The Getaway
Top 15 Things to Do in Prince George

Prince George, the northern capital of British Columbia, isn't, of course, a nod to the nephew of Prince Harry (formerly of Kensington Palace and Vancouver Island). It's an homage to Harry's great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather, the so-called "Mad King" who you might know from Hamilton and the Bridgerton-verse. Royal family aside, this city is the territory of the Lheidli t'enneh Nation. It's also an under-the-radar getaway destination, especially if you're the sporty type or like communing with nature.

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01 Ancient Forest/Chun T'oh Whudujut Provincial Park

Western red cedars (Thuja plicatain) and walking path in Chun T’oh Whudujut Ancient Forest provincial park of the Lheidli T’enneh first nation natives near Prince George, British Columbia, Canada.

About an hour east of Prince George, this protected area is the world's only inland temperate rainforest. Non-slip boardwalk trails make for a short and sweet walk amidst giant ancient cedar trees and gurgling streams. The loop to the waterfall takes around 45 minutes, and you can bring snacks for a picnic. Apply bug spray in summer, and the mosquitoes won't leave their mark on you. In winter, you can go snowshoeing, and the park looks like another place entirely. A must-visit.

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02 Exploration of public art

From a mural by Damian John at the Aboriginal Housing Society of Prince George (AHSPG) showing the confluence of the Fraser and Nechako rivers to the 55-foot mural at the entrance of the Northern Sport Centre, Prince George is full of visual art surprises. Take a self-guided public art tour in the downtown area and elsewhere in the city to appreciate the local creativity. You'll see mosaics, sculptures, paintings, and aerosol designs by Milan Basic and other artists.

03 Visit to The Exploration Place

Are you traveling with kids between the ages of 6 and 13? Check out the interactive exhibits and historical displays at The Exploration Place, located in Fort George Park. This Northern BC museum offers insights into the region's natural history, First Nations culture, and scientific discoveries. Themed exhibits cover dinosaurs, steam trains, bees, plants, and so much more, plus friendly staff make the experience enjoyable for adults and children alike.

04 Cottonwood Island Nature Park

Wooden Footbridge, Cottonwood Island Park

Keen on a leisurely stroll or a bike ride? Head for Cottonwood Island Nature Park, with its scenic trails along the Nechako and Fraser Rivers. Say hi to the beavers, squirrels, and chickadees, and beware of rare but possible black bear encounters. A local artist, Elmer Gunderson, has whittled unique artwork into the bark of some trees, so you can go on a treasure hunt looking for more carvings. You'll need to come armed with bug spray to keep the mozzies at bay. The park is a feast for the senses in fall when the colors change, crisp leaves crackle underfoot, and seasonal scents perfume the air.

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05 Dining at local restaurants

You won't go hungry in Prince George, where popular eat-out spots like Betulla Burning and Nancy O's gastro pub keep locals and visitors well-fed. Nancy O's also has live music and comedy shows for a different kind of pick-me-up. North 54 is a good place for a romantic Italian dinner, complete with heavenly chocolate truffles and deep-fried banana cheesecake. A plethora of Asian establishments will take your tastebuds from India to Japan, should you wish to travel east. The atmosphere in most eateries is relaxed, so you won't get any funny looks if you walk in fresh off a hike.

06 Northern Lights Estate Winery visit

British Columbia's northernmost winery makes non-grape fruit wines and offers free seasonal public tours of its picturesque estate. Shop handcrafted products from BC makers and savor patio dining with river views at the bistro—the yummy flatbreads are a popular choice.

Northern Lights Estate is also a favorite place for local couples to celebrate their nuptials with friends and family members. It's not hard to see how this venue could be a flawless background in cherished wedding albums.

07 Outdoor adventures at Forests for the World

Forests for the World is a peaceful place to stretch your legs and take your dog walking on a leash. The trails are maintained throughout the year, but wear shoes with good grip if there's been recent rain. The park has fire pits, two docks for fishing rainbow trout (plus you can go ice fishing during winter), and stable picnic tables. Enjoy the views from the tower and various lookout points and snap pictures of Shane Lake.

08 Shopping at the Farmer's Market

Prince George Farmer's Market is a year-round Saturday highlight where visitors can support local farmers and find fresh produce, artisan crafts, and gourmet foods. S'mores, frozen cookie dough, handmade cutting boards, knitting supplies, freshly ground coffee, and various elixirs pile high on tables inside and outside the venue. Sometimes, free pumpkins and carrot cake are on offer to early birds and lucky customers. Grab breakfast while local musicians strum their guitars and kids leave temporary chalk art on the sidewalk.

09 Cross-Country skiing at Otway Nordic Ski Centre

This center, aka the Caledonia Nordic Ski Club, is a winter sports hub providing an extensive network of cross-country ski trails, snowshoeing paths, and a biathlon range. The staff and facilities are excellent, and the venue hosts national racing events. In summer, you can take your canine companion along for a run or to cycle the trails. The club offers student discounts, but generally, the rates are reasonable. Kids will love this outdoorsy destination just 15 minutes from Prince George, too, and the center offers lessons to those who want to become more proficient.

10 Prince George Railway Museum visit

The view of train cars from a drone. Prince George, Canada.

Train fans have a must-visit spot to geek out to their heart's content among fellow trainiacs. Prince George Railway Museum teaches visitors about the region's rich railway history and features heritage trains and railway artifacts. The museum opened in 1986, so it's been rolling along for quite some time. Even if you're not a buff, you'll find the authentic snippets of life back in the day fascinating. You'll see old cars, stations, and equipment in and around ten historical buildings. Younger kids will want to ride on the mini rail.

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11 Hiking the Cutbanks

The Cutbanks are famously steep, but if you welcome the challenge, you'll be rewarded with panoramic views of the city and the Fraser River. Tackle the sandy slope with buddies who'll motivate you to put one foot in front of the next, and you'll take away sweaty memories of this iconic landmark. If you make the climb during the golden hour to catch the sunset, the landscape will be as fired up as the feeling in your legs and lungs.

12 Horseback riding at El Shaddai

Feel at one with nature as you saddle up and ride the El Shaddai trails atop a magnificent horse. The steeds here are looked after commendably and behave well on the 2-hour journey through open fields, meadows, and forests. This adventure is suitable for all ages and experience levels, and the professional, patient guides are great with nervous kids and first-timers. They also take time to address concerns and answer questions. The ranch is open 7 days a week except in winter, and for practical reasons, it's advisable not to wear shorts and sandals.

13 Arts and culture festivals

There's a festival for every season in Prince George. Downtown Summerfest is one of the city's signature events, promising oodles of fun, food, and entertainment in July. Winterfest and the Coldsnap music festival take place in February, and Fallfest occurs in October. Plaid Friday is PG's take on Black Friday. Participating stores downtown have promos, and locals are encouraged to shop locally. There's also the Northern Indigenous Arts Festival in June, with workshops, drum circles, and performances.

14 Recreational activities at Ness Lake

How about a day trip about 20 miles northwest of Prince George? Beautiful Ness Lake is half an hour away and a top spot for swimming, kayaking, fishing, boating, and other kinds of fun on the water. Ness Lake Watersports can organize a private charter for safe water skiing, wakeboarding, and surfing. It's a blast!

15 Exploration of Huble Homestead Historic Site

Huble Homestead, located in the Giscome Portage Regional Park, is full of restored buildings from the beginning of the 20th century. You can learn more about pioneer life with informative guided tours. The park is open year-round for outdoor activities but officially operates between spring and fall. Play games like croquet, buy delicious jams from the general store, and attend seasonal events. It's a lovely outing for the whole family and a setting pretty enough to host a wedding.

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