In Canada’s smallest province, Prince Edward Island, charming Charlottetown is one of the country’s most historic cities. Here are some top things to do in Charlottetown.
Charlottetown offers a lot of authentic local experiences that’ll make you feel like you’re visiting a long-lost home. You can explore this small but beautiful city on foot while learning a thing or two about the history of Canada. After a day of sightseeing, Charlottetown has plenty of locales for food and entertainment.
Must-Sees and Must-Dos
This historic city was the location of the Charlottetown Conference, where the idea of a new country was first formally discussed in 1864. Visitors can explore this seminal period in North American history through installations at Province House National Historic Site and the Confederation Centre of the Arts. Step back in time as you visit the Government House, St. Dunstan’s Basilica, or the Beaconsfield Historic House. Theatre buffs should make time to see the longest-running annual musical in history, Anne of Green Gables: The Musical – a tribute to the story of Anne Shirley, the fictional heroine made famous by author Lucy Maud Montgomery.
For the Foodies
Some would say that PEI has the best oysters in the world, so it’s no surprise that oysters are the star of the show when it comes to food in Charlottetown. While it’s highly recommended you take advantage of all the fresh seafood, this is a city that has a lot more to offer. Dine al fresco on the cobblestones of Victoria Row, on the corner of Prince and Water streets, or in the upscale dining room of the Culinary Institute of Canada, one of the country’s premier chef-training schools. And, of course, a trip to Charlottetown isn’t complete without a stroll along the waterfront at Peake’s Wharf where you can indulge in french fries, lobster rolls, and ice-cream. Check out our PEI Foodie Guide for restaurant recommendations.
Shops and Hops
Home to some of the best artisans in the entire country, you can’t leave Charlottetown without hitting up some local shops. Victoria Row is filled with picturesque shops from the Victorian era. And if you happen to be there during the summer, this entire street will be closed off from traffic. If you’re busy taking in the sites and snacks at Peake’s Wharf, you can spare some time to browse for seaside trinkets and souvenirs for the folks back home. After some shopping, beer connoisseurs can also enjoy Charlottetown’s emerging craft beer scene, with many trendy micro-breweries now popping up throughout the city. There are a number of tours and events to choose from if you want to try some of the local brews. When the sun goes down, you can hit up a fancy lounge, or kick back at a patio or dive bar.
If you’ve got little ones with you, there are a ton of things to do in Charlottetown to keep them happy. Rent bikes with your family and ride around the city, or, if you’re feeling more adventurous, the entire island. Head over to the Charlottetown Boardwalk to look around the shops for unique treasures while grabbing some delicious snacks. The Harbour Hippo is always a hit with kids if you want to take a relaxing cruise along the historic streets. This hour-long ride comes with a guide and is entertaining for both kids and their parents. Charlottetown even has a year-round scavenger hunt called the GPS Heritage Quest where kids can explore the city for finds while learning about the country’s history. Don’t forget to bring your kids along to watch the musical Anne of Green Gables; there are lots of photo opportunities you can take advantage of before the show.