Set 10 hours north of Vancouver at the junction of the Fraser and Nechako Rivers, Prince George is known as the Northern Capital of British Columbia. Prince George visitors come to this shopping, cultural and service hub to purchase goods, take in a performance, participate in sporting events and enjoy fine dining.
Prior to European settlement, the Carrier First Nations and Lheidli T'enneh tribes inhabited the area. In 1793, Alexander Mackensie was the first European to explore here, and Simon Fraser established the first fort here in 1807. By 1907, when the main industry became forestry, the town finally began to boom; when the railway came through soon after, this little junction became the centre of northern action and was officially named Prince George.
Prince George visitors will enjoy a walking tour of the downtown area to learn about the history of various buildings. The Central BC Railway and Forestry Museum, east of downtown near Cottonwood Island Nature Park, is a Prince George attraction suitable for all ages. Visitors can tour Penny Station, which has been restored to its 1915 state, or climb aboard the Nechako Coach, restored to all of its splendour, and enjoy a bite at the functional kitchen and dining room area. The Hubble Homestead Historic Spot is 40 kilometres north of the city, and here visitors can tour a log home, the Salmon Valley Post Office and a First Nations fish camp.
The Exploration Place, south of downtown, is another Prince George attraction that will attract the curious, offering educational displays on First Nations heritage and natural history, as well as interactive exhibits which allow children a hands-on exploration of science. Groop Gallery is a large commercial art gallery featuring the works of local and regional artists. The Prince George Playhouse is a small community theatre that produces a variety of plays, music concerts and comedy acts. Theatre Northwest produces acclaimed plays like Joyful Noise, and Privilege.
Many Prince George visitors enjoy taking advantage of the great outdoors. Biking, hiking and camping are popular activities, as are fishing, canoeing and river-rafting. Golf is also a big draw in Prince George, with 8 courses in or around the city. The largest of these is the Prince George Golf and Curling Club, an 18-hole, par-71 golf course established in 1946, which also has 8 sheets of curling ice and 5 racquet courts; though the club is private, all facilities are open to public use.
The downtown area contains many speciality stores including Northern Hardware, 2nd Thoughts Buy and Sell and The Brick (a home furnishings store). White Goose Bistro is a local favourite for lunch and dinner, and patrons traveling from surrounding areas enjoy a variety of fine dining choices made to order. For a more relaxed, locally-sourced and organic experience, Sassafras Savouries is an excellent choice, offering salads, sandwiches and comfort-food favourites. Oh...Chocolat Café is the perfect place for coffee and sandwiches, as well as pastries for those with a sweet tooth.