With its art crawls, lovingly restored historic buildings turned boutiques and bakeshops, and recent celebrity endorsements (film director Guillermo del Toro raved about the bookstores), Hamilton’s quiet cool is a refreshing detour.

If you’d like to spend your urban getaway like a local, hitting the top eat streets and shopping districts, here is your guide to the highlights of Hamilton’s most interesting ‘hoods:


Ottawa Street North

Known as the Design District, this is a neighbourhood best described as eclectic – where else could you combine antique hunting with noshing on locally famous waffles? Those celebrated waffles are found at Cannon Coffee Co., a recommended brunch pick where you can indulge in waffle sandwiches that are the perfect fuel for treasure hunting in the antique shops that dot the street. Down a flight of steps at Antique Avenue you’ll find a treasure trove of Eames chairs, mid-century modern furniture, and 70s signage. Add to your finds at Millionaire’s Daughter or Stardust Records, all great choices if you’re looking to indulge your love of secondhand. End your day with some sustenance at Hambugr. If your tastes tend to Italian fare, you won’t go wrong at Café Limoncello.

Cannon Coffee Co.

James Street North

As this neighbourhood has evolved over the last few years it has truly come to embody the slogan “Art is the new Steel.” For many, the James Street North Art Crawl on the second Friday of every month is one of the best times to visit, and the chance to purchase a one-of-a-kind handmade item in a gallery, studio or store, or as you stroll the sidewalks filled with artisans and visual artists. But any time is a good time to explore the many artists’ galleries and co-operatives and the various independent retailers along this stretch.

This seven block district extends from Wilson to Murray Street. With its diversity of buildings, activities and people, the area is a real hub for shopping, galleries, and restaurants. For clothing, seek out unisex boutique O’s Clothes with labels like Fjallraven, Brixton and Penfield, and Pomp & Ceremony, or White Elephant, a clothing and lifestyle store focused on handmade and small-batch jewelry, accessories and gifts. Browse the eclectic mix of giftables, statement pieces and housewares at Pretty Grit, and don’t miss local favourite The Pale Blue Dot for antique and sustainable wares running the gamut of old and new.

Foodies will find their mecca here at The Hamilton Farmers’ Market, one of the largest and oldest in Canada and home of Canada’s first poke bar, Pokeh. Take a coffee break at Saint James Espresso Bar & Eatery or Mulberry Coffee House, where you can enjoy a gluten-free donut while sitting amongst local artwork. If you have a sweet tooth, drop in to Chocolat on James for treats like chocolate-covered gummy bears and truffles. Two great restaurant choices are The Burnt Tongue, a soup shop that has evolved to offering what is, to many, the best craft burger in Hamilton; and Saltlick Smokehouse, where the table decides together what meats will be served and can choose from unique menu items like Korean beef ribs and crispy pork belly nuggets.

The Burnt Tongue

Locke Street South

Another Hamilton neighbourhood that has seen a recent evolution, this street in the southwest of the city has turned from a quiet strip into a bustling area dotted with bars, cafes and on-trend home retailers.

Lulu & Lavigne Home Studio offers an inspirational mix of new and vintage home décor and lifestyle accessories. Take a shopping break Democracy Coffee House, an industrial-chic vegan café where a deliberate lack of wi-fi contributes to great conversation.

If you’re looking for a meal, established local favourites include NaRoma Pizzeria with its Roman style pies and Mattson & Co. for elegant surroundings. Perhaps the neighbourhood’s busiest homegrown restaurant is well-loved Earth to Table Bread Bar, serving up pizzas and burgers with an upmarket, slow-food sensibility and commitment to eating local.

Earth to Table Bread Bar

Westdale Village

Best known for its proximity to McMaster University, this area is also home to 80+ shops and restaurants including a number of not-to-be-missed spots. This vibrant, historic neighbourhood village is best explored by a trip down King Street West. Highlights in this ‘hood are eats at Delirious Burger Company, treats at Walker’s Chocolates, and desserts and live music at The Bean Bar. Shoppers will want to check out Mixed Media for art supplies and reading materials, Casual Gourmet for kitchenware, Take Note for stationery, and Dakota Mae for womenswear. Head to the outskirts of Westdale and you’ll find Fairweather Brewing with its taproom and bottle shop, as well the nature trails of Cootes Paradise.

Fairweather Brewing

In addition to amazing shopping, art and food, Hamilton is home to the world’s largest collection of waterfalls, one of Canada’s most beloved football teams, amazing museums and heritage sites, and a happening live music scene. When you’re ready to discover why everyone is buzzing about “The Hammer”, make sure to check out the city’s experiences, tours and travel deals.

Travel Deals View All >>

Experiences & Tours View All >>

Now thru October 15

Grand Overnight Camping Adventure

Grand Experiences Outdoor Adventure Company

115 Grand River Street North, Paris, ON, N3L 2M4

Dates and Times: Offered every day - book ahead! Price: Varies depending on boat choice

Now thru December 31

Explore Paris Like A Local – A Sweet Escape

Tasty Road Trips Food Tours

Paris, Ontario

Tour Details: This tour is a 4.5 hour all-inclusive self-guided tour with all food, sips,...

Now thru December 31

A Taste of Paris – Sip, Savour & Shopping

Tasty Road Trips Food Tours

Paris, Ontario

Tour Details: This tour includes three tasting locations with timed stops to make your day...

June 29 - September 28

Wellness at Whitehern – A Historic Mental Health Tour

Whitehern Historic House & Garden – National Historic Site

41 Jackson Street West, Hamilton, ON, L8P 1L3

Date: Jun 29th, Jul 27th, Aug 31st, Sep 28th Time: 10:00am to 12:00pm Ages: 18+...

Now thru September 2

Hamiltonian Tour Boat

Hamilton Waterfront – Pier 8

47 Discovery Drive, Hamilton, ON L8L 8K4

Open Weekends Only until June 29th. Daily from June 29th to September 2nd. Departure Times:...

July 13 - August 18

Pick Your Own Blueberries at Northfield Blueberries

Northfield Blueberries

101 Middle Townline Rd, Scotland, ON N0E 1R0

Picking Season: mid-Jul to mid-Aug Call ahead to check picking conditions!

Now thru January 1

Museums Burlington Online Galleries

Joseph Brant Museum

1240 North Shore Boulevard East, Burlington, ON, L7S 1C5

Now thru October 31

One Axe Pursuits: Introduction to Outdoor Rock Climbing

One Axe Pursuits

7200 Appleby Line, Milton, ON

Dates: May to October Duration: 6 hours (10:00am to 4:00pm) Price: $250/person Contact to book...

June 29 - September 8

Kelso Cove Waterpark

Kelso Conservation Area / Glen Eden

5234 Kelso Road, Milton, ON, L9T 2X7

Waterpark Ticket Price (not including gate admission): $25.00 Open daily from 11:00 am - 7:00...

June 26 - October 2

Bronte Historical Society Walk & Talk History

Bronte Village BIA

Sovereign House, 7 West River Street, Oakville

Dates: Jun 26th, Jul 10th, Jul 24th, Aug 7th, Aug 21st, Sep 4th, Sep 18th,...

Now thru September 29

Wake Up the Wild

African Lion Safari

1386 Cooper Road, Hamilton, ON, N1R 5S2

Available on select dates from Jun to Sept, 2024. Tour subject to availability. Advanced reservations...

July 20

Yoga with a View

Joseph Brant Museum

1240 North Shore Boulevard East, Burlington, ON, L7S 1C5

Date & Time: Jul 20th, 8:00am to 10:00am, Workshop Price: $42.00/person

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