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10 Best Things to Do in Hamilton (Ontario, Canada)

Hamilton is an old port city in the area of Ontario called the Niagara Peninsula. It goes around the west side of Lake Ontario, about halfway between Toronto and the US border. In the past, this city was known as “Steeltown” because it had a lot of factories. Even now, Hamilton has an industrial area, but it also has a thriving art scene, historic sites, and a beautiful waterfront.

The impressive Dundurn Castle
The impressive Dundurn Castle

Many tourists don’t go to Hamilton, but there are a lot of things to see and do in the city. It’s a great place to shop and spend time outside, and there’s also a lively nightlife scene. If you’re thinking about going to Hamilton, here are the 10 best things to do:

1. Take a walk through a castle

The impressive Dundurn Castle was built in the 1930s as a neoclassical mansion. The mansion, which is 1 700 square meters and is on York Boulevard, took three years to build.

The city bought Dundurn Castle in 1900, and it has been open to the public ever since. It is now a National Historic Site of Canada as well.

It is a beautiful castle with beautiful grounds and greenery all around it. The Cockpit Theatre and the Hamilton Military Museum are both in buildings on the grounds. It’s also a great place to have a wedding.

2. See one of the flying Lancaster bombers around the world.

Only two of these are still around, and you can see one of them at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum. A Bristol Bolingbroke, a Spitfire, and a Hawker Hurricane are also on display at the museum.

The Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum is home to about 36 military jets, propeller-driven planes, and helicopters. Basically, you can see here everything that the Canadian military has used from World War II to the present day.

There are a lot of planes that still fly at the museum, and you can book a ride in one of them. If you have kids, there are a lot of fun things for them to do, like a sleepover program on the weekends.

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3. Look around a navy ship.

The famous HMCS Haida is a destroyer from the Tribal class. It was used in World War II, the Korean War, and the Cold War. It is the most well-known ship in the Canadian Navy, and you can see it at Pier 9 on the water.

The destroyer is now a museum ship, and the Canadian government has named it a National Historic Site. There are self-guided tours of the famous ship, so you can walk around the decks and imagine what it would be like to work there.

There are also guided one-hour tours, which are great if you want to learn more about the destroyer and see some of its more secret areas. You can also enjoy special programs and learning opportunities.

4. Head to the store

The Hamilton Farmers’ Market has been around since 1837, making it the city’s oldest. At the corner of York Boulevard and James Street, it is a landmark in the city.

The whole market is inside, and it sells both fresh food from the area and food from all over the world. At the market, there are more than 70 people who sell their own food or food that they just made.

The Hamilton Farmers’ Market is known all over the world because it has food from many different cultures. Don’t leave without trying the fresh pasta, ice cream, or Banh Mi sandwiches that are all made by hand.

Maple syrup, raw honey, and local wine are all Canadian items that all tourists should buy at the market to take home. There are also some wonderful shops run by artists.

5. Take pictures of a lion.

One of the most popular places to go in Hamilton is the African Lion Safari, which is run by a family but is just outside the city limits. It is about 300 hectares in size and is home to more than 1,000 animals.

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The park is home to more than 100 kinds of mammals and birds from all over the world. Tour buses are driven by experienced tour guides through seven different areas.

The animals in the safari park are free to move around, so you can see Egyptian geese, white lions, cheetahs, wildebeest, white rhinoceroses, and, of course, African lions. You can also take pictures of many other animals that roam around the park.

6. Visit waterfalls

The Niagara Escarpment has more than 100 waterfalls, which is why Hamilton is sometimes called “The City of Waterfalls.” Many of these can be reached by the well-known Bruce Trail or are close by.

Some of the most well-known waterfalls in the area are the 19-meter Albion Falls, the 21-meter ribbon waterfall Tiffany Falls, and Devil’s Punch Bowl, which is one of the tallest in the area. Webster’s Falls, which is 30 meters wide, is the most beautiful one.

Webster’s Falls is a sight in and of itself, with picnic tables and a conservation area all around it. You can get to it by going down some stairs, which take you right to the bottom of it.

7. Learn about football in Canada

The Canadian Football Hall of Fame honors people who have done great things in football in Canada. It is a museum run by the Canadian Football League, which does not make money from it (CFL).

When it first opened in 1972, the Canadian Football Hall of Fame was in downtown Hamilton. Since then, it has grown into a big hall with a lot of things that show off the sport and its best players.

In addition to things from the CFL, the hall has things from the Canadian university football league and the Canadian junior football league.

8. Check out art

The Art Gallery of Hamilton is one of the oldest public art galleries in Canada. It is right in the middle of Downtown Hamilton. It is a beautiful gallery with over 10,000 pieces of art, which makes it the third largest gallery in the country.

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Nearly 300,000 people visit the gallery every year to look at its collection of Canadian historical, Canadian contemporary, and European historical art. In fact, it has one of the country’s best collections of modern and contemporary Canadian art.

In addition to the permanent collection, the gallery has about 30 different shows each year. It also has a beautiful 762 square meter glass pavilion and an atrium with sculptures.

9. Wine and dine

Or, even better, go pub hopping. This is what Hess Village is all about; it goes from Main Street to King Street West along Hess Street.

Hess Village is a pedestrian area with bars, pubs, and restaurants all over it. Many of the businesses on this street with cobblestones are in old buildings that have been fixed up.

In the summer, this is where everyone goes to see and be seen because every restaurant and bar has a patio outside. Nearly all of the bars, pubs, and clubs on Hess Street have live bands or DJs spinning music.

10. Go to a festival

Festivals happen all year long, but the “Festival of Friends” is the most well-known and well-attended one. This is Canada’s biggest free music festival, and people come from all over the world to see it.

The culinary “Hamilton’s Festival with Taste!” is a great event for foodies. Over 150 exhibitors show off local wines, craft beers, and samples from some of the city’s best restaurants. The Mustard Festival, which happens every year, is another interesting food festival.

If you like theater, you should go to the 11-day “Hamilton Fringe Festival” in Hamilton. Another great show is “Supercrawl,” which is about art and indie music.

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