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As we slowly emerge from our pandemic bubble, we’re overjoyed to welcome visitors back to Charlottetown. Whether you want to spend the day soaking up the city’s culture & history, hit up an outdoor yoga class on the waterfront, or spend a night full of live music & craft beer, Charlottetown has everything and more at your fingertips this year. There are also some incroyable deals on accommodations right now, so the time is nigh to take advantage of those offers. Here are some of the BEST things you can do in Charlottetown in 2021 to help inspire your next visit to our seaside city.

For those of you wondering when you can come, click HERE for PEI’s approach to relaxing Covid-19 public health measures and other travel advisories. 

1) RECONNECT WITH NATURE

We’ve got physical distancing down pat. With stretches of sandy beaches (check out our “Top 10 Beaches Loved by Locals” blog post), plenty of green space, hiking trails galore, & tons of outdoor dining options, Charlottetown (and beyond) is the perfect place to spend your holiday.

Top 10 PEI Beaches Loved by Locals 35 Photo Credit: Alex Douglas
11 Reasons Why You Need to Spend May Long Weekend in Charlottetown Photo Credit: Jenna Rachelle
21 Reasons to Visit Charlottetown in 2021 14 Photo Credit: Hayley Cardiff

2) LEARN ABOUT MI’KMAQ CULTURE

Visit the Epekwitk Assembly of Councils building, a focal point of Mi’kmaq history and culture, along the waterfront that celebrates the Mi’kmaq people who have been here for 12,000 years. This brand new centre is a stepping stone towards reconciliation and is an important landmark for our Island community. We’re also hopeful the traditional pow wows will go ahead, but that is dependant upon covid health regulations so be sure to follow L’nuey PEI on social media for an update about those.

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21 Reasons to Visit Charlottetown in 2021 31 Photo Credit: Patricia Bourque
21 Reasons to Visit Charlottetown in 2021 29 Photo Credit: Ian Carter

3) MINGLE WITH CREATIVE MINDS

There’s something about Charlottetown that attracts creative types from all backgrounds, and evidence of this can be found on the safe and walkable streets of our city. Soak up the entrepreneurial spirit and admire the many impressive creations, including a lobster mural (on the exterior wall of Timothy’s World Coffee), the “Before I Die PEI” wall on the side of The Guild, and a blue heron sculpture (at the corner of Water and Queen St). Also be sure to check out the Confederation Centre’s National Art Gallery for a rotating collection of national and international visual artists.

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4) DRINK CRAFT BEER & CIDER

The city is now bursting with options for craft beer and cider lovers. With three breweries and a cidery in town, Upstreet Craft Brewing, Gahan HousePEI Brewing Company, and Red Island Cider, and even more within a short drive, you’ll find plenty of IPAs, lagers, stouts, and signature seasonals on tap. PEI Craft Beer Week also takes place June 8 – 12, 2021, and includes lots of different events happening throughout the week, so be sure to check out www.peicraftbeerweek.com for more details.

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A selection of beer at the Gahan House in Charlottetown, PEI Photo Credit: The Gahan House
Red Island Cider 4 Photo Credit: Janik Robichaud

5) DISCOVER ISLAND HOSPITALITY

We treat our visitors like family and go the extra mile to make sure you’re well taken care of. Charlottetown is abundant with accommodations that will sweep you off your feet and many have incredible package deals on this year. Whether it’s a Victorian-style B&B, a modern hotel with fabulous style, or a floating cottage on the harbour, there’s something for every taste and style. Our hospitality staff are always happy to fill you in on their favourite things to do and places to go, so be sure to pick their brains while you’re here (and even before you come).

May Long Weekend Photo Credit: Janik Robichaud
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6) DIVERSECITY MULTICULTURAL FESTIVAL (June 27)

Atlantic Canada’s largest cultural festival, this is a not-to-miss celebration of the many diverse cultures that make up this beautiful Island we live on, from those who arrive from all over the world to those who have been here for thousands of years. DiverseCity is filled with positive energy, family-friendly activities, & yummy food! The event will feature in-person performances in regions across PEI (including Charlottetown on June 27) and also a live-stream component in 2021. Check their social pages to stay up to date on the latest & greatest events, performers, and virtual aspects.

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7) ATTEND THE ALL-NEW YOGA & WELLNESS FESTIVAL (July 16-18)

With an abundance of yoga studios, healthy living enthusiasts & an already therapeutic atmosphere, PEI’s capital city attracts those in search of a peaceful place to unwind. New in 2021 is the Island Tides Yoga & Wellness Festival, which blends healthy living, movement, nature, and learning. (Jul 16 – 18). Tickets will be going on sale very soon so keep an eye on www.islandtidesfestival.com for more info.

21 Reasons to Visit Charlottetown in 2021 42 Photo Credit: Simon Reid
21 Reasons to Visit Charlottetown in 2021 35 Photo Credit: Jared Doyle
21 Reasons to Visit Charlottetown in 2021 - Travel Guide 15 Photo Credit: Jenna Rachelle

8) HIT THE BEACH

A day (or every day) at the beach is a quintessential part of Island life. The salt and sand practically live in our bones and there’s no better way to live like an Islander than visiting any one of our glorious beaches. With plenty of white sand and red cliff beaches within a twenty-minute drive, Charlottetown is the perfect home base from which to set out on your beach day adventures.

Top 10 PEI Beaches Loved by Locals 45 Photo Credit: Eric Creed
21 Reasons to Visit Charlottetown in 2021 - Travel Guide 28 Photo Credit: The Redhead Roamer
Top 10 PEI Beaches Loved by Locals 51 Photo Credit: Ellen Egan

9) WEAR YOUR PRIDE

If you’re looking for a vibrant atmosphere with lots to see and do, Charlottetown is for you. As a hotspot for arts & culture, Charlottetown draws many 2SLGBTQIA+ travellers in search of friendly nightlife, incredible cuisine, luxurious accommodations, sandy beaches (within driving distance), and those coveted “Island vibes.” This year’s PEI Pride Festival takes place July 18 – 25, so be sure to follow Pride PEI on social media to stay up to date on all the latest and greatest Pride events on PEI!

Spring in Charlottetown 11 Photo Credit: Allie & Sam
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21 Reasons to Visit Charlottetown in 2021 46 Photo Credit: Brady McCloskey

10) EXPERIENCE WORLD-CLASS THEATRE

The Confederation Centre’s long-running Charlottetown Festival triumphantly returns, welcoming audiences back to the Main-stage Theatre with three exciting, true stories from right here in Atlantic Canada: Between Breaths, Dear Rita and Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story.

Inspired by a true story from Newfoundland, Between Breaths is a profound play that sails through Dr. Jon Lien’s life’s work saving whales trapped in fishing nets. Over his career, “the Whale Man” rescued over 500 whales and earned the respect of the island’s fishermen, but Dr. Jon’s biggest fight came late in life as dementia threatened his body and mind. Featuring a live score by The Once, Between Breaths is a beautiful piece about the parts of ourselves we hold on to after everything else is gone. (June 3–19, Mainstage Theatre)

Making its world premiere in 2021 is an inspiring production celebrating the life and songs of the Maritimes’ most beloved singer-songwriter, Rita MacNeil. Dear Rita is a musical love letter to a true fixture of Canadian culture, a fierce and passionate performer whose songs were international hits, inspiring generations of people around the world. Woven around a script from the Island’s own Mike Ross and Lindsay Kyte, this cabaret musical features a cast of six accompanied by a sizzling hot band. (June 29 – Aug. 6, Mainstage)

The wildly popular, international award-winning Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story rounds out the trio of shows. This moving and dynamic musical tells the true story of two Romanian refugees meeting in line at Pier 21, as they await entry into Canada. Starring the East Coast sensation Ben Caplan, this musical hybrid is about how to love and find our shared humanity after facing the horrors of war. (Aug. 12 – Sept. 4, Mainstage)

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Confederation Centre of the Arts
Old Stock at the Confederation Centre

11) OLD HOME WEEK, AN ISLAND TRADITION (Aug 13-21)

Old Home Week is deeply rooted in the Island way of life and has something to entertain everyone. Taking a different format this year, the fun will be spread around the city. Kids’ programming, music, harness racing, and agriculture events are all in the works.

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12) HIT “THE ROW”

Victoria Row offers the quintessential patio-ing experience in the heart of the city, with restaurants serving up fresh seafood, local brews, live music on the street and in the nearby pubs, and rainbow coloured picnic tables that are perfect for playing a game of checkers and people-watching. There are also tons of cute boutiques along this buzzing pedestrian street, like Green Eye Designs, Northern Watters Knitwear, Kuriosities, Crow’s Nest, Urban Daisy Eco Boutique, Details Fine Art Gallery and more, so be sure to fit this charming street into your itinerary.

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13) HAVE A MAGICAL TIME AT ART IN THE OPEN (Aug 28)

In late summer (Aug 28), Charlottetown transforms into an artistic wonderland. Art in the Open is a free and family-friendly contemporary arts festival that features unique, interactive art installations in public spaces throughout the downtown core. A highlight for many is the March of the Crows, which is a grassroots parade that’s an homage to the city’s large crow population. It attracts many costumed participants and must be experienced to be truly appreciated!

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14) EAT YOUR HEART OUT

As the capital of Canada’s Food Island, Charlottetown’s food scene is ever-evolving. An impressive selection of locally focused restaurants, farmers’ markets, and artisan food shops, along with a never-ending roster of food festivals and events make the city an epic foodie destination. Don’t miss the Charlottetown Farmers’ Market in mid-town (Wed in the summer & Saturdays year-round), Founders’ Food Hall & Market at the waterfront (7-days/week), or the Downtown Farmers’ Market on Queen St (Sundays July-Sept). Plus! This year there are more patio and outdoor dining options than ever before so you are, indeed, spoiled for choice when it comes to dining al fresco.

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15) PARTY AT THE INTERNATIONAL SHELLFISH FESTIVAL (Sept 16-19)

From an epic night of feasting and frolicking, to intense chef competitions and culinary demos, to late night revelry with some of Atlantic Canada’s favourite party bands, you’ll need to pace yourself for this iconic weekend of shellfish indulgence.

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16) MUSIC IS ALWAYS IN THE AIR

You’ll always find local, live music on tap at the city’s bars & pubs, as well as venues like the Trailside Music Hall, the Benevolent Irish Society, The Guild, PEI Brewing Company & more. The waterfront also features open-air entertainment at Peake’s Wharf Summer Concert Series and Founders’ Food Hall.

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17) STEP INTO A WHIMSICAL WORLD AT SCARECROWS IN THE CITY (Oct 8-24)

This all-new festival (est. 2020) sees the streets of downtown Charlottetown decked with hundreds of unique, handmade scarecrows & fall decor. Visitors will enjoy festive programming like stilt walkers, psychic fairs, live music, and various events at local businesses over a few weeks in mid-October. It will be even bigger and better in 2021!

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18) SHOP ‘TIL YOU DROP

Against downtown Charlottetown’s stunning backdrop of red brick and waterscapes, you’ll discover an assortment of independent shops that make shopping a pleasurable pursuit. Friendly shopkeepers, food purveyors, and artisans abound and are happy to help you find the perfect keepsake.

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19) CHARLOTTETOWN CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL (Nov 26 – Dec 12)

Step back in time at this magical multi-day festival featuring timeless holiday traditions, including an open-air market with artisans and food vendors, Christmas movies, horse & wagon rides, Santa visits, tree lighting, a Christmas parade, petting zoo, carolling, ice sculpting demos, sommelier tastings & more.

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20) AFTER DARK ENTERTAINMENT

Charlottetown is the hub of nighttime entertainment on PEI throughout the year. Musicals, plays, comedy acts, & headlining bands grace the city’s many stages, while DJs and local bands create party vibes at various venues that have all been rejigged to adapt to covid-19 protocols. An added bonus – it’s an easy walk between any of your chosen destinations and getting home after a night out is a breeze!

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Trailside Music Hall
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21) DISCOVER A WINTER WONDERLAND

Stay with one of our participating Charlottetown accommodation providers and borrow complimentary snowshoes for a snowy adventure. You’ll even get a trail guide to help with your Snowshoe in the City adventures! Outdoor Yoga (Snoga) has also become a huge hit and is an amazing way to get moving and grooving in the great outdoors.

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And those are just the juicy highlights! You can dive deeper into our Charlottetown stories on our blog, browse things to do in our sweet little city while you’re here, or start to make things real by checking out our incredible hotel packages.

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