Downtown Prince George is located on a spur of land at the confluence of the Fraser and Nechako rivers. The old commercial district at first seems a bit forlorn, but a stroll around the city center -- concentrated along Third Avenue and George Street -- reveals a down-and-dirty charm that's reminiscent of towns in the Yukon or Northwest Territories. And the prevalence of tattoo parlors, pawnshops, and old-fashioned coffee shops enhances the impression of a rough-and-ready frontier community.
The Two Rivers Gallery (tel. 888/221-1155 or 250/614-7800; www.tworiversartgallery.com) occupies a stylish space in the Civic Centre Plaza, at Patricia Boulevard and Dominion Street. This architecturally innovative, C$5-million structure showcases the work of local and regional artists. There's also a sculpture garden, gift shop, and cafe. Hours are Monday through Saturday from 10am to 5pm, Sunday from noon to 5pm. Admission is C$5 for adults, C$4 for seniors and students, and C$2 for children 5 to 12. After viewing the gallery, cross Patricia Street and wander the trails in Connaught Hill Park. From the top of the hill are good views of the Fraser River and downtown.
The Prince George Native Art Gallery, 1600 Third Ave. (tel. 250/614-7726; www.pgnfc.com), is part of the local First Nations community center. At this sales gallery, you can view birch-bark biting art, cedar-wood carvings, beadwork, and limited-edition prints by regional Native artists. The gallery is a good place to pick up gifts and curios of your trip. It's open Tuesday through Friday from 9am to 5pm and Saturday from 10am to 4pm, with extended summer hours possible.
There are more than 120 parks within the city limits, many of them linked by the Heritage River Trails system. The best is 36-hectare (89-acre) Fort George Park, on the site of the original fur-trading post. On the grounds are a First Nations burial ground, a miniature railway, a one-room schoolhouse, and the Exploration Place (tel. 250/562-1612; www.theexplorationplace.com), a kid-focused science and nature museum. Adults will enjoy the history gallery, which details the customs of the region's Native Carrier people, and moves on to tell the story of the fur-trading and logging past. There are also numerous interactive science exhibits; an Internet cafe; and a SimEx theater, in which viewers' seats move in tandem with motions in films. Admission is C$8.95 for adults, C$6.95 for seniors and students, C$5.95 for children 2 to 12, or C$21 per family; there are also combo tickets that include admission to SimEx films. It's open daily 10am to 5pm from mid-May through mid-October, the same hours Wednesday through Sunday the rest of the year. The park is on the Fraser River end of 20th Avenue; from downtown, take Queensway Street south, then turn east on 20th Avenue.
The Heritage River Trails take you on an 11km (6.8-mile) circuit covering the historic sights of town. The loop starts at Fort George Park, goes along the Fraser River, passes through Cottonwood Island Park and along the Nechako River to the Cameron Street bridge, and leads through town and back to Fort George Park.
Family Fun -- The Ol' Sawmill Bluegrass Jamboree (tel. 250/564-8573), held 26km (16 miles) up North Nechako Road in mid-August, is a musical event for the whole family, with weekend camping, music workshops, arts and crafts, play areas for the kids, and many talented bluegrass performers.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.