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Fun Things to do in Hamilton

Ontario

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city guide

Known for its industrial heritage, Hamilton has a unique urban feel, a vibrant arts scene, and a bustling downtown. Located between Lake Ontario and the Niagara Escarpment, Hamilton offers incredible access to nature trails, parks, waterfalls, museums, art galleries, and incredible restaurants and shopping experiences.

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Best time to go

So, the best time to visit Hamilton is during spring, in the months of April to June. Highest temperature in Hamilton is recorded as 87.8 in September. Lowest temperature in Hamilton is recorded as 6.8 in January. Maximum rain recorded in Hamilton is 1094.72 mm in April.

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Fun city facts and activities

    Hamilton has been known as Steeltown for over a century but, in addition to the industry that put it on the map, the city is now (finally!) being recognized for its trendy neighborhoods and its stellar art, hotel, music, restaurant and craft beer scenes. In terms of things to do, Hamiltons waterfalls have earned it the title of waterfall capital of the world, and they sure are worth a visit. Hiking and cycling trails are just some of the ways to get up close and personal with the picture-perfect views. Others may opt to visit the local botanical gardens, a winery, safari and more. Whether a local wanting to play tourist or a tourist craving a sense of what the city is all about.
City facts

Neighborhoods to explore

    Crown Point East
    Normanhurst
    Homeside
    Parkview East
    Downtown Burlington
    Mountainview
    Durand
    Gibson
Neighborhoods

Restaurants
Food Specialties

    Is Hamilton Canadas most underrated city? Our pick of awesome things to do here makes for a compelling argument, and the citys food scene more than adds to that. The epicentre of the citys food scene is, well, everywhere, from James Street and King William to neighbourhoods like Locke and Ottawa Streets, but excellent food seems to be a constant here no matter where you are. Check out our pick of the best restaurants in Hamilton, and prepare to be stuffed in the most delicious of ways.
Restaurants
Events

Hamilton Offbeat activities

Free or cheap things to do

1. Go on a walking tour of the city's public art. Hamilton features unique sculptures, murals, and other art pieces that are scattered throughout the city.

2. Visit the citys many historical buildings. Hamilton is full of 19th-century architecture, including the city hall, two old churches, and a former jail.

3. Take a cooking class at a local restaurant. Learn how to make authentic Italian, Mexican, or other ethnic dishes.

4. Explore the city's waterfront. Stroll along the harbor and check out the boats, or fish off the pier.

5. Spend a day at the Royal Botanical Gardens. This sprawling park features gardens, nature trails, and a variety of plants and wildlife.

6. Take a brewery tour. Hamilton is home to several craft breweries, offering unique and delicious beer.

7. Visit the Hamilton Zoo. See the lions, tigers, bears, and other

Offbeat activites
Kid friendly

Fun things to do in with kids

Free or cheap things to do

1. Play at Hare Puke Destination Playground
Hamilton has more than 80 playgrounds, and its hard to choose a favourite but Hare Puke is definitely one of them. The playground was also awarded 2019 New Zealand Playground of the year!

2. Visit Hamilton Gardens
A trip to Hamilton would not be complete without a stop at the stunning Hamilton Gardens, which has FREE entry. The gardens have lots of separate garden collections within the garden which makes them fun to explore. Our families favourite gardens are the Indian Char Bah Garden (pictured below), the Modernist Garden, the Chinese Scholars Gardens with the bamboo path , the Surrealist Garden with the giant surrealist biomorphic shapes known as the trons and the greenhouses in the Victorian Flower Garden.

3. Explore the Waikato River by boat
Take the family on a relaxing Waikato River Explorer cruise on New Zealands longest waterway that cuts through the middle of Hamilton. The boat is protected in the weather, so it still a fun experience with the kids even if it is raining. The cruise departs from Hamilton Gardens or Waikato Museum and snacks are available to purchase on board.

4. Hamilton Zoo
Hamilton Zoo is a fun place for the animal lovers in your family to visit. See chimpanzees, rhinos, tamarins, giraffes, meerkats, zebra, red pandas, lemurs, tigers, brids, geckos, tuataras and over 500 other animals at the zoo spread over 25 hectares.

5. Discover the Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato
Auckland for Kids always loves a trip to the museum and the Waikato Museum on the banks of the Waikato River in Central Hamilton is no exception. The museum tells the stories of Hamilton and has over 30,000 taonga (objects).The Exscite interactive science gallery will keep the kids entertained and learning for hours. The museum has school holiday activities on for each school holidays.

6. Visit Lake Rotoroa, also know as Hamilton Lake domain and playground
Lake Rotoroa is a good place to visit year round with a superb tree top theme playground (near Innes Common and the Veranda Cafe) for the kids, a parkour area for the older kids and lots of space for a picnic. There is an easy 3.8 kilometere walk with picturesque views around the edge of Hamilton Lake (Rotoroa) and the kids can enjoy feeding the ducks and watching model boats too. You can cycle on the paths, but not on the boardwalk section of the lake walkway.

7. Check out the Classics Car Museum
For the classic car fanatics in your family you cant miss the Classics Car Museum in Railside Place in Hamilton which has over 100 classic cars including Belair, Bugatti, Auburn and Cadillac cars. They also have an impressive collection of petrol memorabilia including signs and petrol pumps. You family will love the retro 1950s themed Jukebox Diner which is open the same hours as the museum.

8. Visit Lake Rotokaeo, Minogue Park playground & the BMX track
Minogue Park is another fun Hamilton playground next to Lake Rotokaeo which is fun to play with and has in-built mini tramps, climbing ropes, slides tunnels, water play and a dual flying foxes. We think the park is more suited to younger children but older kids can have fun too. As its close to the lake make sure you keep an eye on your littlies.

9. Go swimming at Waterworld Te Rapa
Waterworld Te Rapa is a large swimming complex with 6 pools just off Te Rapa Straight in Hamilton. Enjoy the 25m childrens pool, toddler pool, 50m lane swimming pool, 4.6 metre dive pool, outdoor lido pool, splash pad, hydroslides plus the outdoor playground and barbeque area. Note the outdoor pool and splashpad are only open during summer.

10. See the hot air Balloons above Waikato
Balloons over Waikato is a FREE hot air balloon festival held in early Autumn for five days. The event has been voted six times as the Best Waikato Event by the public of Hamilton, and is a Must Do in the Waikato events calendar.

11. Visit Temple View Legacy Park
Legacy Park was created in remembrance of the Church Labour Missionaries for families recreation and enjoyment. Kids will enjoy exploring the boardwalk path through the mature trees and alongside marshland. You cant use bikes, skateboards at the park and dogs must be kept on leash. The boardwalks are smooth and flat which make them ideal for buggies and for wheelchairs.

12. Take a minature train ride at Hamilton Model Engineers
On Sunday mornings and afternoon the Hamilton Model Engineers operate miniature train rides that go through tunnels and over bridges on two tracks in Minogue Park. You can check to see if they are running on the Hamilton Model Engineers Facebook page.

13. Pick-your-own lavender straight from the farm in summer
Lavender Backyard Garden is a small, family owned lavender and blueberry farm in Newstead, Hamilton.
For just 2 months each year in December and January you can take your family to pick your own lavender. Plus from December to January you can also pick your own blueberries.

14. Discover The Sculpture Park at Waitakaruru Arboretum
The Sculpture Park at Waitakaruru Arboretum is about 15kms east of Hamilton is a 17.5 hectare arboretum with more than 20,000 trees from around the world. The kids will enjoy discovering more than 100 New Zealand made sculptures and installations along the 2km trail. This art-in-nature experience aims to inspire imaginations, nourish inquisitive minds, and provide for creative learning in an accessible wilderness environment. There is no cafe onsite, but you are welcome to take a picnic to enjoy.

15. Try to escape from an Escape Room
Older kids will enjoy challenging themselves to an escape room game at Escape HQ or Escapist in Hamilton.

16. Go skate boarding at Melville Skatepark
Older kids will enjoy the skatepark, playing basketball and climbing on the playground at Melville Park.

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Best Parks

City data and FAQ 

Is Hamilton worth visiting?
Today, it is still one of the few places in Canada that values art. Hamilton may be nicknamed the City of Waterfalls, yet it definitely has a lot more to offer. Be sure to book your stay in one of the vacation rentals or hotels with pool to make your vacation more memorable.

Is it long distance from Toronto to Hamilton?
Distance between Toronto and Hamilton is 61 kilometers (38 miles). Driving distance from Toronto to Hamilton is 81 kilometers (50 miles).

What is Hamilton famous for?
Known for its industrial heritage, Hamilton has a unique urban feel, a vibrant arts scene, and a bustling downtown. Located between Lake Ontario and the Niagara Escarpment, Hamilton offers incredible access to nature trails, parks, waterfalls, museums, art galleries, and incredible restaurants and shopping experiences.

How many waterfalls are in Hamilton?
Promoted as the City of Waterfalls, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, located on the banks of Lake Ontario, is home to 156 waterfalls within the city limits, the most to be counted and recorded to date by any individual city in the world.

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