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St. John's

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For other places with the same name, see Saint John (disambiguation).

St. John's is the capital of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.


It is the oldest city in North America and is located on the Avalon Peninsula in the southeast corner of the island of Newfoundland. It lies 1'339 miles northeast of Toronto and is closer to Dublin than Vancouver. It is the most easternly urban settlement in North America and is just 3.5 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time. Vancouver on the west coast of Canada is 8 hours behind GMT.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

St. John's International Airport (IATA: YYT, ICAO: CYYT) is located 18 minutes (10 km) from the downtown section of St. John's. Flights arrive from major centers such as Calgary, Toronto, Montreal, Halifax, Newark/New York, the Caribbean, London-Heathrow, London-Gatwick, and Dublin (May 1st - October 24th). The airport is served by Air Canada, WestJet, Porter and United Airlines.

Metrobus provides a direct service (Route 14) from the Airport Parking Area to the Memorial University transit Centre. Taxis are readily available at the Airport.

By car[edit]

If you wish to drive to Newfoundland, you will have to take a ferry from North Sydney, NS or fly and rent a car. Once you arrive at either ferry terminal (see below), simply follow the Trans-Canada Highway east, and it will bring you directly to the city of St. John’s.

By boat[edit]

The island portion of the province is accessible by several ferries leaving North Sydney, Nova Scotia. From there, you can take a 5 to 6 hour ferry ride to Port-Aux-Basques, at the southwest corner of Newfoundland, and drive 905 km across the island to St. John’s, near its eastern tip.

Alternately, from mid-June through September, you can take a 14-17 hour ferry ride from North Sydney, Nova Scotia, to Argentia, Newfoundland, which is roughly a 1 hour drive (131 km ) from St. John’s. Ferry schedules, reservation information, etc. is available on the Marine Atlantic website [17]. It is recommended that you make a reservation well in advance, especially if you want a cabin on an overnight crossing. Marine Atlantic ferries offer a wide variety of on board accommodations and features, including deluxe cabins, dormitory sleepers, full meal and beverage service, live entertainment, movies, and children's activity programs.

By bus[edit]

If you choose not to travel with your own vehicle, you can take DRL Coachlines from Port-Aux-Basques to St. John’s (although that’s a long bus ride, typically 12 hours if on schedule), or New Hook Bus Lines (709-426-4876) from Argentia to St. John’s (much easier to handle: 1-2 hours).

Get around[edit]

By bus[edit]

St. John's has a public transit system of buses called Metrobus, that services nearly all of St. John's, the neighborhoods of Shea Heights, Kilbride and the Goulds, as well as the neighboring city of Mount Pearl. The service is $2.50 per use, and not per distance, making it a very cheap, affordable way of getting around town. Most, if not all, of the bus drivers are kind and courteous and are willing to give directions. Travelers can check routes and even the current position of any bus on the Metrobus online [18].

By car[edit]

St. John's is a driver-friendly city, although the road layout is haphazard and a map or GPS is de rigueur for visitors. Except for the Downtown centre, parking is almost always abundant and traffic jams are non-existent. Be aware that the downtown area contains many one-way streets so it is important to watch for signs. St. John's International Airport has the following car rental agencies: Hertz, Avis, Thrifty, Budget, and National. In the city you can also find Enterprise, Discount, and Rent-A-Wreck. Book rental cars early for travel during the peak summer months. Executive Car Service is also available for chauffeured car rentals and tours from several providers such as Black Car Service, Corporate Concierge and Jimmy's Sedan Service.

By foot[edit]

The Downtown core can be easily explored by foot. Take a stroll up Water Street, stop for a drink or take in some live music at a wide range of drinking establishments, and a wide range of restaurants as well as distinctive shopping. George Street, just above Water at the west end of the downtown core, near City Hall and the Convention Centre, is a concentration of nightclubs, taverns, restaurants that is typically busy any night of the week, with bar patrons spilling onto many patios and onto the street itself. Adjacent streets such as Duckworth Street also have interesting shopping and restaurants, and there are a number of (liquor-licensed) billiards halls.

By bicycle[edit]

Be warned, St. John's rivals San Francisco with its notorious sloping hills. Unless you're in the mood to challenge gravity, renting a bicycle is probably not the best idea.

By taxi[edit]

St. John's issues over 300 taxi licenses, and many of the cab drivers are quite knowledgeable and eager to help visitors find out about local attractions. If you want to see something but aren't sure what or where, ask a cabbie for a tour of the city or Cape Spear.

See[edit][add listing]


  • The Rooms, [1]. the major cultural center at Fort Townsend for Newfoundland & Labrador. The building itself has become one of prominence (and controversy) rivaling that of the Basilica. The Rooms contain the Newfoundland Museum, Provincial Archives, and Art Gallery. From the upper floor you can get an unrivaled view of the area. For the cheap, there is free admission on Wed. 7-9PM.  edit
  • Railway Coastal Museum, [2]. Interesting history of the development of rail services for otherwise isolated island communities.  edit
  • The Johnson GeoCenter. Newfoundland Geo-Science Center on Signal Hill  edit
  • The Fluvarium. A partially underground aquatic center  edit
  • The Newman Wine Vaults. Historic wine vaults constructed in the late 18th century; one of St. John's oldest buildings  edit

Historic Sites[edit]

  • Signal Hill [19] - unrivaled views of the city. site where Marconi received the first wireless TransAtlantic message in 1901.
  • Cape Spear National Historic Site [20] - Great lighthouse and most easterly point in North America. About a 20 minute drive from St. John's.
  • Historic St. John's Harbour
  • The Battery - the small village on the edge of the downtown where small houses are framed by the sheer cliffs. The village was once part of the British Defence for the St. John's Harbour. A trail leads from the end of the Battery around the cliffs and up to Signal Hill.
  • St. John's old downtown churches - the Anglican Cathedral, St. Thomas Anglican Church, the Roman Catholic Basilica (designated a minor Basilica by the Pope), St. Andrews Presbyterian, and the Gower Street United Church.
  • Fort Amherst - a lighthouse and World War II military fortification. Located across "The Narrows" on the opposite side of the harbour from Signal Hill. Offers unique views of the city and Cape Spear.

Parks & Outdoors[edit]

  • Bowring Park, [3]. A beautiful 250 acre park with duck ponds, bridges, walking trails, tennis courts, playground equipment, an outdoor pool and many monuments.  edit
  • Bannerman Park, [4]. A newly renovated park near downtown St. John's. Features a swimming pool, playground, splash pad and an outdoor skating loop in the winter.  edit
  • The Grand Concourse, [5]. A network of walking trails in St. John's  edit
  • Memorial University's Botanical Garden, [6].  edit
  • Salmonier Nature Park, [7]. A 3 km nature trail winds through a mixture of wood and wetlands. View animals in their (enclosed) natural habitats. The trail takes apx. 1 hour to walk. About 45 minutes from St. John's.  edit


  • Memorial University of Newfoundland [21]
  • Eastern Edge Art Gallery [22] - contemporary art from Canada and the province

Do[edit][add listing]


  • Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Festival, Bannerman Park, [8]. Early August. A three day festival featuring traditional music, storytelling and dancing. Food and local products are available from vendors.  edit
  • Victoria Park Lantern Festival, [9]. Last weekend in July. A festival featuring thousands of handmade lanterns held in Victoria Park.  edit


  • The St. John's Arts & Culture Center - art gallery & theater
  • LSPU HALL: The Resource Center For The Arts - art gallery and theater


  • East Coast Trail, [10]. A 265 km costal hiking trail starting in St. John's. Made up of 24 paths of various lengths and difficulties  edit


  • Iceberg Quest Ocean Tours [23] - Enjoy St. John's from the water. See whales, seabirds and icebergs. Departures 9:30am/1pm/4pm/7pm from Pier 7 on St. John's Harbour
  • The St. John's Haunted Hike - tour historic St. John's while being regaled with stories of the spooky & strange. The tour begins and ends at the Anglican Cathedral


  • Breakout NL - [24]-a type of physical adventure game in which people are "locked" in a room with their team and have to use elements of the room to solve a series of puzzles, find clues, and escape the room within a set time limit.
  • Newfoundland Growlers - The St. John's-based ECHL team that plays their home games on Mile One Centre in downtown St. John's.

Buy[edit][add listing]

St. John's has two modern shopping centers. The Avalon Mall, the largest shopping center in Newfoundland, has 140 stores and is on Kenmount Road. The Village Shopping Center is in the West End on Topsail Road. St. John's also have several big box centers; Stavanger Drive in the east end; Kelsey Drive (off Kenmount Road); and Pearlgate located in the suburb of Mount Pearl.

Downtown St. John's boasts a wide array of shops and boutiques, most notably Water Street. Everything from unique souvenirs to designer clothing.

Along with Quebec, Newfoundland is the only province in Canada where cold beer can be purchased in convenience stores.

Groceries & Food[edit]

  • Belbin's Grocery, 85 Quidi Vidi Rd, (709) 702-5156, [11]. Mon-Fri 8:30 am-8:00 pm; Sat 8:30 am-6:00 pm; Sun 10:00 am-6:00 pm. Small, local grocery store.  edit
  • Halliday's Meat Market, 103 Gower St., (709) 753-8332. Butcher shop and convenience store. Operating for over 100 years.  edit
  • Sobeys, 8 Merrymeeting Road, (709) 726-2242, [12]. MO-SA 8:00 am-10:00 pm; SU 10:00 am-6:00 pm. Groceries  edit


  • Living Planet T-Shirts, 197 Water Street, (709) 754-9300, [13]. Locally designed and printed t-shirts.  edit
  • Byron's For Men.  edit
  • Couture Studio, 174 Water Street, (709) 739-8868. Designer Asian clothing.  edit
  • Twisted Sisters Boutik, 175 Water Street. Locally made clothing and accessories by Canadian designers.  edit


  • The Travel Bug - travel accessories
  • Attica - upscale furniture store
  • Hempware - Newfoundland's only hemp product specialty store
  • The Dog House - très chic pet boutique
  • The Downhomer Shoppe - local souvenirs and literature.
  • Home - on Water Street
  • Bowring's - a Newfoundland institution, and the home-base of a now-national chain, Bowring's of Newfoundland. Housewares and decor.

Eat[edit][add listing]


  • Bagel Cafe, 246 Duckworth St, (709) 739-4470. One of the best breakfasts available in St. John's.  edit


  • Bamboo Garden Duckworth Street. Excellent service, great dim-sum style dumplings, noodle soups and crazy cheap!
  • Ches's Fish and Chips 4 locations: 9 Freshwater Rd., 655 Topsail Rd., 8 Highland Dr., 29-33 Commonwealth Ave
  • Hava Java lunch for $6-9.
  • International Flavors 4 Quidi Vidi Road, Simple Pakistani Cuisine, fantastic flavors and value!
  • Leo's Fish and Chips 27 Freshwater Rd, St. John's. Famous and a Newfoundland visit must.
  • Magic Wok good traditional or Canadian-style Chinese food
  • The Rocket 272 Water St. Coffee, baked goods, soups, sandwiches.


  • The Sprout 364 Duckworth Street, (709) 579-5485 - vegetarian
  • Pi 10 King's Rd, (709) 726-2000 - gourmet pizza and pasta [25]
  • Fog City Avalon Mall, Kenmount Road, (709) 726-4949
  • The Celtic Hearth Water Street, traditional Irish pub and restaurant. Open 24 hours.
  • The Pepper Mill 178 Water Street, (709) 726-7585 [26]
  • Pasta Plus 223 Duckworth Street, (709) 739-6676, and Avalon Mall (709) 722-6006
  • India Gate 286 Duckworth Street, (709) 753-6006 - the best Indian food
  • Zapata's 10 Bates Hill, (709) 576-6399 - Mexican food


  • Blue on Water Restaurant & Hotel 319 Water Street, (709) 754-2583
  • Raymond's 95 Water Street (709) 579-5800
  • The Gypsy Tea Room restaurant and cocktail bar - 317 Water Street (709) 739-4766
  • Oppidan Sheraton Hotel, (709) 726-4980
  • Magnum & Stein's 284 Duckworth Street
  • Basho Japanese fusion, chic minimalist decor - 283 Duckworth Street

Drink[edit][add listing]

  • George Street, in the heart of downtown, is a prime location for nightlife as it boasts the most bars per square foot in North America.
  • Water Street, the oldest street in North America, also contains several pubs, usually of a more relaxing atmosphere.
  • Duke of Duckworth. Cozy English style pub with excellent food and good beer  edit
  • The Quidi Vidi Brewing Company - tour the brewery and sample specialty beers

Sleep[edit][add listing]

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  • City Hostel (HI-St. John's), 8 Gower St and 246 Duckworth St (check in at Gower St), +1 709 754-4789 (, fax: +1 709 754-1570), [14]. checkout: 11AM. Dorms and private rooms available. Free WiFi and internet terminals. Dorms $28, private rooms $75-$85.  edit
  • Downtown Hostel, 25 Young St, (). Beds start at $20 per night during winter, $23 during summer.  edit
  • Abba Inn, 36 Queen's Road, +1 709 754-0058 (), [15]. $79-$189 in-season.  edit
  • Memorial University Residences ("), +1-877-730-7657. ===Mid range=== * <sleep name="Hare's Ears Cottage" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="+1-647-284-3696" lat="" long="" tollfree="" email="[email protected]" fax="" url="" checkin="" checkout="" price="">Newly restored coastal cottage located in the Battery neighborhood at Signal Hill  edit
  • Hometel on Signal Hill, 10 St. Joseph's Lane, 1-709-739-7799, (Toll Free: 866-739-7799) e-mail: [email protected] Unique, luxury accommodation located at the base of Signal Hill. Steps to downtown, shopping, restaurants and nightlife. Accommodations in 10 brownstone units each featuring 3 or 4 spectacular guest rooms. Rent a guest room or rent a whole house! Includes breakfast, local and long distance calling, parking and internet. [27]
  • Leaside Manor Suites & Apartments 39 Topsail Rd, tel: +1 709 722 0387 (1 877 807 7245, [email protected]) [28]A Heritage Inn offering double Jacuzzi suites with fireplaces as well as executive apartments. Leaside Manor's decor, location, and excellent staff make it a great place to relax and celebrate special occasions.
  • The Battery Hotel & Suites 100 Signal Hill Rd, tel: +1 709 576 0040 (toll free: 1 800 563 8181, [email protected]) [29]
  • The Ramada Inn 102 Kenmount Rd (Trans Canada Hwy, Exit 45), tel: +1 709 722 9330, (fax: 1 709 722 9231) [30], recently renovated suburban hotel. Near Shopping and industrial/business parks
  • Winterholme Heritage Inn 79 Rennies Mill Rd, +1 709 739 7979 (toll free: 1 800 599 7829, [email protected]) [31]
  • Hillview Terrace Suites 3 Wadland Cres [32] An apartment complex featuring 1, 2, and 3 bedroom furnished suites available for daily/weekly rental. All have kitchen, phone, TV, microwave, and stove. Laundry on site. Housekeeping available.
  • The Roses Bed and Breakfast 9 Military Rd, +1 709 726 3336 (toll free: 1 800 ROSESBB, [email protected]) [33]
  • Blue on Water Hotel Boutique Water Street Hotel
  • Courtyard Marriott Newer Hotel Water Street, Nice harbour view.
  • Holiday Inn Portugal Cove Road - Near the Confederation Building Complex and close to the Airport
  • McCoubrey Manor B & B 6-8 Ordnance Street, +1 709 722 7577(toll free: 1 888 753 7577, [email protected]) 1, 2, 3 bedroom apartments available.


  • The Delta Hotel, New Gower at Barter's Hill. Near George Street, Mile One Stadium and the St. John's Convention Center,
  • Ryan Mansion, 21 Rennie's Mill Road, St. John's. 709-753-7926. An exceptional 5-star Bed and Breakfast located in a Heritage home in downtown St. John's. Marble en suite baths feature heated floors and therapeutic tubs for two. Extravagant suites are arranged over 6 rooms and offer the ultimate in guest accommodation including en suite baths featuring personal steam/shower rooms and century old tubs carved from granite! A collection of local, national, and international artworks, sculpture and artifacts are exhibited throughout the mansion, and a cozy library offers a selection of books & games.
  • Sheraton Hotel Newfoundland, 115 Cavendish Square (near the business district), +1-866-716-8101, [16]. checkout: noon. Offers 301 rooms with free wired and wireless internet use. Newly renovated lobby and lounge. Many rooms feature views of the harbour and downtown.  edit

Stay Safe[edit]

While St. John's is generally regarded as a safe city, recent increases in the crime rate have been reported. Panhandling is very common in downtown, however simply replying "no" or ignoring those individuals usually does the trick, while a few more may be more persistent. Very rarely will these people become violent, and are usually not a problem.

As in any other city of comparable size, use caution when traveling after dark. Common areas to avoid include Buckmaster Circle, Crosbie Road, Old and New Penneywell Road, areas immediately around Hamlyn Road, Livingstone Street, Water Street west (Springdale Street west to the beginning of Waterford Bridge Road including Victoria Park) after dark, and Shea Heights. Most of these places are not areas which tourists would normally be in, and shouldn't be a huge problem.

Caution should be used when on George Street, especially on Friday and Saturday nights. With excessive drinking and drug use, there is a high tendency for people to turn violent. However, it's unlikely that you'll fall victim to a violent assault if you keep out of trouble. Extreme caution is to be had at 24-hour restaurants and convenience stores across town, especially in the downtown area. Violent patrons from George Street often stagger into such restaurants after last call and can be violent, sometimes attacking unsuspecting individuals. As well, a recent rise in armed robberies in the metropolitan area have left 24-hour convenience an easy target for criminals.

However, with crime rates much lower than the national average, little is to fear about walking around St. John's at most times of day or night. With exercising some basic caution, there is no reason why your visit to the city can't be a safe one.

Get out[edit]

  • Dildo - quiet little fishing town is less than an hour's drive away - go Whale watching or check out the archaeological remains of early Indian settlement
  • Middle Cove Beach - Closest beach to St. John's. Noted for annual caplin roll in late June.
  • Irish Loop - 7-8 hour scenic drive following the southern 'cape' shore (route 10) back to the Trans Canada Highway.
  • Cape Spear - the most easterly point in Canada, a short 15 minute drive from the city
  • Bell Island - catch the ferry from Portugal Cove and check out the local mining museum
  • Petty Harbour - picturesque fishing village and friendly, quiet retreat just minutes from the city - a must-see if visiting Cape Spear (take the left turn onto Maddox Cove Road when headed back.)
  • Bay Bulls - a small bay about 20 minutes east on route 10 from St. John's, it's home to various boat tour companies offering whale, puffin, and iceberg watching

Routes through St. John's
GanderMount Pearl  W noframe E  ENDS

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