St. John's

24 Hours in St. John's: Hiking to Signal Hill

St. John's Localist correspondent Jessica Kilfoy shares her perfect day hiking to Signal Hill

Any Newfoundlander knows the weather in St. John’s is unpredictable. As the saying goes, “If you don’t like the weather, just wait five minutes.” So when the sun comes out you have to take full advantage.

With an ever-growing modern food scene, lively street buskers, rustic old buildings full of charm and incredible views of the narrows and Signal Hill, downtown St. John’s is my favourite place to be on a sunny day.

Here’s how I’d spend my perfect day in St. John’s:

Jessica, our St. John's Localist correspondent, goes on a Signal Hill hike and has brunch at the Merchant Tavern

My OOTD for our pre-hike brunch at The Merchant Tavern

11 a.m. I set out to brunch with a friend at The Merchant Tavern. Owned by local chef Jeremy Charles, this is the sister restaurant to the well-awarded Raymonds, which is just down the street. Featuring an open-concept kitchen, tall windows and bright décor, the space feels fresh and inviting. Their menu features delicious classic Newfoundland breakfasts and mouthwatering pancake stacks, and their weekly specials are not to be missed. I was tempted to try out the huevos rancheros or the breakfast donuts, but I opt for the classic breakfast featuring bacon, eggs, toast and beans. Of course, I add coffee and a mimosa to go with it—the perfect start to my busy day in the sun.

Outfit-wise, I keep it casual for brunch in distressed ankle-length pants from Mango, a black cami from Aritzia and pointy toe flats from Aldo.

Jessica, our St. John's Localist correspondent, goes on a Signal Hill hike but stops for coffee at Rocket Bakery

Caffeine fix at Rocket Bakery

12:30 p.m. Once our bellies are full, we take a stroll down Water St., which is a perfect spot to window shop. A necessary stop for me is Rocket Bakery. I love eyeing their cases of sweets and usually can’t resist taking home an almond croissant (or two). Today I choose a freshly baked ginger cookie for a mid-hike snack later on, and an Americano.

Jessica, our St. John's Localist correspondent, goes on a Signal Hill hike and shares her hiking outfit

Taking in the gorgeous view

1 p.m. After a quick outfit change, my friend and I make our way to the base of the Signal Hill hike, which is close to the quaint offset of downtown, The Battery. Featuring colourful row houses and stunning views of the harbour narrows, it’s a perfect beginning to a gorgeous trek.

Given that St. John’s itself is rather windy (and perching yourself on the highest peak is sure to maximize that), I opt for a pair of full length leggings from Aritzia to stay warm. To keep my hiking outfit breezy in the sun, I pair the pants with a cropped Nike tank and matching mesh Nike sneakers. The look is topped off with a classic baseball cap and mirrored sunnies from Asos.

Jessica, our St. John's Localist correspondent, goes on a Signal Hill hike and takes a pic of the walkway through the hike

The perfect lookout point to stop and take a pic

3 p.m. The hike takes us about two hours from the base in The Battery to the top of Signal Hill and brings us around the rugged coast, steep cliffs and rock faces with unforgettable views of the bright blue ocean. Typically, this hike would only take about half the time but we can’t resist taking a break to eat our cookies and watch the whales swimming nearby. It truly is an incredible hike with experiences that are well worth the sweat to get to the top.

Jessica, our St. John's Localist correspondent, goes on a Signal Hill hike and shares her dinner outfit

Quick change for dinner at the Adelaide Oyster House

4:30 p.m. After we make it back to our car and scroll through all of our scenic photos from the hike, we head home to refresh and make an outfit change for dinner. After spending the day in the sun, I want to keep my outfit airy but also sleek. Embracing the pyjama trend, I go for a cami shift dress from Wilfred Free, black patent pointy toe flats and clip-on faux-fur pom poms from Aldo.

5:30 p.m. We head to a foodie-fave in downtown St. John’s: the Adelaide Oyster House. Their focus is on local and fresh ingredients, and they have the best fish tacos and shucked oysters. The atmosphere is hip, modern and lively. If you’d like to test out the noise level in this little place, you have the option to purchase the kitchen a round of drinks for $20 which always gets the team going. Their cocktail menu features unique concoctions with interesting flavours like seasonal spruce tip and local berries. It’s the perfect way to cheers to a day well spent and an evening well fed.

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