- For other places with the same name, see Prince George (disambiguation).
Prince George, locally known as PG, is a city in the North Coast-Nechako region and 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.
From the very beginning, Prince George was built around the forest industry. Today, the forest industry is still the largest employer in town. Prince George has a significant industrial areas North and South of town, along the Fraser River. This includes 3 pulp & paper mills, several chemical factories, several saw mills and an oil refinery. Since its beginnings, Prince George has diversified significantly. Today, Prince George has a large government presence, an important court house, a large provincial jail and the University of Northern British Columbia, one of five British Columbia universities.
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.
- 1 Prince George Airport (YXS IATA), 4141 Airport Road, ☏ . 4:30AM-12:30AM. 15 minutes from the city centre. 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.
- Direct flights to Prince George from Calgary (1.5 hours), Edmonton (1.75 hours), Terrace (1.25 hours), and Vancouver (1.25 hours).
Canadian airlines operating to Prince George:
- Air Canada, ☏ , toll-free: . Canada's largest airline with hubs in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal. It operates across Canada and services international destinations.
- Central Mountain Air, toll-free: , [email protected]. Operates flights mostly in British Columbia and to a lesser extent in Alberta. Edmonton, Prince George, and Vancouver effectively serve as hubs for the airline.
- Westjet, toll-free: . Canada's second largest airline services with hubs in Calgary and Toronto. It operates across Canada and services international destinations.
Prince George has two highways servicing the city, which intersect in the middle of the city. Those highways are:
- Highway 16 (Yellowhead Highway). Prince George can be reached traveling east from Prince Rupert or traveling west from Edmonton (about 8 hours)
- Highway 97. Prince George can be reached by traveling south from Dawson Creek or by traveling north from Kamloops. It's an 8-10 hour drive north from Vancouver, involving traveling on Highway 1 and then transferring to Highway 97 at Cache Creek. Prince George is a frequent stop for people en route to travel the Alaska Highway, which starts in Dawson Creek.
- Adventure Charters, ☏ , [email protected]. Operates routes, each operating twice per week, between Prince George and Surrey, and Prince George and Kamloops. Both routes stop in Quesnel, Williams Lake, 100 Mile House, Clinton, and Cache Creek. In addition, the route to Surrey stops in Lytton, Boston Bar, Hope, Chilliwack, and Abbotsford. Travel time to Prince George from Kamloops is 6 hours, from Surrey is 10.5 hours, from Abbotsford is 9.75 hours, from Hope is 8.25 hours, from Cache Creek is 5.25-5.75 hours, from Williams Lake is 2.75-3 hours, and from Quesnel is 1.5 hours.
- BC Bus North, ☏ . Provides twice per week bus service on the following routes:
- Between Prince George and Fort St. John with stops in Mackenzie, Chetwynd, Dawson Creek, and Taylor. Travel time to Prince George from Dawson Creek is 6.75 hours and from Fort St. John is 8 hours. Fare is $48. There is also a weekly trip between Dawson Creek and Fort Nelson, allowing passengers to travel between Prince George and Fort Nelson over two consecutive days.
- Between Prince George and Prince Rupert with stops in Vanderhoof, Fraser Lake, Burns Lake, Houston, Smithers, New Hazelton, Kitwanga, and Terrace, and Port Edward. Travel time to Prince George from Prince Rupert is 11.5 hours, from Terrace is 9.25 hours, from Smithers is 6 hours, from Burns Lake is 3.5 hours, and from Vanderhoof is 1.5 hours. Fare is $40 to $65, depending on distance.
- Between Prince George and Valemount with a stops in McBride and Tete Jaune Cache. Travel time to Prince George from Valemount is 3.5 hours. Fare is $35.
- Note: 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.
- 2 VIA Rail Canada, 1300 1st Ave (Prince George station XDV IATA), toll-free: . Operates a route between Jasper and Prince Rupert with stops in McBride, Prince George, Vanderhoof, Burns Lake, Houston, Smithers, New Hazelton, Kitwanga, and Terrace. The train travels during the daytime, taking two days in each direction. Travel time to Prince George from Jasper is 7.5 hours, from Vanderhoof is 2 hours, from Burns Lake is 4 hours, from Smithers is 6 hours, from Terrace is 10 hours, and from Prince Rupert is 12.5 hours. The train stops overnight in Prince George, where passengers will need to book sleeping accommodations. Jasper is also a stop for The Canadian, which travels between Vancouver and Toronto.
By public transit
- BC Transit (Prince George Transit System), ☏ . Operates over a dozen bus routes, most which operate multiple times daily. 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).
- 3 BC Transit (Bulkley Nechako Regional Transit System), 7th Ave & Dominion St (approximate stop location), toll-free: . Operates bus route 161 from Prince George via Vanderhoof to Burns Lake running Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, and bus 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 has two taxi companies:
Cab rates in Prince George are comparable to rates in other medium-sized cities in North America.
By ride hailing
Personal 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.
- 1 Mr. PG (Hwy 16 & Hwy 97). 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.
- 2 University of Northern British Columbia, 3333 University Way, ☏ . 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 Society, ☏ , [email protected]. In the NUSC Building of UNBC. This is the only Pride centre in Prince George.
- 3 [dead link] Lheidli T'enneh Memorial Park (Fort George Park), 17th Avenue. 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.
- 4 [dead link] Connaught Hill Park, 1112 Connaught Drive. 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.
- 5 Prince George Courthouse, 250 George Street, ☏ . 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.
- Railway & Forestry Museum, 850 River Rd, ☏ . mid-May to Aug: daily 10AM-5PM; Sept to mid-May: Tu-Sa 11AM-4PM. East 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. $5/7/8 (child/youth or senior/adult).
- Huble Homestead, 15000 Mitchell Road, ☏ . 10AM-5PM mid-May (Victoria Day weekend) to early Sept (Labour Day); may also open for special events around Halloween and Christmas. This 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. Admission is by donation (recommended $5 for adults and $3 for children/seniors or $10 for a family).
- Two Rivers Art Gallery:, 725 Canada Games Way, ☏ . M-W F Sa 10AM-5PM, Th 10AM-9PM, Su noon-5PM. This 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. $3/6/7.50 (child/youth or senior/adult).
- The Exploration Place. This 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 Grill, 601 Victoria Street (Victoria and 6th), ☏ . Good 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.
- Sushi97, 104-892 Central Street E, ☏ . An awesome place to have sushi!
- Nancy O's, 1261 3rd Ave, ☏ . Small 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
- Veggie Q Café, 1645 15th Avenue (Located across 15th Avenue from Parkwood Mall), ☏ . Su-F 11AM-8PM. This 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.
- Madras Maple Cafe, 1535 Ogilvie St S, Prince George, BC V2N 1W7, ☏ . Excellent Tamil food.
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.
- 1 The Clozout Club. Diagonally 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. $5 cover donation.
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.
- 1 Coast Inn of the North, 770 Brunswick St (8th Ave & Brunswick St), ☏ . Generally considered the high-end accommodation in Prince George. $150 and up in summer.
- 2 Ramada Prince George, 444 George St, ☏ , toll-free: . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. 190-room hotel with one king/two queen standard rooms and some suites. Amenities include fitness center, indoor swimming pool and whirlpool. $140 and up in summer.
- 3 Prestige Treasure Cove Hotel, 2005 Hwy 97 S (SE corner of Hwy 97 & Hwy 16), ☏ , toll-free: . 80-room hotel attached to the Treasure Cove Casino. Amenities include complimentary continental breakfast, pool with waterslide and fitness centre. $170 and up in summer.
- 4 Sandman Inn, 1650 Central St E (Hwy 97 & 15th Ave), ☏ , toll-free: , [email protected].
- 5 Sandman Signature Prince George Hotel, 2990 Recplace Drive (SW corner of Hwy 97 & Hwy 16), ☏ , toll-free: , [email protected].
- Esther's Inn. Just 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.
From 2010 to 2012, Maclean's magazine listed Prince George as one of the most dangerous cities in Canada. Expect gang wars and drug abuse, even though this has been declined over the years; travel with caution. Violence is however largely restricted to the drug gangs. People not involved in the drug trade are at little risk.
|Routes through Prince George|
|Prince Rupert ← Vanderhoof ←||W E||→ McBride → Jasper|
|Prince Rupert ← Vanderhoof ←||W E||→ McBride → Jasper|
|Dawson Creek ← Chetwynd ←||N S||→ Quesnel → Kamloops / Hope via|