Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Hamilton, Ontario

  • Published 2022/01/27

Situated west of Lake Ontario, Hamilton is a harbor city in Ontario, Canada.

The city has a population of less than 800,000 and is one of Ontario’s fastest-growing economies.

It has high standards of living and is a perfect place to live in or visit.

The middle months of the year are the coziest and are the best time to travel the city.

What’s more, Hamilton is known as the steel capital of Canada, with booming agriculture industry.

It is also vibrant, has a lot of green space, plenty of waterfalls, and is lively throughout the day.

You can discover Hamilton through various budget-friendly transportation modes, such as a bike, local busses, local trains, or cabs.

Interested to know more about this city?

Here are the 20 best things to do in Hamilton, Ontario:

Visit Hamilton Museum of Steam & Technology

Hamilton Museum of Steam & Technology

Darlene Munro /

As well as being a National Historic Site of Canada, the Hamilton Waterworks Pumping Station is also a well-known local landmark in Hamilton, Ontario.

It is an example of a Victorian-style industrial waterworks complex in Canada.

To this day, the Museum of Steam and Technology is housed there.

See the mechanical and social lives of the early industrial revolution in Canada.

At this National Historic Site, two 70-ton steam water pumping engines, arguably the earliest remaining Canadian-built engines, are kept in their original buildings.

A Civil and Power Engineering Landmark, the ancient Hamilton Waterworks is located in the city.

The museum hosts a series of family-friendly activities and exhibitions from May through September, including the popular Live Steamer Days.

Witness the Wildest Waterfalls in the World

Devil’s Punchbowl

David McIntosh /

With around 100 waterfalls, Hamilton is known as the city of waterfalls.

Some of these waterfalls are so surreal and inviting.

The Devil’s Punchbowl in Stoney Creek Community is one such waterfall.

The waterfall is divided into two sections: Upper falls and Lowers falls.

The lower falls are small, whereas the Upper falls are quite bigger.

This marvelous structure was created by the end of the last ice age when the glacial water melts jabbed over the Stoney Creek Cliff.

There is also a huge 10-meters-tall cross at the top of the falls, and it is lit up every single night.

From the parking area, you will find a viewing platform that gives you a splendid look at the falls, the Hamilton harbor, and Stoney Creek.

Travel Back into History at the Dundurn Castle

Front View of Dundurn Castle

Marcel Conrad /

Built on the land of Burlington Heights, Dundurn Castle is a three-floored, Italian-style villa that belonged to the Canadian Political Leader, Sir Allan Napier MacNab.

This 40- room royal villa represents how the wealthy Canadians lived during the 19th century.

The villa is embellished, decorated with huge sparkling chandeliers, shiny ornaments, wooden masterpieces, velvet sofas, a large dining area, and an enormous garden that overlooks the garden.

There’s the main floor, upper floor, and a basement, which served as the servants’ quarters.

Dundurn Castle

Marcel Conrad /

There’s a lot of heritage and cultural values one can learn on this guided tour of the villa.

There are various fun workshops and educational programs for tourists, so that they would understand the practical knowledge of liberals’ lives during ancient times.

The two-acre heritage garden is open to the public and is one of the largest in Canada.

Tour the Whitehern Historic House and Garden

Whitehern Historic House and Garden

Jeffrey M. Frank /

Known as one of Canada’s best-preserved residences, this stately museum is located in the center of downtown.

The house took into completion in 1848.

This National Historic Site showcases the ideals and belongings of three different periods: Georgian, Victorian, and Edwardian.

Learn about the intriguing McQuesten family’s numerous contributions to the city.

It includes the development of the Rock Garden at the Royal Botanical Gardens and the Queen Elizabeth Highway on a costumed tour of the residence with an interpreter (QEW).

Cruising on the Detroit River

A two-hour sightseeing cruise on the Detroit River is ideal for touring this city.

There are lots of cruises that offer you this option on the bay, and the tour is pocket-friendly.

The cruises are in Windsor city, and there are cruises for every occasion down there.

You could choose one that fits your interest, and you are set to sail!

During the journey, the organization will tell you plenty of fascinating stories about Canada and the historical importance of the Detroit River and the Macassa Bay.

The cruise sails across the Detroit coastline, Belle Islands, River Walk City, and other scenic views.

The commentators will also announce the significance of each place in the making of the rich Canadian history.

Wander around the Spencer Gorge/ Webster’s Water Falls Conservation Area

The Spencer Gorge/ Webster’s Water Falls Conservation Area

NelzTabcharani316 /

This picturesque spot covers three geographically dynamic areas of Hamilton.

They are the Webster Falls, The Tews Falls, and Dundas Peak, each of which is a few minutes’ drive away from each other.

To reach Webster Falls, you have to take a 40-minute hike from Christie Lake to the falls.

During the hike, you’ll witness the luxurious tropical landscape of Hamilton, and you’ll learn so much about the spot’s geography and vegetation.

View of Hamilton waterfall

Aivoges /

The waterfall is a breathtaking scene.

There is an open ground around the falls where you can stand and click some wonderful pictures.

Next up, we have Tews Falls.

This is one of the prettiest waterfalls in Canada.

There are layers of bedrock at the bottoms of the falls, and the falls have a very scenic view.

There’s an open space at a safe spot close to the falls, where one can stand and witness nature’s magic in its full swing.

The Dundas Peak is at the estuary of the Spencer Gorge and shows off an astounding view of the Dundas Valley.

Visit the Fifty Point Conservation Area

Scenic View of Fifty Point Conservation Area

Jacob Wainstein /

On Baseline Road in Stoney Creek, which is just a short drive away from the city, the Fifty Point Conservation Area is a large-scale, 80-hectare park, perfect for family outings, outdoor picnics, fishing, swimming, camping, and so many other recreational activities.

It is a serene, viridescent, and modest lakefront, perfect for a weekend getaway from the crowded city.

There is so much one can do here, depending on their curiosity.

Fifty Point Conservation Area

SF photo /

There is a stocked fishing pond where you can catch some fish.

There are various picnic areas with roof shades, where you can just lie down and listen to the gushing sounds of water.

You can also go swimming at the clean, sandy, crystal water beach.

Or you can take a stroll down the quaint marina.

Fifty Point Conservation Area

Jacob Wainstein /

You can even go camping at the camping grounds.

If all of this makes you hungry (I am sure it will), you can have lunch at “The Landing Restaurant” in the area.

The restaurant offers some clear and charming views of the marina and the lake.

View Artwork at the Art Gallery of Hamilton

Front view of Art Gallery of Hamilton

Alastair Wallace /

On 123 King Street W in Hamilton is the Art Gallery of Hamilton, one of the oldest museums in Hamilton.

If you want to understand the city and its history, visit this art gallery.

There are plenty of historical, cosmopolitan, modern-day art pieces created by the finest artist around the globe.

Art Gallery of Hamilton

Alastair Wallace /

The museum inspires you to bring change and development within the communities.

If you are into philosophy art or just want to get the hang of something artsy, make sure you check this gallery out on your next visit to Hamilton.

Get Up Close and Personal with Reptiles at Little Rays Reptile Zoo and Nature Centre – Hamilton

Are you seeking the ultimate zoological experience that is both entertaining and educational?

Hamilton’s Little Ray’s Nature Center is an unusual zoo and nature center you should not miss.

Our ‘hands-on’ displays and instructive feeding demonstrations, which take place back-to-back throughout the day, include the best in interactive educational programming.

Exotic animal rescue organization Little Ray’s Nature Centre has one of the most comprehensive and diversified educational and outreach programs for animals in North America.

The museum’s award-winning live animal exhibit program is a popular tourist attraction.

Owners Paul and Sheri, along with their staff of keepers and instructors, continue to run it with the same enthusiasm they had when they first began out.

Go Shopping in Hamilton

View of Hamilton skyline

Dan Molon /

Wander around the streets of Hamilton and experience the city’s street style.

There are plenty of malls in the downtown area; the biggest of them is Lime Ridge.

All malls have a wide range of national and international brands to choose from, as well as old-fashioned food courts that serve everything from fast food to ice creams to salads.

Te Awa in the base is a shopping center with fine architecture and has many shops to choose from.

The more popular malls would include Sherway Gardens, Vaughan mills, etc.

Relax at the Bayfront Park

View of Bayfront Park

Chandra Ramsurrun /

Bayfront Park is in the western areas of the Hamilton Harbor, close to Bay Street North.

It is a 16-hectare land and is a perfect tourist destination if you are traveling with kids.

This used to be a barren piece of land that got transformed into a lively green square.

The coastline is a natural habitat for fish, sea vegetation, and herbage.

Bayfront Park

Gilberto Mesquita /

The park is the perfect spot for a summer trip.

There is a sheltered, clear sandy beach.

Various other aspects of the park include a fishing area, boating area, a huge parking lot, and bicycle trails.

There are a few yacht clubs nearby.

Drive around the HMCS Haida National Historic Site

View of Huge Boat at HMCS Haida National Historic Site

Jeffrey M. Frank /

The historic site is on Catherine Street North, Hamilton.

The site displays HMCS Haida, one of the world’s last surviving tribal class destroyers.

This Lancaster bomber was used in the Second World War and the Korean War.

View of Huge Boat at HMCS Haida National Historic Site

Balcer~commonswiki, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You can take a guided tour of the site that explains to you in detail about the massive ship and how it helped protect Canada.

You can climb inside the ship, have a peek into the interiors, and understand the working of a warship closely.

Go for a Walk at Locke Street

View of Locke Street

Mandix Photography /

Locke Street is a top-rated destination to hang out with the residents of Hamilton.

The street is a growing spot, and there are many fun activities going around here.

You can start off by trying the famous Monster Doughnuts available at any café here.

There are made of brown butter and are delicious, and they melt in your mouth.

Make sure you try these baked delicacies when you are in Hamilton.

The street is in a quiet area of the city and is ideal for tourists and residents alike.

There are juices shops, cheese shops, and dozens of other local restaurants to dine in.

Party Hard in Hess Village

View of Hess Village

Mandix Photography /

Hess Village is another bustling spot in Hamilton.

Canadians love the Irish festival, St. Patrick’s day, and this place is the best place to celebrate the festival.

The place is filled with bars, pubs, parties, and alcohol.

It is perfect for celebrating a night and zoning out of busy work life.

Hess Village is at Main Street and goes on till Hess Street.

The unique feature of this place is how the buildings are designed.

The properties have a very ancient, rural look, which is how it got its name as a village.

Most of the restaurants have an outdoor seating arrangement with a view of the street.

Live bands and DJs play music all night long here.

Attend a Festival

fringe festival in Hamilton

shennellr /

There are lots of festivals and concerts happening around the streets of Hamilton throughout the year.

One of the most famous and the most popular events is the “Festival of Friends.”

This is the largest music event in Canada and is free of cost.

Tourists from all over the world attend this event.

Another popular event is “Hamilton’s Festival with taste!”

It is a culinary art event, and there are fine wines, beers, and top cuisines from all the restaurants around the city on display.

This could be every foodie’s dream!

Now, if you are into dramas, there is an eleven-day theatre event named “Hamilton Fringe Festival.”

Be sure to attend any of these on your next trip to Hamilton.

Explore the Various Activities at Gage Park

Gage Park

Sevenstock Studio /

Gage Park is a large public park in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, including several public gardens.

You may find it in East Hamilton between the crossroads of Main Street and Gage Avenue.

Gage Park is the go-to spot when it comes to LGBT pride celebrations in this area of town.

The first week of August is when the park celebrates the Festival of Friends, an annual event.

Hamilton Children’s Museum stands in this park for children and families.

Upon completion in late 2020, the park will have a bandshell, fountain, and greenhouse.

In terms of urban parkland, it’s one of Hamilton’s top three parks.

Film screenings in the park have made it a household name.

Subtropical plants, rare species, and palm palms fill its 14,000-square-foot (1,300-square-meter) fully accessible greenhouse.

Try Chilly Adventures at The Ghost Walks

This ideal ghost house is on King Street East Hamilton and is the best way to run chills down your spine.

Hamilton is rich in horror history, with plenty of ghost activities that take place down the streets.

There are vivid options to choose from for a horrific background story.

It is eerie and will leave you restless.

It is definitely worth trying, especially if you are into scary adventures.

Have a Fresh Day at Hamilton’s Farmers’ Market

This farmers’ market at 35 York Boulevard is not just a farmers’ market.

They’re around 60 vendors selling flowers, seeds, herbs, fruits, vegetables, coffee, meat, eggs, seafood, and wines.

You can walk around the market and shop for groceries, gifts, and booze.

You could try the baked goods on display.

Vendors sell brands that have a market both nationally and internationally.

The place is breezy, light, and green.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Tour the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum

View of Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum

Jeffrey M. Frank /

Situated on Airport Road on Mount Top Hamilton, this museum is every aviation enthusiast’s dream.

There are over 40 military planes stationed in the museum.

You can take a customized tour of the museum, book a flight on the available vintage flights, and experience the life of a military pilot.

View of Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum

Ken Mist from Brampton, Canada, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Theirs is an exhibit gallery where you can watch the aircraft, their models, their mechanical parts, and what goes inside a cockpit.

Book a flight on one of the pre-historic aircraft and witness an idiosyncratic experience.

The most fascinating aircraft here would be the Avro Lancaster used during World War II; you can purchase a flight in this masterpiece.

There is a gift shop in the museum to purchase tiny souvenirs of the aircraft reminiscent of Canadian history.

View of Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum

Ken Mist from Brampton, Canada, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Final Thoughts

Aside from its industrial roots, Hamilton is known for its strong cultural scene, lively downtown, and unique urban vibe.

Hamilton is home to various attractions, including parks, museums, waterfalls, galleries, and world-class dining and shopping.

Visit this city to experience the best things in Hamilton, Ontario.

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