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Walking Tour of Downtown Saint John
Saint John is a city on hills, and King Street, its main street, slopes steeply to the harbor. A system of escalators, elevators, and skywalks inside buildings allows you to climb to the top and take in some of the more memorable spots without effort, though you can also walk outside. A year-round information center is located about halfway in the Shoppes of City Hall.
Start at the foot of King, at Market Slip. This is where the Loyalists landed in 1783 and is the site of Barbour's General Store and the Little Red Schoolhouse. At Market Square, restored waterfront buildings house historical exhibits, shops, restaurants, and cafés. Also here are the Saint John Regional Library, a year-round visitor information center, a replica of the Marco Polo ship, and the fine New Brunswick Museum.
From the second level of Market Square a skywalk crosses St. Patrick Street and an escalator takes you up into the City Hall shopping concourse. Here, you can branch off to Harbour Station, with its busy schedule of concerts, sporting events, and trade shows. Once you're through City Hall, another skywalk takes you across Chipman Hill and into the Brunswick Square Complex of shops, offices, and the city's largest hotel, the 12-story Hilton Saint John. To visit historic Loyalist House, exit onto Germain Street and turn left; it's on the corner at the top of the hill. Continue on for a block to see the venerable Stone Church. In the flavorful Saint John City Market, across from Brunswick Square, make sure to look up at the ceiling, which resembles the inverted hull of a ship. The oldest market in North America, constructed in 1875-76, it's also a great place to stop for lunch. When you leave by the door at the top of the market, you're near the head of King Street and right across Charlotte Street from King's Square. Take a walk through the square, past the statues and bandstand, to Sydney Street. Notice the walkways in the shape of the Union Jack Flag. Cross Sydney and you're in the Loyalist Burial Ground. Make your way back to Sydney Street and then cross King Street East to the Old Courthouse with its spiral staircase made from cantilevered stones. Head south on Sydney, and turn right on King's Square South, where you can catch a glimpse of the handsome Imperial Theatre. Follow King's Square South and cross Charlotte Street to reach the back door of historic Trinity Church.
Finally, make your way back to King Street and walk down the hill toward the water. Prince William Street is at the foot of the hill, just steps from where you began at Market Slip. Turn left for antiques shops, galleries, and historic architecture.
TIMING: Allow the better part of a day for this walk if you include a few hours for the New Brunswick Museum and some time for shopping. On Sunday the indoor walkways are open but the City Market is closed.
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