Port Saint John and everything you should know about this historic city in New Brunswick

Ahoy, intrepid travelers! As you set sail on your maritime adventure, one must-visit destination is Port Saint John, the only city on the Bay of Fundy – home to the world’s highest tides. Established in 1785, Saint John proudly holds the title of Canada’s oldest incorporated city. With a vibrant local culture, a burgeoning food and beverage scene, and a history stretching back centuries, Port Saint John is not merely a cruise stopover but a compelling destination teeming with enchanting experiences.

The Historic Charm of Saint John

Welcome to Saint John, the second-largest city in New Brunswick, with a population of 135,000 and entirely nestled within a geopark. This city underwent a significant transformation after a fire in 1877, leading to the construction of unique brick buildings that stand to this day. From the Saint John City Market, the oldest continuously operating farmer’s market in Canada, to the New Brunswick Museum, each structure tells a tale of resilience and revival.

And remember, when locals refer to “uptown,” they’re speaking of the bustling heart of the city near the waterfront, which is home to more than 80 independent bars and restaurants within a 10-block radius – all conveniently located a short 15-minute walk from your cruise ship terminal and hotel.

"See Stories" mural by Allan Ryan, aka. Uber5000
An 80-foot mural called “See Stories” by Allan Ryan (Uber5000), commissioned by Discover Saint John.

Port City’s Culinary Hub

One unique feature of Saint John is its culinary diversity. With a plethora of local independent bars and restaurants, the city’s food scene has a global touch. Enjoy fresh seafood at a dockside eatery or sample cuisines from around the world right in uptown Saint John. With the entire area easily walkable from your cruise terminal, you can effortlessly spend an afternoon or evening sampling the city’s culinary delights.

Saint John Restaurant Recommendations

  • Lemongrass Thai Fair – Get some of their Chiang Mai Noodles with yellow curry. Thank me later!
    45 Grannan Street, Saint John
    1 Market Square, Saint John
  • VEGOlution – A vegetarian restaurant
    26 Germain Street, Saint John
  • Thandi – specializes in steaks, seafood & especially authentic Indian curries.
    33 Canterbury Street, Saint John

Immerse in the Maritime Magic at the Bay of Fundy

Experience the natural phenomenon of the world’s highest tides at the Bay of Fundy. Kayak during high tide, explore the exposed seabed at low tide or capture a breathtaking sunset. Each of these experiences uniquely encapsulates the awe-inspiring beauty of this natural marvel.

The Waterfront Container Village – Where Old Meets New

The Waterfront Container Village in Saint John

Opened in the summer of 2022, the Waterfront Container Village represents the innovative spirit of Saint John. Over 60 shipping containers house diverse retail shops, a performance space, a lounge, food trucks, public art, and pop-up activities. Nearly 40 vendors bring this space to life, creating an immersive experience for the half-million visitors who pass through the gates each season. Located at 85 Water Street, the Village is open Wednesday to Sunday from 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM, with extended hours when a cruise ship is in port.

Editor’s Note: If you’re hungry immediately after getting to the port, I recommend grabbing one of Outlaws Smoke House’s pizzas. Delicious!

Pulled pork bbq pizza from Outlaws Smoke House at the Waterfront Container Village
Outlaws Smoke House BBQ Pulled Pork Pizza

Get Active with Inside Out Nature Centre and Uncorked Tours

Darren was my Inside Out Nature Centre bike tour guide throughout Saint John
Darren leads me through Saint John on our bike tour

For those who love adventure, hop on a bicycle tour with Inside Out Nature Centre. Explore the city’s breathtaking landscapes while engaging in an invigorating workout. If your interests lean towards local brews, Uncorked Tours offers a Saint John Beer Tour that will have you savoring the unique flavors of the city’s craft beer scene. I did both and would happily do them again the next time I visit Saint John.

Uncorked Tours in Saint John, NB
First beer flight on Uncorked Tours beer tasting tour

From its brick-lined streets to the dramatic coastline, the diverse culinary scene to the innovative Waterfront Container Village, Port Saint John offers an unforgettable stopover on your cruise journey. It’s a piece of the Canadian heartland waiting to be discovered by you. Whether you have a few hours or a couple of days, immerse yourself in the unique charm of this historic port city.