Known to locals as “the Hammer” due to its industrial roots, Hamilton has also been nicknamed “the Steel Capital of Canada” because it once produced 60% of Canada’s steel.
Along with its position as an industrial powerhouse, Hamilton is celebrated for its seamless co-existence with some of Canada’s most famous natural attractions. It is home to over 100 gorgeous waterfalls, located near trails that wind through the scenic Niagara Escarpment.
Hamilton is also renowned for its local arts, culture and culinary scenes. Hamilton is home to a rich collection of art galleries, museums, public art installations, street art, artists’ collectives, arts centres, theatres, as well as year-round festivals and events. And talented chefs, restaurateurs and craft brewers have put Hamilton on the foodie map.
To learn more about all there is to see and do in Hamilton, scroll down or visit the city's tourism website.
Where is Hamilton?
Hamilton is located on the western end of Lake Ontario. Just an hour’s drive from Toronto, Niagara or London, Hamilton makes for a perfect day trip. Although you’ll soon discover this vibrant city warrants a longer visit. It’s also connected by VIA Rail, GO Transit and a number of bus services including Coach Canada.
The John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport (IATA: YHM, ICAO: CYHM) is a 15 minute drive from downtown Hamilton, while the Toronto Pearson International Airport (IATA: YYZ, ICAO: CCYZ) is about an hour’s drive away.
Things to Do in Hamilton
Hamilton is known for its flourishing foodie community. From speciality coffee and wildly innovative donuts to cozy cafes serving favourite comfort eats, celebrated restaurants with creative fusion menus and brewpubs serving delicious beer influenced by local art, culture and music, you’re in for a tasty treat.
Get to know Hamilton’s history at one of the city’s many heritage sites, such as the Westfield Heritage Village in the hamlet of Rockton. Tour over 35 historical buildings, all of which have been meticulously restored, and are maintained and staffed by dozens of informative interpreters in full costume.
One of Hamilton’s best selling features is its proximity to nature, with parks, trails, waterfalls and conservation areas all within close access to the city. Combine a stroll in an urban neighbourhood with a dose of nature at Sassafras Point Trail in Churchill Park, which lies within Cootes Paradise, a 600 hectare sanctuary. Cootes Paradise is managed by the Royal Botanical Gardens, one of Canada’s largest botanical and cultural gardens, yet another cherished Hamilton (and neighbouring Burlington) landmark. Spot local flora and fauna while walking the trails and marvel at the scenic vistas of Princess Point.
If you love antiques, you’ll love Freelton Antique Mall. It’s open seven days a week and features over 200 vendors selling high-quality antique merchandise and collectables.
Hamilton’s vibrant and eclectic mix of old and new, and urban and natural is reflected in its neighbourhoods.
Eclectic shops, restaurants, brewpubs and cultural experiences (including vibrant street art) gives this historic district a renewed energy. Explore Locke, James and Ottawa Streets, as well as the International Village and Barton Street neighbourhoods.
This is the epitome of a quaint Canadian town with its historic buildings and breathtaking natural surroundings, including many of Hamilton’s famous waterfalls. It is also called “Valley Town” for its location at the foot of the impressive Niagara Escarpment.
Hamilton’s East End
A mix of residential neighbourhoods, innovative eateries, unique shopping and lakefront attractions make it a perfect place to explore. It’s home to the very first storefront of Tim Hortons, a quintessential Canadian institution.
Waterdown and Flamborough
Visitors looking to slow down and savour wholesome local food and equally great views will enjoy a trip to Waterdown and Flamborough.
This district got its name from the upper, southern part of the Niagara Escarpment. Hamilton Mountain is home to the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum, as well as the challenging Escarpment Stairs and includes older neighbourhoods areas like Concession Street, a popular shopping district.
Stoney Creek & Winona
Located east of the Niagara Escarpment, these communities are a diverse mix of historic downtowns and natural attractions, such as the Devil’s Punchbowl, Felker’s Falls and several lovely wineries.
Close to McMaster University, it’s filled with picturesque, tree-lined streets, as well as eclectic, independent businesses, cafes and breweries. It is also home to the Royal Botanical Gardens and the McMaster Museum of Art.
Explore over 80 unique shops and restaurants, live music and artsy movie theatre. The area is also home to the winding and tranquil nature trails of Cootes Paradise.
Known for its calming green spaces and historic architecture. Explore the area’s natural beauty by hiking to the beautiful Tiffany Falls.
Things to Know About Visiting Hamilton
Whether you’re still in the planning stages or you’re already on your trip to Hamilton, you'll appreciate what the locals recommend around the city.
Where to see spring blossoms
The Royal Botanical Garden’s Flowering Cherry & Magnolia Tree Collections. With over tens of thousands of plants in our five cultivated garden areas, there is always something interesting growing here.
Favourite local beach
Where to go for a hike
Sassafras Point Trail in Churchill Park, part of the Cootes Paradise wildlife sanctuary is a great spot for wildlife viewing and bird watching.
Canada’s popular coffee-based franchise, Tim Hortons, started in Hamilton.
Last updated: April 23, 2021
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