Although St John's is the capital and largest city of Newfoundland, with a population of slightly more than 200,000 people it still retains its small-town charm. The city's position on the steep shore of the Avalon Peninsula means visitors will find themselves meandering around brightly-coloured houses on hilly streets, all sloping down to the historic city harbour.
Originally founded as an English fishing town in 1583, St John's claims to be the oldest city in North America. While the cod fishing industry collapsed in the 1990s, the city is now an Eastern Canadian hub for oil and gas, and has a reputation as a growing centre for entrepreneurs.
St John's is a major tourist destination in the province, with a vibrant arts and culture community as colourful as its buildings. Water Street and Duckworth Street, both in the downtown area, are bustling thoroughfares with many restaurants and shops; while George Street is the centre of St John's nightlife.
St John's has a few interesting historical museums and urban parks, but the most popular attraction by far is the beautiful view from Signal Hill which overlooks the city. While nearly all tourists in St John's come to enjoy the views, it gets even busier each summer when playing host to the military demonstrations of the Signal Hill Tattoo.
Another major event taking place over the summer is the Royal St John's Regatta, which dates back to 1816, and is North America's oldest sporting event. The coast offers a number of interesting places to explore, including Middle Cove Beach, Bell Island, Petty Harbour, and Bay Bulls.