A Half-Day in Downtown Saint John, New Brunswick

The port city of Saint John, New Brunswick is one of Canada’s oldest cities, and the largest city in New Brunswick. With over 70,000 residents, this maritimes city is also home to a thriving downtown area with plenty of sights and sounds to take in for the budget traveler. On my recent trip to Grand Manan Island with Riley Platt (see: Riles For Miles), we had several hours to kill before catching the ferry at Blacks Harbour, so we chose to spend them browsing through the downtown core.

Walk the Harbour Passage


Located along the Saint John harbour is a series of paths for walking and biking that gives you an incredible view of the entire city. From the historic downtown skyline to the cold blue waters of the Bay of Fundy, it’s no wonder tourists and locals converge along these paths to see the city from a distance. We spent just over an hour wandering through these paths snapping photos of trains, overpasses, and even stumbling upon a group of the happiest Harbour Passage walkers that have ever existed.

Refuel at the Saint John City Market


It’s always a treat to come across active city markets, even in smaller cities such as Saint John. Walking into the historic Saint John City Market, we were treated with a flood of delightful smells from fresh made bread, to dark roast coffee, crispy samosas and the the scent of wild flowers. As we squeezed through aisles full of artisans, merchants, bakers, and cooks we were greeted with a smile from every corner. One friendly local saw us snapping photos and kindly pointed to a staircase in the far corner – “You’ll get the best shots from up there! It’s one of the only places to really take in the size of the market” – we smiled, thanking her graciously. After climbing a flight and a half of stairs, we snapped a few photos and stood there, watching the hustle and bustle of the market.

Ice Coffees & Brownies at Java Moose


Located near one of the exits of the City Market is the Java Moose, the mid day heat was slowing us down. The only cure that I know for heat & a sluggish pace is ice coffee and chocolate. We purchased a couple large ice coffees with a giant home-made brownie and sat the outdoor picnic tables, enjoying the weather and readying ourself for the next leg of our journey.

Be sure to commit at least a half day wandering the downtown area of this beautiful city. Saint John has that maritimes city vibe about it. A young coastal city with plenty to see and do for people of all ages, soaked in history and kissed by the warm reflections off the Bay of Fundy. Everything from the people to the patios, this little city could force a smile out of Satan himself.

For more information on things to see and do in Saint John, check out the Tourism New Brunswick Website.

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