! If you ask around, for instance if you ask servers at restaurants you visit, it's likely that they can point you to their favourite hangouts on George Street!

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7. Grab a good coffee (or tea!)

You might be needing a delicious steaming cup of joe after a night out on George Street. Or you might just be like me and enjoy a good coffee and pastry for breakfast. St. John's has a couple of coffee shops serving up just that! I visited Rocket Bakery and Fresh Food one morning and thoroughly enjoyed a cappuccino and sausage roll. Rocket Bakery has been featured on the Food Network for their delicious french-inspired pastries.

Calling all London Fog lovers, Fixed Coffee & Baking (also in St. John's) served up the best cup of London Fog I've had in my life. I'm not exaggerating! I still crave it every now and then and wish that I was able to circle back to get a cup before I had to leave St. John's! Their scones are pretty great too. Seating is pretty limited in Fixed, but you can head outside to Harbourside Park and enjoy your coffee with a view of the harbour!

Rocket Bakery and Fresh Food located at 272 Water Street, St. John's, Newfoundland. Fixed Coffee & Baking located at 183 Duckworth Street, St. John's, Newfoundland.

8. Visit and hike around Signal Hill

Signal Hill is a landmark in St. John's and a must-visit for the views of the city on one side and endless ocean on the other. It's also so rich in history and in the summer months, you can watch the famous Signal Hill Tattoo which includes a battle reenactment. I've written about Signal Hill in more detail on a separate post - check it out for more information!

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Signal Hill located at 230 Signal Hill Road, St. John's, Newfoundland.

9. Spot the street art around downtown St. John's

If you're exploring downtown St. John's, between the Jellybean houses and coffee shops, you might spot some street art! Who doesn't love street art? Here are some that I spotted, but if you check out this site here, you can find the exact locations for more of the murals in the area.

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10. Join a boat tour to Witless Bay 

Last but not least, hop on a boat tour to Witless Bay! It's ideal for bird lovers and those of you who want to see whales and puffins in the right months of the year. I joined a tour with O'Brien's which left from Bay Bulls which was a short 30 minute drive from St. John's, but there are other tour operators as well. Do some research and find one that's right for you! If you want my unbiased review of the O'Brien's tour, click here to read more about my experience.

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Keep exploring: Newfoundland | Canada | Travel

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