There are many reasons why St. John’s is known as The City of Legends. It is one of the oldest English-founded settlements in all of North America, tracing its origins back to 1497 when explorer John Cabot sailed into what would become the city’s harbour. Accordingly, the city has gained fame of a historian’s playground, with a wealth of historical sites dating from the medieval period, through to the Colonial era and Second World War. There is also a temporary settlement founded by the Vikings on the far side of the island at L’Anse aux Meadows.
Bringing things back to the present day, St. John’s is an ideal spot for some artisanal indulgence, with the city boasting its own craft brewery and range of boutique arts and crafts stores. The city also hosts a wealth of art galleries and museums, as well as a charming botanical garden located at Memorial University.
Party goers may want to check-out the George Street Festival, held in late July and early August. Located in downtown St. John’s, George Street is the focal point of the city’s nightlife, and the Festival sees all the pubs and taverns lining this historic cobblestone thoroughfare offering everything from traditional Newfoundland music to the sights and sounds of contemporary acts. The first Wednesday in August is given over to the annual Royal St. John’s Regatta, North America’s oldest organised sporting event, while the city’s folk music festival is also held in early August. Alternatively, visit in winter and experience the Christmas Parade and Mummers Festival, and bring in the festive spirit in style.
Due to its northerly, coastal location, St. John’s is characterised by cool summers and mild winters. Temperatures can get as low as 15F in February, but the mercury has been known to plummet to -75F. The best weather is from July to September, when average highs range from 69F to 60F.
The summer season is by far the busiest, and kicks-off with Canada’s Big Birthday Bash, running from 30 June to 1 July, with musical and theatrical entertainment taking place alongside barbecues, buskers, and fireworks. The entertainment recommences three days later as the city is serenaded by the Music at Harbourside Lunchtime Concert Series. Held every Friday at 12:30 p.m., the series runs until the middle of September, and showcases the best of local talent.