North America > Canada > Ontario > Niagara Peninsula > Hamilton (Ontario)
Hamilton is a port city in Ontario with a population around 520,000, at the westernmost end of Lake Ontario—the city wraps around the lake and continues towards the Niagara Escarpment, referred to by locals as "the mountain".
Conceived by George Hamilton when he purchased the Durand farm shortly after the War of 1812, Hamilton has become the centre of a densely populated and industrialized region at the west end of Lake Ontario known as the Golden Horseshoe. The city limits of Hamilton used to be bounded by approximately Horning Road in the west and Centennial Parkway in the east, but a continuous urban or suburban area had grown around the city, in the towns of Dundas, Ancaster, Stoney Creek and the community of Greensville in the town of Flamborough. In 2001 the new City of Hamilton was formed through amalgamation of the former City with the constituent towns of the Hamilton-Wentworth Regional Municipality. Residents of the city are known as Hamiltonians. Since 1981, the metropolitan area has been listed as the ninth largest in Canada and the third largest in Ontario.
Traditionally, the local economy has been led by the steel and heavy manufacturing industries. Within the last decade, there has been a shift towards the service sector, particularly health sciences. The Hamilton Health Sciences corporation employs nearly 10,000 staff and serves approximately 2.2 million people in the region.
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Hamilton is home to the Royal Botanical Gardens, the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum, the Bruce Trail, McMaster University and several colleges. The Canadian Football League's Hamilton Tiger-Cats play at Tim Hortons Field. The same venue is also home to Forge FC, the city's pro soccer team that started play in 2019 as a founding member of the Canadian Premier League. Partly because of its diverse locations, numerous TV and film productions have been filmed in Hamilton, regulated by the Hamilton Film and Television Office. There is a growing arts and culture sector including local art galleries, recording studios and independent film production.
Tourism Hamilton is the city's official tourism website, with a free "Experience Hamilton" Visitor’s Guide and current info on local events and attractions.
- 1 John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport (YHM IATA). Accommodates major air carriers and tour operators, offering frequent flights to Canadian, American, Caribbean and European destinations. Hamilton Airport is fast and efficient due to its relatively small size. The single terminal building can be navigated in two minutes and there is very little chance of confusion for passengers boarding or disembarking. A tactic employed by many Hamiltonians, Torontonians and other nearby Ontario residents is to use Hamilton Airport instead of Pearson in Toronto. Doing so can potentially save a busy traveller valuable time while parking, and promises far less of a headache during boarding procedures. A single baggage turnstile makes retrieving luggage painless.
There is a ground transportation page for Hamilton Airport. Here are some options:
- A-Line Express (HSR route 20). Service runs from early morning to early evening weekdays excluding holidays. The HSR's route 20 A Line Express is an express bus providing rapid service between Hamilton Airport and the downtown core. The route passes by Hamilton GO Centre where one can transfer to a GO Transit bus to Toronto. Total trip time about 30 minutes and costs a regular HSR fare ($3).
- Megabus, ☏ . Effective March 31, 2019, Megabus will operate daily bus service between the Toronto Coach Terminal in downtown Toronto and Hamilton International Airport. Pre-book tickets online or buy them directly from the driver when boarding.
- Taxis between downtown Hamilton and the airport cost about $25.
By public transit
Here are the hubs for inter-city public transit in and near Hamilton:
- 2 Hamilton GO Centre, 36 Hunter St E (at Hughson St S), ☏ . Hamilton GO Centre, a handsome art deco structure, hosts GO Transit buses, Megabus, Greyhound and four rush-hour, peak-direction GO Transit trains. (During the morning rush hours, four trains leave Hamilton GO Centre to Toronto, and return during the evening rush hours.) GO Bus 16 runs express to Toronto Union Station, and GO Bus 40 stops at Toronto Pearson International Airport. Within the station, GO Transit has a ticket counter and fare vending machines, and the Hamilton Street Railway (local buses) has its Customer Service Centre.
- 3 Aldershot GO, 1199 Waterdown Rd, Burlington. Aldershot GO station serves GO Transit buses and trains, plus Via Rail trains. GO trains run between Toronto and Aldershot every half hour (or better) everyday including weekends, holidays and evenings. Most GO trains from Toronto terminate at Aldershot, where passengers can transfer to GO buses to continue to downtown Hamilton. GO bus 18 (Hamilton Train Meet Service) runs to Hamilton GO Centre while 18E stops at Hamilton GO Centre before continuing on to West Harbour GO. (Do not take HSR bus 18 which also stops at Aldershot GO.) GO Transit has a ticket counter and fare machines at the station. Via Rail tickets can be purchased at a self-service kiosk.
- 4 West Harbour GO, 353 James St N (entrance off MacNab St N near Stuart St). West Harbour GO hosts two rush-hour, peak-direction GO Transit trains: one running between West Harbour GO and Toronto, and the other running between Niagara Falls (Ontario) and Toronto stopping at West Harbour GO. The two trains head to Toronto during the morning rush hours, and return during the evening rush hours.
Here is a list of inter-city public-transit operators serving the city at one or more of the above hubs:
- GO Transit (Hamilton GO Centre, Aldershot GO, West Harbour GO). GO Transit operates bus and train service, connecting Hamilton with its network in and around the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). GO fares can be paid by Presto card.
- Greyhound Canada (Hamilton GO Centre), ☏ . Greyhound serves Hamilton GO Centre, with direct routes to Toronto, Brantford and London.
- Megabus (formerly Coach Canada) (Hamilton GO Centre, Hamilton McMaster University). Megabus operates buses from Hamilton GO Centre and Hamilton McMaster University traveling west to Kitchener and east to Niagara Falls.
- Via Rail (Aldershot GO). Via Rail has no station in downtown Hamilton; it uses nearby Aldershot station (in Burlington) which serves trains to Windsor, Niagara Falls and Toronto.
When approaching Hamilton Harbour from the east- Lake Ontario- remember that the lift bridge opens every half hour on the hour.
It is illegal for a pedestrian to enter any 400 series highway or the QEW. It is also very unsafe due to the high velocity and dense volume of traffic. If you should choose to do so anyway you can expect the police to pick you up and remove you within a short time.
A safe and legal alternative is to hitchhike on the on-ramp, providing there is sufficient space for a vehicle to pull over without endangering the driver or passing traffic.
Hitchhiking on other roads in Hamilton (and Ontario) is legal so long as you do not stand in the roadway.
Hamilton is divided into two main sections—"The Mountain" and downtown. The Mountain refers to anything on the escarpment—access to the mountain is limited to a few roads, which often arrive on a different street than when you started. If you're going up the mountain, take a second to learn which access you need to take. Driving on the mountain accesses in the winter can be treacherous, and even many locals avoid it if possible due to icy road conditions. During severe storms many and sometimes even all of the accesses can be closed by the city, making travel between the two major districts nearly impossible. The Sherman Access changes to one-way traffic during rush hour, to get traffic down the mountain in the morning and up the mountain in the afternoon. If you aren't aware of this, it can mean having to take a long detour if you've committed to taking the Sherman but can't. Even outside of rush hour the signage on this access can be confusing.
Hamilton has many one-way streets throughout its downtown core. Be aware of what intersection you're heading for, and what streets precede it, or you may overshoot.
Rush hour traffic can be problematic like in any other large city. Try to avoid driving down Upper James Street in the mornings or between 4-6PM unless you're content to watch pedestrians overtake you on the sidewalks. The nearby street of West 5th (next major street to the west of Upper James) generally has a far lower volume of traffic and can save you upwards of 10 minutes of driving time. It also sports a mountain access that can get you down to (lower) James Street in no time at all.
The Lincoln Alexander Expressway (known locally as the Linc or Link) is a city by-pass that runs across the mountain from Ancaster to Stoney Creek. If you're trying to get past the city be sure to avoid the major roads (Mohawk, Fennell, Stone Church or Rymal) at all costs and take the Linc, which will save you ample time and gas.
There are some duplicate street names between Hamilton and the surrounding areas it amalgamated with; for example, there is a King Street in Dundas, Hamilton, and Stoney Creek.
Hamilton Street Railway (HSR). The HSR operates public transit buses in the city and the surrounding suburbs. Service is more frequent downtown than in outlying areas. On Sundays and holidays, many routes have 30-60 minute frequencies. Fares Cash $3.25; Presto card: $2.50 adults, $2.05 seniors, GO co-fare discount $1.85.
A fare is valid for two hours of travel on HSR buses. If paying by cash, ask the driver for a "transfer" as a receipt to show the driver when changing buses. If paying by Presto, the transfer info is electronically recorded on your card when you tap on.
Burlington Transit routes 1/1X serve the Royal Botanical Gardens from King & James streets (BT Stop #679) and King & Bay streets (BT Stop #827). Burlington Transit accepts HSR transfers only at these two stops in downtown Hamilton.
For Presto card holders: If transferring between a GO Transit (GO) train and HSR to complete a trip, you become eligible for the GO co-fare discount on your HSR fare. Just tap your Presto card on both transit systems to get the discount which is calculated after the transfer.
- 5 HSR MacNab Street Bus Terminal, 1 MacNab St S (between King St W and Main St W). The main hub for the HSR has several bus platforms serving routes 20, 21, 22, 23, 26, 27, 35. The hub is about 400 metres from the Hamilton GO Centre.
Historical note: Despite having terminated all streetcar service by 1951, the Hamilton Street Railway has retained its quaint name to this day. Today, the HSR operates no rail services.
- 1 The Art Gallery of Hamilton, 123 King Street West, ☏ . Founded in 1914, AGH is Ontario's third largest public art gallery, and boasts one of the country's finest collections. Its emphasis is on 19th-century European, Historical Canadian, and Contemporary Canadian art. The AGH revamped gallery , designed by Hamilton-born and raised architect Bruce Kuwabara, opened in 2005 and includes a 2,500 ft (760 m) glass pavilion and Sculpture Atrium. Free.
- 2 Battlefield House Museum, 77 King St. W., Stoney Creek (just east of Centennial Parkway). At the site of the Battle of Stoney Creek (June 5–6, 1813) is a rural Upper Canada home dating from around 1796 and featuring staff in period costume, demonstrating the lifestyle of day. Every June a military re-enactment of the War of 1812/Battle of Stoney Creek is held. $10.
- 3 Canadian Football Hall of Fame, 4th level, 64 Melrose Ave N. (Tim Hortons Field), ☏ . Sa 9AM-noon, W 4PM-7PM, and one hour after each Hamilton Tiger-Cats home game. Has interactive programs, displays, a library, archives and is home to the Grey Cup. Enter through Gate 3 in the middle of the west stands off of Melrose Ave. Free.
- 4 Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum, 9280 Airport Road, Mount Hope (beside Hamilton International Airport), ☏ , toll-free: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 9AM-5PM. A living museum featuring the aircraft used by Canadians or Canada's military from the beginning of World War II to the present. Home of one of the world's two remaining flying Lancaster bombers. Those who dare can experience an open cockpit ride in a bi-plane through the Legends Flight program. Adult $12, seniors/students $11, youth $8, children free.
- 5 Dundas Museum & Archives, 139 Park St W, Dundas, ☏ . Tu W F 10AM-4:30PM, Th 10AM-8PM, Sa 1-4PM. Local history of the community of Dundas.
- 6 Dundurn Castle, 610 York Blvd, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Canada Day to Labour Day: Daily 10AM-4PM; Labour Day to Canada Day: Tu-Su noon-4PM. One of Hamilton's most-recognized landmarks, Dundurn Castle is a National Historic site, illustrating the life and times of Sir Allan Napier MacNab (1798–1862). More of a stately home than a "castle", the still-impressive structure was completed in 1835. Features year-round programming, tours, restaurant and an on-site military museum. The museum is only partially wheelchair accessible. Call for more details. Full-price ticket includes admission to Dundurn Castle, the Historic Kitchen Garden (June to October) and the Hamilton Military Museum: $14 for adults ages 18 to 59, $12 for seniors ages 60 and above, $12 for students ages 13 to 17, $8 for children ages 6 to 12, children five years old or younger visit for free, $37 for a family of two adults and unlimited dependent children under 18 years old.
- 7 Fieldcote Memorial Park & Museum, 64 Sulphur Springs Rd, Ancaster, ☏ . Tu-Sa noon-4PM. Local history of the community of Ancaster. Adults $4.
- 8 Hamilton Children's Museum, 1072 Main St E, ☏ . W-Sa 9:30AM-3:30PM, Su 11AM-4PM. Hands-on exhibits for children. Adults $2.50, children 1-12 $4.50.
- 9 Hamilton Military Museum, 610 York Blvd, ☏ . Tu-Su noon-4PM. Military exhibits located in a former gate house built in the 1830s. Adults $4.50.
- 10 Hamilton Museum of Steam and Technology, 900 Woodward Av, ☏ . At the QEW. June 1 to Labour Day: Tu-Su 11AM-4PM; Labour Day to May 31: Tu-Su noon-4PM. A fine example of 19th-century public works architecture, and the only surviving facility of its time in North America, this National Historic Site houses the two 14 m (45-foot) high, 63.5-tonne (70-ton) steam engines which pumped the first clean water to the city over 140 years ago. Features various exhibits and events, including daily engine demonstrations.
- 11 HMCS Haida, Pier 9, 658 Catharine St N (take Highway 403 to Main St W, go west to James St N, go north to Leander Dr, go west to Dock Service Road, go north to HMCS Haida), ☏ , ✉ haida.Info@pc.gc.ca. At Pier 9, visit the HMCS Haida, the "Fightingest Ship in the Royal Canada Navy" - a World War II destroyer that is maintained faithfully and can be explored in its entirety, either by a self-guided tour or simply by wandering around. $3.90, senior $3.40, youth (17 and under) free.
- 12 McMaster Museum of Art, University Av at Sterling St (Lee building), ☏ . Tu W F 11AM-5PM, Th 11AM-7PM, Sa noon-5PM. Houses a nationally significant collection of more than 6,000 works of art, featuring a permanent collection and contemporary exhibitions, lectures and events.
- 13 Westfield Heritage Village, 1049 Kirkwall Rd, Rockton, ☏ . Surrounded by 131 ha (324 acres) of unspoiled woods and meadows, this living history museum spans various time periods in more than 35 historic buildings, plus a steam locomotive. Much of the TV series Anne of Green Gables was filmed here.
- 14 Whitehern Historic House and Garden, 41 Jackson St W, ☏ . Tu-Su noon-4PM. Guided tours of a Victorian home Adults $7.50.
- 15 Workers Arts and Heritage Centre, 51 Stuart St. 10AM-4PM. Preserving, honouring, and promoting the culture and history of all working people. Their mandate points in the social justice direction, the union direction and the community activism path. Free.
Parks and views
- 16 Princess Point. At the very end of Lake Ontario, Princess Point is one of the most beautiful sections of Hamilton. Bike or rollerblade along excellently maintained paths encircling the lake, or relax at the adjacent park. Harbour cruises are also available.
- Waterfront. Hamilton is, as of summer 2020, in the midst of a major waterfront reclamation project, and has already restored the beautiful Pier 4 Park at the bottom of Bay St. This continues to the west with a waterfront trail to Princess Point, and to the east with a beautiful marina, waterfront cafe, boat and trolley tours, and a lovely playground.
- The view from the escarpment. There are many beautiful views of the city to be found from the escarpment. Especially when looking west, it is difficult to see streets or the roofs of houses under the thick canopy of trees (although it is easier to see these in winter). The Bruce Trail offers many excellent views, such as that at Dundas Peak. If you are driving around Hamilton, Mountain Brow Boulevard. is a good place to stop for a look down.
Waterfalls. The combination of many creeks and the Niagara Escarpment makes Hamilton, now sometimes referred to as "The City of Waterfalls", an excellent place for seeing waterfalls. Over 100 waterfalls and cascades are known (several were found in 2008 and there's likely some that haven't been discovered yet). The one drawback of Hamilton's waterfalls is that half of them do dry up in dry seasons. The good news is that most are on or near the Bruce Trail as it winds through the Niagara Escarpment (a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve) in Hamilton. Some of the more popular ones are:
- 19 Albion Falls, Mountain Brow Blvd (HSR bus 21). A scenic 19-m cascade waterfall, blasting for 12 months a year. It took over thousands of years of freezing, melting, growth, decay and tidal changes to create the Niagara Escarpment region. Named after the former village of Mount Albion in which it resides.
- 20 Borer's Falls, Rock Chapel Rd., Dundas. A relatively small but picturesque waterfall in Borer's Falls Conservation Area. The escarpment in this area is quite scenic as well.
- 21 Devil's Punch Bowl, Ridge Rd., Stoney Creek. One of the taller waterfalls in the area. It's in Devil's Punch Bowl Conservation Area.
- 22 Felker's Falls (Felker's Falls Conservation Area), Ackland St, Stoney Creek (HSR bus 43). 22 m (72 ft) terraced waterfall.
- 23 Tew's Falls, Harvest Rd., Greensville (in Spencer Gorge/Webster's Falls Conservation Area along with Webster's Falls). The tallest waterfall in the city, at 41 metres only slightly shorter than Niagara Falls (although the volume of water going over Tew's Falls is much smaller and shrinks to a trickle in the summer; spring is a better viewing time). $5 per person, $10 per car.
- 24 Tiffany Falls, Wilson St. E., Ancaster. Tiffany Falls is a 21-m ribbon waterfall. It is just off the former Highway 2.
- 25 Webster's Falls, Fallsview Rd., Greensville. Among the most beautiful waterfall in Hamilton, at 30 m wide it is the widest in the city. The surrounding area in Spencer Gorge/Webster's Falls Conservation Area is a popular picnic spot in the summer. The staircase down to the base of the falls is treacherous but the view from down there is beautiful. While you are there, check out the cobblestone arch bridge near the falls. You can walk to Tew's Fall. $5 per person, $10 per car.
- Downtown Neighbourhoods. Like many cities, Hamilton is home to many traditional neighbourhoods, including Locke South, Concession St., James St. South, James S. North, International Village BIA, and Ottawa Street. James North has an exploding arts scene, with several galleries opened in the past few years.
- 1 The Westdale Theatre, 1014 King St W (at Marion Ave N), ☏ . The Westdale is a non-profit movie theatre built in 1935 and reopened in 2019 after an expensive restoration largely financed by donations. Its main attraction (other than the movies) is its beautifully restored Art Deco interior.
- 2 Theatre Aquarius. Usually puts on many good plays and musicals. Starring local talent, it generally offers quality entertainment at an affordable price. The surrounding area provides several dining opportunities.
- 3 Canadian International Military Tattoo (Copps Coliseum), 101 York Blvd, ☏ , toll-free: . Held annually each June in Hamilton. Started in 1992, to celebrate the 125th birthday of Canada, the Region of Hamilton-Wentworth presented The Greater Hamilton Tattoo.
- Doors Open Hamilton. usually held on the first weekend in May. It offers an intimate experience of various historic landmarks around the city normally off limits to visitors and tourists: various place of worship, estates, museums, wineries and government buildings. A division of Doors Open Ontario, it is an annual opportunity to discover the City, the Province of Ontario, and Canadian Heritage.
- Dundas Cactus Festival, King St, Dundas. Third weekend in August. The Castus Festival is an annual street festival in the community of Dundas. It was inspired by a cactus greenhouse business founded in Dundas by a Dutch immigrant that closed in 2009.
- Parks and trails. Despite its commonly-held industrial image, Hamilton has some 1,077 hectares (2,662 acres) of parkland, 549 ha (1,356 acres) of natural areas and 137 km (85 miles) of trails. The Bruce Trail runs right through the city. Bayfront, Pier 4 Park, and the Waterfront Trail offer panoramic views of the Hamilton Harbour and northwest shoreline.
- Golf at one of Hamilton's 18-hole public courses: 4 Chedoke or 5 King's Forest. There are numerous private courses including the 2003 home to the Canadian Open, the top rated 6 Hamilton Golf and Country Club, in Ancaster. The Hamilton Golf and Country Club is an exclusive club that dates back to Hamilton's industrial glory days. Unless you know a member, or someone that knows a member, forget playing here.
- 7 Confederation Park. Offers lakefront camping, a waterpark with wave pool and tube rides, and Adventure Village with go-karts, batting cages, mini golf, etc.
- 8 Christie Lake Conservation Area, 1000 Highway 5 West, Flamborough (near Greensville), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. sunrise–sunset. Centred on the beautiful Christie Reservoir, this conservation area features a 360-m long beach and a chlorinated swimming area separate from the reservoir. Also contains several ponds stocked with fish and large natural areas accessible by hiking trails. $5/person, additional $5 if bringing a vehicle.
- 9 Crooks Hollow Historical Trail, Crooks Hollow Road, Greensville (park at Crooks Hollow Conservation Area, Crooks Hollow Rd.). This trail traverses the site of Crooks Hollow, once the largest industrial community in Upper Canada but now a ghost town. Many of the buildings are now just grassy fields, but the Darnley Grist Mill is a spectacular ruin. A few buildings, now private residences, also still stand. Connects with the Optimist Park walking trail, which winds along the picturesque Spencer Creek and passes near Greensville Falls as well as more ruins, ending near the Spencer Gorge/Webster's Falls Conservation Area.
- Haunted Hamilton Ghost Walks. Explores the dark alleys and haunted buildings where voices of the past are said to still linger to this day. Haunted Walks of Downtown Hamilton, the Historic Customs House, the Hermitage Ruins in the Dundas Valley Conservation Area (Ancaster), as well as a historical tour of Hamilton's Dark Past, are done regularly throughout the year.
Hamilton has numerous shopping districts along attractive streets lined with small shops and eateries. While fewer brand-name retail items are available in Hamilton than in neighbouring Toronto, several districts host a successful spot for antiques, art and specialty boutiques.
- King Street. The city's main urban destination for restaurants, cafes, and of course, shops.
- James Street North. A redeveloped sector in the city's core, James Street North is widely-praised for its flourishing art galleries, various restaurants and cafes. The street hosts an Art Crawl on the second Friday of every month.
- Locke Street South. Just west of downtown, Locke Street is home to a large number of antique shops. Prices tend to be lower than in Toronto.
- Ottawa Street. Home to innumerable fabric, home decor and furnishings stores. The street had fallen on hard times earlier in the decade, but is undergoing a resurgence and has become one of the city's most popular destinations for antiques, fabric and home furnishings.
- Old Ancaster. On Hamilton Mountain, at the west-most section of the city, Old Ancaster has several specialty boutiques and historical monuments.
- Dundas. As west as Ancaster, but down the mountain, Dundas is a small heritage town with a European feel that offers most of the good shopping opportunities in Hamilton such a Picone Fine Food, a 100-year-old grocery store that sells fresh produce and high-end food items. Dundas has a great drive-in park that is popular amongst locals for summer picnics. Dundas is home to numerous festivals throughout the year.
- Concession Street. At the beginning of the 20th century, it was an African-American neighbourhood. Many slaves escaping the U.S. via the Underground Railway settled in this urban neighbourhood at the edge of the escarpment. It boasts the best views of the lower city and features many parks, some with fantastic vistas overlooking the downtown and heavy industrial areas. The neighbourhood offers many shopping, dining and entertainment opportunities. The housing is an eclectic mix of million-dollar estates and 1920s cottages. Stairs to the lower city are available on Mountain Avenue, traversing the 91-m (300-foot) escarpment. Many buses travel along Concession, making it one of the most public transit accessible areas of the city. Once considered run-down, it may be one of the most underrated areas of the city. A 1920s movie house has been renovated and is showing first-run and art films.
- Westdale. Adjacent McMaster University keeps this neighbourhood healthy, with its many boutiques, groceries, eateries, pubs and bakeries and even a movie cinema specializing in foreign and art films. Westdale Village is accessible by bus and is walking distance to McMaster University and Hospital. It was Hamilton's first master-planned community in the 1920s.
- Upper James Street (From downtown, take the Claremont Access from Victoria Ave S. Alternately, take the off-ramp from the Lincoln Alexander Parkway.). Upper James is a lengthy street that was at one time known locally as "Oilcan Alley" due to a prevalence of autobody shops and car dealerships. Most of the major dealerships in Hamilton are still located on Upper James around the Ryckmans Corners area between Stone Church and 20 Road. A huge number of stores and family restaurants exist to service the needs of most shoppers, including a Walmart Supercentre at Fennell Avenue. Beware of traffic during rush-hour periods.
- 1 CF Lime Ridge Mall, 999 Upper Wentworth St (just south of Mohawk Road, adjacent to the Lincoln Alexander Parkway), ☏ . M-F 10AM - 9PM; Sa 9:30AM - 6PM; Su 11AM - 5PM. Over 200 shops and services. Easily on-par with most major malls in larger Canadian cities. It's the most popular hang-out spot on the mountain for younger and older people alike, partly due to the total absence of a night life outside of downtown.
- 2 Hamilton Farmers Market, 35 York Blvd (at MacNab St inside Jackson Square Mall). Tu Th F 8AM-6PM, Sa 7AM-5PM. Founded in 1837, it has since moved indoors. It features the usual mix of local farm produce and ethnic specialties. It is older than the city and is one of the best farmers markets in Ontario.
|This page uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:|
|Splurge||$20 and over|
It's not difficult to find a superb variety of foods in Hamilton. Having a large minority and immigrant population, many people in Hamilton can and do take the opportunity to eat exotic cuisines.
Besides the listings below, there is a multicultural business community along James Street North between King and Murray streets offering affordable restaurants serving food from multiple nationalities.
- 1 Vida-la-Pita, 217 King Street West. Small basic eatery. Amazing chicken shawarmas, inexpensive, and fast/friendly service.
- 2 Bronzie's Place, 201 James St. S (just north of St. Joseph's Hospital). Small basic Italian eatery. Large portions, inexpensive, and fast/friendly service. Nearly everyone goes home with another meal's worth in a doggybag.
- 3 Steve's Open Kitchen, 149 James St. S, ☏ . Since 1975. A nice little hole-in-the-wall breakfast diner where you can watch the friendly chefs prepare your meal. Will set you back the change in your pocket - most meals are around five bucks. Not particularly healthy, but few good breakfasts are.
- 4 Westdale Delicatessen, 893 King St. W, ☏ . Traditional Jewish deli. Hamilton's only kosher restaurant. Closed during Passover.
Hamilton is a large city and therefore enjoys almost every mid-range dining chain. Examples include Kelsey's, Montana's, and The Keg. Hess Street, in addition to housing some newer upper-scale establishments, has several mid-range places that offer fantastic food (Ceilidh House being an example).
- 5 Bangkok Spoon, 57 King St W, Dundas, ☏ . Dundas. Authentic Thai cuisine in the beautiful downtown valley of Dundas.
- 6 Hutch's, 325 Bay St N. Offers what many consider the best fish and chips in town and, like its sister restaurant (a 1950s diner on Van Wagners Beach), offers a scenic location to munch them. Hutch's is a famous local institution which once could vie for having the best hamburgers in Canada. Urban renewal has forced Hutch's beach strip location into a boring government building. Cruise nights often held here in the summer. On the beach trail, so you can walk off your Sportsmanburger.
- 7 Tea Hut, 100 Main St E. In the Landmark Place building (tallest building in the city, hard to miss). Tea Hut is a Taiwanese restaurant known for its bubble tea. A popular hangout for the local Chinese community, and has very friendly staff and owners who will welcome you. Excellent food at affordable prices, and a huge selection of bubble tea. Enjoy a game of XiangQi (Chinese chess) or Jenga, or relax on your laptop with their free wi-fi.
- 8 Capri, 25 John St N, ☏ . Downtown. Italian. First restaurant to serve pizza in Hamilton. Gangster movies filmed here. Real gangsters ate here too. Like the mafia in Hamilton, this restaurant is now somewhat faded. Try the pizza bianco.
- 9 Black Forest Inn, 255 King St E, ☏ . Downtown. German. The Black Forest is another Hamilton institution. Full of cuckoo clocks, this restaurant.and its army of servers in Bavarian costume move the crowds through with Germanic precision. Eat there and you'll find out why Hamiltonians keep coming back.
- 10 My Thai, 21 John St N (at King William St). A stellar Thai restaurant.
- 11 Golden Grain Bakery & Deli, 367 Hamilton Regional Rd 8, Stoney Creek. A large variety of imported foods and European baked goods.
- 12 Sapporo Japanese Restaurant, 96 Main St E. In the same complex as Slainte. Possibly the best Japanese food in Hamilton, and the only Japanese restaurant that isn't a sushi bar.
- 13 The Powerhouse, 21 Jones St, ☏ . Stoney Creek. Casual fine dining is unique in any of the six historic dining venues offered at this historic site.
- 14 B.Love, 29 King St W, Dundas (in Dundas, a bit west of Hamilton proper), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Tu–Sa 10:30AM–5:30PM, Su M closed. Raw and vegan cuisine. Meals and snacks. entrées $9-15.
- 15 Boon Burger, 295 Ottawa St N, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 11AM–9PM. 100% vegan burgers, poutine, salad, and desserts. Part of a chain with outlets elsewhere in the GTA and in Winnipeg.
- 16 The Hearty Hooligan, 292 Ottawa St N. M-Sa 10:30AM-7:30PM, Su noon - 4PM. Vegan café. Offers vegan calzones, baked goods, and shakes, in addition to coffee and tea.
- 17 Ancaster Mill, 548 Old Dundas Road, Ancaster, ☏ , fax: . With its historic stone buildings, natural panoramas and waterfall, this is a picturesque spot for Sunday brunch and what it bills as "contemporary Canadian Cuisine". Family run.
- 18 [formerly dead link] Claudio's Ristorante, 92 Jackson St. E, ☏ . Upscale Italian dining. Professional and detail oriented staff. Downtown, close to Hunter St. GO Station.
- 19 Edgewater Manor, 518 Fruitland Rd, Stoney Creek, ☏ , fax: . Features fine dining in a 1920s-era mansion located stunningly on the shores of Lake Ontario. Expensive.
- 20 La Cantina, 60 Walnut St South, ☏ . Upscale Italian dining. Professional and detail oriented staff. Authentic delicious Italian food.
- 21 Mandarin Buffet, 1508 Upper James St. Local edition of an Ontario chain of massive buffets with a huge variety of Chinese cuisine. Nice decor and courteous staff. Dinner buffet runs about $25 per person, making it a bit above mid-range (but just barely). Reservations not required, but advised for larger parties.
- 22 Shakespeare's, 181 Main St. E, ☏ . Lunch M-F, dinner M-Sa from 5PM. Family-owned & -operated. Fabulous steak, seafood and wild game. Amazing wines.
- 23 My Little Asia, 36 King St E, Dundas, ☏ . Sushi restaurant.
- 1 Hess Village. A "bar" in the classic sense, Hess is a couple blocks of pubs and eateries. Highlights include the Gown and Gavel, Che Burrito Bar, Sizzle/Koi, and The Lazy Flamingo. Located roughly between King and Main Street, on Hess Street. Typically pub-type bars and night clubs, but it runs the gamut. Hess Village is where the patio action is in Hamilton on warm summer nights. Dance clubs have opened in neighbourhood, adding to the entertainment mix. This is the summer place to be in Hamilton. One of the best bar and nightclubs in Hess Village with the best music fantastic accommodations is Sizzle's Ultra Lounge.
- 2 Augusta's Winking Judge, 25 Augusta St (Augusta Street right behind the GO Transit station), ☏ . This is the best place in Hamilton to get a tasty pint. With over 20 taps dedicated to microbreweries, they're sure to have something you like. This bar does not sell popular, mass-produced beers like Molson, Labatt, or Sleeman. This was original location of the Winking Judge, which later moved to Hess Village.
- 3 The Rebels Rock, 537 King St E (King and Emerald). This Irish pub may be the only truly authentic Irish pub in the city. If you want to stay away from the bars and have a pint in a friendly living room setting, this is the place. Live Irish music every Wednesday, with some of the city's best Celtic and east coast musicians, and great home style food at a good price. Founded by Toronto cop.
- 4 The Coach and Lantern, 384 Wilson St E, Ancaster. Dating from 1823, the former "Union Hotel" has survived various incarnations and even a 1878 fire in its stables. During the War of 1812, it was purportedly the site of the Bloody Assize, and the spot where four traitors were condemned to hang outside Dundurn Castle. It's rumoured to be haunted, and not just by the Ancaster set. Has a good selection of draft beers and single malt scotches, typical pub grub, and nightly entertainment of the karaoke/trivia/open mic sort. Atmosphere is as you'd expect: exposed stone walls, beams, dark, cluttered and windowless, but it has a cobbled courtyard the claustrophobic may enjoy in the summer.
- 5 Collins Brewhouse, 33 King St. West, Dundas. Serving locals since 1841, this "food and beverage warehouse" has 12 beers on draft, including its own Brewhouse Red and Lager. Specializes in Cajun fare. Unique decor includes plank flooring, galvanized steel, 6-seater booths, garage doors opening to a patio and a concrete bar top. Live bands, poker tournament and other shenanigans make this a popular spot for all ages. Attracts a younger crowd, particularly Mac students. This is the oldest tavern in Ontario.
- 6 Phoenix Bar & Grill, 1280 Main St. W (2nd floor of Wentworth House). 11:30AM - 2AM. This is McMaster University's graduate student-run pub. It is an excellent place to meet local students and to enjoy microbrewed beers. They also have an excellent selection of pub food at reasonable prices. In the spring and summer their huge outdoor patio is very popular for students and faculty at lunch and the end of the day.
- 7 Pheasant Plucker, 20 Augusta St. Pub, also serving pub food - salads, sandwiches, chicken wings, hamburgers, fish and chips and the like.
- 8 Casbah Lounge, 306 King St W (at Queen St). Best mid-sized live music venue in the city. A large selection of craft beers are available in both rooms. Friendly atmosphere everynight.
In addition to the ones below, Burlington just north of Hamilton has some more places to sleep.
- 1 Super 8 Motel, 2975 Homestead Drive, Mount Hope (at corner of Upper James), ☏ . Affordable rates ideal for overnight stays. This is the closest hotel to Hamilton Airport and right on the direct route into the city core. Also provides easy access to nearby Caledonia and the Region of Haldimand Norfolk.
- 2 Days Inn by Wyndham, 210 Main St E. Affordable rooms without much in the way of luxury. Good for overnight stays. Rates from $72 per night.
- 3 Hamilton Guesthouse at the Pring, 158 Mary St, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Hostel accomodation with two four-bed dormitories, and three rooms. They have free Wi-Fi, kitchen for guest use, shared bathrooms and free lockers. dormitories from $28/person per night, rooms from $50/night.
- 4 Sandman Hotel Hamilton, 560 Centennial Pkwy N, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Free Wi-Fi and parking. Restaurant and fitness facilities. Rooms have TV, fridge, microwave and private bathrooms, some rooms have balconies. rates from $98.
- 5 Comfort Inn, 183 Centennial Pkwy N (at Eastgate Ct), ☏ . Rooms from $100 per night. Good central location allowing easy access to most of Hamilton's attractions.
- 6 Staybridge Suites, 20 Caroline St S, ☏ , toll-free: , fax: . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. 129 suites including kitchen facilities and spacious room. Fairly new, and the facility is clean and friendly. $150-170.
- 7 Four Points by Sheraton Hamilton - Stoney Creek, 49 Goderich Rd, ☏ . 138 "mid-range"-equipped rooms. Restaurant, fitness centre, indoor pool, two meeting rooms. rates from $129.
- 8 Visitors Inn, 649 Main St W, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Rooms with mid-range amenities. Free parking. rates from $149.
- 9 Best Western Premier C Hotel by Carmens, 1530 Stone Church Rd E, ☏ . Rooms with mid-range amenities. The hotel also has a restaurant, cocktail bar and a gym. rates from $146.
- 10 Crowne Plaza Hamilton, 150 King Street East, ☏ , toll-free: . 214 guestrooms including 9 luxury suites and 30,000 ft² (2,800 m2) of convention space, 2 magnificent ballrooms, 370-seat theatre.
- 11 Sheraton Hotel, 116 King Street West, ☏ . A relatively fancy hotel with nice rooms and great service. No free parking. $150.
- 12 Courtyard by Marriott Hamilton, 1224 Upper James St, Hamilton, ☏ . 136 rooms. Free Wi-Fi. The hotel has a restaurant, a fitness centre and a swimming pool. standard rates from $146.
- 13 Homewood Suites by Hilton Hamilton, 40 Bay St S, ☏ . Big rooms, generally with space for 4-6 guests, fully equipped kitchens and otherwise are something between hotel rooms and apartments. Rates include breakfast. Free Wi-Fi. The hotel has a fitness centre and a pool. rates from $139-212.
- 14 The Barracks Inn, 425 Wilson St E (Ancaster, a few km west of Downtown), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. A "luxury boutique hotel" in a historical building with the rooms looking a bit more expensive than at average hotels. Breakfast included in the rates. rates from $200.
- 15 Serenity Ranch Bed & Breakfast, 2171 Wilson St W (Jerseyville), ☏ . Luxurious bed and breakfast with five rooms, a bit outside Hamilton. $225.
Hamilton resides on a highly polluted area of Lake Ontario. High levels of E. Coli bacteria usually prevent the beach from being open for swimming season. In addition, the city suffers from high air pollution including fine particulate matter, consistent with most of Southern Ontario from Windsor through Oshawa.
Like most cities, there are unsafe areas which should be avoided. Some of the areas that may be problematic after dark due to black market activities (i.e. sex trade and illegal narcotics) are Barton Street from around Lottridge to James Street and Cannon and Wilson Streets between Wentworth and Victoria, along with the general downtown area including Gore Park and Jackson Square, but again, only at night. Additionally, Ferguson Avenue between Cannon and Barton is home to a large transient population, as is the rest of the Beasley neighbourhood.
Hess Village can and does experience the usual amount of drunken bar fights (typically outside of the bars), but this is no different from any other large city. Several uniformed police officers typically patrol the small area on busier nights.
Use common sense and avoid walking around alone at night. Police presence is usually infrequent in less-busy neighbouroods, so it can be best to avoid them unless you have business.
The rate of violent crime is moderate compared to other similarly-sized Canadian cities.
The beautiful trails along the Niagara Escarpment can sometimes run quite close to unfenced, unmarked cliff edges. Stay on the trail and use caution and you'll be fine.
- Police, fire, ambulance: 911
- Hamilton Police Services, ☏ (Non-emergency switchboard).
- Burlington - the vast Royal Botanical Gardens await you just over the city line
- Kitchener/Waterloo - About an hour's drive north-west. This is an old German community with a ton of nice old buildings. A variety of unique shopping and dining experiences make this a promising day-trip out of Hamilton. Nearby Cambridge is home of African Lion Safari: guard your cars well against roving bands of outlaw baboons in this family-friendly, drive-through safari park.
- Niagara Falls - for the Falls, of course
- Niagara-on-the-Lake - quaint, historic town with great little shops, restaurants, and (in the summer) the Shaw Festival
- Toronto - all the big-city thrills you could want in Canada's largest metropolis
|Routes through Hamilton|
|Toronto ← Burlington ←||NE SE||→ Grimsby → Niagara Falls|
|London ← Brantford ←||W E||→ Burlington → Brampton|
|Owen Sound ← Guelph ←||N S||→ Port Dover → END|
|Kitchener ← Cambridge ← becomes ←||W E||→ becomes → Grimsby → Niagara-on-the-Lake|
|Toronto ← Burlington ←||N S||→ St. Catharines → Niagara Falls|