4 minutes reading time Canada
Hamilton in Canada’s Ontario province is an up-and-coming city with a vibrant art scene. Known as the “Waterfall Capital of the World”, this city boasts of more than 100 waterfalls. Most travellers will spend their time in Toronto with a day trip to Niagara Falls – this unknown gem is right between these two areas making it the perfect weekend getaway on the Niagara Escarpment. The locals here are passionate about what their city has to offer. Typically called “the Hammer” by natives, you can even find a fair-sized football field for their home team the Hamilton Tiger Cats or catch a cheap hockey game and support the Hamilton Bulldogs. Hamilton offers a true Canadian experience at a fraction of the cost of what you’d experience in Toronto or Ottawa.
Depending on how you time your trip to Hamilton, you could have the chance to experience the Art Gallery of Hamilton for free on the first Friday of the month. The AGH is composed of two gallery floors split between various exhibitions that change every few months. From 11 am to 8 pm, you can see what’s on for completely free!
If you miss this free Friday, don’t worry – you could make it to Hamilton on the second Friday of the month when the city’s famous Art Crawl is happening. Art Crawl takes place on the hip James St N downtown. Smaller, independent galleries open their doors after-hours to welcome patrons to view their work. You can buy art pieces or take a stroll through the pop-up market to browse some fascinating jewelry and knick-knacks.
If you’re looking to chase some waterfalls, Hamilton, Ontario is the best city to do so. Because of Hamilton’s escarpment, it is home to over one hundred waterfalls. Most of these waterfalls are totally accessible to the public through viewing platforms or hiking trails. Albion Falls, located on what locals lovingly call the “Mountain”, is about 19 metres tall and 18 metres wide. This beautiful cascade waterfall can be seen from two viewing platforms.
If you’re looking to make a day of it, Webster’s Falls at Spencer’s Gorge is a 22-metre high and 30-metre-wide curtain-style waterfall surrounded by a large area of grassy land. Webster’s Falls area is perfect for a picnic or throwing a ball around while taking in the breath-taking view of the water.
Another notable waterfall is Sherman Falls, located in Ancaster Creek in west Hamilton. Enjoy a brisk hike to view this stunning 17-metre-high fall. If you’re making a day of it, check out Tews Falls, Canterbury Falls, and Devil’s Punchbowl Falls while you’re at it – you won’t be disappointed!
If hanging out at a bar or old-style pub is more your thing, Hamilton has two entire streets dedicated to pubs, bars, and clubs. Augusta St caters to folk looking for a casual experience with amazing craft beer selections and pub grub. Enjoy a pub crawl and hit up all the home-style bars on Augusta to discover live music, delicious wings, and local beer.
Maybe nostalgia is more your thing – Arcade Bar above Moody’s on George St offers all 80’s arcade games with yummy drinks, including slushies loaded with booze! Trade your quarters in for tokens to play Street Fighter, Ninja Turtles, and an abundance of impressive pinball games. Keep the 80’s theme going by heading across the street to the Electric Diner. On Thursdays, enjoy viewing a classic 80’s movie (try not to forget your reservation – it gets pretty busy!) or play some old-fashioned board games.
Hamilton is a nature-lovers dream due to all the trails found throughout the city. One of the best ones is probably Bayfront Park in North Hamilton. Enjoy a leisurely stroll or watch the sunset with the perfect view of the west end of the city. SoBi bikes, Hamilton’s answer to bike-sharing, have three stations around the park. Load up money on your phone within minutes – $5 should be more than enough to make it around the entire trail.
Dundas Valley Conservation Area has an excellent trail for those looking for a more intense hike. With hot spots like Canterbury Falls or the Hermitage, you can easily spend half a day trekking along the forking dirt paths.
Locke St towards Hamilton’s west end pitches alternative lifestyle living through vegetarian and vegan-friendly options, eco-friendly grocery stores, and little cafes and restaurants. Donut Monster has some of the best donuts in the province with wacky flavours, and you’d never know it was vegan at Democracy’s tasty café. It’s easy to discover something quirky on Locke from constellation-inspired jewelry to homemade clothing. Parking is free on Sundays, but it’s easy enough to spend a morning walking the entire street and back again.
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