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Perfect One day in Charlottetown Itinerary

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Home of Anne of Green Gables and the “Birthplace of Canadian Confederation”, this charming island city is filled with opportunities for adventure and exploration. If you are wondering what to do, and see here, you will love our one day in Charlottetown itinerary. 

Things to do in Charlottetown PEI

Take a walk along the waterfront, visit historic sites, explore downtown or take in the show at the Confederation Centre of Arts, these are some of the epic things to do in Charlottetown Prince Edward Island. 

One day in Charlottetown itinerary: Things to do in Charlottetown PEI in a day

Things to do in Charlottetown in one day

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Whether you wish to spend your day outdoors or inside, you’re sure to find something that piques your interest in Charlottetown. Here are some of the top things to do in Charlottetown during your visit,

One day in Charlottetown itinerary: Things to do in Charlottetown in one day

  • Breakfast at Leonhard’s Cafe and Restaurant 
  • Walking tour of Charlottetown
  • Victoria Row brunch/lunch 
  • Confederation Centre of the Arts
  • Beaconsfield Historic House
  • Founder’s Food Hall
  • Wander the Charlottetown PEI Waterfront 
  • Peake’s Quay 
  • Dinner & drinks at The Gahan House

Planning a trip to Charlottetown Prince Edward Island

Charlottetown is the capital city of Prince Edward Island. PEI is Canada’s smallest province, and this compact city offers a unique atmosphere of maritime history and culture matched with modern attractions. 

St Dunstan's Cathedral
One day in Charlottetown Itinerary: St Dunstan’s Cathedral

For those visiting the area for the first time, it can be helpful to plan ahead and ensure that every aspect of your journey is taken care of.

Getting to Charlottetown:

Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island is accessible by air, land, and sea. 

  • By Air: The Charlottetown Airport (YYG) provides scheduled flights to and from several Canadian destinations year-round and many more seasonal destinations in the summer months. You can also find connections from various cities in North America.
  • By Land: For those traveling from within Canada, or arriving from New Brunswick can drive across the 12.9 km (9 miles) Confederation bridge to get to PEI, and then to Charlottetown. 
  • By Sea: Northumberland Ferries Limited provides service between Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia year-round. In addition, CTMA Traversier (Ferry) offers a five-hour ferry ride to cross between Souris, Prince Edward Island, and the port of Capaux- Meules in the Îles de la Madeleine (Quebec).

Once you have your mode of transportation sorted out, it’s important to consider where you will stay. Charlottetown has a variety of accommodation options ranging from cozy bed and breakfasts to high-end hotels. Here are a few options,

Where to stay in Charlottetown:

For a short trip to Charlottetown, stay at the heart of the historic downtown. I stayed at the 3 star ARTS Hotel. This was a wonderful experience – clean rooms, helpful staff, and just the perfect spot to explore the capital city of PEI and beyond. 

At the ARTS Hotel

Everything was within walking distance from the hotel. Located on the hotel property is the Dali Cafe – an electric space with bold decor offering breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as a full-service bar. 

At the Dali Cafe
At the Dali Cafe

The cafe was great to unwind after a day of sightseeing in and around PEI. Check availability for the ARTS Hotel here.

Getting around in Charlottetown: 

Public transportation options in Charlottetown include buses, ferries, and taxis, but for exploring the city you don’t have to rent a car – you can walk to almost all the important landmarks of Charlottetown. 

Rains are also common in the summer

When visiting Charlottetown, it is important to consider the best time of year for your trip. The city experiences warm summers and mild winters accompanied by a wide array of seasonal activities such as festivals, theatrical productions, outdoor concerts, and other events. 

Most of the activities and seasonal restaurants are open from June to August. During the off-season, some businesses may be closed, but there are winter-related events that take place from January to March such as Ice City Festival, Sugar Shack Festival, WinterDine, etc. 

Warm summer days (Sunset)

When planning your visit, take into account the attractions and activities that appeal to you most, as well as any special events or festivals occurring at the time of your trip.

Now, let’s kick off this one day itinerary for Charlottetown,

Breakfast at Leonhard’s Cafe and Restaurant 

Leonhard’s Cafe is one of the coolest places to eat in Charlottetown. It is one of the most popular restaurants in the city. 

At Leonhard’s

Begin your sightseeing with a hearty portion of Bavarian breakfast – an omelet filled with roasted potatoes, bacon, and onions. 

And then wash it down with a nice cuppa coffee or tea. 

Pro tip: Start for Leonhard’s by 08:30 am from the ARTS hotel so that you are there, as soon as the cafe opens to grab a spot for yourself. 

  • Address: 142 Great George St, Charlottetown, PE C1A 4K6

Join a 2 hour walking tour of historic Charlottetown

After breakfast, join a local expert and learn all about the history of Charlottetown and Confederation. I read about the Confederation when preparing for my citizenship exam and since then PEI was on my Canadian bucket list

You can book the guided walking tour here. Here are the spots covered in this walk,

Confederation Landing Site

On this tour, the guide took us to the Confederation Landing site and explained and narrated all about the delegates and the meeting that took place. 

Confederation Landing site
Confederation Landing site park

If you didn’t know this already, Charlottetown is known as the “Cradle of Canadian Confederation” due to its role in the formation of Canada. 

It was here in 1864 that the Fathers of Confederation met and discussed the union of British colonies in what would become Canada. 

  • Address: 2 Great George St, Charlottetown, PE

Great George St | St Dunstan’s Basilica Cathedral

The walk then continues on to the Great George St. which is known for the city’s architecture.

Colorful Georgian Houses
St Dunstan's Cathedral
St. Dunstan’s Cathedral

Here you will find beautifully preserved Georgian architecture on one side, and gorgeous St Dunstan’s Basilica Cathedral, a symbol of Gothic Revival architecture on the other. 

As you continue the guided walk, you will arrive at the Bishops Palace and the Basilica Cathedral. 

Gorgeous St Dunstan’s Cathedral

St. Dunstan’s Basilica Cathedral is one of the most iconic landmarks in Charlottetown. It towers over the city giving it all the European vibes. It was modeled after a New York cathedral.

Inside St. Dunstan's Cathedral
Inside St Dunstan’s Cathedral

The basilica was completed in 1907, and today it is designated a National Historic Site of Canada. 

Spend some time at the cathedral, exploring its beautiful altar and its interiors. Entry is free. 

  • Address: 65 Great George St, Charlottetown, PE C1A 4K1

Province House National Historic Site – Government House

The next spot on the walking tour is Province House, aka Government House. It is Canada’s second-oldest seat of government. 

  • Address: 1 Terry Fox Dr, Charlottetown, PE C1A 8T6

The tour concludes at Victoria Row. This area is known for its daily live entertainment, local artists, artisan shops, cafes, and farm-to-table restaurants.

Book the 2 hour guided tour here

Hang out at Victoria Row and stop for brunch/lunch

Next, shop or window shop at the wonderful Victoria Row in the heart of Charlottetown. This quaint and charming shopping lane features many unique boutiques, art galleries, restaurants, and cafes to explore. 

Victoria Row
Girl at Charlottetown Victoria Row
Coffee – Victoria Row

From stylish clothing stores to souvenir shops, you will find them all here. 

The atmosphere of Victoria Row is welcoming and inviting, while the buildings and architecture of the district create a sense of nostalgia.

The array of restaurants that are situated along Victoria Row is sure to please every palate. Whether your taste buds are craving some classic seafood delicacies, hearty pub fare, or exotic international cuisine – you’re in luck.

We stopped at the Fishbones for lunch before shopping.  

At Fishbones Victoria Row
At Fishbones Victoria Row
Restaurants in Victoria Row

While strolling along Victoria Row, you’ll also find yourself surrounded by art galleries, and antique and book shops. You’re sure to leave with uniquely crafted souvenirs from your visit to this quaint shopping district.

I decided to pick this PEI sand ring from Kuriosities – love this souvenir. 

Kuriosities Sand Bands
Kuriosities PEI Sand Bands

Victoria Row is a wonderful destination for anyone looking for an enjoyable and leisurely shopping experience. 

With its friendly atmosphere, unique shops, and eateries, it’s easy to see why this historic district has become so popular over the years. 

  • Address: 146 Richmond St, Charlottetown, PE C1A 1J1

Catch a show or an exhibition at the Confederation Centre of the Arts

A visit to the Confederation Centre of the Arts will ignite a sense of appreciation for Canada’s past, present, and future. The centre is located in the heart of Charlottetown and comprises both indoor and outdoor stage, and visual exhibit areas. 

Near the Confederation Centre of Arts

This magnificent cultural institution celebrates the history and heritage of Canada’s birthplace through its many festivals, performances, and exhibitions.

The centre offers a wide array of entertainment options, from plays and musicals on the Main Stage to art galleries and a film theatre. There are also plenty of activities for the whole family, such as live concerts and interactive workshops. 

During my trip, I visited the centre to attend a free exhibition on the history of the Confederation, the years that followed, and the present role of PEI in Canada’s political scene.

Inside the Confederation Centre of Arts - Confederation History
Inside the Confederation Centre of Arts – Confederation History

Confederation Centre of the Arts is also home to an Art Gallery, which showcases works from Canadian artists from across the country. Here you can explore a wide range of paintings, sculptures, and photographs that tell the story of our nation’s culture and history.

The centre also offers a number of educational programs such as art classes, lectures, and workshops to help foster creativity in children and adults alike. Whether you’re an aspiring artist or just looking to learn more about Canadian art – there’s something here for everyone.

With its rich history, vibrant culture, and an array of entertainment options – the Confederation Centre of the Arts is a must-visit destination in Charlottetown. 

  • Address: 145 Richmond St, Charlottetown, PE C1A 1J1

Visit the Beaconsfield Historic House

Visiting the Beaconsfield Historic House in Charlottetown is an experience like no other. This grand and historic mansion was built in 1877 by W.C. Harris for James and Edith Peake. 

Beaconsfield Historic House
Beaconsfield Historic House

Today, it serves as a living museum that showcases the history of Canada’s founding and stands for a fine Victorian architecture example with many of its original characteristics still intact. 

You can join a guided walking tour of the house (paid $6 CAD per person), and explore the many artifacts located throughout the house, from fine furniture to rare decor and prints. The staff was very knowledgeable and friendly. 

Inside the Beaconsfield Historic House

From the grand foyer and the second-floor room to the exquisite gardens and grounds – Beaconsfield Historic House is an architectural marvel that shouldn’t be missed. 

Note that the entry to the house is closed on the weekends and Mondays, we recommend checking the website prior to visiting. 

Beaconsfield Historic House

If the house is closed for the day, you can still access the gardens and spend time strolling on the boardwalk with views!

  • Address: 2 Kent St, Charlottetown, PE C1A 1M6

Head over to the Founder’s Food Hall

After visiting the historic site head over to the Founder’s Food Hall and Market.

Founder's Food Hall and Market
Founder’s Food Hall and Market

This spot is home to the Tourist Info centre, many food stalls (sweet, savory, snacks, meals drinks), as well as souvenir shops. 

  • Address: 6 Prince St, Charlottetown, PE C1A 4P5

Wander the Charlottetown PEI Waterfront 

From the Founder’s Food Hall, walk over to Charlottetown’s waterfront. This area is bustling with activities day and night. 

You will find yachts leaving the dock, colorful seafood eateries and ice cream parlors, and souvenir shops nearby. 

  • Address: 11 Great George Street

Peake’s Quay 

Located here is also Peake’s Quay. If you have extra time on your hands, you can join lobster trap tours from here, or come back here for lunch/dinner. 

Peakes Quay from a distance
Peakes Quay Best Charlottetown Restaurants
Food at the Peakes Quay Restaurant

You will also find the Peake’s Wharf Historic Waterfront merchants here – you can pick some souvenirs from here, or visit Water Prince Corner Shop for delicious seafood.

Pro tip: The waterfront area is also the same spot where the Confederation Landing site is. When you are on the guided tour in the morning, you won’t have enough time to explore the harbor hence we recommend returning here in the evening. 

If you do not wish to explore this site, then head to Victoria Park instead (of Founder’s Hall, Waterfront, and Peake’s Quay).

Sign off your sightseeing with dinner and drinks at the Gahan House

After a day of successful sightseeing settle in with a round of locally brewed craft beer and comfort food. 

Dinner at the Gahan House
Dinner at the Gahan House

I recommend the Gahan House – it is one of the best restaurants in Charlottetown.

With cozy interiors, delicious food, and cheerful staff you will love to spend a couple of hours here relishing local delicacies!

Other things to do in Charlottetown PEI

If you extending your trip by another day or two in Charlottetown we recommend the following activities, 

Peake’s Wharf Boat Tours

Join seal watching, romantic sunset, or lobster trap tours from the Charlottetown waterfront area. Most excursions last 2 to 3 hours and make for a nice trip outside the city and into the waters. 

Views from the boat tour
Views from the boat tour
Lobster trapping
Lobster trapping

I personally joined the seal-watching and lobster trap tour and had a great time. These are small boats and on board, you can order drinks and light snacks. The harbor views and the lobster trap information were very engaging!

Our captain also sang us a song 🙂 

You can book tickets online, or at the wharf office.

Prince Edward Island Convention Centre

Adjoining Delta hotel is the Prince Edward Island Convention Centre. It is located near the waterfront. This centre hosts seasonal and temporary exhibitions from time to time. 

Van Gogh Immersive exhibition in PEI
Van Gogh Immersive exhibition in PEI Convention Centre

During my trip, I attended the Van Gogh Immersive exhibition. 

I recommend checking the events calendar to see what the PEI Convention Centre is hosting. 

Charlottetown Farmers Market 

Hit Charlottetown Farmers Market to check out local delicacies and produce. 

Green Gables Heritage Place | Green Gables Shore

Go on a half day tour to the popular Green Gables heritage site, and along the way you can enjoy an island coastal drive. You will find lighthouses, beaches, and red sandstone cliffs. 

PEI Beaches
Beaches along the way
Lobster Traps enroute

Now the Green Gables Heritage Site in Prince Edward Island is a remarkable place that celebrates the legacy of renowned author Lucy Maud Montgomery. This beautiful heritage site was the inspiration for her classic novel, Anne of Green Gables, and continues to attract fans from all over the world.

This historic estate consists of several buildings including a farmhouse, stable, barn and shed. 

Visitors can take a leisurely stroll around the grounds and explore the different structures at their own pace. 

Inside, you’ll find tasteful displays of artifacts from Montgomery’s life as well as an exhibit dedicated to her famous book.

Montgomery: Anne of Green Gables Heritage Site

Green Gables also features a lovely garden full of colorful flowers that are sure to please any nature lover. This peaceful and picturesque place is a great spot to relax and take in the beauty of Prince Edward Island.

Whether you’re an avid fan of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s work or simply looking for an enjoyable outing – a visit to Green Gables Historic Site is sure to be memorable in its own unique way. You can book the day tour here

Other PEI Trip Ideas: Road trips, hikes, and activities

You can go biking on the Confederation Trail, or visit the Prince Edward Island National Park and enjoy hikes. 

Red Sands Shore is located on the southern part of the national park and it is an amazing natural site to check out the historic port and enjoy walking trails when visiting Prince Edward Island from New Brunswick. 

Central Coastal drive: If you have a car at your disposal, you can extend your one-day in Charlottetown itinerary by adding Points East Coastal Drive, or North Cape Coastal Drive. 

Spend a day in Charlottetown

Spending a day in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island is an unforgettable experience. From exploring the charming Victoria Row shopping district to admiring the beautiful waterfront views, there’s something here that everyone can enjoy. 

Whether you want to explore the cultural institutions or simply relax and take in all the sights – spending one day in this historical city is sure to be an unforgettable experience.  

So come and explore the beauty of Charlottetown, and make some special memories in Canada’s birthplace that will last a lifetime!

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