The settlement of St. John's has been the administrative centre of Antigua and Barbuda since the islands were first colonised in 1632, and it became the seat of government when the nation achieved independence in 1981.
St. John's is one of the most developed and cosmopolitan municipalities in the Lesser Antilles. The city is famous for its shopping malls as well as boutiques throughout the city, selling designer jewellery and haute-couture clothing. There are also independent, locally run establishments, selling fashions.
St. John's attracts tourists from the resorts on the island and from the cruise ships which dock in its harbour at Heritage Quay and Redcliffe Quay several times a week.
The investment banking industry has a strong presence in the city. Major world financial institutions have offices in St. John's.
There is a market on the southwestern edge of the city where fresh produce, meats, and fresh fish are sold daily.
The Antigua Rum Distillery is located at the Citadel and is the only rum distillery on the island. Annual production yields more than 180,000 gallons bottled.
The majority of the population of St. John's reflects that of the rest of Antigua: people of African and mixed European-African ancestry, with a European minority, including British and Portuguese. There is a population of Levantine Christian Arabs.
The Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority has its headquarters on Factory Road in St. John's.
St John's is twinned with Waltham Forest borough in London, England.
There are several museums, including the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda and the Museum of Marine Art, a small facility containing fossilised bedrock, volcanic stones, petrified wood, a collection of more than 10,000 shells, and artefacts from English shipwrecks.
Just east of St. John's is the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, a multi-use stadium in North Sound, that was created mostly for cricket matches, and has hosted the matches during the 2007 Cricket World Cup. The Antigua Recreation Ground, Antigua and Barbuda's national stadium, is located in St. John's.
Nearby villages and settlements include St. Johnston.
The city's skyline is dominated by the white baroque towers of St. John's Cathedral.
The Botanical Garden is near the intersection of Factory Road and Independence Avenue. This small park's shaded benches and gazebo provide a quiet refuge from the bustle of activity of St. John's.
St. John's Antigua Light is a lighthouse located in the city's harbour (17°08′03″N 61°55′35″W / 17.1343°N 61.9263°W / 17.1343; -61.9263).
Fort James stands at the entrance to St. John's harbour. Other nearby forts include Fort George, Fort Charles, Fort Shirley, Fort Berkeley and Fort Barrington.
Government House is the Governor's residence, originally a 19th century parsonage building. It is included on the World Monuments Fund's 2018 list of monuments at risk, following exposure to severe weather events.
St. John's is served by the V. C. Bird International Airport.
St. John's is home to two medical schools - the American University of Antigua and University of Health Sciences Antigua. Secondary schools include Christ the King High School, Princess Margaret School and the Antigua Girls High School.