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Non-Touristy Things To Do In St. John's, Newfoundland

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St. John's Newfoundland

Best of St. John's Tour

$89

Best of St. John’s + Boat Tour

$189

St. John's Newfoundland

Best of St. John's Tour

$89

Best of St. John’s + Boat Tour

$189

St. John's Newfoundland

Best of St. John's Tour

$89

Best of St. John’s + Boat Tour

$189

Ammara Younas2024-05-09

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Canada's eastern coast boasts a beautiful city by the name of St. John's. If you ask the visitors who have toured this charming place, “What's St. John's like?” They will draw a familiar portrait of the city with vivid colors of the Jellybean Row Houses, locals' hospitality, and rugged natural beauty in the backdrop.

They'll tell you all about its best-known attractions. That Cape Spear Lighthouse National Historic Site is interestingly enough the easternmost point in North America. That Quidi Vidi Brewery has the best local craft beers and the flakiest fish you'll ever taste.

Explore the Best Sights of St. John's, Newfoundland on a Small-Group Tour!


They'll also remind you that they saw some of the most picturesque views of the eastern coast from Signal Hill National Historic Site (which also houses the iconic Cabot Tower). They'll maybe also say that the nightlife in George Street is to die for! There will be such conviction in their voice that you'll believe them.

You'll then make a mental note to add these to your bucket list for your future trip to Newfoundland and Labrador. These are all the must-see spots in St. John's, sure, but there's more—places that hide in plain sight, and places that are truly hidden. Let's uncover them here!

Saint John Newfoundland

Linda McCann / Unsplash

Bowring Park

If you're looking for something naturally beautiful but also historically rich, Bowring Park is the hidden gem you should explore. A delight in all seasons, this park sprawls over 200 acres to cover playgrounds, nature trails, and sports fields. In spring, you can marvel at the freshly blossomed floral blooms in the flower garden—tulips are especially beguiling. Spring is also the perfect time to stroll down the natural trails, hike, or bike, or whatever you like (it rhymes!).

In summer, there's a natural sunshade—a canopy of trees amidst the piercing brilliance of sunlight. There's also a swimming pool you can make a splash in to cool off. Water is plentiful here—you’ll also see refreshing streams and waterfalls. Autumn comes in the park with the most bewitching colors. The greenscape transforms smoothly like liquid to shades of reds, yellows, and oranges. Catch an outdoor movie screening at the amphitheater or pack a picnic and enjoy it while bathing in the lovely views of Mother Nature.

Winter is for the romantics. Watch the beautiful Christmas lights with your loved ones, share some time together in the Victorian-style gazebo, or skate your heart away. Stroll through the park to look at the Peter Pan statue and all the exhibits in a new, fantastical light and ask yourself why you had to grow up unlike Peter Pan who stayed young forevermore.

Johnson Geo Centre

Ever seen the planet Earth from inside out? At Johnson's Geo Centre, you actually can! There are guided walking tours that will take you deep underground to learn about the unique weather and geology of Newfoundland through hands-on exhibits. Best enjoyed on a foggy or a rainy day, this science center in St. John's is a repository of knowledge that you can traverse to learn about the things without and the things within our planet.

As you go deeper in your expedition, you'll learn about the brightly colored corals living off our coast. You'll also walk out with the knowledge of how the red-hot lava flows through the erupting volcanoes and how & why earthquakes happen. There's a cool multimedia film and interactive exhibits where you can get hands-on experience. Touch the displays and see them react. The illuminated floor map is another not-to-be-missed display here. 

After unearthing the history of our world, and excavating lessons of geology here, don't be shy to say out loud: this place rocks!! But there's more—the oil and gas exhibition is a tourists' favorite. While the kids love the Hibernia KidsPlace with its Time Tunnel, volcanoes, and gigantic prehistoric bugs. There's a fossil mountain and the Moon Base GEO where they can fashion their own quirky space life forms. There's also an oil rig and a myriad of hands-on displays and activities to boost creativity and imagination!

Make sure to visit Geo Gifts on your way out. This gift shop is unique in character, showcasing the coolest items you'll never find anywhere else. Get some Labradorite jewelry, minerals, local crafts, the rarest books and toys, and even fossils! Whatever you pick, it'll be the best thing to bring home from your trip!

Whale Watching 

No trip to St. John's is complete without going on one of the famous whale-watching boat tours here. The Atlantic Ocean’s waters are brimming with life, and whales are in a blissful abundance here, from humpback whales to minke whales and orcas. 

Whale Watching

Carol Fung / Unsplash

Between May and September, the largest population of humpback whales swim to their rich feeding grounds in Newfoundland and Labrador annually. They feed, caper about, make a splash, and even dare to breach near the coast. You can watch this delightful spectacle all the while being overwhelmed in the best way possible by the breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean!

Embark on the Best of St. John's Tour + Boat Cruise!


George Street Festival 

George Street is a slice of paradise—small in dimensions but large in its cultural extravaganza. Here you can frolic around, find a bar with one of the best bartenders in the country, get some seafood or taste the traditional cuisine, or dance to the tunes of live music seven nights a week! But George Street is not a hidden gem—no one escapes the talk of its nightlife once they're in Downtown St. John's. But there are interesting goings-on here you might not be privy to. One such thing is the George Street Festival, an annual summer event to celebrate the culture, music, and food of not just Newfoundland and Labrador, but also all of North America.

For seven days, George Street showcases its best in live music, food, and drinks. You'll see people from all over the country coming here to get that slice of paradise that only this street offers—but this time it's even more delectable! There will be nationally renowned artists and local artists playing melodious tunes of folk, rock, country, and blues. You can refuel amidst this spectacle of cultural celebration with delicious food. The beer gardens add to the vibrant rave-up. The best part about this festival? It's held in an open-air venue so you can delight your senses with not just music but also the dazzling display of stars at night! 

Hiking

St. John's is blanketed all around by such lush scenery of Atlantic Canada that you won't be satiated even if you feast your eyes on it. The best way to immerse yourself in it (and feel rewarded, too) is by taking a hike. If you're up for it, St. John's is brimming with options. North Head Trail is a bit on the challenging side, stretching for 1.7 km at Signal Hill. The entire hike takes about an hour, and you'll get to see the famous Ross' Valley too (and marine wildlife, seabirds, and icebergs during the warmer months). 

Signal Hill

Pei Yu / Unsplash

One of the most picturesque hiking trails in St. John's is the East Coast Trail stretching for hundreds of kilometers. A hike up this trail lets you see important historic sites, pristine forests, and gorgeous shoreside views. Another tourist favorite is the Sugarloaf Path, sprawling from Logy Bay to Quidi Vidi Village. You'll walk through the lush-green woods along the shoreline and catch breathtaking views of the ocean.

The Rooms

The Rooms Museum is for the cultured ones or those who like to call themselves that. This cultural and historical museum will replenish your love for learning with its exhibits drawing an honest portrait of Newfoundland and Labrador. You'll learn the origin stories of the Indigenous people here and how they built the foundations of the nation's culture and history. You'll see how the Canadian province St. John's sits in, transformed over time to house industries, and how that transformation impacted the natural environment. 

The art gallery here is one of the best art galleries in the city showcasing both local and international talent. The gallery holds the coolest workshops, events, lectures, and performances, so you can come home with not just the spectacle but also the experience.

The St. John’s Haunted Hike

This is one of those hidden gems you'll tell all people about. The St. John's Haunted Hike will walk you through the city's strangest and narrowest streets and alleys to unfurl the rich tapestry of its haunted side. Many tour guides will accompany you, narrating tales of the darkest creatures, vengeful lovers, and the most mysterious murders. You will go back 500 years in time to uncover secrets from there up till today!

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