top of page

Exploring Fredericton, New Brunswick

Fredericton is the capital of New Brunswick. It's a university town with a very chill and welcoming atmosphere. If you pause at an intersection, cars screech to a halt to allow you to cross a road. It has gorgeous parks, a lively craft beer culture, beautiful Victorian homes, tons of special events and festivals, and a beautifully maintained historic centre. I have had the opportunity to visit this lovely city on several road trips, both solo and with travel buddies. This post will share some things visitors can explore in Fredericton, New Brunswick.


 

Table of Contents

 

A Brief History of New Brunswick

The Indigenous people of the Mi'kmaq (MIK mak), Wolasstoqiyik (wool-LAS-two-wi-ig), and Peskotomuhkati (PES-koh-teh-moh-kah-tee) lived here for thousands of years before the arrival of Samuel de Champlain in the early 1600s. French pioneers soon followed and began to build settler communities. In 1710, the French settlers, known as Acadians, were expelled after the area was ceded to Great Britain. Many were deported south to American colonies or overseas. Thousands of Loyalists moved to the area after the United States gained independence from Britain. Another significant boost in population came in the early 1800s when Scottish and Irish settlers arrived.

A small parade of uniformed actors, wearing Scottish and British uniforms
Changing of the Guard Ceremony, Garrison District

Exploring Fredericton, New Brunswick

Fredericton spans the Saint John River and takes full advantage of its riverside location. "The Green" is a riverside park with beautiful views and walking trails. Locals and visitors can paddle or kayak, walk through gardens and trails or discover the historic district. Unique shops, grand Victorian homes, a vibrant craft brew scene, and welcoming locals combine to make Fredericton a great place to linger for a few days.


Fredericton is the third-largest city in New Brunswick, with a population of about 63,000 residents. As the provincial capital, much of its economy is based in the public sector, but a growing IT sector exists.

Fredericton enjoys short, warm summers and long, cold winters. Many attractions operate seasonally or reduce hours during the off-season, so the best time to visit is during the summer.


Fredericton was a British garrison town from 1784 to 1869. The historic military compound, which includes preserved buildings, displays, and demonstrations, is a National Historic Site.


Getting Around Fredericton

The downtown area is small and very walkable. Most of the attractions are clustered there. The city has a good bus system, and taxi services are available. The excellent trail system encourages biking, and rentals are available from local shops.


Food and Drink

Visitors will find lots of food and beverage choices in every price range. It's a university town, so expect to see lots of affordable options: restaurants, cafes, pubs, and bakeries. Seafood lovers will have happy tummies. Local seafood chowder will be found on almost every menu and should not be missed.

Taproom Trail

Fredericton takes special pride in its microbreweries, claiming that it has the highest concentration of craft breweries and tasting experiences in the Maritimes. The Taproom Trail follows a route around the city and is highly recommended for beer enthusiasts.

Markets

I have been delightfully surprised by the quantity and quality of markets in Fredericton, both year-round and seasonal, featuring fresh local produce, meat, artisan goods, and souvenirs. My favourites include:

665 George Street | Open Saturdays year-round 07:00. - 13:00 

Carleton Street | Open June 6 to September 5 | Thursdays 16:30 - 21:00

170 Main Street | Open year-round Saturdays 09:00– 16:00 and Sundays 10:00 – 14:00


Accommodations in Fredericton

There is a full range of accommodations in every price range, from hotels and B&Bs to motels and campgrounds. Student housing at the University of New Brunswick is an inexpensive option in the summer months.


Carriage House Inn

Twice, I have chosen the Carriage House Bed & Breakfast as my lodgings in Fredericton, and I cannot praise it enough, even though it had changed ownership between my visits. This lovingly restored building is the former family home of Harry Beckwith, a lumber baron and former Mayor. It retains many original features and is decorated true to the period.

Breakfast is delicious with all the breakfast choices anyone can imagine and plenty of good, strong coffee. It has a large wrap-around deck with comfortable seating. The beds and bedrooms are spacious, beautifully decorated, and very comfortable. I will stay there again when in the area.


Things to See and Do in Fredericton


Beaverbrook Art Gallery

For culture enthusiasts, the Beaverbrook Art Gallery features works by Dali, Christopher Pratt, and Joshua Reynolds and an extensive collection of works from local Acadian, Maliseet, and Mi’kmaq artists.

The exterior of Beaverbrook Gallery showing a brass sculpture of a wild cat perched on a tree trunk

Sports Hall of Fame

The New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame on Queen Street celebrates local sports and athletes with interactive displays and fun activities. It is an excellent place for kids and sports fans.

A Victorian brick mansion
The Sports Hall of Fame

Festivals

Summer visitors can expect to encounter one of the many festivals or special events hosted by the city, including music festivals, craft brew walking tours, and foodie events. Be sure to check the Festival/Event calendar to see what festivals will run while you visit.


Historic Garrison District

The Garrison District is located next to the river in the city centre. It is one of the city's most beautiful and historic areas. The British used this area as a centre of military activity from 1785 to 1869, and the Canadian military used it from 1883 to 1914.

The Soldiers' Barracks is an early 19th-century stone building built by the British Army to house more than 200 British soldiers.

The Ceremonial Guard consists of actors in period dress who stand guard at City Hall and the Sports Hall of Fame and recreate the Changing of the Guard ceremony.

Outdoor Explorations

The Fredericton Trail system is an extensive network of trails that follows the banks of the Saint John/Wolastoq River with peaceful wooded trails used by walkers and cyclists steps from the downtown area. Benches and lookout points are strategically placed for settling in and enjoying the scenery.


A look along a narrow trestle bridge with wooden decks
The Bill Thorpe Walking Bridge

More New Brunswick to Explore


Bay of Fundy/Hopewell Rocks

No visit to New Brunswick would be complete without exploring the tremendous tidal action of the Bay of Fundy. The Fundy tides can rise to 16 metres (53 ft), washing about 160 billion tonnes of seawater in and out of the bay twice a day. The best place to get a fundamental understanding of these tides is at Hopewell Rocks Provincial Park. Check out my previous post on Hopewell Rocks for more detailed information.

Kings Landing

Kings Landing is a living museum in Prince William, about 20 minutes west of Fredericton, on Route 102 or via the Trans-Canada Highway at Exit 253.


King's Landing is an 1800s Loyalist settlement. Costumed actors depict the original settlers and lead visitors through the community's life and times. This was one of my favourite activities in New Brunswick. Stop in the King's Head Inn for a delicious bowl of seafood chowder and a homemade apple cider.

Saint John

Saint John is a vibrant, historic city that combines the charm of the old town with the magnificence of the mighty Bay of Fundy. It is an immensely walkable city with narrow, steep streets, beautiful architecture, fabulous restaurants, funky cafés, rich galleries, and museums. For a more detailed look, check out my previous post on Saint John here.

Moncton

The City of Moncton is an excellent mix of English and French Acadian cultures and offers a beautiful mix of outdoor adventure and urban experiences.

A fun activity is Magnetic Hill, an optical illusion where it appears that your vehicle rolls UP a hill. The area also includes a zoo, an amusement park, a butterfly exhibit, a museum and a winery.


Florenceville Bristol Potato World

The humble potato is a very important crop in the Maritimes that had a significant role in the survival of the early settlers and continues to be an essential part of the modern economy. Just off the Trans Canada Highway, on the way to Fredericton, this is noted by a great big cartoon potato and the 2-acre Potato World complex located in the French Fry Capital of the World: Florenceville-Bristol.

The exterior of a long red-painted wooden farm-style barn/exhibit hall
Potato World -- a fascinating place to visit

Inside, Potato World includes displays, educational videos, antique farm machinery and plenty of tasty potato treats, from fries to chocolate potato cake from their on-site Harvest Café. I was impressed to learn that 10 tons of fries are produced each hour!

Vintage farm equipment with the farm in background

The museum closes over winter and on holidays, but during the season, it opens weekday mornings at 09:00, closes Monday through Wednesday at 17:00, and stays open another couple of hours on Thursday and Friday. Admission is $5.oo.


Covered Bridges

I love the look of a covered bridge, and New Brunswick is home to 58 of them. I am more than willing to drive out of my way to get a few photos. For an excellent listing of all the bridges, check out this fun blog. The author's goal is to visit and photograph every covered bridge in the province.

A wooden covered bridge
Sawmill Creek Bridge

One of the easiest to visit is the Sawmill Creek Bridge next to the main highway between Fundy National Park and Moncton. This bridge was rescued, moved downriver, and refurbished when a new bridge was built in 1975 to accommodate traffic and heavier vehicles.


St Andrews

St. Andrews is a small historic town in Charlotte County and a National Historic Site of Canada. It is designed like a typical 18th-century colonial settlement, with classic architecture and a large market square.

a typical 2 story wooden blockhouse with cannon in front
St. Andrews Blockhouse

St. Andrew's Blockhouse was built during the War of 1812 and is one of 12 remaining blockhouses constructed for protection against an American invasion.

A garden sculpture of a rusting female figure wearing a hoop skirt form
Kingsbrae Garden

The Kingsbrae Garden is a beautiful oasis with over 50,000 plantings and a lovely sculpture garden. A highlight was stopping for lunch in their award-winning restaurant and watching the alpacas grazing on the lawn.

Two young alpacas grazing on the grass

Final Thoughts


Fredericton blends rich history, vibrant culture, and welcoming hospitality. From the historic Garrison District to the lively markets and the robust craft beer scene, Fredericton is a delightful destination for all types of travellers. Whether exploring the art galleries, indulging in the local cuisine, or enjoying one of the many festivals, the city’s relaxed yet engaging atmosphere will leave a lasting impression.


Beyond Fredericton, the beauty of New Brunswick continues to unfold with remarkable attractions like the awe-inspiring Hopewell Rocks, the immersive experience at Kings Landing, and the vibrant cities of Saint John and Moncton. Whether you're marvelling at the highest tides in the world, stepping back in time to the 1800s, or enjoying the dynamic mix of cultures and adventures, New Brunswick promises a journey full of discovery and delight. So, pack your bags and get ready to explore this captivating corner of Canada, where every stop offers a new story and a warm welcome.


If you are enjoying the content and would like to be updated with new posts, become a member/subscribe (it's free!) and follow along on the RamblynJazz Facebook page, Facebook Group, Twitter, and Instagram. You can help the blog to grow by sharing the link with a travelling friend or through social media. I genuinely appreciate your comments and encourage you to share your thoughts below.


8 Comments


Guest
5 days ago

For some reason, Fredericton reminds me a bit of Burlington in Vermont interms of its look and the easy going vibe. As a city traveler, I'm always attracted to places that are walkable at the same time offer excellent public tranportation. It's makes the exploration easy and more fun! #flyingbaguette


Jan - https://flyingbaguette.com/

Like

I'm honestly not sure if I'd want to start with the markets or the Taproom Trail. Both sound appealing, and a great way to introduce myself to NB. A walkable city is my kind of city and with plenty to do here I'm sure I'd be happy exploring - and with the British influence I'd probably feel right at home. Hopewell Rocks would absolutely be on my list too

Like

There is a lot to do in this region and you'll never be able to explore everything. It's a good idea to focus on exploring one area at a time. I have no doubts that you will return to the region after your Nova Scotia adventure!

Like

That seafood chowder looks and sounds delicious! It reminds me of Burlington Vermont - that downtown feel, but everywhere. Looks like an incredible place for some rest and relaxation and just vibing!

Like
Replying to

There are many similarities between the design and coastal delights along the east coast of Canada and the USA. I really noticed the connections when I visited Maine.

Like

You had me at  seafood chowder! Absolutely love it and if Fredericton has many then I'm in.

Then saw the micro Taproom Trail - what more can a guy ask for, am booking my ticket now!

There is so much to see and do around here and that eclectic mix of French chateau style buildings and British garrison style buildings is so enchanting.

Never thought I'd see a place extolling the virtues of the humble potato - but there is one and a site I'd make a beeline to, for its quirkiness!

Like
Replying to

I dream of the chowders I have had in the area. Every time it's a little different but always outstanding.


There is much to explore and the area hits a lot of your favourite activities with history, good food, and tasty brews.

Like
Post: Blog2 Post
bottom of page