Sitting directly on the Bay of Fundy – the location of the highest tides in the world – is Saint John, New Brunswick, a city with a rich industrial history steeped in shipbuilding and oil. Here are the top things to do in Saint John to make the most of your time.
This here is a city that’s underrated in every sense. Saint John has historic charms, urban vibes, and unrivaled natural wonders. With plenty to do in the city and numerous day trips to choose from, you’ll have a getaway filled with joys that will draw you back time and again.
Saint John is the only city that lies on the shores of the Bay of Fundy. While this bay may offer calming views, it actually has the highest recorded tides in the entire world. Another major tourist draw is a natural feature called the Reversing Falls Rapids, where tonnes of tidal water is forced through a gorge at high tide with enough force to make a river flow backwards. Feeling adventurous? The city has made much of this spectacular natural phenomenon, with the new Saint John Skywalk – a vertigo-inducing glass-bottomed platform that extends over the rapids.
Art and History
Saint John is the centre for art and culture in New Brunswick. The artistic community here is vibrant and rapidly growing, with shops and galleries popping up all around town. Check out what’s on at the Imperial Theatre or the Saint John Arts Centre, or take yourself on a self-guided Art in Public Places walking tour. At the New Brunswick Museum, marvel at a full-scale replica of a whale. And if you’d like to learn more about the history of this city, take one of many Historic Walks available at your own pace. If you’re a true history buff, head to Carleton Martello Tower, left over from the war of 1812, or the Market Square which is the site where the Loyalists arrived in 1783. Today, this square is host to a number of events and festivals throughout the year.
Shopping and Craft Beer
Cruise ships dock here in the summer, so passengers can explore the port and revitalized city centre, taking advantage of the ample food and craft beer scene. One of the main attractions in Saint John is the City Market, the oldest continuing farmers market in Canada. The market is a full city block in length and is open Monday to Saturday all year round. Saint John also has an up and coming craft brewery scene that you can take full advantage of. Visit Canada’s oldest independent brewery, Moosehead, or choose one of many full brewery tours to experience a wider range of tastes.
If you somehow run out of things to do in Saint John, the number of day trips you can take are endless. One of the most popular tourist attractions in all of Canada is only two hours away from the city. Hopewell Rocks is a site where you can very visibly see and experience the effects of the infamous high tides. Depending on the tide, you can walk or canoe around these fascinating rock formations caused by tidal erosion. If you want to hit up some different cities while in New Brunswick, or Fredericton, the capital, are both about an hour drive away. If you’re looking to see more natural wonders, the stunning St. Martin’s Sea Caves are also an hour away from Saint John. Just make sure you go when the tide is low. And if you truly love whales, take a day trip to the charming seaside resort of St. Andrews by-the-Sea for a zodiac whale watching tour. In this part of the Bay of Fundy – especially in the late summer – seeing a whale up close is almost guaranteed.