Prince George, locally known as PG, is a major service centre in Northern British Columbia, Canada. It is the largest city north of Kamloops in BC, and known as BC's Northern Capital. Prince George is at the crossroads of highway 16 (East-West) and highway 97 (north-south), in a large valley at the confluence of the Fraser river and the Nechako river, both significant, high flow rivers.
In spite of several interesting and exciting natural features, and a few notable museums, the superb Coldsnap music and entertainment festival in January, a fabulous art gallery, a fantastic seasonal farmer's market, and many other attempts by the city to make Prince George an interesting tourist destination, Prince George remains a stop; a service centre for transiting tourists, and not a destination on most travellers' itineraries.
phone: +1 250-963-2400address: 4141 Airport Road15 minutes from the city centre. Air Canada and Westjet have regular, direct service from Vancouver, and connecting service to the rest of Canada. There is taxi service available, and the PG Airporter shuttle. Say hello to the airport's mascot, Amelia Bearhart, if she's wandering around the airport.
By carPrince George sits at the intersection of the Yellowhead Highway (TransCanada 16) and BC Highway 97. It's an 8-10 hour drive north from Vancouver, and an 8-hour drive west from Edmonton. Prince George has all services in town, including dealerships for most major car manufacturers. Prince George is a frequent stop for people en route to travel the Alaska Highway.
- Twice a week, BC Bus North provides service to Valemount; via Vanderhoof and Smithers to Prince Rupert ($45); and via Dawson Creek to Fort St John with a weekly connection to Fort Nelson. You are required to book 24 hours in advance, though exceptions may be made (you can try just walking up). Payment by card only, on the bus. Don't expect the bus to closely follow the stop schedule online, or even to stop in the smaller towns if the driver isn't aware someone wants to get on or off there.
address: 7th Ave & Dominion St (approximate stop location)BC Transit operates route 161 from Prince George via Vanderhoof to Burns Lake running Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, and route 162 from Burns Lake to Smithers running Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays. Going between Prince George and Smithers requires an overnight stay at Burns Lake.
Prince George stationaddress: 1300 1st Ave.Via Rail offers service west to Prince Rupert and east to Jasper (the route is sometimes referred to by its old name, The Skeena). The train runs once a day, east and west, three times a week (Mon, Thur, Sat). The Prince George train station is open only for a 3-4 hours during arrivals and departures of the train in the early morning and late evening.
By busBC Transit operates Prince George's public transit system, which features 14 bus lines. The service is fairly reliable, with most buses running once every half hour. Fare options include single rides ($2.25/adult, $1.75/student or senior) day passes ($4.50/adult, $4.00/child).
By taxiPrince George has two taxi companies:
- Prince George Taxi - +1 250-564-4444
- Emerald Taxi - +1 250-563-3333
Cab rates in Prince George are comparable to rates in other medium-sized cities in North America.
By carPersonal car is the easiest way to get around PG. Most major rental outlets in North America have offices in town, as well as at the airport.
- Mr. PG: A large statue of man with tree stumps for legs and arms, around 10 metres high, has to be seen to be believed. Mr. PG stands near the tourist information centre at the intersection of Highway 16 and Highway 97. Locals commonly think of him as ugly.
- University of Northern British Columbia Grounds: Located high above town, the view from the campus is spectacular. There are lots of hiking trails and mountain bike paths in Forests for the World behind the campus.
The PG Northern Pride Centre Societyphone: +1 250-960-6461In the NUSC Building of UNBC. This is the only Pride centre in Prince George. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or website: northernpridesociety.com.
- Lheidli T'enneh Memorial Park (Fort George Park): Just outside of downtown, Fort George is a pleasant river side park with a large playground.
- Moore's Meadow Park - a beautiful natural meadow surrounded by forest in a deep hidden valley right next to one of the town's suburban areas.
- Connaught Hill - A small hill in the middle of town, take the short drive to the top to see a spectacular view of town, as well as enjoy the gardens and shaded areas on the summit.
- Prince George Courthouse: This impressive building features a prominent dome roof.
- Nechako River Cutbanks: These large banks of sand along the Nechako river are a striking view. In mid-summer, the cutbanks formerly hosted the Prince George Sandblast, where competitors ski and snow (sand?) board down the sandy cutbanks to the city below, but the annual event has been cancelled as a result of injuries and accidents. This competition has been featured in several of Warren Miller's ski movies over the years.
- Forests for the World: On Cranbook Hill, it's a short drive from the downtown core, with hiking, Shane Lake, a picnic area, and a lookout point. A good place to see wildlife without going too far.
- Specialty Avenue: 4th Avenue has been emerging as a revitalized downtown area. There are several unique shops including, Homework (a clothing store), Books & Company (a café/bookstore/concert venue), J.J. Springers, Dandy Lines, Kathy's Quilt Shop, and Darlenes Handwovens.
phone: +1 250 563-7351address: 850 River RdEast of downtown, on the other side of the railway yards along River Road. The museum features lots of old railway equipment, including a number of coaches in the process of being restored. Some notable pieces of equipment include the Russel Wooden Snowplow, BC Rail Electric locomotives and the BC Government Coach "Endeavour". There is also a miniature railway that operates seasonally and offers rides around the museum grounds.
phone: +1 250 564-7033address: 15000 Mitchell RoadThis historic site is 40 km north of Prince George, just off Highway 97. It consists of the house of trader Al Huble who arrived in 1904. There are various other buildings, including a blacksmith shop, general store, and trapper's cabin, some original and some reconstructed. The site is located at the south end of the historic Giscome Portage, once an important route between the Fraser and Peace River systems. During the tourist season, interpreters in period costume are on hand and a blacksmith is at work at the forge. It is also a nice site for a walk or picnic.
phone: +1 250 614-7800address: 725 Canada Games WayThis large, public art gallery is downtown in an impressive, purpose-built building. The gallery features art by artists from all over British Columbia. A highlight in Prince George, and well worth the admission price.
The Exploration PlaceThis small museum in Fort George Park offers local history, as well as a hands-on natural history and science exhibit for children. Hours vary from season to season and should be verified before visiting.
Touchwood Tours:Touchwood Tours offers forestry tours to view the current on-the-ground practices of a sustainable forest management process. The day long trips include transportation, lunch, expert tour leaders and the chance to interact with local workers on a one on one basis. Tours must be booked in advance.
- Skiing and snowboarding: There are several ski areas around town. Hart Highlands is a small hill in town. 1/2 an hour west is Tabor ski area, another 1/2 hour west is Purden ski area. These hills feature fairly long runs and interesting terrain.
- Fishing: Ferguson Lake is 15 km north of Prince George featuring a 50-ft dock, an old homestead site, canoe launch and interpretive trails. This is a great place to fish with the kids from the dock.
The major shopping areas are: Pine Centre Mall, Parkwood Mall, and the Westgate Plaza. There are also several 'big box' style retailers, including a Walmart, Costco and Superstore which are on the west side of town along highway 16.
Prince George also has a small downtown area, which has several local stores. Some of the downtown stores include: Books & Company, on the edge of downtown, a very nice local book shop that features books by local authors. Meow Records is another interesting local shop on Brunswick Avenue, offering used and new records and CDs. It is also a great way to get connected with the local music scene.
Kumbayaz, a First Nations gift shop features many locally made products.
Cimo Mediterranean Grilladdress: 601 Victoria StreetGood ingredients, excellent preparation, and good service come together at Cimo. A solid restaurant for any city, but a real find in such a small city.
- North 54 Excellent, friendly service combines with a lovely decor to give an exquisite restaurant. Not a cheap restaurant, but the high quality steaks and pasta are well worth the price.
- Spicy Greens serves up home made Indian cuisine that will keep your taste buds popping. The food is very good and the prices very reasonable.
phone: +1 250-612-0028address: 104-892 Central Street EAn awesome place to have sushi!
address: 1261 3rd AveSmall 13-table restaurant with tons of character. Over 50 different beers available. Generous meal portions are created from raw ingredients. It can get very busy, especially when there is live music - so reservations are recommended
address: 1645 15th AvenueThis is the only vegetarian restaurant in Prince George, with many vegan options. The food is delicious, cheap, and mostly Taiwanese inspired. The staff is extremely friendly and helpful.
Prince George has many fine pubs and bars around town, some favourites include:
- The BX: A favourite among locals, has good food and cheap beer, located just west of downtown.
- Shooters Sports Pub: Located across from the multiplex and downtown on Brunswick St.
- The Generator: If you want to have a good time the Generator is the place to be. Cover charge is typically $10.
- The College Heights Pub: Located in the suburb of College Heights, west of town. This English-style pub has very good food.
- The Alpine: Neat pub up in Hart Highlands, north of town. Very good food and low prices. Out of the way, but a good place to check out after an evening of skiing.
- Jake's Steakhouse: near 3rd Ave and Vancouver St, this steakhouse has amazing steak for reasonable prices. Try the coleslaw for a tasty salad.
The Clozout ClubDiagonally across from The Generator above the Happy Monkey, Gay Friendly Club. Cheap drinks, good music, friendly atmosphere. Most of the time 100% of all door proceeds go directly to supporting the local Pride societies throwing events there. Open Friday and Saturday nights.
There are numerous hotels & motels in Prince George, along Highway 97/Central, along Highway 16 West, and downtown. For those seeking hostel level accommodations Prince George is not particularly well equipped to suit that style of travel. The CNC dorms (listed below) are one option available during summer, and camping is available in the outskirts of the city.
phone: +1 250 563-0121address: 770 Brunswick StGenerally considered the high-end accommodation in Prince George.
phone: +1 250 563-0055address: 444 George St190-room hotel with one king/two queen standard rooms and some suites. Amenities include fitness center, indoor swimming pool and whirlpool.
phone: +1 250 614-9111address: 2005 Hwy 97 S80-room hotel attached to the Treasure Cove Casino. Amenities include complimentary continental breakfast, pool with waterslide and fitness centre.
- Sandman Inn, on Central St beside Dennys.
Esther's InnJust off Central. Hotel and restaurant with a swimming pool, steam room, whirlpool baths and water slides. Known to turn away locals.
- College of New Caledonia Residences, $20 per person per night without linen, $25 with. Only available May through August.
- Grama's Inn, just off Central near Wendys.
- Economy Inn, right downtown, rooms are spacious and clean, with free fast wifi. Staff are very friendly.
- Downtown Motel, near 4 Seasons Swimming Pool and the Civic Centre.
- Bon Voyage Motor Inn, on Highway 16 west, this motel is somewhat outside of the city. Connected to Bon Voyage shopping plaza.
- Travelodge Goldcap, on Brunswick St.
- Four Points by Sheraton, on Hwy 97 just south.