Things to Do in St John's
Located in Antigua's capital city, the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda is the place to learn more about the nation's history and cultural legacy. The museum is housed in the Colonial Court House, built in 1747, making it the oldest building still in use in the city. Through its numerous engaging exhibits, the museum tells the story of the nation, from its geological birth to political independence.
Located in the West Indies, Antigua is the main island that makes up the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda. The region’s history and geography have made it internationally known as a sailing and yachting destination, and it’s one of the most popular stops on cruise itineraries. Ships dock in the capital city of St. John’s.
One of the best places to go on the island if you want fantastic views of the shimmering Caribbean waters, Fort James sits in an ideal position overlooking St John's Harbor. Built by the British in 1706 to protect the harbor, the fort was intended to prevent the French from invading the island.
Today, come and see the cannons, powder magazine, and foundation of the wall, the remainders of the fort. The true highlight of a visit to Fort James, however, is the unbeatable view of St. John's Harbor. With its bright blue waters, nestled among towering cliffs and the picturesque town of St. John's, the harbor is truly one of the most beautiful sites Antigua and Barbuda has to offer.
Finished in 1848, St. John's Anglican Cathedral (St. John the Divine), an impressive freestone structure, serves as a reminder of Antigua's European roots. Built in the neo-baroque style, the cathedral seems out of place on the Caribbean island, with its iron fence, stained-glass windows and two lofty towers with cupolas on top.
The 70-foot (21-meter) towers serve as distinctive landmarks of the island, as they are the first structures that people see when approaching Antigua by boat. While the view is impressive to some, the sight of the towers once struck fear into the hearts of slaves who were arriving, as it reminded them of the oppressive power of the British who ruled over Antigua.
Stop by the cathedral and see the famed bronze statues of the two St Johns: St John the Baptist and the St. John who the temple was named after. The stoic, European look of the cathedral is a unique departure from the relaxed ocean vibe of this Caribbean island.
If you’re in the mood for duty-free and high-end shopping on Antigua, Heritage Quay is the place to find good prices on luxury items. This shopping complex has dozens of shops selling everything from Rolex watches and diamond jewelry to duty-free cigars and liquor, not to mention designer clothes, cosmetics, electronics and more. Throughout the shopping center you’ll spot troupes of local performers playing steel pan music. You’ll need to show a passport and travel documents to take advantage of the duty-free shopping. There is also an arcade where vendors sell T-shirts, souvenirs and local arts and crafts, and can negotiate deals if you’re willing to haggle. A food court features a wide-range of bars and restaurants, from pizzas and island dishes, to seafood.
The blazing-white sands of Dickenson Bay are home to a handful of Antigua’s larger resort hotels, including Sandals, Halcyon Cove and Antigua Village. Along the beachfront you can also find a hub of restaurants, beach bars, and water sports operators renting kayaks, windsurfing boards, snorkeling gear and more. The bay is known for having consistently calm waters, which makes it a great place for families with kids to play in the water, or for snorkelers who want to visit the mile-long stretch of reef that runs along the shore. The one thing you won’t find at Dickenson Bay is a secluded stretch of sand, as it’s one of the most popular beaches on the island, but if you want get away from the crowd, head south to the next beach over along Runaway Bay.
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