Why Visit Fredericton
Fredericton is the capital city of New Brunswick Canada. Nestled along the Saint John River, the city is the province’s third largest city after Saint John and Moncton. A small city with a population of just over 56,000 people, the city manages to be peaceful and lively at the same time. There is a lot of history and charm to discover in this humble city. It’s a young vibrant city with two universities and several colleges. Fredericton is a great base for exploring other cities and areas in and around New Brunswick. Take a day trip to Saint John, Moncton, the Bay of Fundy, or St Andrews. I lived for almost 10 years in this city, I made this guide on Fredericton attractions so that you can enjoy the city that I grew up in!
Best Time to Visit Fredericton
The best time to visit Fredericton is in the spring, summer, or fall when the weather is nice. The city really comes alive in the summer. Nice weather will give you the opportunity to experience great outdoor activities and events. During the summer, spring, and fall, you can explore parks and trails, walk along the river, kayak, and go zip-lining. There are outdoor music festivals, events, and shows to enjoy as well during the summer. Take advantage of the many free activities including; weekly free outdoor moving screenings and the daily changing of the guard also happen in the summer months. There are also many restaurants which offer outdoor rooftop and street patios when the weather is nice.
For a list of Fredericton festivals check out Tourism Fredericton Year of Festivals.
Getting to Fredericton
To get to Fredericton you can either fly or drive. The closest airport is 14km from the city center, the Fredericton International Airport. It is a national airport, therefore there are no international flights. Air Canada and WestJet (I would recommend WestJet) both fly into the airport. When driving into Fredericton from the airport you will notice many beautiful large historical houses lined up across from the Saint John River.
Alternatively, you can drive from other Canadian and American cities.
- Bangor Maine (3 hours)
- Charlottetown PEI (4 hours)
- Halifax Nova Scotia (5 hours)
Fredericton Attractions: What to do and See in Fredericton
Many of the main sights and events in Fredericton are downtown. This is the historic part of the city that runs along the river and is the most scenic area of the city. Uptown Fredericton is the modern part of the city and is mainly stores, restaurants, and businesses. There is also the northside of the city which is across the river. On the northside, you will find some walking and biking trails. It is mostly a residential area with some stores and restaurants.
The downtown is fairly condensed and it’s possible to comfortably walk from one end to the other. I would recommend doing this as there are many unique shops and stores that you can stop at along your walk. The following are some of the main sights worth checking out downtown.
Fredericton Attractions: Christ Church Cathedral
When driving into Fredericton from the airport one of the first buildings that may catch your eye is the Christ Church Cathedral. Construction on the church began in 1845 and in 1981 it was designated as a National Historic Site of Canada.
Fredericton Attractions: New Brunswick Legislative Building
Across from the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, you’ll see the New Brunswick Legislative Building. Built in 1882 the building is home to the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick.
Fredericton Attractions: Old Government House
The Government House was constructed in 1826 and is situated on eleven acres along the banks of the Saint John River. From 1828 until Confederation, most of the important decision affecting the province were debated in this building. Becuase of this, it is of historical significance to the province. Free tours are offered Monday to Saturday from mid-May to the end of August.
This is also the location of the annual New Brunswick Highland Games. Every year in July the event draws 7,000 visitors and hundreds of competitors from across the country. It has been listed as one of New Brunswick’s Top Festivals and has twice been named an Attractions Canada Award Winner. Some of the events of the festival include piping and drumming competitions, stone throw, weight toss, highland dancing, and the 5km Kilted Run. A great event to hear Scottish music, watch traditional highland sports, and drink Scotish whisky.
Fredericton Attractions: Lighthouse on the Green
In downtown Fredericton, along the Saint John River, you’ll find one of the city’s landmarks, the Fredericton Lighthouse. Enjoy some of the best views of the city from the top of the lighthouse and sit outside on the deck while enjoying homemade ice cream. From here you will have a great view of the river.
Fredericton Attractions: Historic Garrison District
At the heart of the city, you will find the Historic Garrison District. Here you can find, during the summer, live music performances and historic re-enactments. Within the district, you will also find the Fredericton Region Museum and the NB Sports Hall of Fame. During the summer there is daily Changing of the Guard ceremonies, outdoor summer theater, and every Sunday night the classic film series “Under the Stars”.
Almost every summer while living in Fredericton I would go to Under the Stars at least once a season. They generally show older movies from the 30s-70s (sometimes newer films as well). The films are displayed on a big screen outdoors. It’s free to go to, just bring a chair and blanket with you. They also sell popcorn on site and there is a Tim Hortons within walking distance if you want to buy a hot drink.
Fredericton Attractions: Boyce Farmers Market
A favorite among locals, the Boyce Farmers Market is open every Saturday from 6:00 am to 1:00 pm. It’s a gathering place for locals on Saturday afternoons as people meet to shop and eat with friends and family. The market is packed with over 250 local suppliers. Here you can find food and drinks, chocolates, local seasonal products, art, jewelry, and crafts.
Stop for a Coffee and Treat at Chess Piece Patisserie & Café
On of my favorite cafes in Fredericton is the Chess Piece Patisserie & Café. They have a mouth-watering assortment of treats and sweets as well as a large variety of warm drinks. You will find many people enjoying a beverage while catching up with friends or reading the day’s newspaper. A quaint and welcoming place, it’s a great place to take a break.
Kayak on the Saint John River
Finally, if you are in Fredericton during the summer, take advantage of activities on the river. One of my favorite things to at home during the summer is to go kayaking on the Saint John River. You can rent kayaks, canoes, stand-up paddle boards, or bikes from Second Nature Outdoors.
There are a variety of day trips that you can do from Fredericton. Within under two hours, you can be at the Canada/US border of New Brunswick and Maine. The following are some of my favorite day trips from Fredericton.
- Saint John New Brunswick
- Bay of Fundy National Park New Brunswick (highest tides in the world!)
- Hopewell Rocks New Brunswick
- Grand Manan Island New Brunswick
Get This Guide On The Go!
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Enjoy and happy travels!