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If there’s anywhere more magical than fall in Charlottetown, we’d love to know. With a brand new festival called Scarecrows in the City (Oct. 9-18th), tons of live music, incredible local cuisine, and fall walks on heritage roads, Charlottetown is where it’s at for recharging your batteries and soaking up the season of cozy sweaters and autumn colours.
If this sounds like your cup of pumpkin spice tea, read on for all the fun things to do in our seaside city!
Taking place October 9 – 18th, 2020, the all-new Scarecrows in the City Festival will take over the downtown core of Prince Edward Island’s seaside city. Set against the charming backdrop of Charlottetown’s historic buildings, hundreds of scarecrow installations will line the streets, gather on street corners, pop up in shop windows, and surprise you in other unexpected ways. You can also look forward to self-guided scarecrow tours, spooky guided walks, live outdoor music, sweater weather happy hours, wine tastings, costumed stiltwalkers, multi-course harvest dinners, intuitive card readings, and so much more! Check out our schedule of events and amazing accommodation packages.
The Trailside Music Hall is also an intimate venue that recently opened within The Arts Hotel on Kent Street. This brand new venue is THE place to safely experience some of the best Canadian and international music while enjoying delicious local food and drink in the heart of downtown Charlottetown. The Guild is always a hot spot for live entertainment throughout the year and this fall is no exception. And if that wasn’t enough, many of our restaurants and bars also feature live music throughout the week!
Grills (and hearts) across the Island are heating up as the 10 anniversary of Burger Love (normally in April) kicks off September 1st and runs until October 15th, 2020. This friendly burger competition has PEI’s chefs dreaming up inventive burger creations and wooing us with impressive flavours, all the while vying for the prestigious first place spot.
Recipes include everything from unique ‘buns’ (ice cream sandwiches have made the list!) to secret in-house sauces, and unusual toppings are to be expected. The star of the show is almost always 100% PEI beef, but this year the protein options also include chicken, fish, pork, and even more vegetarian options than usual. So stock up on your stretchy pants and start plotting your burger-loving adventures this fall in Charlottetown.
Charlottetown’s downtown was built pre-car era and its walkability is part of its charm. Fall is an especially magical time as all of the trees start to change and pops of red, orange, and yellow take over the cityscape. In the downtown core, you’ll find yourself stopping often to read menus posted outside of restaurants, gaze at fall-themed window displays, and take in the contrasting sights of striking modern architecture, historic red brick buildings, and colourful seaside homes. All you need to explore is comfortable footwear and a walking map.
Another great way to see the city is by taking part in Experience PEI’s Discovery Hunt of Charlottetown. This self-guided hunt using your smartphone is the perfect way to satisfy your curiosity and visit familiar spots you might have passed by before but knew nothing about it. It’s also the perfect social distance activity for you and those in your bubble!
Pack a picnic and plan to make an afternoon or a whole day of exploring PEI’s stunning red clay heritage roads, where breathtaking scenery greets you at every bend and hillcrest. Keep a lookout for local flora and fauna, as well as signs of rural life that has shaped the Island’s character and culture. Old barns and golden hay bales also make for great photo ops!
It’s nearly impossible to explore downtown Charlottetown without happening upon pieces of public art that capture the Island’s essence in a myriad of forms. Take pause to admire the many impressive creations that permeate the historic core, including a lobster mural (on the exterior wall of Timothy’s World Coffee), a blue heron sculpture (at the corner of Water & Prince Streets), a “Before I Die” wall (on the exterior wall of The Guild), and many others sprinkled throughout the city.
Rooted in Art is also a new tree appreciation initiative that will run from October 3 to 17 and is intended to celebrate the importance and beauty of Charlottetown’s urban forest. Five Island artists have used some of downtown Charlottetown’s most distinctive and historic trees as inspiration for a temporary art installation. You can even meet the trees and artists being showcased as well as the 2.5km self-guided tour HERE.
The downtown core is also home to several shops that showcase locally-crafted pieces made by talented artisans, including jewellery, pottery, wood art, woven pieces, and lots more. In fact, a number of artisans have their own studios/shops that are open to the public, so be sure to drop by and watch them in action!
Mid-Town: A must-visit is the outdoor Charlottetown Farmers’ Market, which features over 70 vendors including farmers, artisan food producers, hot & cold food vendors, crafters, and artisans. Open Saturdays from 8am – 1pm.
Downtown: Every Sunday throughout the summer (July – October, 11am-4pm), the Downtown Farmers’ Market tempts visitors in search of homemade treats, local produce, a hot lunch, artisan wares, and more. Starting at Grafton Street, the market lines lower Queen St. and offers a relaxed and socially-distant shopping experience.
Harbourside: New in 2019, Founders’ Food Hall & Market is the perfect waterfront oasis for food-lovers. Located in one of the city’s most stunning historic spaces, this urban market features several local food vendors serving up high-quality food and drink, including locally-roasted coffee, craft beer, fresh produce, from scratch pizza, and gourmet donuts.
Located with the Confederation Centre of the Arts just off Victoria Row, this national art gallery presents an average of 20 exhibitions featuring the works of Canadian visual artists. The Gallery itself has four main exhibit spaces on two levels plus smaller exhibit areas in the entry and the Centre’s concourse. Visitors can expect to see a mix of traditional art forms such as painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, and sculpture, plus newer digital media presentations, installations employing diverse technologies and contemporary interdisciplinary practices. It’s the perfect place to spend the afternoon as the temperatures start to drop!
Just a few years ago, you might have had to work a bit to find local craft beer and cider in Charlottetown, but now the city’s bursting with options for the craft beer lovers. With three breweries in the city (Upstreet Craft Brewing, The Gahan House, and PEI Brewing Co.) and even more within a 40-minute drive, you’ll find plenty of IPAs, stouts, lagers, and signature seasonals (think pumpkin spice and everything nice) on tap at bars, restos, and taprooms.
You can now also experience the joys of tasty cider at Red Island Cider who make traditional, clean, dry ciders using 100% apple juice from the best orchards in Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia.
Whether you’re an avid mountain biker or a casual hiker, there’s no better place to witness the changing of the seasons than throughout the various hills and wooded trails just beyond the city limits. For the thrill-seekers, check out Meridian63 MTB for a guided mountain biking adventure, or head to Brookvale, Bonshaw, MacPhail Woods, or Winter River for some of the most stunning hiking trails on the Island.
For those looking for a more moderate outing directly from the downtown, you can easily access the Confederation Trail and head west or east. The trail features over 400 kilometres of walking and cycling trails that span the Island from tip-to-tip. Head out for the day for an adventure beyond the city or use the trail to explore Charlottetown’s downtown, midtown, and uptown from unique vantage points. Back in the city, the wooded trails in Victoria Park provide the perfect oasis to immerse yourself in nature’s transition.