Prince George

Destination Location

Prince George

Overview

Surrounded by crystalline lakes, awe-inspiring mountain ranges and endless forests, Prince George is a small city in a large expanse of otherwise uninhabited wilderness. For those who love serene spaces, solitude and spending time outdoors, this Northern British Columbia city is a small slice of heaven.

Although many visitors to Prince George simply stop in to pick up extra camping gear or take a hot shower between adventures in the wild, it’s also a great city to enjoy a relaxing weekend away from home or a hearty meal with friends.

With all of the amenities of a large city, Prince George also offers plenty of attractions for the whole family such as Exploration Place, the Huble Homestead and the Prince George Railway & Forestry Museum. Live theatre, WHL hockey, art galleries, fine dining and festivals are also easy to find. In fact, there are so many reasons to spend time in this warm, friendly city that you’ll find yourself wondering why you didn’t visit a long time ago.

Prince George is a fantastic destination for:

  • outdoor adventure
  • culture and history

Airport served by: YXS

Destination basics

A city of immense proportions, Prince George is a thriving metropolis that contributes greatly to British Columbia’s economy and culture. It is no wonder then that it is hailed as the ‘Northern Capital of British Columbia’. Prince George, with its vibrant personality, is designed to amaze, represented by vast expanses of timberland and wilderness, its blossoming appetite for arts and culture, and its ability to transform into a winter wonderland.

Prince George brims with all the trappings of a modern-day mecca, yet balances it with an effortless countryside charm. Beginning from the core depths of downtown and radiating outward, its neighborhoods reflect this spectacular duality.

Downtown Prince George
A booming neighborhood with plenty to offer, Downtown Prince George reflects the city’s multicultural spirit. The core downtown is streamlined into various avenues that are dotted with an array of small businesses, mom and pop cafes and restaurants, art galleries, boutique stores, book shops, and entertainment venues. The uniquely designed building of the Two Rivers Art Gallery finds itself at the corner of Canada Games Way, where various local artists display stunning handicrafts and artwork. The city’s dining scene is also centered around Downtown Prince George, giving way to a host of independently-owned restaurants and cozy coffee shops. Other landmarks here include the Civic Centre and the Prince George Public Library. To catch downtown in its element, visit the neighborhood during the day when most of the shops are open, as opposed to evening-time, when a sudden quiet settles over the area.

Millar Addition
Nuzzling the bank of the Fraser River, this neighborhood borders the streets of Downtown Prince George, yet features a tranquil vibe distinct from downtown’s bustling corners. The Millar Addition is home to one of the city’s most prominent parks - the Lheidli T'enneh Memorial Park, also known as the Fort George Park. Besides being a favored spot for the city’s events and festivals, the park is also the site of The Exploration Place, a science and nature museum with interactive exhibits. Nearby, the Connaught Hill Park adds another splash of green to the city, with floral displays and sweeping city vistas.

Cranbrook Hill
The neighborhood of Cranbrook Hill is both the city’s educational epicenter and its outdoor playground. It is home to Forests of the World, a 106 hectare (261.93 acre) expanse of heavily forested land punctuated by the sparkling Shane Lake. The forest comprises of meandering trails that go on for more than 15 kilometers (9.32 miles) through the thick of the forest, and contain several wildlife species, from beavers and moose to duck and migratory birds. The neighborhood also features a couple of popular bike and ski trails such as Pidherny and Otway. Nearby, the University of Northern British Columbia continues to thrive as the one of the province’s best small universities, its lofty location offering views of the Rockies’ foothills on a clear day. Cranbrook Hill is home to the smaller communities of Charella Garden and University Heights.

Blackburn
The verdant neighborhood of Blackburn lies close to the Prince George International Airport as well as Downtown Prince George, allowing for easy access to modern amenities. There are plenty of opportunities for hiking here, as well as for horseback riding. The Tabor Lake that lies nearby offers great opportunities for angling.

Surrounding Areas
South of the Nechako River, near the confluence of the Nechako and Fraser Rivers lies the suburb of South Fort George. It was formerly known as Fort George, back when the Hudson Bay Company established their trading post here. Today, the suburb is the site of the Cottonwood Island Nature Park, a tranquil, wooded area that is the origin of several trails. The pathways in the park are lined with mature Black Cottonwood trees, and the park is home to a beautiful trail network that leads to Fort George Park. Nearby, the Prince George Railway and Forestry Museum chronicles the history of several historic locomotive and rolling stock, and celebrates the city’s forest-driven industry.

Close to the community of Charella Garden where the Yellowhead Highway and the Cariboo Highway intersect, lies an area that is home to the iconic Mr. PG, a celebrated city landmark. The beatific 8.2-meters (27-feet) tall statue of this wood-made mascot is visible to all that pass through either of the two main thoroughfares, and is intended to represent the city’s contribution to the foresting industry. Besides Mr. PG, this small community is also home to the Prince George Golf & Curling Club, the Treasure Trove Casino, and the Pine Centre Mall.
Prince George is known for its sprawling outdoors, but also enjoys a thriving arts scene, speckled with round-the-year shows and performances.

Live Music Venues & Concerts
Over the years, Prince George has derived quite an enviable live music scene that features an impressive motley of both homegrown musicians and traveling bands. The city’s central stance between Vancouver and Whitehorse lends it even more of an appeal for touring groups who stop by at the height of summer for enthralling music performances. If you wish to catch some of the city’s talent in action, head to popular haunts like Nancy O’s and The Black Clover for weekly entertainment alongside deliciously prepared tidbits. You can also see the city’s music scene thrive at the Coldsnap Music Festival hosted every winter. Warm up to a diverse range of musical acts performed by entertainers who trickle into the city from across the world for a week-long celebration of music. Come summer, the Prince George Folk Festival brings its denizens together to witness some of the best international folk music artists in action.

Those who prefer more classical concerts will enjoy the seasonal performances of the Prince George Symphony Orchestra and the Fraser Lyric Opera Company. The Prince George Playhouse and the CN Centre also plays host to several large-scale concerts, having hosted talents such as Shania Twain, Avril Lavigne and Elton John in the past. Other venues where audiophiles can track concerts are the Vanier Hall, ArtSpace, and Pops in the Park - a summertime concert series held at the Fort George Park.

Performing Arts
Prince George proves its mettle in the field of theater with entertaining productions by the Theatre Northwest company and the Excalibur Theatre Arts Company. Once a year during Christmas, Judi Russell's Enchaînement Dance Centre puts on a riveting show of The Nutcracker ballet in alliance with the Prince George Symphony Orchestra. The city also hosts numerous comedy shows at its 295-seat community theater, the Prince George Playhouse.

Museums & Galleries
Prince George keeps its history alive through a number of well-preserved museums. The Central BC Railway & Forestry Museum is a sprawling museum that pays a worthy tribute to its flourishing forest and transportation industry through preserved artifacts and well-documented exhibits. The Huble Homestead Historic Site chronicles the city’s nascent beginnings, whereas the Exploration Place offers scientific learnings and displays interesting exhibits related to natural history. Art enthusiasts can peruse through myriad contemporary Canadian artworks as the city’s only prominent gallery, the Two Rivers Gallery. Private galleries in the city include the Groop Gallery and Studio 2880.

Outdoor Recreation
From hiking and mountain biking to horseback riding and wintertime skiing, Prince George’s abundant wilderness will leave you spellbound and spoiled for choice.

The city is known to be home to several kilometers of serpentine trails of varying difficulty. Those who prefer flat and relatively easier terrains for walking can hike along the pristine riverside wilderness of the LC Gunn Park, the McMillan Creek Regional Park, and the Cottonwood Island Park. The city has quite a few accessible trails as well, such as Ginter’s Field and The Ancient Forest, located well outside city limits. More experienced trekkers can hike up the steep sides of the Teapot Mountains to be rewarded with magnificent views upon reaching the summit. For more gorgeous city views, walk up the legendary cutbanks near the Nechako River, and watch as the evening sun illuminates the city in an amber glow. For adrenalin-pumping results, mountain bikers will delight in riding the winding trails of the Otway and Pidherny bike trails, two of the best trails in the city for this sport.

Golfing enthusiasts will love the experience of teeing off at any of the courses across the city, be it the Pine Valley Golf Centre, or the Aberdeen Glen Golf Course on Club House Drive.

The area of Prince George sees beautiful winters that transform the city into a veritable winter wonderland. Try skiing at the famous Hart Highlands Ski Hill, or snowshoe your way around Eskers Provincial Park and the Otway Nordic Center. Spots such as Carney Hill, Moore’s Meadow, and Rainbow Park offer excellent opportunities for tobogganing.
Although Prince George may not be recognized for its dining scene, it features a diverse range of options to choose from. There is a good mix of casual dining restaurants, family-oriented eateries, and breezy cafes in the city, as well as a decent setting for international cuisines. The city’s watering holes typically constitute neighborhood pubs that serve a pub ‘n’ grub menu.

Downtown Prince George
For whatever you may crave, you will find an answer in Prince George’s downtown, where most of the eateries are based.

Some of the city’s swankier options include North 54, an upscale eatery serving an eclectic menu. This place makes for an excellent choice for special occasions and fine dining. Then there is the White Goose Bistro sporting a casual yet elegant vibe coupled with a splendid menu.
Nancy O’s, an intimate restaurant with an adults-only policy is perfect for unwinding. The restaurant promotes a farm-to-fork agenda, and makes most of naturally-available bounty. Sample everything from superbly plated tapas, pastas, and burgers, and groove to live music on the weekends.

For a livelier ambiance and a more focused food scene, restaurants such as the Copper Pig BBQ, and the Keg Steakhouse and Bar are all-time favorites. Enjoy a thoroughly Irish ambiance at the friendly Kelly O’Bryan’s pub, which also features a kids’ and dessert menus. Sample some top-notch brews at Kask, which opened to the city’s beer lovers in November 2016. Other pubs in the city are the Alpine Pub & Grill, and Don Cherry’s Sports Grill. For something different, try the handmade pasta and Chickpea Ragu at the Cimo Mediterranean Grill. Other global additions to the city’s dining scene include the Hummus Brothers Restaurant and Lounge, Amigo’s Taco Shop, Karahi King for fiery Indian curries, and Betulla Burning for Neapolitan meals.

For times when sit-down dinners become elusive due to exacting travel schedules, quick-stop eateries such as The Salted Cracker, and Zoe’s Java House come to the rescue.

Those with a sweet tooth must absolutely stop by and sample the heavenly treats served at Ohh Chocolat Café on George Street, and stop for coffee at Cafe Voltaire, a sweet little cafe nestled inside the Books & Company.

Highway 97 and surrounds
If you’re traveling with family, grab amazing Canadian breakfasts at D’Lanos, or satisfying pizza pies at Daddy O’s, located right on Highway 97. Pizza lovers should note that there are quite a few chain pizza parlors along this route. Though they may not be the best choice in terms of ambiance, they do make for quick-serve, value-for-money stops along the way. There are also a few national chains like Earls Kitchen + Bar and Denny's occupying this stretch that are decent stops for quick meals.
Prince George

Province: British Columbia

Country: Canada

Prince George by the Numbers
Population: 74,003
Elevation: 575 meters / 1,886 feet
Average Annual Precipitation: 61.46 centimeters / 24.19 inches
Average Annual Snowfall: 216 centimeters / 85 inches
Average January Temperature: -8°C / 18°F
Average July Temperature: 16°C / 60°F

Quick Facts
Electricity: 120 volts, 60Hz, AC

Time Zone: GMT-8 (GMT-7 Daylight Saving Time); Pacific Standard Time (PST)

Country Dialing Code: +1

Area Code: 250; 778; 236

Did You Know?
At one time, Prince George was not only the second-largest city in British Columbia, but also had the most millionaires per capita in Canada.

Orientation
Prince George is located at the junction of the Nechako and Fraser Rivers, in northern British Columbia. Kamloops, BC, is one of the closest cities to Prince George, located at a distance of 527 kilometers (327 miles). Vancouver, BC is located 788 kilometers (489 miles) away.
Long before Prince George gained momentum as an economic and transportation hub, it was occupied by the First Nations tribe Lheidli T'Enneh (People from the Confluence of Two Rivers). The Prince George area first came into notice when Alexander Mackenzie traveled through it in 1793, but this did not result in consequent settlement. Years later, in 1807, American explorer Simon Fraser established the North West Company’s fur trading post at the site, and christened it Fort George after King George III. Later, this was amalgamated with the Hudson Bay Trading Company.

In the 19th Century, Fort St. James thrived as the main trading post, while Fort St.George saw little growth. It was only in 1903 when the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway announced the building of the railroad, and the forest industry blossomed, that Fort George saw the spark of development. Several companies rivaled and two competing communities were built within miles of each other, one near the Nechako River and the other near the Fraser River. Finally, the completion of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway in 1913 resulted in the establishment of Prince George at the junction of the two rivers of Nechako and Fraser.

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