If you’re looking for things to do in Fredericton, your search ends here. We did the work for you. (And by work we mean fun, obviously.)
Ah, Fredericton. You know, that place you learned about in Social Studies. It’s the capital of New Brunswick. Or is it Nova Scotia? We always get it confused…until now.
If you’re like we were, that’s pretty much all you know about the provincial capital (it is NB, btw). Canada’s a great big place, and as its citizens, we’re forgiven for not knowing all about all of its many centres, even if they are ridiculously picturesque and fun like we learned Fredericton is.
We rolled into town in our Volkswagen home and were immediately blown away by the hospitable locals, accessible and picturesque downtown area, and all the local pubs.
We may have only stayed 24 hours, but damn if it wasn’t eventful. Here are eight things to do in Fredericton, our new favourite city in New Brunswick.
Pop in to City Hall (it’s one of the city’s two Visitor Information Centres) for a FREE three-day parking pass.
First thing’s first: you gotta park your van that you live in. What, you don’t have a van that you live in? That’s fine, just park what you’ve got.
Buy none, get three free! That’s the motto in downtown Fredericton, and it’s awesome. A delightful parking attendant let us know (sadly, after we’d paid $3) that if we walked about 30 yards into the city’s tourism centre in City Hall, we would be rewarded with free parking for not just a few hours, but three days! Yes, please.
Run along the river and over the Fredericton Railway Bridge.
So your city has a bridge. Big whoop! Wanna blog about it? We do…
The Fredericton Railway Bridge, which has been standing since 1938, stretches over the St John River (that’s right, we just learned you some geography) used to be for trains, but now it’s for runners and walkers and bikers.
The loop we ran took us from the Crowne Plaza Beaverbrook, where we were staying (more on that down the list), snaked along the river, over the 500-metre bridge, back along the other side of the river, then across another bridge (the second one is for both cars and pedestrians), and then along river back to the hotel. Our iWatch somewhat reliably tracked it at 5.61km and it took us 35 minutes with some stops for photo and video capturing. We may not be fast, but we sure are slow.
Get a coffee and a carrot macaron at the Chess Piece Patisserie & Cafe.
We’re connoisseurs of Americanos and Wifi these days. Big time. The Chess Piece Patisserie & Cafe on Queen Street has both, and they’re equally as awesome. They also have a bunch of beautiful and exotically flavoured macarons, like carrot, which we didn’t try, but did make some pretty serious eyes at. We rolled into town and headed straight here for a few hours of digital nomad’ing. Apparently the falafel is pretty awesome too, because we witnessed about 15 locals order the thing while we were in there.
— Li et Co (@lietcoinc) June 7, 2016
Make the Crowne Plaza Lord Beaverbrook Hotel your HQ.
When you’re in and out of a city quicker than a fiddler’s elbow, like we were in Fredericton, a central headquarters is absolutely necessary. We opted for the riverside Crowne Plaza Lord Beaverbrook because it’s right in the middle of the action, has great views, and is just a swell place to lay your head. It’s no van, but still.
Drink then eat then drink at the James Joyce Pub.
Located just off the lobby in the Lord Beaverbrook, the James Joyce Pub is one of the locals’ favourites. We know because we sat and ate delicious nachos and drank a flight of local beers at the bar and watched them come and go.
— Li et Co (@lietcoinc) June 7, 2016
The hotel also has a small garden on the roof where they grow produce for their onsite restaurants, and they keep bees too, which we were lucky enough to get up close and personal with–thanks, Chris!
Honey is harvested from three hives, and sweet, boozy mead is brewed and served to pub patrons. Order a flights like we did, so you can taste the sweet home-brew and all the other local favourites.
Also drink at the Lunar Rogue, because whisky, and fill a growler at the Picaroons Brewtique, because beer.
The Maritimes knows how to drink. And Lunar Rogue knows how to drink whisky. They’ve got over 500 on the shelf, the largest selection in the province. Naturally, we ordered a pint of the local, Picaroons, which can be shopped at their Brewtique right down the street.
Smell the smell of 300,000 books
The Owls Nest is a must-stop bookstore for word nerds like us. There are close to 300,000 books packed to floor-to-ceiling in this cozy, 24-year-old shop, and quirky hand-written signs dot the walls, like the safety reminder, “Please be careful on the ladder. Our insurance doesn’t cover hooliganisim, stupidity or tomfoolery.” You could lose hours in here.