Located in the Petitcodiac River Valley in New Brunswick, Canada, the city of Moncton is a geographical hub of the Maritimes and the largest city in the province.
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Moncton offers a true taste of Atlantic Canada, combining the amenities of the big city with a small-town vibe. Surrounded by nature and the powerful Bay of Fundy, Moncton is at the heart of popular destinations in New Brunswick.
It was a wonderful place that surprised us the most on our recent Atlantic Canada Road Trip, thanks to its mix of outdoor activities and urban experiences. From great food and wine to the impressive Fundy Tides, colourful murals, and fantastic day trips – Moncton offers lots of fun things for the whole family to do.
Thanks to its central location, Moncton serves as a great place to base yourself while exploring many of the top attractions in New Brunswick. Whether you are passing through Moncton en route to another destination in the Maritimes or basing yourself here as you explore the natural wonders of New Brunswick, we hope this guide will help you make the most of your stay in the city.
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How To Get To Moncton
Moncton is located on Route 2 of the Trans-Canada Highway in the province of New Brunswick in Atlantic Canada. You can arrive in Moncton by plane, train, bus or car.
Greater Moncton Roméo LeBlanc International Airport (YQM), located just 10 minutes from Downtown Moncton, connects Moncton with a number of destinations within Canada. Halifax Stanfield International Airport (YHZ), located only 2 hours away in Nova Scotia, offers many more direct and non-stop flights to other cities in Canada, as well as the United States and Europe.
Moncton Via Rail Station, located in town on Main Street, offers connections to Halifax and Montréal. Maritime Bus connects Moncton to destinations in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island.
Arriving in Moncton by car from other parts of Canada is still the most popular way to arrive in the region. Moncton is located 2 hours away from Nova Scotia, 2 hours from Charlottetown, PEI, 7.5 hours from Quebec City, and over 14 hours away from Toronto.
How To Get Around Moncton
Moncton’s public transit is well-suited for those wanting to explore the city without a car. Codiac Transit serves the greater Moncton area 7 days a week and offers visitors an opportunity to explore well beyond the Downtown core.
Moncton is also a very bike-friendly city. There are a number of parks and green spaces with easily accessible biking trails throughout the city. Walking is another easy and environmentally conscious way to get around town. Moncton Downtown offers plenty of sights and attractions within a short radius.
Best Time To Visit Moncton
While Moncton doesn’t have the most intense winters, summer is the best time to visit Moncton. While it can get pretty hot on occasion, average summer temperatures hover around 25°C, and while you might see a rainy day or two, it won’t be excessive.
Spring and Fall can be a bit unpredictable, thanks to its close proximity to the ocean. Fall colours in Moncton and the surrounding areas can make visiting New Brunswick during this time of the year particularly appealing.
Winter in Moncton can get pretty chilly! Temperatures can frequently reach -10°C, and rainfall is common. Being largely an outdoor destination, Moncton is definitely best visited in warmer months.
Things To Do In Moncton, NB
Whether you are stopping in Moncton for a few days or spending a few weeks in the region, there is lots to do in and around the city for every type of traveler. Here are the top Moncton attractions to add to your list!
Explore Downtown Moncton
Downtown Moncton is an excellent place to start any visit to Moncton. There are a number of events and festivals held here throughout the year, and the murals and sculptures around town mean that just walking around the neighbourhood is a popular thing to do in Moncton.
Take a stroll along Main Street, grab a bite at one of the restaurants, or a craft beer at a local pub. This is also where you’ll find some of the best Moncton shopping options.
Search For Street Art
Moncton is home to some incredible street art, so be sure to spend a few hours searching for murals as you explore the city. There are over 50 art murals by local and international artists, so wander the streets of Downtown Moncton, and you’ll come across everything from colourful abstract designs to portraits of local celebrities. The murals are constantly changing and evolving, so there’s always something new to see.
The best way to see all the beautiful street art in Moncton is by taking a self-guided mural tour. You can choose your own pace, and choose to drive, bike, or walk around the city to discover the pieces.
The Fundy Tidal Bore is a unique phenomenon occurring in Moncton twice daily. Head to the aptly named Tidal Bore Park in Downtown Moncton to witness the rise and fall of the world’s highest tides on the Bay of Fundy.
The park is the best place to see this natural phenomenon. Check the low tides/high tides schedule and plan to arrive 10-15 minutes before the indicated time to find a spot and get your camera ready for one of the greatest nature shows in New Brunswick.
Magnetic Hill, a roughly one-kilometre stretch of gravel road at the base of Lutes Mountain, is probably one of the most unique things to do in Moncton. Thanks to a naturally occurring optical illusion known as a ‘gravity hill,’ you can witness cars roll uphill. This is one of the strange things to see in Moncton, and despite our hesitation, it was a bucket list activity worth doing.
The novelty of it makes it one of Moncton’s most popular tourist attractions, with cars driving up the hill to experience the “magnetic field” firsthand. Be sure to read the instructions on the sign upon arrival and follow the correct steps as you approach the hill.
There is an entry fee of $5 per car during operating hours, and there are a number of other attractions in the Magnetic Hill area, including Magnetic Hill Zoo, Magnetic Hill Wharf Village, Magic Mountain Amusement Park, Magic Mountain Water Park, and Magnetic Hill Winery.
Magnetic Hill Winery
Located in an old estate from the 1860s, the beautiful Magnetic Hill Winery is a worthy stop in Moncton. The winery has been open since 2005, although the wine cellar and restaurant have recently been renovated and now feature a new New York-style loft design.
The tasting room is open every day in the summer, from noon to 10:00 PM, offering a taste of their award-winning wines. The winery can also be booked for tours or events.
Named after the Petitcodiac River, Riverfront Park is a popular destination for visitors and tourists year-round. Along with the hiking and biking trails and the natural features, there are also various monuments, sports fields, and a skateboard park. If you’re here in the summer, you might also get to experience one of the summer festivals held in the park.
Centennial Park is a popular spot for locals and visitors alike in the warmer months. The park features an artificial beach, a waterpark, a playground, tennis courts, and lawn bowling. In the winter, the park comes to life with a skating rink, cross-country skiing trails, and snowshoeing trails.
Mapleton Park offers hectares of walking trails through forests, open land, lagoons, and marshes, so there is something to do here all year round. In the winter, while some paths are sanded for walking, there are also paths left covered in snow for snowshoeing. Ice skating is also available in the winter, and the trails are accessible for wheelchairs and strollers.
Irishtown Nature Park
On the north end of Moncton, you’ll find Irishtown Nature Park, one of the largest urban parks in Canada, with forests, marshlands, and a lake. The nature trails are easily accessible for strollers and wheelchairs, and the various trail systems offer plenty of options for walking, hiking, or biking. It’s a popular destination for locals looking to get out of the city and get into nature. On top of that, it’s also a great place for birdwatching.
Museums are not really our cup of tea, as we prefer to spend our time outdoors, but there are a number of museums in Moncton that might be worth a visit.
The Moncton Museum is a great place to learn more about the history of the city when it began as a traditional Acadian fishing community. It features a permanent exhibit on the history of Moncton as well as traveling exhibits. Entry is free of charge.
The Acadian Museum is located at the University de Moncton and is focused on the Acadian history of the area. Admission is free. The Atlantic Canada Aviation Museum is located in Dieppe and focuses on the history of aviation in Atlantic Canada. Admission is also free.
Marche Moncton Market
This weekly farmers market features fresh produce from local farmers, finely crafted artisanal goods, and freshly prepared foods. Located in downtown Moncton, this market is open every Saturday from 8am to 2pm.
While the farmers market only runs on Saturdays, you can grab lunch at the Marche Moncton Market Food Court, which is open Monday through Friday from 10am – 4pm. After you explore the downtown area, you can pop into the food court and sample made-from-scratch dishes from all over the world.
Day Trips From Moncton, NB
Shediac & Parlee Beach Provincial Park
Just 30 mins outside of Moncton, Shediac is a charming town best known for its lobster festival, which takes place every summer.
The town, known as the lobster capital of New Brunswick, is also home to a number of other festivals throughout the year, as well as Parlee Beach Provincial Park, the most popular beach in New Brunswick, and the World’s Largest Lobster sculpture.
We really enjoyed our time in Shediac and particularly our afternoon at Parlee Beach. The warm, calm waters make it a great spot to spend a day with little ones. The beach was packed when we visited in July, as expected, but with plenty of picnic areas and a long sandy beach, it didn’t feel too crowded or unpleasant. It’s definitely a worthy day trip from Moncton!
Hopewell Rocks Provincial Park
Located about an hour south of Moncton, Hopewell Rocks Provincial Park is another popular spot to visit during a stay in Moncton. Home to a series of tidal rock formations known as sea stacks, Hopewell Rocks is usually visited at the turn of the tide.
These unique rock formations are located along the coast of the Bay of Fundy and can be reached by walking on the ocean floor at low tide. Time your visit to coincide with low tide and plan to stay for a few hours, so you can see the sea stacks from the floor at low tide and appreciate the change of scenery as the water comes ups with the rise of tides.
Fundy Trail Parkway
Located between the towns of St. Martin’s and Alma on the coast of the Bay of Fundy, the Fundy Trail Parkway makes for a fun day trip from Moncton. The parkway offers amazing scenery and lookouts to appreciate it, kilometres of biking and hiking trails, a canyon, and plenty of other attractions. It is not an all-seasons attraction, though; it is open from mid-May to mid-October, but it closes for the winter.
READ NEXT: Best Stops Along The Fundy Trail Parkway
Fundy National Park
Open year-round and with reasonable entry fees (children get in for free), Fundy National Park is definitely amongst the great places to visit while in Moncton. With kilometres of hiking trails, historical sites, beach access, and campsites, there is plenty to ensure the entire family is having fun.
The park is located just an hour outside of Moncton, so it’s possible to drive out there for a day of hiking and outdoor adventures while staying in the city.
One of the best ways to see Fundy National Park is from the water. You can paddle independently or as part of a kayak tour on the Bay of Fundy, taking in views of the craggy cliffs, sea caves, and the rising tide as it rolls in. Tours start in the village of Alma, and if you prefer an independent paddle, you have the option of renting a kayak, canoe, SUP, or hydro bike.
La Dune de Bouctouche
Located about an hour north of Moncton is the Irving Ecological Centre, home to La Dune de Bouctouche. Stretching 12 kilometres across Bouctouche Bay, this great sand dune is constantly changing because of the wind, tides, and sea currents. The dune is home to a rich variety of wildlife and is a great spot to watch migratory birds.
Visitors can stroll the 800-metre boardwalk that stretches along the dune, which is elevated to avoid endangering the sensitive ecosystems here. The Irving Eco-Centre offers tours and interpretive displays for visitors, as well as free interactive educational programs.
If you already plan to visit Fundy National Park, another great destination to add to the itinerary is Cape Enrage. Located about 20 minutes east of Fundy National Park, Cape Enrage is home to a historic lighthouse, beautiful beaches, and stunning geology.
There are plenty of opportunities for adventures here, like zip lining, rappelling down cliffs, and guided fossil tours. When you work up an appetite, you can grab lunch or dinner at the Cape House Restaurant, which looks over the Bay of Fundy. For souvenirs, The Gallery at the Cape has a variety of locally made art, crafts, and other goods like maple products and jams.
Facilities are open from mid-May to late September, and hours vary slightly. Admission is CAD $7.50 per person, and is valid for two consecutive days.
Hotels In Moncton
Hilton Garden Inn Moncton Downtown is centrally located, and just a quick walk away from Riverfront Park, Tidal Bore Park, and Main Street. There are also five bus stops within 350 metres of the hotel.
Guests have access to the hotel’s heated indoor saltwater mineral pool, and there is an onsite bar and restaurant. All rooms feature a private bathroom, mini refrigerator, coffee maker, and a microwave upon request.
Hyatt Place Moncton-Downtown is located right off of Main Street, and in the middle of all the action. Guests are just steps away from theatres, shops, popular dining spots, and parks.
All 120 rooms are spacious and equipped with modern amenities like minifridges, coffee makers, and safes for valuables. Each room has its own private bathroom as well. Guests are offered free breakfast, a 24/7 Espresso Bar, and the onsite restaurant offers pub fare and drinks from 4pm-9:30pm.
Best Restaurants In Moncton
There are no shortages of places to grab a quick bite, have a full meal, or grab a drink in Moncton, New Brunswick. Whether you’re in the mood for fine dining, looking for a nightcap, or just feeling a bit peckish after a busy day, you’ll find plenty of great restaurants and dining options in the city of Moncton. These are our recommended spots to eat out while in Moncton!
Atelier Tony is one of the best restaurants in Moncton, offering a sophisticated take on locals’ favourite dishes. The restaurant works with local producers and suppliers using farm-to-table principles to serve you the bounty of the Maritimes in fresh, creative ways. The restaurant has a great brunch menu but is also open for lunch and dinner. Try their oysters or a lobster roll – it’s worth the price!
Magnetic Hill Winery
If you’re a fan of wine, then the Magnetic Hill Winery is the perfect spot on the list of things to do in Moncton. Their award-winning wines include sparkling wines, dessert ports, and non-grape-based wines, like strawberry, cranberry, and rhubarb. Whether you prefer red or white, dry or sweet, you’ll be able to find something to suit your tastes.
Tire Shack Brewery
If your tastes lean more towards beer, then Tire Shack Brewery will most likely be more your style. They have a range of drinks on offer, including exotic sours, hard seltzers, eclectic stouts, and a variety of IPAs.
Tide And Boar
For a relaxed meal, the Tide and Boar Gastropub is the place to go. It’s one of Canada’s Top 50 Restaurants and one of Canada’s Favourite Bars, so it has the pedigree to prove itself. The food is made with local ingredients, and the drink menu includes a number of beers on tap or in cans, as well as cocktails, wine, and more.
Pump House Brewpub
If you find yourself wanting some incredible pizza or finger foods while you’re in New Brunswick, then the Pump House Brewpub is exactly what you’re looking for. They’ve been a staple of Downtown Moncton since 1999, and they brew a number of popular local beers while offering an extensive menu of burgers, pizzas, and comfort food must-haves. A great casual spot that became our go-to during our stay in Moncton.
If you’re a vegetarian in Moncton, then Calactus is perfect for you. Located on Saint George Street, this popular restaurant offers reasonably priced vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. The menu is simple, but they take a ‘quality over quantity’ approach to their food, so you’re sure to be pleased with the selection.
St. James Gate
If you’re in Downtown Moncton and looking for something classy, then you’ll appreciate St. James Gate. With a rich menu that makes even the mac ‘n’ cheese luxurious and an extensive wine list, a meal here is sure to leave you impressed. The restaurant is located inside the hotel of the same name.
Les Brumes Du Coude
Taking ‘reduce, reuse, recycle in a slightly new direction, Les Brumes du Coude is in an old Aberdeen school classroom. Named for the Acadian name for the area and for the elbow grease that goes into everything, the French bistro-style meals are reminiscent of old school dining. You’ll feel like you were invited to the family table to share a meal – a true taste of Acadian culture!
Gusto Italian Grill & Bar
If the name didn’t already give it away, Gusto Italian Grill & Bar is a great Italian spot in Moncton. With brick walls, wood finishes, an open kitchen, and a wood-fired stove, Gusto is a rustic retreat in the middle of Downtown Moncton. They take pride in their food and offer a variety of dishes ranging from pasta to hand-thrown pizzas and authentic Italian desserts.
Little Louis’ Oyster Bar And Fine Cuisine
If you’re craving some amazing seafood, then Little Louis’ Oyster Bar and Fine Cuisine will give you what you’re looking for. At Little Louis’, food and art are basically the same things, and they take pride in their award-winning menu and their wine list. Of course, there are also non-seafood options on the menu, so you don’t need to worry if you’re the one turf lover in a group of surf lovers.
Monk10 Taproom & Fine Eatery
For a classy meal and a good drink, Monk10 Taproom & Fine Eatery is the place to go. The food is freshly prepared with the best ingredients. The drink menu is carefully curated, whether you’re looking at the local options or otherwise. There are also vegetarian options on the menu, so there’s no reason to fret if you stick to a particular diet.
Cinta Ria Malaysian Restaurant
For something a bit different, head to Cinta Ria Malaysian Restaurant – the perfect choice for a hefty menu of appetizers, sides, combos, and entrees. While eating at the restaurant is always an option, they’re also known for delivery services, so they’re a great choice for those nights when you’re tired from a day of playing tourist and just want to take your shoes off.