St. John’s is a city known for it’s colourful encounters, and we’re not just talking about our houses. If your stay in Newfoundland & Labrador brings you to our doorstep for a few days, below is a guide to help you get around the town and take in some of our best experiences!
You have just landed at St. John’s International Airport and taken a quick (10 minute) taxi to your hotel or B&B. Now what? First you will need to know a few things about getting around St. John’s before you head outdoors.
St. John’s also has extraordinary walking trails that offer a unique way to see the city. The Grand Concourse is an integrated trail system spanning St. John’s and the neighbouring communities of Mount Pearl and Paradise. Approximately 125 km in length, the Grand Concourse links a series of rivers, lakes and ponds, parks and green spaces, providing access to the beautiful natural features of the metro region.
From downtown St. John’s, to Cape Spear – explore with St. John’s’ Hop On Hop Off!
Hop On Hop Off is the one of the best ways to see all that St. John’s has to offer. Their 10 stops are conveniently located near all major attractions and landmarks. The flexible schedule gives you the freedom to see St. John’s at your own pace.
St. John’s Hop On Hop Off is the perfect way to get around. All tickets are valid for 2 days. 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.
Online: Purchase your tickets online in advance. Coming soon!
In person: Tickets are available for purchase at each of their 10 stops aboard the busses. Debit/credit accepted.
Operating season is from June 1 – October 26, 2019.
July & August
June, September & October
Hop off at any one of the 10 stops and explore, or stay on board and listen to their amazing guides’ live tour!
Learn more by visiting their website.
Being a capital city means that hailing a taxi or cab is fairly easy there are many service providers including:
City Wide Taxi 709-722-7777
Jiffy Cab 709-722-2222
Red & Yellow Cabs 709-726-6666
Newfound Cabs 709-744-4444 *Accessible and 15 passenger bus available to hire
Executive Taxi 709-726-2600 *Accessible upon request
General taxi meter rates start at $3.75. Some taxis offer child car seats upon request. Passenger vans are also available upon request. Taxi companies can also provide city tours, speak with a driver for details and rates. For a complete list of Taxi’s available please click here.
If you are wanting to explore rural Newfoundland including historic sites such as Cape Spear and Ferryland Lighthouse then a rental car or a group tour will be needed.
Due to the high demand of rental vehicles during peak season (May-September) we strongly suggest you prebook a rental vehicle through one of these providers.
If you are a larger group or are looking for a seasoned guide who can provide you with the history and tell a few stories about St. John’s and Newfoundland look into booking a tour operator for part of your trip.
During the summer months, from June 26 until September 29, on Wednesdays through Sundays, you can hop on The Link which connects you to the attractions of Downtown, Signal Hill and Quidi Vidi Village. This hop-on, hop-off service can be purchased for singles or groups of five people travelling together.
You can purchase with a full day or two-day pass or just pay single trip cash fare.
Hop-on/off Day Pass
Unlimited boarding for one or two days, as specified on your ticket.
Single Fare – One Day $10.00
Single Fare – Two Day $15.00
Group Fare – One Day $25.00
Single Trip Cash Fare
Are good for one boarding of The Link or Metro. After exiting, you would have to pay the single fare to board again. Note: Exact fare is required, as drivers do not carry change.
Adults & Seniors $2.50
Ride sharing apps including Uber are currently not available in Newfoundland & Labrador, so a taxi or metro are the two main sources of vehicle transportation in St. John’s and greater Newfoundland & Labrador.
From the plane ride you would have seen a pretty good overview of St. John’s but today is all about getting the bird-eye view and dining in Canada’s culinary capital.
First we suggest you get a true birds-eye view from the top of Signal Hill. While here enjoy the sea breeze, hike along the famous North Head Trail and even spot a whale or iceberg floating by, no binoculars needed. The top of the hill is a photographers dream as you are treated to a complete panoramic view of St. John’s.
On your journey back down, make a pit stop into The Johnson Geo Centre and see what lies beneath, as you tour past rock walls that are 550 million years old. Reboot and grab a coffee and a bite to eat at the Geo Cafe before you head out for the rest of your evening in our downtown.
On your first night, we recommend making the most of our seascape by enjoying the riches of the ocean with a selection of fresh and abundant seafood at one of the many hot spots downtown. From fish (and by fish we mean cod) pan seared including the local delicacy of cod tongues, to the sophisticated freshly caught crab and an array of Newfoundland mussels steamed to perfection, the catch of the day is a literal term in St. John’s.
While enjoying an evening downtown, stop in at one of the many speak-easy bars, scattered throughout, to enjoy a finely crafted cocktail and live music. The love for using local ingredients doesn’t stop at your plate, your glass can also be brimming with regional fixings including baked apple craft beer and seaweed infused gin martinis.
Your first day gave you the view from above, now it’s time to take to the seas.
Being surrounded by the beautiful North Atlantic brings many visitors to our shores both big and small. One of the smallest being the Atlantic Puffin. Scores of hundreds of thousands of seabirds, including the puffin flock to our island destination to nest and feast for the spring and summer months. A boat tour will get to closer to their nesting and hunting grounds where you can watch them patter along the waves and hop along the craggy cliff where they raise their young.
Your captain will also be on the search for a much larger visitor, the humpback whale. Home to one of the largest migrations, Newfoundland & Labrador welcomes thousands of whales, dolphins and orcas to our waters. If you would like to get even closer, paddle your way out on a guided kayak tour through the caves and sea stacks.
Another way to spend a day at sea is by becoming one of the “by’s” and go on the hunt for cod aboard a fishing charter.
After a day on the water you will likely want to unwind with a hot meal and some good tunes. George Street is where you should find yourself. From the traditional Irish Newfoundland music to rock and folk, there is something for every ear in our famous music district.
Lined with the most bars per capita, George Street is home to “Canada’s Favourite Bar” where the pub fare is as good as the craft brews and live bands. Along this strip of St. John’s you will also be welcomed to become an “Honorary Newfoundlander”. Being Screeched In usually includes a shot of screech, a cod fish, a tongue twisting statement, and sometimes even a piece of luncheon meat. It’s all in good fun, and you’ll leave with a certificate welcoming you as an Islander.
Our houses are as colourful as the characters that live inside them. Explore a bit of both through our historic downtown.
Walking through the historic part of downtown, which is almost all of it, you will stroll past colourful houses, referred to as “Jellybean Row”. Something to know is that Jellybean Row is not a specific street, but the homes themselves. The brightly hued row houses flood the streets of St. John’s and can make any foggy day feel bright and sunny.
While here, ask a local why the houses are so brightly painted and you will likely hear many folktales or “yarns” as we call them. Be sure to bring your camera (or phone) and snap a few pictures on your way around.
This walk can take you down to “The Gut” also known as Quidi Vidi, a quaint fishing village just on the outskirts of St. John’s. Here you can take a guided tour around, enjoy a pint at a local craft brewery and bite into the best seafood, wild game and produce available at one of “Canada’s 100 best restaurants”.
To round up your trip pop into one of the many local stores. Our quaint shoppes don’t offer your typical mall gear – featuring local and Canadian artisans you will be able to take home a piece of the rock with you and that could include some actual rocks. From locally designed apparel to hand crafted jewelry featuring labradorite, a stone that is as colourful as the lore behind it, our shopping district will leave you with more than a postcard.
After a day touring downtown rest your feet at one of the many restaurants that offer an ocean view so you can both people and harbour watch.
One of the things Newfoundland is known for is our weather. Like many island destinations the weather can change as quick as the ocean currents. If one of your days is filled with R.D.F (Rain, Drizzle, or Fog) take to the indoors where our experiences are just as expansive as our outdoors.
Do you have more time to spend around St. John’s? Why not make us your urban basecamp to explore rural Newfoundland & Labrador. The coastal and interior communities the surround us are equally as beautiful and welcoming. You can learn more about adventures “around the bay” with crafted excursions with our step on guides including day tours with Mobile Goat that will take you to explore our island’s gems.
Published: May 28, 2019