Looking for a fun getaway in Atlantic Canada? Fredericton restaurants, craft beer and independent coffee shops are the perfect way to spend a long weekend.
The last 18 months have been a period of a lot of firsts. Not only did I try things for the first time but I visited a lot of new places.
I cannot believe it took me this long to visit Frederiction, because I LOVED IT.
In fact, I think it may be the best city in the Maritimes.
Last year I already professed that I thought Saint John was better than Halifax – which did not make my fellow Nova Scotians happy.
And I do love Saint John, it’s an awesome city.
But the morning I was leaving, sipping coffee and eating a vegan pastrami rosemary sea salt bagel called the “Impostrami” I thought to myself
I could live here.
Now to be clear. I have no intentions of settling down anywhere anytime soon.
But I loved my time in downtown Fredericton and I didn’t want to leave.
I contemplated what life would be like in Fredericton. I’d get a bike and use all the trails, work on my laptop at The Tipsy Muse café, meet up with friends at Graystone Brewing.
But that is just a daydream, at least for now.
WHY VISIT FREDERICTON
This riverside city is the perfect spot for a weekend getaway.
The historic area is just big enough to be home to lots of great independent shops, chef owned restaurants and so many craft beer options.
Downtown Fredericton is flat and very walkable; everything you need is quite close. For spots like great taprooms and Northside haunts, you’re only a quick bike ride away.
And there are enough trails to get you there quickly.
I spent three nights in downtown Fredericton and I wanted to kick this post off with some fun facts and reasons to visit Fredericton New Brunswick.
1) Craft Brewing Capital: Fredericton ranks amongst the most taprooms per capita in Canada, with one taproom per 5,400 people.
2) Freddy the Nude Dude is older than the Statue of Liberty. The replica little cherub stands atop the three tiered fountain in front of City Hall.
3) St.Mary’s First Nation: It’s located just opposite Fredericton. It has one of the best restaurants in the area, a craft shop people rave about and a new dessert shop.
4) FIVE markets! There’s the big Boyce farmers market, but also a Creators market, Eco market, Cultural market and Food Market at the Ex.
5) So many trails! Actually over 120km of trails. They aren’t only along the river but close to downtown. Some have murals and other artwork.
And the stops on the Fredericton Taproom Trail are all located within 20km of each other!
SUPPORTING FIRST NATIONS BUSINESSES
One of the really great things about Fredericton is that downtown is opposite Sitansisk Wolastoqiyik (St. Mary’s First Nation), an urban community in North-Eastern Turtle Island.
This last 18 months has taught me a lot. And my biggest takeaway was that while I travel the world and learn about other indigenous communities, I know nothing about my own.
Do the best you can until you know better.
Then when you know better, you do better.– Maya Angelou
These three Indigenous-owned businesses were highly recommended when I asked for the best things to do in Fredericton.
Hands down the most recommended restaurant in Fredericton. Located in St. Mary’s First Nation, it is a fine dining seafood restaurant.
However, there is also a casual patio as well with affordable breakfasts starting at $10.
Or you can splurge on the lobster omelette ($18) or lobster eggs benedict ($16). I had the lobster roll, which is at market price, at the time $22.
I heard the portion sizes were very large so I split it with my mother and the very kind server brought it with two ketchups and two coleslaws.
527 Union St, Fredericton, NB E3A 3N3
Jenna’s Nut Free Dessertery
Jenna has such a great story of entrepreneurship with a female and Metis owned business.
Jenna developed a severe nut allergy and discovered a new health condition that could be an issue at work. So she took matters into her own hands and started a business to provide others with completely nut-free treats.
She has a stall at the Boyce Farmers Market vendor as well as a cafe just ten minutes outside downtown Fredericton.
This spot features a vibrant mural from Wolastoqiyik Indigenous artist Samaqani Cocahq (Natalie Sappier) of Tobique First Nation.
170 Urquhart Crescent, Fredericton, NB E3B 8K5
Located next to the gas station in St. Mary’s First Nation, this shop is a must visit.
There are a number of commercial products, clothing, arts and crafts either made by Indigenous people or made with Indigenous design.
But it also supports local artists with consignment. The artwork is gorgeous (if I only had a home to hang it), and at the register there is beadwork, jewelry and natural soaps, perfumes and other skincare products made locally.
I picked up a solid perfume made with lavender which is perfect for traveling, notebook and Every Child Matters decals that support the Indian Residential Schools Survivors Fund.
Staff was very friendly and helped give some context to words, designs and helped me pronounce some words correctly.
680 Howe St. Fredericton, NB E3A 5V9
DELICIOUS FREDERICTON RESTAURANTS
I came to Fredericton to eat!
I had a very long list of Fredericton restaurants to visit and I did visit many but there are so many more to try.
After the first day I had already decided I loved the city and would come back and try the rest.
As a rule I don’t go out for breakfast or brunch.
But Claudine’s Eatery was universally recommended for its lobster benedict and so I was curious.
I booked a reservation for Friday at 10am and didn’t think I needed one but it was busy!
The lobster benedict was delicious. It wasn’t too heavy and had generous chunks of lobster. The eggs were poached perfectly.
I was so tempted to get one of the extravagant Caesars, especially after the table next to me got one and there was a lobster roll as a garnish!
Now I know why it’s one of the most popular Fredericton restaurants. If you’re looking for lobster this is one of the best places to go. They source the lobster from Shediac, the lobster capital of the world.
But get a reservation so you won’t be disappointed!
138 Dundonald St, Fredericton, NB E3B 1W8
The Pickle Jar
Kicked things off with a stellar meal at Pickle Jar, which is in the Hilton Garden Inn Fredericton.
I’m not going to lie, it was such a surprise as most hotel restaurants are terrible, and their website photos are atrocious, but they know it and they are changing them.
So when they invited us to dinner I decided to give it a shot as I’d heard good things. And I’m so glad I did.
They have a great terrace with views of the river and fun music, the friendliest staff (thank you Ei Ei) and the food was GREAT!
I asked the restaurant just to give me what they best felt represented their food. It was A LOT. But I was glad we did that as we tried a lot of food I would not have ordered.
We started with Tempura Battered Cauliflower Bites and Dill Pickle Chicken Wings – and my mother who doesn’t like dill pickle said we needed to take the wings we didn’t eat to go.
Up next was “Sarah’s Mother’s Meatloaf”: Sweet tomato glaze, roast corn, peas, roasted garlic whipped potatoes. I thought it was so strange to suggest meat loaf but it was so GOOD.
Again neither of us are big meat loaf fans but it changed our mind! And the roast corn and peas weren’t just some frozen filler side, there were chunks of sweet corn from the cob.
We’re always hunting for the best fish and chips. They serve panko crusted haddock, bacon chive tartar sauce, pickled slaw and fries that were so good we could have eaten all of them if we didn’t know dessert was coming.
We tried two desserts, the warm blueberry donuts were good, but when Ei Ei told us the pink lemonade cheesecake with whipped cream was her favourite we knew why!
So light, and perfect for the end of a very large meal we had to walk off.
620 Queen St, Fredericton, NB E3B 1C2
The Shake Shed Freddy
You know a place is going to be good when it’s unbearably muggy outside and yet there’s still a line up for people waiting to get in.
Thankfully we arrived just before the line started outside this Northside shop.
A gourmet milkshake shoppe, they also have protein shakes and smoothies but really people are here to get “shake faced” with the insane Instagram friendly shakes.
While they have many flavours the New Yorker is the most popular, which includes a mini cheesecake on top and you can choose the flavour – but who doesn’t choose salted caramel when you have the choice?
230 Main St, Fredericton, NB E3A 1C9
The Donut Bar
Made fresh daily, this tiny donut shop started in 2017 and changes the flavours every week.
Made in small batches, they are yeast raised dough that is hand made and proofed for 3 hours.
The Skor bits on chocolate ice was incredible, just as all Skor desserts are!
And the maple ice with a Belgian waffle on top and maple syrup squeeze was good, although a bit too sweet for someone who doesn’t love desserts.
It’s take out only, but we brought ours into The Cap to have a beer.
346 Queen St, Fredericton, NB E3B 1B2
A small chef owned restaurant in downtown Fredericton. You can order bar snacks or small plates.
The menu is eclectic with some classic Spanish dishes, others with Asian or Peruvian ingredients, a Mexican inspired tostada bite and more.
For the less adventurous there is pasta, salmon, chicken or steak with seasonal ingredients.
They are well known for their craft cocktail menu and have a great outdoor patio made from a shipping container to enjoy them.
79 York St, Fredericton, NB E3B 3N4
Fredericton Boyce Farmers Market
This farmers market is an institution in the city, running Saturdays from 7am -1pm. It has been around since 1951 and was named one of the Top 10 Community Markets in Canada.
It is much larger than it appears with vendors both inside and outside from local farmers to maple syrup producers, artisans and coffee roasters.
There are also lots of food options and picnic tables on site.
It has been a tradition for years that locals would come to the market, get freshly squeezed orange juice and samosas and so that’s exactly what we did.
It was the perfect way to start the day.
665 George St, Fredericton, NB E3B 1K4
North Side Creators Market
I hadn’t originally planned to go to this market but squeezed it in last minute when Dylan from Spicy Boys small batch hot sauce reached out to me to see if I’d visit.
When he told me about all of the great food vendors I knew I had to find time for a second market.
The North Side Creators Market runs Friday nights 4-8pm and Saturdays 9am-4pm. And it’s hard to explain but it has a different vibe from a farmers market.
It’s feels more like a community centre with makers and entrepreneurs. And as much as I like farmers markets there was a welcoming vibe at the Creators Market that I really loved.
It was also one of the most inspiring stops as Dylan from Spicy Boys shared how he wants his small batch hot sauce business to be a catalyst for change.
In just a few months since launching the business they’ve worked with a number of organizations dealing with everything from Veterans to First Nations, giving proceeds from sales of their product.
I also was ECSTATIC when I saw Claudia’s Pupusas as I don’t think anyone else makes them in Atlantic Canada. They are El Salvadorian corn cakes stuffed with a variety of fillings.
It was the first time I’ve spoken Spanish in person in 17 months and I really enjoyed learning about Claudia and her husband, why they moved to Canada. Their pupusas with curtido made my day.
More great food vendors include:
- Saffron Indian Foods (chicken vindaloo)
- Food By Fatou (Senegalese food)
- GoodVybz Catering (Jamaican food)
- The Rocky Lemon (lemon squares)
170 Main St, Fredericton, NB E3A 1C8
Popular Fredericton Restaurants I Missed
The problem with Fredericton is that there are too many good places! I only had three nights and tried to pack in as much as I could.
But Fredericton was so much fun I will definitely come back…so as much as I’m sharing this with you. It’s also a reminder for my next trip!
- Abbey’s Cafe: A vegan restaurant that gets rave reviews.
- The Palate: A casual fine dining joint with an open kitchen and a lovely front patio.
FREDERICTON BARS + TAPROOMS
As a university city, there is no shortage of watering holes in the city. And while it does rank amongst the highest per capita for taprooms, it also has many spots with craft cocktails, wine and spirits.
But exploring the city with the #FredTapTrail is a great way to see different parts of the city. There is a passport-style map and you can collect swag for getting 6, 8 or 11 stamps.
And if you’re looking for a unique present to give someone traveling to Fredericton you can purchase Brew Bucks.
Available from Picaroons Roundhouse, you can get denominations of $5, $10 and $20 redeemable at any of the trail stops.
The Hilton is also home to Southside Shake, the only gin bar in the Maritimes with over 60 gins.
My mother says she doesn’t like gin so they made an off menu rum punch for her while I tried the signature Southside Shake Cocktail with Gun Thuya, Honey Lavender Syrup, lime juice and mint.
We also tried the”Tiny Tinis” where you can get 3 mini gin martinis of different flavours. We chose the watermelon jalapeño, pineapple lemongrass and raspberry peach.
They were so good my Mother decided maybe she does like gin as she took the pineapple lemongrass for herself!
620 Queen St, Fredericton, NB E3B 1C2
With a story that dates back to friends traveling in Patagonia Argentina, I love that travel led to this brewery.
Graystone Brewing has a rotating tap list that features beer and cider from other brewers, which I really appreciate.
The patio was packed but we managed to find a spot for two and my favourites were the Patagonia Pale Ale and the chaga infused MacAfee Lager.
221 King St, Fredericton, NB E3B 1J4
Trailway Brewing Co.
Even before we checked into our hotel we stopped into Trailway Brewing. It was such a good start I could have spent the whole afternoon on their patio.
They are known for their hoppy IPA Hu John Hops but have fun seasonal beer this summer like “The Big Dance”, a Passionfruit Hibiscus Pale Ale and “The Generico,” a raspberry orange sour ale.
Such a good vibe with great music and friendly staff.
280 Main St, Fredericton, NB E3A 1C9
This nanobrewery operates in a gigantic live music venue labyrinth, which also includes a record store and massive outdoor patio seating.
Known by everyone as The Cap, you can bring food in to eat and staff here are incredibly friendly. When visiting on an afternoon that started to rain, they offered an umbrella as we were going to 11th Mile.
They said just to leave it with the server and they’d get it back. This gesture really spoke to the small town hospitality that exists in this city.
362 Queen St, Fredericton, NB E3B 1B2
Picaroons Brewing Company
Picaroons is the OG of craft beer in Fredericton. It started in 1995 and is the reason the craft beer scene has exploded.
The Roundhouse is a must visit on a sunny afternoon. It is a 20 minute walk from the Hilton Garden Inn over the Bill Thorpe pedestrian bridge.
The outside area is filled with picnic tables and Adirondack chairs facing the river. And if you’re hungry 540 Kitchen North is set up there, along with Queen St Creamery.
On a Saturday the place was busy with friends who biked there and families who had enough space to let kids roam around.
With locations in Fredericton and Saint John, they are clearly doing well. But success doesn’t seem to make them more competitive and instead continue to foster community.
While picking up beer to take home at the Roundhouse I realized the fridges weren’t just full with Picaroons beer, but actually most of it was from other New Brunswick brands.
This really sets the tone for the community and I continued to see it across other breweries.
912 Union St, Fredericton, NB E3A 5M5
King West Brewing
We popped into King West Brewing & RustiCo. for a snack. Another great patio and wood-fired Neopolitan-style pizza.
I love how the menu explains the bitterness of beer. As I don’t mind experimenting but I don’t want a flight of all bitter beer!
Our server also suggested we try the Strawberry Milkshake IPA, a bit bitter but balanced by sweetness.
It was like if you took strawberry Quik and made it an adult beverage – so much fun.
304 King St, Fredericton, NB E3B 1E3
The Lighthouse by 540
I thought The Lighthouse by 540 was going to be some cheesy tourist attraction in Fredericton but we LOVED it!
Located on the riverside it has a great view of the trail. We arrived just as the sun came out and found two seats looking out onto the water.
I tried the Half Cut Brewing Tickle Fight IPA and Mom got the piña colada – which may have been one of the best piña coladas I’ve ever had, not too creamy or too sweet.
They do have food although we didn’t try anything but I’d definitely go back!
615 Queen St Fredericton, NB E3B 1C3
Fredericton Taproom Trail Spots I Missed
In three days I visited 5 amazing spots for craft beer in Fredericton.
Unfortunately I did not have time to visit the remaining spots on the trail. Another reason to go back!
- Gahan House Riverside (426 Queen)
- Grimross Brewing Co. (600 Bishop)
- Mama’s Brew Pub (500 Brookside)
- Maybee Brewing (559 Wilsey)
- Red Rover Craft Cider (880 Hanwell) coming soon!
- York County Cider (38 Main)
COFFEE + CAFES IN FREDERICTON
There were so many independent coffee shops that looked fantastic. But I did try a few and loved them.
In my living in Fredericton daydream I’d happily work on this website while sipping locally roasted coffee. And listening to live music in the cafes at night.
Tipsy Muse Cafe
If I lived in Fredericton you’d most likely find me here on my laptop.
It’s a licensed coffee shop that hosts local musicians. Bagels are made from scratch with flavours ranging from cinnamon raisin to rosemary sea salt.
I took a gamble and ordered the “Impostrami” or vegan pastrami bagel made with seitan and LOVED IT. It was the most interesting meal of the trip.
Coffee was great and my mother vouches for the chai latte, which carries a lot of weight as she’s very picky about them.
86 Regent St, Fredericton, NB E3B 3W4
Mill Town Roasters
I travel around the world, mostly in coffee producing regions. And so I know spending a bit more for quality coffee means so much to the communities that grow it.
Mill Town has a great vibe inside and comfy patio outside, their coffee is great.
But what I love about this small batch roaster is that they also address their communities, and on their site draw attention to women in coffee.
It means a lot to me as an entrepreneur to support an independent coffee business that cares about the people who make their product.
461 King St, Fredericton, NB E3B 1E5
Chess Piece Pâtisserie & Cafe
While Chess Piece Pâtisserie & Cafe doesn’t seem to have any chess pieces it does have so many pastries you won’t know what to choose.
And while I was tempted by the croissants I can’t say no to pain au chocolate. And the salted caramel brownie was so rich and fudgy.
361 Queen St, Fredericton, NB E3B 1B1
BONUS: Whitney Coffee Company
This wholesale coffee company also sells freshly ground cups of coffee at the Fredericton Boyce Farmers Market.
665 George St, Fredericton, NB E3B 1K4
THINGS TO DO IN FREDERICTON
Although my goal was to just explore where to eat in Fredericton, you can’t eat and drink ALL day.
Fredericton is on a river and it is GORGEOUS. So in between meals and snacks and happy hours we walked around.
Here are my favourite things to do in Fredericton…outside food and drink.
Fredericton Trail System
Fredericton feels like an energetic city that lives outdoors.
There are over 120km of trails that people walk, run and bike on. And you can see people out paddleboarding and kayaking on the Saint John River.
The Bill Thorpe Walking Bridge is the longest pedestrian bridge in the world (581 metres).
I saw people of all ages using the trails and I was so jealous. I’ve always thought of myself as an ocean girl but the riverside is very tempting.
Although Fredericton has some fantastic galleries, there is so much art in the streets.
I loved being surprised while turning a corner and seeing a new vibrant mural. And sculptures and other artwork is all around the city and on the trails.
Shopping in Fredericton
Many of the shops downtown are independently owned and feature local products.
- Urban Almanac General Store is a modern general store featuring gourmet food, fun houseware, in-house coffee roastery, tea bar & café. 75 York Street
- room2remember is a locally owned houseware store that also has great clothing and interesting kids toys 100 York Street
- Back Street Records has been in the city for over 30 years and offers buy, sell and trade options. 384 Queen Street
More Markets in Fredericton
Including the Boyce Farmers Market and Northside Creators Market there are five markets and not all of them are food markets.
- Eco Market @The Ville serves only locally made products. Great for environmentally conscious souvenirs. 241 Canada St.
- The Cultural Market brings different cultures under one roof with local and international flavours. 435 King St.
- Garrison Night Market (on hold until 2022) held Thursday evenings in an old British garrison and features local food, drink, arts and crafts vendors and music. 11 Carleton St.
FREDERICTON HOTELS AND ACCOMMODATION
I love that Fredericton is such a walkable city.
You can park your car at the hotel and walk almost everywhere.
And if you want to go somewhere outside the historic downtown you’re only an inexpensive cab ride away.
Fredericton Hilton Garden Inn
The Hilton Garden Inn really surprised me. I’ve been in so many generic hotel rooms that I don’t often get excited about a chain hotel.
But something has happened to the Hilton because the last few I’ve been in (e.g. Yarmouth NS) have been really great!
I know it seems strange but I was blown away by the interesting/non-generic bedding and that the artwork on the walls was modern and nice!
The hotel is also home to Southside Shake gin bar and as I mentioned I loved the Pickle Jar.
It’s centrally located and I’d definitely return.
620 Queen St, Fredericton, NB E3B 1C2
Crowne Plaza Lord Beaverbrook Fredericton
This landmark hotel is located on the riverside, just across the street from the Hilton.
It has recently been renovated keeping the original marble and brass but adding masculine chic elements like comfy leather chairs.
On Saturdays it’s possible to have afternoon tea. And the restaurant will soon open up specializing as a steakhouse.
The Joyce pub in the hotel features the largest selection of New Brunswick craft beer and cider.
659 Queen St, Fredericton, NB E3B 1C3
HOW TO GET TO FREDERICTON
Saint John Ferry
If you are driving from Nova Scotia, the ferry is the way to go.
It was a quick drive to Digby and then a relaxing two and a half hours on the ferry.
When you land in Saint John, you’re only an hour away from Fredericton.
Fredericton is only 4.5 hours from Halifax.
PIN IT: RESTAURANTS IN FREDERICTON NEW BRUNSWICK
Disclosure: this post about Fredericton restaurants is in partnership with Tourism Fredericton. They were so supportive, offering suggestions for where to eat in Fredericton, craft beer options and lots of activities. However, they did not dictate an itinerary and allowed me to explore as I normally would.