Things YOU GOTTA SEE when visiting Hamilton, Ontario
Hamilton is located between the western end of Lake Ontario and the Niagara Escarpment, which has more than 100 beautiful waterfalls are located on or near several wooded trails, just minutes from the city’s downtown core.
Here are some quick suggestions for visitors with limited time in the area. The schedule is only a suggestion.
Hamilton – First Day
This should give you a good overview of the city, its heritage and culture in the downtown & waterfront area. Here are our picks for the must-see attractions in Hamilton.
Start by heading up the escarpment for an overview of the city, so you can see where the rest of your tour on this day will take you. There are a number of roadways that slope up the escarpment (they are called “accesses”) to the area called “Hamilton Mountain” atop the 1 00 metre high escarpment: Queen Street/Beckett Drive, James Mountain Rd, Arekeldun Ave/Jolley Cut, Claremont Access, Sherman Access, and Kenilworth Access (from west to east). Roads that are both in the downtown and on the mountain have the mountain segment prefaced by the descriptor “Upper” (like: James, Upper James).
There are several good parking spots and viewpoints along Mountain Top Parkway, Concession Street, and Mountain Brow Boulevard.
While you are along the brow of the Escarpment, you can take in some of Hamilton’s 100 waterfalls. Some popular waterfalls in the city are at Iroquoia Park, above the Chedoke Golf Course, just west of the Red Hill Valley Parkway. Also, nearby, there are more waterfalls, at the Christie Lake Conservation Area (in Dundas), at Spencer Gorge/Webster Falls (in Flamborough), and also above Battlefield Park (Stoney Creek).
Head back Downtown, where there several worthy attractions, including the Art Gallery of Hamilton, Hamilton Children’s Museum, Gore Park, Whitehern Historic House & Garden, Cathedral of Christ the King, Christ’s Church Cathedral.
Hamilton’s art galleries are clustered along James St and Ottawa Street. On the second Friday of every month, after 6pm, Hamilton’s arts and culture hub, James Street North, is transformed by a decade-old phenomenon called Art Crawl.
On the western end of the Hamilton Harbour shoreline are Dundurn Castle, Hamilton Military History Museum, and Bayfront Park.
In the harbour, visit the Pier 4 Park, The marina, Lookout Point, HMCS Haida National Historic Site, and Eastwood Park. To the southeast of this area is Hamilton’s industrial area and two steel plants, extending to the Skyway and Lake Ontario waterfront.
Hamilton – Second Day
On your second day in Hamilton, you can explore other areas and communities that show case the natural beauty of the Niagara Escarpment and the nwaterfront, and the history of Hamilton.
Head to the Lake Ontario waterfront alongside the QEW and the Skyway, at the West Harbour and the Beachfront, and take in attractions like Lakeland Go-Karts, and Wild Waterworks (waterslides and waterpark).
Tour the Hamilton Museum of Steam & Technology, and head across the Hamilton-Burlington Skyway, where you can rent canoes or kayaks,
In Burlington, on the north side of Hamilton Harbour, enjoy Spencer Smith Park on the lakeshore, or head west to the Royal Botanical Gardens, the RBG Cootes Paradise Sanctuary, Borers Falls Sanctuary, and the Rock Chapel Sanctuary
Head back via Ancaster and Dundas, for Fieldcote Memorial Park & Museum, Griffin House National Historic Site, The War of 1812/1800 Mini Museum, Dundas Museum, McMaster University, Origins Institute 3D Theatre, William J. McCallion Planetarium, and Westdale’s Main Street shopping district.
Here are some other suggestions for close-in to Hamilton:
- Stoney Creek: history buffs can check out Battlefield Park (which showcases the very important Battle of Stoney Creek, in the War of 1812), and the Erland Lee Museum
- Binbrook and Hope: take in Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum (beside the airport), and Fun Splash Sports Park, Cameron Speedway and Amusements, and Binbrook Park
- Head northwest on Highway 9 (toward Cambridge) for African Lion Safari, Westfield Heritage Village, and Yee Haw Adventure Farm
Hamilton – Additional Tours
If you have more than two days in Hamilton, here are some recommended tours to nearby attractions:
- Take a tour of the steel plants in the city (Dofasco, Stelco) to see how steel is made and used.
- Brantford is not only a beautiful community, on the banks of the Grand River, but it is the location of the Alexander Bell Homestead, where the telephone was invented, and has the Six Nations Reserve adjoining.
- Niagara Penninsula See pretty St Catharines, and Port Dalhousie, and then head up to Thorold, to see the shipping and locks on the Welland Canal. Visit the many wineries in a protected micro-climate below the escarpment and sample their wares, and take in the very charming town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, and head up the Niagara Parkway to Queenston Heights. Then, in Niagara Falls, see the Falls and the various attractions in that community.
- Head south to Lake Erie, starting at Dunnville, and head east along the lakeshore to Port Colborne, Crystal Beach, and Fort Erie, (with its historic war of 1812 fort) which lies opposite the City of Buffalo, in New York State.