The capital of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown blends big-city convenience with small-town charm. Site of the pivotal 1864 Confederation Conference, the city is proud of its starring role in Canada’s history as well as its flourishing contemporary dining scene, with oyster bars and locavore restaurants operating out of heritage buildings in the leafy downtown core.
While Charlottetown makes an excellent base for travelers who want to explore other destinations on PEI, such as Prince Edward Island National Park and the Green Gables Heritage Place, the city itself also has lots to offer. Charlottetown tours by bus cover highlights, such as the Victorian-style Beaconsfield Historic House, the waterfront Victoria Park, and Province House, where the Confederation Conference was held. City tours are a good way for time-tight travelers to get an overview of the city, and provide an opportunity for first-time visitors to get their bearings before exploring independently.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Charlottetown’s historic core is compact and is best explored on foot.
- Some streets are cobblestone so wear comfortable, sturdy shoes.
- The Charlottetown Visitor Information Centre is at 6 Prince Street.
How to Get There
Many visitors arrive in Charlottetown port via cruise ship, while others touch down at Charlottetown Airport. Cars can access the island via Confederation Bridge (the Trans-Canada Highway), which connects PEI to New Brunswick.
When to Get There
Cruise ship season runs from May through October. This is when Charlottetown, and Prince Edward Island as a whole, is busiest. July and August are best for beach time and alfresco dining, while the monthlong Fall Flavors festival, which runs throughout September, is a big lure for foodies. Winters are cold and snow typically falls from mid-December through late March.
What to See and Do in Charlottetown
For visitors interesting in delving into Canada’s past, Charlottetown is packed with sights of historical interest. Chief among Charlottetown’s historic landmarks is Province House, the seat of the provincial government and the site where representatives of British North America met in 1864 during the Confederation Conference. Don’t miss Victoria Row, an atmospheric restaurant and bar-lined block of Richmond Street that’s closed to traffic during the summer months.