Take a tour.
Exploring on your own is always a rich, rewarding experience. There’s no better way to get to know a city than to put the map away and get lost. But sometimes, local knowledge and expertise is the only way to truly understand what makes a place tick. From watching grizzly bears lazily munch the sedge grass of a scenic estuary to gasping as the mist expelled from a whale’s blowhole dissipates in the air in front of your face, guided tours out of Prince Rupert are unforgettable. For marine wildlife, join a tour that will explore nearby stomping grounds for humpback whales, getting you up close and personal with some of the planet’s largest and most mysterious creatures. For the big ticket land mammals, you’ll want to get up to the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Sanctuary where you’ll have an intimate glimpse of Ursusarctos, better known as the grizzly, or brown bear. Several tour operators offer short daytrip excursions into the spectacular protected area; many combine whale watching en route. And for bird watchers, well, you’ll have a great time on both these tours, or you can arrange something uniquely avian focussed. Even just walking around town will give you a good view of eagles, ravens, and shorebirds.
Home to the Tsimshian First Nations since time immemorial, Prince Rupert and its surrounding villages and communities are rich in culture and heritage. The Museum of Northern BC is a perfect starting point for learning about this long history. From there, you may be inspired to check out local galleries, book a tour with the Metlakatla First Nation, or head out to the North Pacific Cannery National Historic Site to further immerse yourself in the history of the north. Here, you’ll get a deeper understanding of the resource boom that took place here in the late 19thcentury through to modern times. It’s a short drive (or bus ride) from downtown Prince Rupert and you’ll easily spend a few hours out there, if not a full day. The site operates from May 1 until the end of September and features either self-guided tours or—a great option—guided tours with guides well versed in the long history of Canada’s longest operating cannery. They also serve local food and snacks (including homemade seafood chowder) and hot drinks, as well as operate a gift shop. Bring your camera: you are allowed and encouraged to take pictures and the old, restored buildings are very photogenic.