From downtown St. John’s to Cape Spear, St. John’s Hop On Hop Off is one of the best ways to see the highlights of our town. Their 10 conveniently located stops visit all of the major attractions and landmarks – giving you the freedom to see St. John’s at your own pace. Come explore a complete day in St. John’s one stop at a time.

Stop 1 - Water Street East

Start your day with a kick at the Luxus Café. Located across the street from Stop 1,  a fresh brewed kicking horse coffee and flaky croissant will prepare you for a full day ahead. Enjoy your light breakfast on their outdoor patio or take a quick walk down the street to Harbourside Park. Built opposite of the National War Memorial, this park is also the venue to a lunchtime concert series on Fridays throughout the summer.  Here you can also meet two of our friendliest statues, the Newfoundland dog and a Labrador Retriever, this twinning statue can also be seen at Stop 3.

After a nice stroll, make your way back to Stop 1, Water Street East, which is conveniently located in front of the Alt Hotel. You can purchase your two day pass at the Hop On Hop Off booth, online or at any other of the 10 stops along the route. Now it’s all aboard as the first bus will depart at 9 a.m. – taking  you along the historic harbour up to Signal Hill.

(Time required 30-45 minutes)

Stop 2 - Signal Hill

Drive past historic homes and the beginning of the Battery as you make your way up the winding road to Cabot Tower. Located at the highest point of Signal Hill, the tower gives you both city and ocean views. For an even higher perspective take the short trail to Ladies Lookout, where you can learn about the battle of Signal Hill and get an incredible panoramic perspective including views of Stop 3.

(Time required 30 minutes)

Stop 3 - Johnson Geo Centre

When you disembark you will be greeted by the twinning dog statues that you may have seen at Stop 1. Be sure to snap a quick photo from this viewpoint that overlooks a historic pond and the harbour below. Once inside the Johnson Geo Centre take the elevator down to the Great Rock Wall, this unique feature gives you a glimpse of what lies below Signal Hill and is a good indicator as to why Newfoundland is know as ‘The Rock’.

In 60 minutes you can quickly tour through the Our Planet, Our Province, Our People exhibits as they loop you back out to the solar system display. Before you leave, stop by the Geo Café for a freshly baked treat and a coffee for the road.

(Time required 60 minutes)

Stop 4 - Quidi Vidi Village

As you make your way on to the picturesque village of Quidi Vidi (most commonly pronounced Kitty Vidy) you will hear the tale of a settler who’s uncle’s treasure was taken and only recovered after an untimely death. Ghost stories like these are a custom to Newfoundland storytelling culture and a unique part of your tour with Hop On Hop Off. The bus will arrive at the Sugarloaf trailhead parking, located across a small bridge to the Quidi Vidi Plantation. This golden building is home to a number of local artists and deserves a visit on its own. For this short time in Quidi Vidi we suggest popping in, snapping a few photos from their dock and then making your way over to the harbour front brewery.

Tastings happen once daily at 11:00 am so be sure to prebook your seat by giving them a call the day before. During your tasting be ready for not only some great brews but also more tales of the history of the village and the beers themselves.  Recipes feature the best and uniqueness of Newfoundland by both land and sea, including iceberg water and locally foraged berries.

(Time required 60 minutes, approx. 45 minutes for tasting)

Stop 5 - Bannerman Park

After a refreshing visit at Quidi Vidi Brewery it’s time to hop back on and head to Stop 5 at Bannerman Park. On your route there you will drive around Quidi Vidi Lake, which plays host to one of the oldest sporting traditions in Canada, The Royal St. John’s Regatta. If you are here for the first Wednesday in August you may get the chance to partake in the crowds, but only if the conditions are right, as the event only goes ahead if good weather is predicted.

Once you arrive at Bannerman Park it’s a quick walk to the historic Colonial Building, which is situated directly beside the park. Take a leisurely stroll through the park grounds stopping at the many monuments and sculptures along the way.  From here you can take the bus up to Stop 6 or if you are wanting a longer walk, continue your journey up Military Road where you will pass by a neighbourhood favourite, the Hungry Heart Café. Stop at a few photo-worthy locations including jellybean row houses and the magnificent Basilica Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist as you meander along to The Rooms.

(Time required 30-60 minutes)

 

Stop 6 - The Rooms

Stop 6 may be the most colourful as it includes a visit to The Rooms, Newfoundland and Labrador’s largest cultural space. With a museum, gallery, archives, gift shop, and café all in one building you could truly spend all day here and it should be the top of your list of places to visit again on day 2 of your Hop On Hop Off pass. If you are fairly speedy you can likely go through the level three museum where you will come face to face with some of earths largest creatures including a polar bear and giant squid. This exhibit traces the evolution of land and sea since the glaciers’ retreat and looks at the peoples who arrived from almost every direction beginning about 9,000 years ago.

Next we suggest you visit the gallery also located on level three. As you wind your way in and out of varying art installations you will get a sense of the magnitude of inspiration that this province has provided to its artist community. From large scale sculptural displays and video montages to oil canvas art works and hand carved pieces, there is truly something for everyone to remark at. This gallery can take you all the way up to level four where the Café is located.

From here you will get one of the best views of the harbour and a delicious lunch that celebrates the food cultures of Newfoundland & Labrador. The Fisherman’s Bake is a must try as it is both filling and delicious. Featuring freshly caught fish(cod), salmon, shrimp and scallops, it is prepared in a bubbling white wine sauce with a parmesan crust. You will leave feeling ready to enjoy the next four stops on your ride.

(Time required 120 minutes)

Stop 7 - Newman Wine Vaults

As far as legends go the Newman Wine Vaults is fairly sweet. It is said that in 1679 a Newman & Company vessel loaded with port wine left Portugal for London but was driven off course and came to pass the winter in St. John’s. When the ship returned to England the following spring the cargo was found to have improved in flavour. From then until 1996 Newman’s celebrated “Ruby Port” was aged in Newfoundland – much of it in the romantic stone vaults on Water Street. During a tour here you can taste and hear the sweet splendours of a recipe that is hundreds of years in the making in the original vaults before moving on to the far East.

(Time required 30+ minutes)

Stop 8 - Cape Spear

This famous landmark is an ideal viewing place for the amazing icebergs and whales that float by during the spring/summer months and is also host to not one but two lighthouses. Depending on how much time you have to spend here, we suggest making a quick lap of the boardwalk along the shore to the edge of the continent, the Most Easterly Point in North America.

If you decide to stay the full hour, make your way up to the lighthouses where multiple red chairs provide an ideal place to and double as a great photo opportunity. Cape Spear Lighthouse has historical ties both to the Second World War and also to a famous family of lighthouse keepers. For 150 years the Cantwells resided here so they could maintain the beacons of light that helped guide fishermen and other vessels into port. Step inside the restored lighthouse and discover the lifestyle of a 19th-century lighthouse keeper.

As you make your way back into town you will be treated to a scenic view including a large scale mural depicting the history of settlers in St. John’s.

(Time required 30-60 minutes)

Stop 9 - Railway Coastal Museum

Your second last stop on the tour will take you the Railway Coastal Museum. Located on the west side of the harbour this historic building, built in 1903, is the original refurbished Riverhead Train Station. Here you can walk around to view the historical interpretations of the Newfoundland railway system from its inception in the late 1880’s to its closure in 1988, as well as the history of the provincial Coastal Boat Service.

(Time required 30-60 minutes)

Stop 10 - Harbour Drive West

The last and final stop on your hop on/off journey brings you to Harbour Drive west. This bustling part of town is home to fantastic restaurants, shops and even a few craft breweries. Conveniently one of those breweries is located just outside Stop 10. The waterfront Mill Street BrewPub features elevated pub fare including Moroccan seasoned lamb tacos and freshly baked Bavarian pretzels accompanied with a pot of artisanal cheese, bacon and beer sauce. Take a seat at their funky bar and watch a game or venture upstairs to dine on their unique indoor patio, which overlooks the harbour.

With over 100 different beer varieties, including locally brewed options, you are spoiled for choice. They also feature a wonderful list of spirits and wines as well as a sweet tooth favourite, a hard root beer float. What ever you choose to drink it’s now time to cheers to a day packed with adventure with St. John’s Hop On Hop Off .

(Time required 60-120 minutes)

Hop On Hop Off Information:

St. John’s Hop On Hop Off is the perfect way to get around. The 120 minute tours run from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm and buses are scheduled to stop every 30 minutes at each stop. Stay on the bus with your tour guide or hop off at each location for an immersive experience.

All tickets are valid for 2 days.
Cost:
Adult $34.00
Senior $29.00
Child $26.00

 

In person: Tickets are available for purchase at each of our 10 stops aboard the busses. Debit/credit accepted

Online: Purchase your tickets online in advance.

Operating season is from June 1 – October 26, 2019.

 

July & August

  • Open daily
  • Tours depart every half hour from Stop 1, 9:00 am to 4:30 pm.

 

June, September & October

  • Open Saturdays & Sundays
  • Tours depart every half hour from Stop 1, 9:00 am to 4:30 pm.

Additional Tips:

 

Tastings happen once daily at 11:00 am and lasts about 45 minutes. If you wish you can book the tasting spot ahead of time for your convenience by calling our hops shop (709) 738-4040

Cost: $10+tax per person, includes 1 tasting flight of four 4oz glasses of Quidi Vidi Beer.

Spring/Summer Hours: May 6, 2019 – October 6, 2019

Monday 10 am – 5 pm
Tuesday 10 am – 5 pm
Wednesday 10 am – 9 pm
Thursday 10 am – 5 pm
Friday 10 am – 10 pm (Archives close at 5)
Saturday 10 am – 5 pm
Sunday Noon – 5 pm (Archives closed)

Fall/Winter Hours: October 7, 2019 – May 3, 2020

Monday Closed
Tuesday 10 am – 5 pm
Wednesday 10 am – 9 pm
Thursday 10 am – 5 pm
Friday 10 am – 10 pm (Archives close at 5)
Saturday 10 am – 5 pm
Sunday Noon – 5 pm (Archives closed)

The Rooms Café

The Rooms Café on Level 4 maintains the same hours as listed above, however on Sundays doors are open at 11am to allow access to the Café.

Admission Fees – Includes The Rooms Galleries, Exhibitions and Tours

Canadian
Adults$10.00
Seniors (60+)$ 6.50
Children (5 and under)Free
Youth (ages 6-16)$ 5.00
Students (with valid student ID)$ 6.50
Family Group (4 people total, of whom only 2 are full-price adults)$26.00

Thank you Military

We are pleased to offer a 35 per cent discount on our regular admission to active and retired members of the military and their spouses.

To redeem this offer, simply present your Military personnel ID or Veteran ID upon arrival to the Admissions Desk.

Please Note:
Admission is free between 6 – 9 pm on the first Wednesday evening of the month. There may be a charge for some Wednesday evening programs and events.

General admission fees do not apply to the Archives. First-time users of the Archives pay a one-time $10.00 fee (plus HST) to obtain a permanent Researcher Registration number.

Access to Red Oak Café on Level 4 does not require admission.

All general admission and event ticket sales are final. No Refunds.

Guided Walking Tours

Start date: July 2
End date: September 2
Time: 11:00 am daily

Take a guided tour through the deep history of Cape Spear. Follow our knowledgeable guides through the history of the oldest, surviving lighthouse in the province; continue on to see the coast through the eyes of a Royal Canadian Artillery gunner during the Second World War; and finish the tour at the most easterly point of Canada! Surround yourself with the fresh Atlantic Ocean air and keep your eyes peeled for whales, seabirds, even icebergs!

Explore the Historic Cape Spear Lighthouse

Start date: May 18
End date: October 13
Time: 10:30 am to 5:30 pm daily
Location: Historic Lighthouse (at the top of the stairs)

Head to the historic Cape Spear Lighthouse; the oldest surviving lighthouse in Newfoundland and Labrador!
Let our guides show you the simplicity of early life as a light keeping family at Cape Spear.

Explore Fort Cape Spear

Start date: May 18
End date: October 13
Time: 10:30 am to 5:30 pm daily
Location: Along the path to the most easterly point

Walk through the remains of a Second World War Coastal Battery and learn about the life of a gunner at Cape Spear.

 

Historic Workshops

Start date: July 2
End date: August 31
Time: 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm daily
Location: Historic Lighthouse (at the top of the stairs)

Step back in time to the 1830s and try your hand at some authentic Victorian tasks. Each day, join our costumed guides make candles, splice rope, do laundry or complete daily log-books. Even hear some local stories from the lighthouse. Don’t be afraid to jump right in and give the chores a try!

Admission Prices

Adult …………………………………………… $7.00 (plus tax)

Senior (60+)/ Student……………………… $6.00 (plus tax)

Youth (5 – 17 years of age)………………. $5.00 (plus tax)

Child (4 years of age and younger)….. FREE

Family Pass (2 Adults and 3 Youth)…… $20.00 (plus tax)

Hours of Operation

The Railway Coastal Museum and Gift Shop is open all year round!

Summer Hours (June 15th – September 30th)

Open 7 Days a Week

10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Winter Hours (October 1st – June 14th)

Wednesday – Sunday

10:00 am – 5:00 pm

(Closed Mondays and Tuesdays)

Published: September 19, 2019