Looking for some fun things to do in Charlottetown in the winter? We’ve rounded up 14 great ideas if you’re visiting the capital of PEI this winter.
Charlottetown, the capital city of Prince Edward Island, is a beautiful city that boasts a rich history and vibrant culture.
And while many visitors flock to this picturesque city during the summer months, there’s no shortage of things to do in Charlottetown in the winter as well.
From snowshoeing and ice skating to cozy indoor experiences, Charlottetown has plenty to offer during the winter season as well.
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14 Fun Things to Do in Charlottetown in the Winter
1. Experience the Ice City Festival
One of the most popular events in Charlottetown in the winter is the Ice City Festival. There’s plenty of fun for the whole family, including horse and wagon rides, outdoor skating, art installations, live music and other family activities.
Sugar shacks are found each weekend at various outdoor patios like the Pilot House and Charlottetown Beer Garden, and there’s even flow in the snow with Charlottetown Yoga!
Dates: January 27 – March 5, 2023
2. Indulge at WinterDine
WinterDine is Downtown Charlottetown’s dining festival and is held for three weeks in the winter.
Participating restaurants offer a fixed-price menu with specially curated dishes that highlight the best of the island’s cuisine.
It’s a great opportunity to get out and try something new while supporting local restaurants during the quieter months.
Prices for a 3-course meal are $35, $45 or $55 and 2-course meals are $12, $16 and $20. 20
WinterDine runs from January 16 – February 5, 2023.
3. Walk Around Downtown
One of the best things to do in Charlottetown with kids is to find the adorable statues of Eckhart the Mouse.
These statues are out year-round – and Eckhart is even dressed for winter in PEI with his red scarf!
Pick up a copy of the route at the Visitors Centre and follow the clues to each Eckhart statue. It’s a fun way to explore the downtown area while learning about historical landmarks.
4. Visit the Farmers Market
The Charlottetown Farmer’s Market is open year-round on Saturdays from 9 am to 2 pm.
It’s a great place to warm up and enjoy some local food and crafts during the winter!
Vendors offer everything from fresh produce and baked goods to handmade crafts and freshly brewed coffee. It’s a great way to spend a Saturday morning!
5. Visit Founders Hall
Founders’ Food Hall and Market is another year-round market in Charlottetown.
It’s a great place to get a bite to eat or pick up some unique PEI souvenirs, no matter what you are looking for.
You’ll find plenty of local vendors with amazing flavours, offering everything from gourmet donuts and wood-fired pizza to Mexican delights.
In addition to the delicious food, there are also local artisans selling unique items such as lavender products or the PEI dirt shirt!
6. Warm Up with a Cup of Receiver coffee
And while you’re at Founders’ Hall, be sure to stop by Receiver Coffee just outside the building for a cup of the best coffee on the island.
They roast and serve their own coffee beans so you know it’s fresh!
They also offer a selection of baked treats, including gluten-free options, and my kids’ favourite – fresh monkey bread.
7. Take a Winter Walk at Confederation Landing
Charlottetown’s waterfront is a beautiful place to explore any time of the year, including the winter season.
While most of the shops at Peake’s Wharf are closed during the winter, the Confederation Landing boardwalk is a scenic spot for a winter walk.
Check out the love lock display, take a photo with the 2023 sign and if it’s not too chilly, relax in the big red chairs and take in the stunning views of the harbour.
8. Do Yoga in the Snow
For a refreshing and unique way to get active, why not try some outdoor yoga?
Certified instructors lead classes every Saturday and Sunday during the Ice City Festival, weather permitting.
Join them at 11:30 am at Confederation Landing for a free workout that’s fun for the whole family.
9. See a Performance at the Confederation Centre of the Arts
The Confederation Centre of the Arts is a great place to catch a show or performance.
Open year-round, the Centre offers a variety of shows, including plays, concerts, and family-friendly performances.
10. Get Wet Indoors
If you’re looking for a fun indoor activity, head to the Bell Aliant Centre on the UPEI campus.
The large indoor aquatic center boasts three pools, including a lap pool and leisure pool, as well as a hot tub and a huge water slide.
It’s a great place to bring the kids no matter the weather, but it’s an especially perfect way to spend a snowy and cold day!
11. Try Snowshoeing
Head outdoors and explore as well as get some exercise!
There are a few places in Charlottetown providing free snowshoe rentals. Throughout the week, stop by City Hall and borrow a pair of snowshoes, just be sure to return them by 3 pm the next day.
On Sunday afternoons from 1-3 pm, head to Victoria Park and pick up a pair of snowshoes to explore the park, then enjoy a cup of hot chocolate afterwards.
Many hotels offer snowshoe rentals as well, be sure to check with your accommodations!
12. Go Skiing
While Prince Edward Island isn’t known for its mountains, there are still opportunities to go skiing.
Cross-country skiing is popular on local trails and downhill skiing is possible at Mark Arendz Provincial Ski Park at Brookvale, the island’s only ski hill.
It’s a short drive from Charlottetown and is a popular spot for both downhill and cross-country skiing. Ski lessons and equipment rentals are available.
13. Skate Outdoors
Grab your skates and head to one of Charlottetown’s outdoor skating rinks to experience one of Canada’s classic winter activities.
There are a few outdoor rinks in Charlottetown, including the one just outside Founders Hall in downtown Charlottetown, which is an artificial ice surface, so it’s great to use even when the weather isn’t!
14. Watch a Game
Charlottetown may not have a professional NBA or NHL team, but you can still catch a basketball or hockey game!
The Island Storm is a professional basketball team that plays in the National Basketball League of Canada and the Islanders are a hockey team that plays in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
Watching a game at the Eastlink Centre is a great way to spend a winter evening, and the atmosphere is always lively and fun.
Where to Stay in Charlottetown
There are plenty of options when considering where to stay in Charlottetown.
We prefer to stay right downtown, especially in the winter, where we can walk to the events and activities, and then stop back at the hotel to warm up before heading back out again.
Holman Grand Hotel
Conveniently located across from the Confederation Center of Arts, the Holman Grand Hotel is within walking distance of all the things to do in Charlottetown in the winter.
It’s our personal favourite and I don’t hesitate to recommend it! Rooms are spacious and clean, with hardwood floors and a mini-fridge.
There’s an indoor pool as well as a hot tub, which is perfect for those cold winter days!
Road Hotels & Resorts is a local, Atlantic Canadian chain of hotels.
The downtown location has a huge waterslide into the pool while the location in Royalty Crossing also has an indoor pool.
Having stayed at other Rodd hotels on Prince Edward Island, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend either of these options in Charlottetown.
Where to Eat in Charlottetown
There’s no shortage of fantastic places to eat in Charlottetown. The downtown area is host to a number of great restaurants, from fine dining and oyster bars to cozy pubs and family-friendly choices.
The Gahan House
The Gahan House is a classic Charlottetown favourite and is located right downtown on Grafton St. Originally starting as a brewpub, the Gahan House offers a delicious menu as well as continuing to brew its beer on-site.
While you can’t go wrong with fresh PEI mussels, the fish tacos are also excellent. There are also other options, like stir-fry, curry or seafood chowder.
Gluten-free and vegan options are available, and there’s also a kids’ menu for little diners.
Another great pub in downtown Charlottetown, the Pilot House offers a great menu with plenty of options, including gluten-free and vegan items.
And here, the patio season doesn’t stop in the winter – try a unique dining experience outdoors in an outdoor dining pod!
We mentioned Receiver coffee above, but it’s so good, it’s worth mentioning here again.
Local to PEI, Receiver Coffee is known for great-tasting and sustainable coffee, as well as baked goods, which are made using local ingredients whenever possible.
What is Charlottetown Like in the Winter?
Charlottetown experiences cold and snowy winters. Temperatures during the winter months typically range from -10 to 0 degrees Celsius, with PEI winter temperatures occasionally dipping to below -20 degrees Celsius.
The city also receives a significant amount of snowfall, and winter storms can bring heavy snow and strong winds, which can lead to power outages and travel disruptions.
However, despite the cold and snowy weather, there are still plenty of fun things to do in Charlottetown in the winter months.
Getting to Charlottetown in the Winter
Getting to Prince Edward Island in the winter can be a bit more challenging than during the summer, but it is still possible.
The Charlottetown Airport (YYG) has year-round flights to Montreal, QC on Air Canada and to Toronto, ON with Swoop, Air Canada and Flair.
If you are driving, the Confederation Bridge is open year-round (toll applies when leaving the island) and the Trans-Canada Highway provides easy access to Charlottetown.
The ferry between Nova Scotia and PEI does not operate in the winter months.
Final Thoughts: Things to Do in Charlottetown in the Winter
While PEI may be known for its summer activities, there are also plenty of fun things to do in Charlottetown in the winter.
Whether you’re looking to enjoy outdoor activities or cozy indoor experiences, there is something for everyone. So bundle up and embrace the season by exploring all that Charlottetown has to offer this winter.
MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR TRIP TO PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
ABOUT PEI: Being so close to PEI, we’ve visited a few times and experienced the province in each season. Well, to be honest, we fell in love with PEI and keep coming back, again and again! If you don’t know much about the province yet, here are 55 fun and interesting facts about PEI and these are our recommendations on the best things to do in PEI with kids.
CHARLOTTETOWN: There’s plenty to do in the city year-round, including these fun things to do in Charlottetown with kids. And if you’re looking to get out and explore more of the province, here are some great day trips from Charlottetown.
AROUND PEI: The Points East Coastal Drive, Central Coastal Drive and North Cape Coastal Drive are three fantastic drives to experience the best of the province. We also found many fun things to do in Montague PEI and recommend spending some time there!
PEI IN SUMMER: If you are visiting PEI in the summer,here are some of the best beaches in PEI for families, and the best campgrounds in PEI if you enjoy camping.
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