24 Things to Do Down by the Bay in 2024

January 22, 2024

CNN Travel named Saint John, New Brunswick as one of their top 24 destinations to visit in 2024 – and we couldn’t agree more!

To help you plan your trip to Saint John and the Towns by the Bay, we’ve compiled a list of 24 of the best things to do when visiting our region. The salt air and coastal sights will reinvigorate you; the local cuisine and music will nurture you; and the people will embrace you. You might never want to leave!

In no particular order:

Uptown Saint John

Enjoy a vibrant dining scene featuring over 80 bars and restaurants in a 10-block radius ready to satisfy any craving. Browse numerous charming boutiques and galleries, each catering to a unique audience. Take in historic architecture and landmarks, public art installations and so much more throughout the walkable uptown core. A true bay-cation destination, and the only city on the Bay of Fundy! https://uptownsj.com/

Area 506 Waterfront Container Village

New in 2022, featuring a diverse collection of retail shops, a performance space, a waterfront container bar, food trucks, public art and pop-up activities, all wrapped up in more than 60 shipping containers, celebrating everything that’s cool about our identity as a province. Open seasonally between May and November, there’s no shortage of food, retail, and good vibes. Keep the fun going with tickets to one of their Waterfront Concert Series events, as well as two weekend-long music festivals – Area 506 (rock) Festival, scheduled for August 2-4, 2024, and Boxcar Country Music Festival, scheduled for July 26-27, 2024. https://area506.ca/container-village

Moonlight Bazaar

Moonlight Bazaar is an award-winning, signature street festival that brings the community together for a night of fun under the planets. Music, food, art, and creative performances blend together into one unique experience! An evening reminiscent of a night bazaar, accented by the chaos of unrelated activities - fire throwing, fortune telling, belly dancing, and theatrical vignettes. Scheduled for September 2024, check back soon for the official date. https://moonlight-bazaar.ca/nb/

Ihtoli-maqahamok - The Gathering Space [ee-doe-lee MAH-qwah-HA-muck]

Formerly known as the Market Square boardwalk, this waterfront public space  is undergoing a revitalization that includes tidal steps at Market Slip leading down to the Bay of Fundy, a 360-degree stage surrounded by public space to take in live performances, and the installation of a winter outdoor skating surface that doubles as beautiful green space during the summer months, as well as four-season patio spaces, created by the installation of glass panels expanding each boardwalk restaurants’ footprint. https://saintjohn.ca/en/parks-and-recreation/ihtoli-maqahamok-gathering-space

Fundy Trail Provincial Park

Fundy Trail Provincial Park is a 2,559-hectare (6,323 acre) park featuring a 30 km (19 mile) drive hugging magnificent cliffs, carved by the Bay of Fundy tides, along the southern coast of New Brunswick. Guests can visit 21 soul-inspiring lookouts, 16 accessible observations decks, four waterfalls, seven tidal swept beaches, or lace up their hiking boots and choose to hike over 60 km (37 mi) of trails. Stop at the Interpretation Centre to learn more about the park’s history and development. Connector roads to Sussex and Alma have opened, completing a spectacular, scenic coastal link between Saint John, Sussex and Moncton, joining the entire southern portion of the province from St. Stephen to Sackville. http://fundytrailparkway.com

Urban Parks

Irving Nature Park

A 600 acre (243 hectare) site created by J.D. Irving, Limited (JDI) to help protect an environmentally significant area, designated an Urban Star Park in 2011 by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. Located just minutes from uptown Saint John, this special part of the Fundy coastline is a place where one can experience one of the province's richest marine ecosystems. Enjoy the rugged beauty, boardwalks and lookout points, as well special events like meteor showers, geological history, moonlight snowshoeing and story sessions. https://jdirving.com/en/sustainability/parks/irving-nature-park/


Rockwood Park

Rockwood Park offers 2,200 acres of unspoiled natural beauty, with 10 lakes and 55 trails and footpaths. One of the largest urban parks in Canada, Rockwood Park was designed by the same team who designed Central Park in New York City. Try any number of outdoor activities, including earth-caching and rock climbing, with Inside Out Nature Centre, a guided mountain bike adventure with Be Rad Adventure Co.; relax on the beach at Lily Lake or Fisher Lakes or on Lily’s lakeside patio; hit the links at Golf Rockwood; or, visit At The Lake Spa & Studio. http://rockwoodpark.ca/

Reversing Falls Rapids

Watch the Bay of Fundy’s monstrous tides collide with the Saint John River from various lookouts, including Wolastoq and Fallsview Parks. Visit the Plank at Reversing Falls to learn more about this phenomenon. Take in the rapids from 110 feet up on an observation plank and relax in the rooftop theatre and learn about the geology and history of the area during a 13-minute film.

Explore the Fundy-St. Martins Sea Caves

Bay of Fundy Adventures offers itineraries specializing in coastal hiking, sea kayaking, local culture, and cuisine, to help you curate the most memorable experiences the Bay of Fundy has to offer. http://bayoffundyadventures.com

Kayak to Partridge Island

Step back in time with a guided kayaking tour to one of Canada’s first quarantine stations with River Bay Adventures. Partridge Island is an extraordinary little island in Saint John’s outer Harbour. Abundant with history and culture, this island offers stunning views of the city and bay. Only with a visit can it truly be appreciated. https://riverbayadventures.com/

Historic Architecture

Take a walk (or a drive) through history on one of several self-guided historic tours. Learn about the history and landmarks associated with our earliest settlers, our storied architecture, businesses and industries birthed in the region, and the individuals who created them. https://discoversaintjohn.com/place/take-self-guided-historic-tour

Place Fort La Tour

Located along Harbour Passage, the original Fort La Tour was built in 1631 by Acadian Governor Charles de La Tour as a fur trading post at a long-used Indigenous encampment site.  At the newly opened attraction (2022), see replicas of the historic fort buildings come to life, walking paths, a bastion, blacksmith forge, large plaza and more!  http://fortlatour.com

First Nations Storytellers

Prior to the landing of European settlers in what is now called New Brunswick, thriving cultures existed for thousands of years which lived in harmony with the land and the life that resided on it. Discover the local history of the Wolastoq and Mi’kmaq peoples from a unique indigenous point of view while meandering along the harbor and the Beautiful River - Wolastoq. https://firstnationsstorytellers.com/

Saint John City Market & Regional Farmers' Markets

Of course Canada’s oldest continuing farmers market is in Saint John - it’s Canada’s first incorporated city! Discover the Saint John City Marketvisiting merchants at colourful stalls proudly displaying local produce, meat, fresh seafood, and handcrafted items, as well as a variety of freshly made grab and go meals. The region also features a number of weekly seasonal markets. From Thursday to Sunday, between the months of May and October, you can fill your weekend exploring them all! Whether you are looking for fresh local produce, unique crafts and artwork, or simply a welcoming atmosphere, the farmers markets of the Saint John region got you covered. https://discoversaintjohn.com/discover-our-farmers-markets

Retail & Galleries

Spend some time shopping throughout our region, exploring numerous charming boutiques catering to a variety of audiences. In our uptown core you’ll find an eclectic mix of galleries, clothing boutiques, specialty stores and collectables, while most national brands can be found on the East and West sides. Head to the surrounding communities for more specialized retailers just waiting to be discovered. You'll also discover a thriving arts scene, including a dozen galleries within walking distance uptown, and more sprinkled throughout the surrounding communities, with works from local, national, and international artists.

Fundy Sea Shanty Festival

Celebrate the stories and songs of those sailors who helped forge nations during the age of sail! Enjoy food tasting, live performances, workshops, children's activities and more, in the beautiful village of Fundy-St. Martins. This is the only festival of its kind in Atlantic Canada! Visit their website for the full festival lineup. Scheduled for August 9-11, 2024. https://fundyseashantyfest.com/

TimberTop Adventures

Spend a day at Dominion Park, along the banks of the Saint John River, exploring with TimberTop Adventures. Climb, jump, and zip through the treetops of the park's old growth forest. https://timbertop.ca  

Stonehammer UNESCO Global Geopark

As North America’s first UNESCO Global Geopark, Stonehammer Geopark is about geology, but it is also about people, society and culture. Here you can hike, kayak, rock climb, eat, and more! Take a guided walking tour and learn more about the billion years of stories our geological history tells. http://stonehammergeopark.com

Uncorked Tours

Nowhere else in the world will you find such a curated offering of New Brunswick-exclusive beer, wine, cider and spirits. Taste your way around the province at their tasting room in the historic Saint John City Market, or book a walking tour, exploring historic uptown Saint John, stopping along the way to sample local wine, beer and (or) seafood, or a tour of the historic Saint John City Market itself. http://uncorkednb.com  

Public Art

Public art abounds throughout the Saint John region. Installations by local, national, and international artists can be found in town squares, public parks and along city streets, not to mention those pieces hiding in plain sight or tucked away in alleys or along walking trails. Uptown Saint John is a fantastic place to find numerous installations, and the collection is always growing. See if you can find  them all, following the Art in Public Places Walking Tour.

Harbour Passage

Stroll along the Saint John waterfront on Harbour Passage, exploring public art and taking in the scenic views. Harbour Passage runs along the waterfront from Water Street all the way over to the Reversing Falls Rapids. You can hop onto the walking trail right outside the Hilton Hotel, connecting you to the Market Square Boardwalk. Be sure to explore the new breakwater and Long Wharf extension – offering even more to discover - and keep an eye on the water for harbour seals swimming amongst the waves. https://discoversaintjohn.com/place/stroll-harbour-passage

The Kingston Spa at La Belle Cabane

A space for a spa, ceremony, community events, workshops, and more. The Kingston Spa is a thermal experience, the first of its kind in New Brunswick, featuring two completely private spa pods. Start with the dry or steam sauna, soak in the cold cedar plunge or hot tub, rest on the heated stone bed or by the fire (repeat or rest) and complete your stay by spending time in the shared salt room - an infrared sauna with halotherapy. Built sustainably and comfortably to ensure an exceptional experience. Plan to hike, eat and relax. https://labellecabane.com/kingstonspa.html

Acadian Sturgeon and Caviar Academy

Offered year round, from an historic sea captain’s mansion in Saint John or their Carter's Point Hatchery on the bank of the picturesque Saint John River, enjoy a multicourse tasting and education session, learning about and trying various types of caviar and sturgeon preparations.  https://acadian-sturgeon.com/en/

Craft Beer, Cider and Spirits

From beer to cider to spirits and more, craft alcohol producers are working hard to share local flavour. Saint John has a long history with beer, being home to Canada’s oldest independent brewery, Moosehead Breweries Limited. Find numerous craft breweries, cideries and distilleries throughout the region, as well as many restaurants and bars serving carefully curated tap lists of local, provincial and maritime brews. Find them in the Food & Drink section of our website.

Belding Hill Farms

A very small farm by modern standards, Belding Hill Farms works to share their way of life with people, including introducing them to their loveable farm animals, sawmill, food products, and more, sharing what life and modern homesteading is like in 2024, and how connected it still is to our forefathers. https://beldinghillfarms.com/

Now that we've piqued your interest, check out our Trip Planner for even more ideas, and start planning your Bay-cation today!

Land acknowledgement

The Saint John Region is situated on the traditional territory of the Wolastoqiyik, Mi’Kmaq, and Peskotomuhkati Nations. This territory is covered by Peace and Friendship Treaties signed with the British Crown in the 1700s. The treaties recognized the significant and meaningful role of the Wolastoqiyik, Mi’Kmaq, and Peskotomuhkati in this province and the country with the intent to establish a relationship of trust and friendship.

Envision Saint John: The Regional Growth Agency pays respect to the elders, past and present, and descendants of this land, and is committed to moving forward in the spirit of truth, collaboration, and reconciliation.