Nestled in the heart of Canada’s charming Maritimes, Fredericton, the capital city of New Brunswick, is an East Coast destination worth a visit. This picturesque city, located in the scenic Saint John River, is rich in history, culture, and natural beauty.
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Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures, vibrant arts and music scene or simply a relaxing getaway, Fredericton has something for everyone. The town is also known for its craft beer scene. Fredericton boasts more breweries and cideries than any other place in Atlantic Canada.
Fredericton draws big crowds during the annual Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival and is an essential artistic city for contemporary visual artists. It was home to notable Canadian painters such as Goodridge Roberts, Molly, and Bruno Bobak.
Whether you are coming to Fredericton for the arts, the beer, or are simply driving by on your road trip through Eastern Canada and wondering if a visit to Fredericton is worth it. Our short answer is – yes it is!
We stopped in Fredericton on our East Coast Road Trip and found it to be a charming city for a few day’s visit. Here are some of our suggestions on things to do in Fredericton for first-time visitors!
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How to get to Fredericton
Fredericton International Airport (YFC) serves as one of the hubs for the region. Despite the “international” label, Fredericton doesn’t service too many international destinations. Air Canada and Porter Airlines are the main airlines flying in and out of the city daily, connecting domestic visitors with destinations across Canada and some, to the US.
Maritime Bus is the leading coach service in and out of Fredericton, New Brunswick. The bus operates routes connecting major cities in Maritime Canada and operates 7-days a week.
Via Rail, Canada’s rail network, offers good connections with Fredericton from a number of key population hubs in Quebec and Ontario.
By far the most popular way to get to Fredericton is by car. Given that many of the visitors arriving in Fredericton come from either Ontario, Quebec or neighbouring states within the US, driving to Fredericton makes the most sense.
How to get around Fredericton
Downtown Fredericton is rather compact and can be easily explored on foot. We parked our vehicle during our visit to Fredericton and were able to walk around the town with ease.
If you are planning a few out-of-town day trips, there are a number of ways you can get around.
The public transit is well-linked throughout the entire city, with six lines to get you around and even to places further out of downtown. They do operate 7-days a week. However, the schedule is slightly different on Saturdays, so check the bus schedule before you go.
Rent a Car
You can rent a car from the airport, which might be more convenient than a pick-up service. Avis and Enterprise are two examples of companies that offer rental cars directly from the airport.
Bikes are a sustainable way of getting around the town and an ideal way of sightseeing, especially if you visit during summer. The local government is working on trying to establish Federicton as a bike-friendly city. There are currently 45 kilometres of bike lanes and 39 kilometres of bike routes city-wide.
Best Time to Visit Fredericton
Visit in Summer for the Best Weather
Summers in Fredericton are perfectly warm, with temperatures picking up in June and dropping again in September. During the shoulder months of June and September, you can expect daytime highs of around 68°F (20°C) and nighttime lows of around 52°F (12°C). It isn’t very rainy during the summer months, and you’ll get at least 8 hours of daylight. Months on either side of the summer season can be mild. However, keep in mind that you will get fewer sunlight hours.
If you want to experience the best weather in Fredericton, New Brunswick, we recommend you travel early to mid-July. The weather in the summer gets up to 25-27°C and rarely drops below 13-15°C at night. You’ll find all activities and attractions operating at full steam and enjoy the best the region has to offer.
Visit in the Shoulder Season for the Best Prices
Spring: Spring is a lovely season to visit Fredericton because the city comes to life with colorful flowers and luscious vegetation. Since the springtime temperature is often about 10°C (50°F), it is ideal for outdoor pursuits like biking and hiking.
Fall: Visit Fredericton in the fall when the leaves are turning vivid shades of red, orange, and yellow. Since the fall’s average temperature is around 10°C (50°F), it’s a great time to go biking, hiking, and engaging in other outdoor activities. Fall is also a fantastic time to visit the city’s numerous vineyards and craft breweries, which provide seasonal goods and tours.
Winter: With an average temperature of roughly -10°C (14°F), winters in Fredericton may get rather chilly. While this is the case, the city also hosts a number of indoor activities and events. This includes the Fredericton Frostival, where you can enjoy ice slides, ice bars, and other winter sports. The winter is a terrific time to explore Fredericton’s culture and gastronomy because so many of the city’s museums, galleries, and eateries are open.
Top Things to do in Fredericton
Check out the Bill Thorpe Walking Bridge
Situated in the heart of Fredericton, the Bill Thorpe Walking Bridge was built in 1938 to replace the initial bridge from 1889. Formerly a railway bridge, the iconic infrastructure now serves as a transportation link over the Saint John River. The bridge connects the north and south sides of the city of Fredericton. It also offers some of the best views of the city, and it’s one of the best things to see in Fredericton.
Visit the Beaverbrook Art Gallery
If you are an art enthusiast, consider a stop at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery. A homage to local and international artists, the public art gallery has more than 300 pieces of art. The recently renovated art gallery now features a new entrance and building façade.
The museum also has an Artists in Residence programme. Visitors will have the opportunity to experience live art as it’s being created. Artists from New Brunswick, Canada and abroad work on site and interact with the public while conducting their residence.
Hang out at the Historic Garrison District
Inspired by the rich history, the Historic Garrison District is a Community space that hosts the Garrison Night Market, with 140+ vendors, live music, artists, and more every Thursday night from June to September. With architecture that recreates the late 1800s, activities like Croquet and the changing of the guard ceremony, you don’t have to go far in this national historic site to experience history.
If you’re interested in learning about the history of New Brunswick, be sure to visit the Fredericton Region Museum, which is located in Officer’s Square, just east of the historic Guard’s House and Barracks on Carleton Street.
Hike or Bike along the Fredericton Trail system
With a network of over 120 km of trails meandering along the beautiful Saint John River, this is a favourite destination in Fredericton for outdoor and adventure Lovers. Whether you enjoy walking, running or mountain biking, these trails offer beautiful scenery for a lovely bike ride, jog or stroll at sunset.
Go on a Sunset Walk along South Riverfront Trail on Saint John River
We loved our evening walks along the trail by the river during our stay in the city.
The South Riverfront trail runs through downtown and offers an easy escape for locals and visitors. The path is paved and wide, suitable for walking, jogging and biking.
Not only can you enjoy being outdoors, but you can also admire the public art sculpture “Watermark” by Gerald Beaulieu along the trail.
Fredericton Boyce Farmers Market
There is no better way to know a city than to visit the local farmer’s market. Fredericton Boyce Farmers Market is one of Canada’s Top 10 Community Markets and has incredible energy.
The market is open every Saturday morning and features more than 200 local vendors, selling everything from clothing to produce, gifts, souvenirs and more. Sadly, we weren’t in Fredericton on a Saturday. But, it’s one of the many things to do in Fredericton recommended to us by locals. If you love markets, this is a must on the list of things to do in Fredericton, New Brunswick.
Join a Bike or Kayak tour with Second Nature Outdoors
Second Nature Outdoors is Fredericton’s home for outdoor activities. With a location right on the riverfront in downtown Fredericton, these guys offer guided tours and kayak, canoe and paddleboard rentals.
If you are looking for a unique type of activity, you can also sign up for a Stand-Up Paddleboard Yoga Class.
Follow the Taproom Trail
There is no secret that Fredericton loves its beer and cider. Known as Atlantic Canada’s Brewing Capital, Fredericton has the most taprooms per capita in Canada (11 taprooms).
Thus, Fredericton’s area craft breweries and ciders collaborated with Fredericton Tourism to create a Taproom Trail that we think it’s a must when visiting Fredericton.
Grab a passport and get a stamp every time you visit a brewery on the map. Collect stamps and redeem them for free goodies and merch. The Taproom Trail is a great way to explore Fredericton’s culture and taste the local flavour, and it also makes for a fun date in the city.
We didn’t visit all the breweries in Fredericton during our stay. But, we hit up a few and found that each one offers something different and provides a unique atmosphere. We’ve recommended a few of our favourites later on in the article.
Visit the Northside Creators Market
A vital community hub, the Northside Creators Market is a non-profit cultural market opened every Saturday and Sunday. Enjoy the smell of freshly brewed coffee, pick up some fresh produce, grab a bite to eat or browse for unique gifts and art pieces from wildly creative creators.
Northside Creators Market is another excellent way to sustain the local economy, help small businesses and enjoy the city’s culture.
New Brunswick Highland Games Festival
If you visit Fredericton during the month of July, be sure to check out the Highland Games Festival, which is held every July on the grounds of the historic Government House in Fredericton. You’ll get to watch traditional Scottish Highland athletic competitions, sample whiskey, and enjoy a spectacular piper and drum march.
Visit Odell Park
Located within walking distance from the city center, Odell Park offers plenty to do and see regardless of what time of year you visit the area. During the warm months, you can take your pick from several picnic areas, play disc golf, enjoy the Fredericton Botanic Garden or the many kilometres of walking and biking trails. During the winter, the park is maintained for those who enjoy snowshoeing or cross country skiing.
Spend the Afternoon at King’s Landing
If you enjoy exploring historic sites, there is one just outside of town that’s perfect for a quick escape from the crowds. Located a 25-minute drive southwest of Fredericton, the historic settlement of King’s Landing is a living museum, offering over 40 exhibits, hands-on workshops, and a 19th century village with living characters in period costume. Learn about the history of the settlement, help with heritage gardening, and enjoy a themed dinner in the village.
Best Restaurants in Fredericton
Wolastoq Wharf: Wolastoq Wharf is an upscale seafood restaurant managed by St. Mary’s First Nation Retail Sales Division. The restaurant offers live music, a patio and a friendly atmosphere.
540 Kitchen & Bar: This restaurant has something for everyone. Combining fine dining with comfort foods, they source all their ingredients naturally, taking care of nature, economy and local delicacies.
Brewbakers: Whether you come here to eat or drink, you will have a great experience at this casual fine-dining restaurant. They are a warm, wood-hued tavern featuring comfort fare, seafood, and meats. You can also choose to stay inside or outside on Fredericton’s finest rooftop patio.
MOCO Downtown: MOCO Downtown is an elegant restaurant in the downtown area with a menu that offers modern Italian fare with fresh handmade pasta and simple, rustic sauces. There are also vegetarian and gluten-free options, and you should make a reservation before dining here.
Issac’s Way: A casual eatery in the heart of Fredericton, Issac’s Way is a restaurant with a casual, colourful, and friendly atmosphere. Their menu includes globally inspired farm-to-table eats, vegetarian and gluten-free options, and all their dishes are made from scratch.
Dimitri’s: Known for its excellent food, huge portions, and family environment Dimitri’s is Fredericton’s favourite Greek restaurant. Skordalia, Moussaka or Horiatiki (Greek Salad), this restaurant has it all.
Greystone Brewing: Situated on King street, the brewery is a part of the Fredericton Taproom Tail and offers a selection of year-round and seasonal craft beer brewed downtown Fredericton. Attached to the brewery, you can find the Graystone taphouse, where you can enjoy one of their 23 taps dedicated to local craft beer and ciders. You can enjoy a pint in front of the fire during winter or sit on the patio’s hammock during summer.
Trailway Brewing Company: Trailway Brewing Co. is another brewery on the Taproom Trail in downtown Fredericton. The menu offers a variety of beers and ciders on tap that you can choose from.
Friendly staff, fantastic beers and a great taproom are the elements that make Trailway Brewing Co. a visitors’ favourite. The brewery also offers a patio and food trucks during summer.
The Cap Brewery: The Cap is a small space that promotes live music, comedy and the arts. The brewery is a friendly place with a lovely atmosphere, perfect for a night out. The cap has weekly events such as trivia nights, stand-up comedy and jazz nights to lie concerts. They also have a variety of drinks to choose from and to taste the local colours.
Where to Stay in Fredericton
Hilton Garden Inn Fredericton offers a restaurant, fitness center and a shared lounge. Situated right in the downtown area, the hotel is minutes’ walk from Beaverbrook Art Gallery, shows at Fredericton Playhouse, historic Officers’ Square, and a variety of local restaurants. Other facilities include breakfast, lunch and dinner, free wifi, pet friendly and parking.
Located uptown, Chateau Fredericton is a boutique hotel in a quiet location that is still very close to restaurants, the New Brunswick College, and other points of interest. The Fredericton Botanic Garden and Odell Park and Game Refuge are a five-minute drive away, and you’ll be within walking distance of several restaurants and cafes. For a cozy night in, the hotel has a heated indoor saltwater pool and offers room service.
Fredericton has something for everybody. From art to fun activities, delicious food, and excellent beer, we think it’s a friendly place to spend your summer. There are lots of cool things to do in Fredericton, which we are sure you will enjoy, whether you visit it during summer or winter.