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Top Attractions, Things to Do and See in Hamilton, Ontario

Updated: Mar 23

Hamilton, Ontario, is a city rich in history, culture, and natural beauty. Nestled between the southern shores of Lake Ontario and the lush escarpment of the Niagara Peninsula, Hamilton offers a diverse range of activities for visitors and residents alike. From breathtaking waterfalls and scenic trailsb to fascinating museums and vibrant arts scenes, there's something for everyone in this dynamic city to do and see.


In this article, we'll guide you through the top things to do and see and the top attractions in Hamilton, Ontario, ensuring you make the most of your visit.


Note: Updated in 2024, this article contains 35+ attractions ranging from nature, culture, education, dining, shopping, art and entertainment and more.


Index



Top and Fun Attractions, Things to Do and See in Hamilton, Ontario



Webster Falls, Hamilton
Webster Falls, Hamilton

Location: Various locations around the Hamilton area


Hamilton is famously known as the "City of Waterfalls," with over 100 cascades to explore. Start your waterfall tour with a visit to the iconic Webster's Falls in the Spencer Gorge Conservation Area. Then, make your way to Tew's Falls, just a short hike away, to witness the tallest waterfall in Hamilton. Don't forget to check out Albion Falls and Devil's Punchbowl for more stunning views. Each fall offers unique hiking trails and photo opportunities.


I have written a separate article on the best and prettiest waterfalls in Hamilton, if you would like to read.



Location: Access points throughout Hamilton


Stretching over 900 kilometers from Niagara to Tobermory, the Bruce Trail is Canada's oldest and longest footpath. Hamilton hosts some of the most scenic sections of the trail, including the Iroquoia section which offers panoramic views from the Niagara Escarpment. Whether you're up for a leisurely walk or a challenging hike, the trails around Hamilton are a must-do for nature lovers.





Location: 680 Plains Road West, Burlington, Ontario


The Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) is the largest botanical garden in Canada and a designated National Historic Site. With over 27 kilometers of nature trails and 1,100 hectares of gardens and natural lands, the RBG provides a serene escape from the urban bustle. Explore the diverse plant life, enjoy the seasonal blooms, and partake in the educational programs and events that the RBG offers year-round.



Location: Part of Royal Botanical Gardens, access via multiple trails


Adjacent to the Royal Botanical Gardens is Cootes Paradise Sanctuary, a significant ecological wetland at the western end of Lake Ontario. It's a prime spot for bird watching, especially during migration seasons, and offers a network of trails that provide stunning views of the marsh and its wildlife. Keep an eye out for the RBG's efforts in ecological restoration and species protection while you enjoy this natural haven.


I have written a detail article on the Cootes Paradise Sanctuary. Please read here.



Sailing in Hamilton
Sailing in Hamilton

Location: Various marinas and clubs around Hamilton Harbour


Hamilton's waterfront is a gateway to Lake Ontario and offers a variety of water-based activities. You can rent a sailboat, join a sailing lesson, or hop on a charter cruise to experience the beauty of the lake. The Hamilton Harbour is also known for its fishing, so whether you're a seasoned angler or trying it for the first time, you're in for a treat.



Location: Hamilton Waterfront


The Waterfront Trail stretches over 3,000 kilometers along the Canadian shores of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River. In Hamilton, the trail offers a paved, multi-use path that is perfect for cycling, running, or a leisurely stroll. The trail takes you past parks, beaches, and marinas, providing a scenic route to enjoy the city's shoreline.


 

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Location: Concession Street on the Mountain (Upper City), Hamilton, Ontario


Perched atop the Niagara Escarpment, Sam Lawrence Park provides some of the most stunning vistas of the lower city and the distant Toronto skyline. Beautifully landscaped gardens with various flowers and trees make this park a favorite among locals for walks and peaceful reflection.



Kayak on Christie Lake
Kayak on Christie Lake

Location: 1000 Highway 5 West, Dundas, Hamilton, Ontario

Website: Christie Lake


Christie Lake is a conservation area that offers a plethora of activities. One of the highlights is kayaking on the serene lake, where you can paddle at your own pace and enjoy the surrounding natural beauty. The area also offers disc golf, picnicking, and fishing opportunities.



Dundurn Castle, Hamilton
Dundurn Castle, Hamilton

Location: 610 York Blvd, Hamilton, Ontario


Dundurn Castle is a neoclassical mansion built in the 1830s and one of Hamilton's most famous historical landmarks. The beautifully restored house provides a glimpse into the life of Sir Allan MacNab, a premier of the United Canadas. With 40 rooms decorated to reflect the 1850s, the castle offers guided tours that showcase the family's stories and the servants' quarters, giving visitors a comprehensive view of the era's social history.


I have written a separate article on Dundurn Castle, if you are interested to know more.



Location: 123 King Street West, Hamilton, Ontario


The Art Gallery of Hamilton is the third-largest public art gallery in Ontario and holds a collection of over 10,000 works. It features a stunning array of historical Canadian and contemporary art, as well as traveling international exhibits. In addition to the galleries, the AGH offers film screenings, art classes, and workshops that make art accessible to all.



Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum, Hamilton
Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum, Hamilton

Location: 9280 Airport Road, Mount Hope, Hamilton, Ontario


For aviation enthusiasts and history buffs, the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum is a treasure trove. The museum is dedicated to preserving Canada's military aviation history and features over 40 aircraft that were flown by Canadians from World War II to the present. The museum also offers flight experiences in vintage military aircraft for those looking to take to the skies.


I have written a separate article on the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum. Click on the link, if this interests you.



Location: 35 York Boulevard, Hamilton, Ontario


Since its establishment in 1837, the Hamilton Farmers' Market has been a staple in the community. Located in the heart of the city, the market offers a wide variety of fresh local produce, meats, dairy, and artisanal goods. It's a great place to support local farmers and vendors while enjoying the lively atmosphere and sampling the delicious foods on offer.




Location: 190 King William Street, Hamilton, Ontario


Theatre Aquarius is Hamilton's premier professional theatre and has been producing world-class productions for over four decades. With a season that runs from September to May, the theatre presents a mix of comedies, dramas, musicals, and new Canadian works. Check their schedule to catch a performance during your visit.



HMCS Haida National Historic Site, Hamilton
HMCS Haida National Historic Site, Hamilton

Location: Pier 9, 658 Catharine Street North, Hamilton, Ontario


The HMCS Haida is a Tribal-class destroyer that served in the Royal Canadian Navy from 1943 to 1963. Today, it's a floating museum docked in Hamilton's waterfront. Visitors can explore the ship's decks, operations room, and living quarters, learning about Canada's naval history and the role Haida played in World War II, the Korean Conflict, and the Cold War.



Location: Bay Street North & Harbour Front Drive, Hamilton, Ontario

Website: Bayfront Park


Bayfront Park is a scenic green space that offers a variety of outdoor activities. With its walking and biking trails, picnic areas, and serene views of the harbour, it's a popular spot for both relaxation and recreation. In the summer, the park is a venue for festivals and events, making it a lively hub for locals and tourists.


16. Immerse Yourself in Hamilton's Culinary Scene


Location: Various locations around Hamilton

Website: Various


Hamilton's culinary scene has been on the rise, with an array of restaurants, cafes, and bars to suit every taste and budget. From farm-to-table dining experiences to international cuisine, the city's food landscape is as diverse as its population. Don't miss the opportunity to try some of the local specialties, such as the infamous "Hamilton-style" pizza.


 

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Location: James Street North, Hamilton, Ontario


James Street North is the artistic heart of Hamilton, known for its galleries, studios, and eclectic shops. On the second Friday of each month, the street comes alive with the Art Crawl, where galleries open their doors late into the evening and the street is filled with music, food, and street art. It's a vibrant example of Hamilton's creative community spirit.

Hamilton, Ontario, is a city of hidden gems and overt treasures, catering to lovers of nature, art, history, and gastronomy alike. Whether you're planning a weekend getaway



Location: 900 Woodward Ave, Hamilton, Ontario


Featuring two 70-ton steam engines, this museum is a fascinating dive into the age of steam and the industrial revolution. The preserved 19th-century waterworks is a National Historic Site and tells the story of Hamilton’s early public utilities.



Location: Various locations around Hamilton


In recent years, Hamilton has embraced street art, with murals brightening the walls of many neighborhoods. These pieces range from large-scale productions by internationally recognized artists to local community projects that add vibrancy and dialogue to the streets.



Supercrawl, Hamilton
Supercrawl, Hamilton

Location: James Street North, Hamilton, Ontario

Website: Supercrawl


Supercrawl is an annual art and indie music festival that takes over James Street North for a weekend each September. With free performances, art installations, food trucks, and vendors, it's a celebration of the city's arts scene and a can't-miss event for culture vultures.



Location: 1386 Cooper Road, Hamilton, Ontario


While not precisely in Hamilton city limits, African Lion Safari is close enough to be a top attraction for those visiting the area. Drive through large game reserves to see lions, giraffes, elephants, and many more animals in a setting that mimics their natural habitats.




Location: 1000 Main Street East, Hamilton, Ontario

Website: Gage Park


One of Hamilton's premier parks, Gage Park hosts tropical greenhouses, a children’s museum, and ample space for outdoor activities. It’s a beautiful place for a family picnic, a leisurely walk, or to take part in one of the many cultural festivals that take place here throughout the year.



Entrance of Nexus Cave.
Entrance of Nexus Cave.

Location: Upper Mount Albion Road, Stoney Creek, Hamilton, Ontario

Website: Eramosa Karst


The Eramosa Karst is a geological wonder with caves, streams, and meadows to explore. It's one of the most unique natural attractions in Ontario, with underground channels and fissures that create an otherworldly landscape.



Location: 77 King Street West, Stoney Creek, Hamilton, Ontario


The site of the historic Battle of Stoney Creek during the War of 1812, this museum and park offers a glimpse into Canadian history. The beautifully preserved Battlefield House and the park's monument offer educational programs and reenactments that bring history to life.



Location: 233 Ottawa Street North, Hamilton, Ontario


The Hamilton Antique Mall, located in the heart of Ottawa Street shopping district, is a treasure trove for collectors and antique lovers. With multiple floors and countless vendors, you'll find everything from vintage furniture and decor to rare collectibles and memorabilia.


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