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St John's

Newfoundland is an island of austere, washed-out beauty and vast unpopulated wilderness. Yet here, in its capital and largest city, one finds scads of homes colored like tropical fruit, plus bustling street life and a dim urban (yet small-town friendly) buzz. For all that, North America's oldest city doesn't just contrast the province it dominates. St John's exudes wry wit, stoicism and lust for life, and to this end embodies some of Newfoundland's best values.

The town paints the steep slopes of a harbor that shelters hectares of green space, winding paths, rainbow row houses, artists, technocrats, and engineers – St John's is by far the most economically dynamic corner of Newfoundland; not coincidentally, it's also where you'll find the province's only university and ethnic enclaves. Signal Hill dominates the topography, while new restaurants, an active outdoors scene, and nights on the town dominate the social life.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout St John's.