AAA Travel Tips / Off the Beaten Path in Toronto: Hamilton, Ontario

Off the Beaten Path in Toronto: Hamilton, Ontario

AAA/Patricia Miller
By AAA Travel Editors
October 05, 2021
If you’re in search of a change of pace from Toronto’s high-energy lifestyle, take a drive south to the quirky yet quaint town of Hamilton. Part of the greater Toronto area, this haven for hipsters is often compared to Brooklyn, New York, and has lots of fun things to do; it’s home to many unique restaurants, eclectic art galleries and stylish boutiques.

Art Gallery of Hamilton

123 King St. W.
(905) 527-6610
Established in 1914 and the forerunner of the city’s vibrant art scene, the Art Gallery of Hamilton proudly showcases both contemporary and historic Canadian art complemented by European works in its modern and spacious galleries. With more than 10,000 pieces in its permanent collection, the museum is a must-see, especially for visitors who like to learn about a culture through the eyes and hands of its people.
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AAA/Patricia Miller

Hamilton Farmers’ Market

35 York Blvd.
(905) 546-2096
The modern mirrored building that contains this indoor farmers’ market may cause you to wonder, but step inside and you’ll see there’s nothing too unusual about its contents. About 60 booths hold a delightful array of locally produced vegetables, fruits, meats, seafood and cheeses. If you’re looking for a quick bite, choose from prepared foods that you can eat on the spot, including poke bowls, ramen, and Mexican and Indian dishes.
AAA/Patricia Miller

James Street North Monthly Art Crawl

Between King and Murray streets
The arts are alive and well in Hamilton, with plenty of thriving galleries in its various neighborhoods, including James Street North. Check out the Art Crawl, a free and fun event beginning at 4 p.m. on the second Friday of each month. Many merchants stay open until 11 p.m., giving you ample time to enjoy the eye candy and pick up a piece of art as a souvenir of your vacation. Lend an ear to street musicians who supply the soundtrack to a leisurely evening.
AAA/Patricia Miller

Mulberry Coffeehouse

193 James St. N.
(905) 963-1365
A bevy of coffeehouses fill Hamilton, and that’s a good thing, because if there’s one thing that Hamiltonians love, it’s a good cup of joe. A prime example is Mulberry Street Coffeehouse, a local hangout in a former 1887 hotel with original white plaster ceiling medallions, brick walls and some of the finest java you’ve ever sipped. Take a moment to savor a freshly brewed iced tea or chill-chasing latte made with fair trade, organic coffee and a homemade vegan or gluten-free muffin. Stick around for some live music and discover talented Canadian performers.
AAA/Patricia Miller

James Street North Shopping District

James Street North (between King and Murray streets)
A true shopaholic could spend days here, especially if he or she has a thing for one-of-a-kind shops that aren’t likely to be found elsewhere. James Street North is home to one of Hamilton’s most varied shopping districts: Pop into bohemian boutiques tucked into late 19th-century townhomes, including Blackbird Studios and O’s Clothes; a store named STORE that sells artisan-crafted ceramic, leather and wood items; and a candy shop called Chocolat on James, to name a few.

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