“North America’s Oldest City,” St. John’s sits precipitously on the edge of the North Atlantic. It’s a mix between a romantic and hip downtown scene, and an aging, traditional seaside city. It’s an easy-going place to live, and an easy-going place to visit.
How to spend 24 Hours in St. John’s, NL
Get out of bed. It’s Saturday morning and what a better way to start it than with a gigantic, cheesy omelette and to-die-for hashbrowns at Bagel Café. Better get there early to avoid the lines, which will be out the door by 10 or so.
Wait to be seated. Yes, it’s a little cramped. Yes, you just played an accidental game of footsies with the person at the next table. But, it’s worth it when a mountain of food arrives at your table—one that will take some concentrated effort to finish, but it’s worth the stomachache you’ll have later.
Take some time to explore the downtown shopping and cafés here and on Water Street. Some jewelry at Powsie Row, some music at Fred’s Records, pop down for a hot beverage at Hava Java before buying some new duds at Twisted Sister.
It may seem impossible to be hungry again following the monstrous breakfast you had, but if the feeling begins to creep back, there are many options for you around here. Maybe a light café lunch at Rocket Bakery, perhaps a fuller buffet lunch at India Gate.
The Rooms is a great way to spend some time this afternoon. Take an hour or two to explore the museum and art gallery. Don’t miss the chance to buff up on your Newfoundland history and wildlife. Oh, and there’s also a giant squid. Admission is $5.
If it’s a nice day, a Signal Hill one-way hike from the Battery will take you about an hour. It’s a nice little hike along the coast and ending atop Signal Hill, where you can enjoy a panoramic view of St. John’s. In a couple of hours all the couples will be making the drive up here to see the city light up.
Find yourself back at your accommodation and get freshened up before heading around for a night on the town.
Ditch your car if you’ve got one, because finding a parking spot downtown can leave you wanting to pull your hair out. Opt to bus or cab instead. In the mood for something light to dine on? Try some vegetarian food at the Sprout. A chic spot to get some ‘za? Piatto. There’s a huge mix of international cuisine to be had: Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Italian, Indian, with laid-back and fine dining options, and everywhere in between.
It’s time to head out for some drinks. Make your way down to the Ship for some live music, or find a pub to hang out and have some drinks.
George Street will just be lighting up now. Make your way over and take your pick of one of the bars on this famous street. They can be hit or miss, but at least if you aren’t having a good time you can just hit up the spot next door to check out the scene. Have some casual drinks, do some karaoke, or go dancing (or all three).
The bars are closing and it’s time to line up at the chip wagon, Ziggy Peelgood’s. Yes, the line might be long, but these are the best fries in the city, and the perfect way to end your night in St. John’s.
This post was originally written in early 2014. I’m hauling it out of the archives to keep up with my personal blogging challenge during a hectic workweek.
For more info on Newfoundland (that awesome island out there in the Atlantic, off Canada’s eastern coast), check out these links:
Tim’s articles about Newfoundland