Charlottetown is Prince Edward Island’s vibrant capital with big city attractions on a smaller scale. Historic and famous as the birthplace of Canadian Confederation, Charlottetown’s downtown core has many Victorian-era houses and buildings, a bustling harbour and picturesque waterfront boardwalk. The quaint exterior doesn’t hide Charlottetown’s firm place in the present. This city has it all: top-notch theatre productions, luxurious accommodations, gourmet eateries, a local brewery and a multitude of festivals and events.
A Living History Book
Charlottetown is a living history book, where every green space, corner and building has its own chapter. The city has well-preserved architectural treasures, hospitality, charm and beauty. Charlottetown’s history can be traced back to 1720, when early European settlers first arrived. It started out as a French military settlement and quickly evolved into the largest city on the Island. It has all the tales that go with colonial settlement, from pirate invasions to liquor bootlegging in the Charlottetown harbour. The most famous of its storied past is the Charlottetown Conference of 1864, which led to Canadian Confederation. A guided tour of downtown is highly recommended to learn the true character and heritage of this thriving capital.
Places to Stay in Charlottetown
Charlottetown is a must-visit on a trip to Prince Edward Island. It has accommodations to suit everyone. We recommend:
- The Great George: A suite at the Great George Inn will set the mood for any romantic getaway in Charlottetown.
- Rodd Charlottetown: The prime location for embracing all that the city has to offer, Rodd Charlottetown offers historic elegance in the heart of downtown.
- Delta Prince Edward: Look no further for a sailor’s view; the Delta Prince Edward is the only waterfront hotel in the city.
Things to Do & See in Charlottetown
It’s easy to ‘fill-yer- boots’ with activities while visiting Charlottetown. There are many things to see and do, here’s our top 10:
- Confederation Centre of the Arts: Canada’s National Memorial to the Fathers of Confederation, the Centre showcases the finest in Canadian visual and performing arts. Home of Anne of Green Gables – The Musical and other blockbuster theatre shows.
- The Guild: Showcasing Canadian theatre, comedy, musical performances, and visual arts. The Guild’s headlining show is Anne & Gilbert – The Musical.
- The Alley: Head over to The Alley, Charlottetown’s only gastro pub with bowling lanes. With one of the largest selections of local craft beer on PEI and a chef inspired menu, even if your game isn’t on point, you can’t lose!
- Confederation Players Walking Tour: Retrace the footsteps of the Fathers of Confederation with a guided tour by the Confederation Players – a troupe of costumed, bilingual Canadians, trained as the Fathers and Ladies of Confederation
- Holland College Culinary Bootcamps: Unique, hands on, culinary adventures that offer a taste of PEI through a variety of themed culinary experiences.
- COWS Creamery Tour: Visit the Milky Whey Theatre. Learn how this Island company makes their world famous, Super Premium Ice Cream, award winning cheeses and their famous whimsical T-shirts.
- Anne of Green Gables Chocolates: Delight your senses with premium quality chocolates made by hand using only the finest of ingredients. Truffles, creams, fudge, peppermint patties, almond toffee crunch and more. Watch chocolate covered potato chips being made in store.
- Red Shores Charlottetown: Home to some of the biggest events in Standardbred and Thoroughbred racing, Red Shores also boasts slots, blackjack and great food. Place your bets and take your seats because you’ll find yourself with very little downtime.
- PEI Brewing Company: Schedule a brewery tour and sip on freshly brewed beer such as Blueberry Ale, Beach Chair or Island Red to name a few flavours that are masterfully created behind the scenes. Canadian Folk Artist of the Year and well-known singer/song writer Lennie Gallant and his band will be performing “Searching for Abegweit”, showcasing the Island’s songs and stories throughout July – September.
- Beaconsfield House: Built in 1877, this elegant Victorian house is now a museum and invites visitors to view its period rooms. A variety of lectures, concerts and other special events also take place in the Carriage House.
- Harbour front city escape: Take a stroll along the boardwalk to Victoria Park, put your feet up and watch a boat sail by in the harbour. You may even get to view a historic schooner navigating the waterways!
Where to Eat
Charlottetown is also a great spot to savour some fabulous cuisine or grab a coffee and people-watch amid the buzz.
- Lobster on the Wharf: Enjoy your fill of lobster, mussels, oysters, scallops and more from the deck overlooking the harbour.
- Gahan House: Great pub food and fresh handcrafted ales brewed on-site in this trendy restaurant district of downtown.
- Brickhouse Kitchen & Bar: All the food the Island has to offer in an open concept kitchen. Live music entertainment upstairs at Marc’s Lounge.
- Fishbones Oyster Bar & Grill: Enjoy fresh seafood from the Fishbones patio on historic Victoria Row. It’s a great spot to catch the live street entertainment in July and August.
- The Pilot House: Casual fine dining in one of Charlottetown’s beautiful heritage buildings. With a diverse menu there’s something for everyone.
- Receiver Coffee: Locals rave about it and are convinced they offer the best breakfast sandwich in the city!
- Hunter’s Ale House: Steak, seafood, beer and lots of live entertainment are on offer at this downtown pub.
- COWS Ice Cream: Promenading the boardwalk around the Charlottetown harbour is only truly complete with a COWS Ice Cream in hand!