Moncton is the largest city by population in New Brunswick, and due to its central position in the maritime provinces, has developed into a significant hub for the surrounding area. Moncton has a particularly strong and diversified economy, making it a great city to find work and spend hard earned dollars. As such, Moncton’s options for entertainment, excitement and leisure make it a great destination for travellers drawn to the area by the nearby Bay of Fundy. Check out the video above and the options below for things to do in and around Moncton to get the most out of your visit.
Check Out the Street Art
I’m a huge fan of street art. I love how it makes a city more vibrant and colourful, and turns old, boring brick buildings into something more fun and beautiful. I was really excited then to learn that Moncton has quite the street art scene. Back in 2015, Moncton held ‘Festival Inspire‘, a multi-day event that brought street artists to the city and gave them each an exterior building wall in the downtown core to transform with one of their pieces of artwork. The inaugural year was a success and it was brought back again in 2016, featuring artists from around the world. Plans for the 2017 edition are well underway and it’s expected to be even better than years past. Most of the pieces can be found within the downtown core. There’s an interactive map you can use to help guide you to all the works of art, or you can approach it like a scavenger hunt and let your instincts guide you around the city.
About a 15-minute drive from downtown Moncton is Magnetic Hill, a type of ‘gravity hill’ where it appears your car is rolling uphill on its own when the car is put in neutral. (Spoiler Alert!) Before you get all excited about some funky geological phenomenon, I should tell you that it’s all an optical illusion. It has something to do with the changing terrain and perspective of the road. We did it twice (because, hey, it cost $6 and we wanted to get our money’s worth, ha!). The first time through, you’re instructed to place your car in neutral and guide your car backwards up the ‘hill’. But our second time around we opted to face our car forward and we could see from this perspective that we were in fact going downhill. Touristy? Absolutely. Good for a laugh? Most definitely. It’s totally worth a visit, even just to say you did it. Also on Magnetic Hill is a zoo, water park, and even a winery!
Magnetic Hill Winery
Speaking of wine, after your fun jaunt up (or down?) Magnetic Hill, visit the Magnetic Hill Winery. Located on the grounds of a farmhouse that is as old as Canada (1867!), the Magnetic Hill Winery is not your average winery. Here, wines are made with fruits other than grapes – strawberries, blueberries, and even rhubarb are used to make their award-winning wines. Wine enthusiasts are often quick to write-off fruit wines, but don’t knock it ‘til you try it – these tasty wines boast complex flavours that will surprise the snootiest of wine snoots. Visitors can get a brief history of the original house and what it took to restore it, how the winery began, and sample some of the wines produced onsite. A great afternoon treat is their Picnic Basket Wine and Cheese combo where you choose cheese, crackers, and a bottle of wine and enjoy it all on their outdoor patio with panoramic views of Moncton below.
New Brunswick’s biggest claim to fame are the iconic Flower Pot Rocks at Hopewell Rocks Provincial Park. Located a short 30-minute drive south of Moncton, you can spend an entire day here. Situated on the Bay of Fundy, home to the world’s greatest tidal shift, water levels change upwards of 11-16 metres every day. You can walk right on the ocean floor during low tide and then kayak around (and even through) the Flower Pot Rocks during high tide! We spent an entire day here and enjoyed every minute. Mother Nature is fascinating and this is an experience you can’t get anywhere else in the world.
Shediac Bay Lobster Cruise
You can’t come to New Brunswick and not enjoy at least one lobster dinner. This is one of the freshest places you can get it! Head out to Shediac Bay, about a 30-minute drive east of Moncton and hop on a lobster cruise with Shediac Bay Cruises. This lobster-themed cruise takes you out onto Shediac Bay all while teaching you about the lobster industry in New Brunswick; how lobster traps work, how to perfectly cook a lobster (note, it should always be served belly up to preserve the juices in the shell), plus how to properly shell a lobster. The cruise is led by a fantastic, humourously-animated captain named Ron who used to be a lobster fisherman. He easily shifts between English and French as he takes you along your cruise, entertaining the kids and adults during this 2 ½ hour experience. Of course, the highlight is the lobster dinner itself – a whole lobster served with maritime-style potato salad and coleslaw. It was fresh and delicious and one of our favourite lobster dining experiences during our Atlantic Canada Roadtrip.
Where To Stay
If you’re looking for a place to stay while you’re in Moncton, I highly recommend L’Hôtel St. James, Moncton’s only boutique hotel. Located right in the city-centre in a 19th century brick building, it’s perfectly situated so you can explore the city by foot or easily hop in your car to check out the surrounding areas. The hotel features 9 rooms equipped with spacious washrooms, plasma TVs, cable, internet, and modern décor elements. Continental breakfast is included and a glass of wine greets you upon your arrival, a welcomed treat after a long day exploring Moncton and the surrounding areas!
Have you been to Moncton? What did you enjoy doing there and what else would you recommend visitors check out? Let us know in the comments below!
Our visit to Moncton was sponsored by Tourism Moncton. All views and opinions remain our own.