This question has been asked of me MANY times in my life especially since I lived away from Newfoundland for about 15 years so either my friends from away have visited and if not them, then it’s their friends who they have put in touch with me.
So I decided to put together a collection of my favourite things to do here.
Twack around downtown for a couple of days – lots to do and see.
FOOD – Fish ‘n chips - a must. The best - The Duke of Duckworth. The Republic of Doyle crowd uses the Duke as their hang out and in their show. I hope you get the corner seat.
Restaurants for good Newfoundland fare – Saltwater [finer dining with inventive dishes] & The Celtic Hearth for anytime eating and a good hearty breakfast…open 24 hours a day [you may have a hangover at some point in time ;)] and Sprout if you want a tasty vegetarian/vegan option.
BEER - The YellowBelly Brewery for the best beer in town and great atmosphere. Try the Fighting Irish Red. It is my all time favourite beer – and it’s made right there. They usually have a seasonal beer on the go too so try that as well. Belly up to the bar, if there’s room. And while you’re there, check out the UnderBelly. It’s dark and delicious.
MUSIC – walk around and pop into almost any bar and find amazing live talent - pick your flavour. Too many amazing musicians & bars to mention just a few.
The Spirit of Newfoundland Productions – take in a dinner theatre at the historic Masonic Hall. You will get a real feel for the Newfoundland way and have a good belly laugh. Big talent there. Visit their Screech Room too – so cool.
ART GALLERIES – we have lots of talented artists here and if you want to take home a piece of Newfoundland, art is the way to go. Shameless marketing in 3,2,1 – you can also order a piece of Newfoundland via my website and have a piece shipped right to your home so you don’t have to carry it back :)
SHOPPING – for clothes: Twisted Sister, Johnny Ruth and Rosie the Rebel.
SHOPPING – for gifts and keepsakes: The Newfoundland Weavery and The Downhome - they also carry my prints and greeting cards, just sayin’ :)
VIEW - Signal Hill. Just go and take in the view or hike the awesome trail around the cliffs through the narrows. It’s a hefty hike so be prepared…especially going up. FYI – everywhere is UP in Newfoundland.
HIKE - anywhere on the East Coast Trail particularly down by the Quidi Vidi Gut – the scenery is stunning and while you’re there, eat at The Mallard Cottage – a very inventive menu of local food.
It’s not downtown, but Bacalao Restaurant has a unique menu of local variety.
OUTSIDE ST. JOHN’S:
CAPE SPEAR - of course.
BELL ISLAND MINE TOUR – excellent underground tour full of history and interesting facts you won’t believe. You get to take the ferry over to the island which is fun too. There’s good f ‘n c there at Dick’s.
HOLYROOD - I’m biased because I live here, but it really is beautiful.
- George's Cove Trail – a nice trail up to a view-to-die-for of all of Conception Bay. It’s a steep, but short hike up to the big cross on top of the hill.
- Restaurants & Cafes: The historic Beach Cottage, The Station Diner, The Pantry Bakery, Ruperts Deli
- Walk along the ocean on our harbour boardwalk which is part of the East Coast Trail.
IRISH LOOP – A gorgeous scenic drive. This takes a day. And spend a couple of hours at St. Mary's Bird Sanctuary. The vistas go on forever…if there’s no fog :)
O’BRIEN’S WHALE & BIRD TOURS in Bay Bulls – even if you don’t see whales, being out on the ocean cruising the shoreline is breathtaking. You can also have a drink onboard and hear facts and funny stories about the birds and the history and see the hilarious little puffins. *seasonal*
FERRYLAND LIGHTHOUSE PICNIC is amazing. You get your lunch in a picnic basket at the lighthouse and you head out to your rock or bench of choice and look out over the vast ocean while you eat. So good for the soul. *seasonal*
Book your hotels/B&Bs and car rental VERY early if you're coming here in the summer.
Bring clothes for all seasons – layers – and good footwear. Don’t be disappointed if there’s fog and rain the whole time – it’s part of it. Embrace it! Sunshine is a bonus :)
You can go 2 ways with your trip: Pack as much as you can into it and go, go, go. Sample everything then come back again another time and then do your favs longer. Or take your time, pick a few things and sit back and enjoy the time.
It takes 6-10 hours to drive across our big island so if you think you can just “pop out” to Gros Morne, you can’t. You need more than a week to truly do the East Coast AND the West Coast properly. Or fly into St. John’s and fly out of Deer Lake.
Say ‘hi’ to strangers on the street. That’s what we do. Ask for directions – we love to show off our local knowledge and we want to make sure you have a good time.
Breathe in the ocean air, take lots of pics, feel the east coast vibe and relax. And most of all, have a grand ol’ time!
See when you get here :)