North America's oldest city sits on the steep slopes of a snug and sheltered harbor. With jelly-bean-colored row houses lining the hilly streets, the city begs comparisons to San Francisco – though in miniature. It too is home to artists, musicians, cutting-edge eateries, inflated real estate and young, iPhone-using denizens. Yet the vibe of Newfoundland's largest city and capital remains refreshingly small-town.
Highlights include a jaunt up Signal Hill, with its sweeping views of the harbor, and listening to live music and hoisting a pint (or shot of rum) in pubs along George St. Many visitors take advantage of the city's excellent dining and lodging options by making St John's their base camp for exploring the Avalon Peninsula. Cape Spear, Witless Bay Ecological Reserve and Ferryland are among the easy day trips.