Skip to content

Welcome to Hamilton! We hope you get the chance to explore our beautiful city!  Below are the organizing committee’s recommendations of their favourite places around the city.


Visitors Inn

Distance to McMaster:

  • 22 minute walk
  • 10-12 minutes by bus
  • Discounted rate, please ask for the “McMaster Corporate Rate”
    Visitors Inn

Admiral Inn

Distance to McMaster:

Staybridge Suites

  • 20 minutes by bus

Staybridge Suites

Homewood Suites

Distance to McMaster:

  • 20 minutes by bus

Homewood Suites

Sheraton Hamilton Hotel

Distance to McMaster:

  • 20 minutes by bus


Days Inn Hamilton

Distance to McMaster:

  • 26-30 minutes by bus

Days Inn



If you have a craving for pizza, shawarma, falafels, subs or wings, this is the place to eat. Basilique is the perfect place to go for a delicious, quick and flavourful meal.

Price point: $

The Bean Bar

This restaurant is a student favourite, serving a variety of scrumptious dishes from vegetarian chili and truffle fries to burgers and pasta. Be sure to save room for dessert and enjoy the cake ‘tour’ as you are presented with 10-15 freshly baked cakes to choose from.

Price point: $$ – $$$

The Express Italian Eatery

Home to freshly-prepared wood-oven baked pizza, this restaurant will not disappoint. The menu features a variety of authentic and tasty Italian dishes. If the weather is nice, the large front windows of the restaurant will be wide open, creating a lovely dining environment.

Price point: $$

Paisley Coffeehouse and Eatery

This cafe is a common meeting and studying place for McMaster students. The vast selection of baked goods provides the perfect snack while the drink menu (which includes fair trade organic coffee, local craft beers and tea) offers something for every occasion.

Price point: $

Other notable restaurants include: Burrito Bandidos (, Delirious Burger Co. and Saigon Restaurant (


Take Note Stationary Botique

If you love fancy paper, nice pens and cute notecards, this shop is the
place to go. The wide variety of quality stationary is sure to please every
stationary-loving person.

Walker’s Chocolates

This chocolate shops provides an impressive variety of handmade chocolates
and cookies, perfect to buy as gifts or simply sweet treats to satisfy a
chocolate craving.

White Elephant

This quaint little boutique features a variety of lovely clothes, jewelry
and accessories, all designed and made by Canadians.

Nature Spots

Cootes Paradise

Covering over 600 hectares of land, this wildlife sanctuary is home to numerous bird, flower and tree species. This land, part of the Royal Botanical Gardens, contains 18 kilometres of hiking trails for people to enjoy, including 10 lookout points to Cootes Paradise Marsh. McMaster University’s campus backs onto part of Cootes Paradise, providing access points to two trails. The Chegwin Trail (accessible behind Brandon Hall residence) takes only about 15 minutes to complete the loop and allows hikers a lovely view of the marsh. For the more ambitious hikers, the Ravine Road Trail (accessible behind Les Prince residence) will connect to trails leading to both Sassafras Point and Princess Point, two stunning lookout points.

Tiffany Falls

Hamilton is famous for its waterfalls. Tiffany Falls is the closest to McMaster University out of all 100 waterfalls in the city. Tiffany Falls is only a 20 minute bus ride from the university (take bus #5C Meadowlands towards Ancaster). These beautiful falls stands 21 metres high and are surrounded by the serene forest of the Tiffany Falls Conservation Area. If you love photography, be sure to bring a camera, as the nature scenery makes for the perfect picture.

A number of Hamilton’s other waterfalls are also worth visiting (such as Tew’s Falls and Webster’s Falls). Some are a bit harder to get to using public transit. However, if you are staying in the Hamilton area for an extra day, any of the falls are worth visiting. The website below highlights some of the most popular waterfalls in the city.

Other Attractions

Hamilton offers a variety of attractions that are worth visiting. If you find yourself in the city for an extra day or two, here are some suggestions for additional places to visit that might be interesting:

Westdale Village

Located only a 10 minute walk from McMaster’s campus, Westdale Village is home to a variety of small cafés, delicious restaurants and unique shops that are not to be missed. Highlighted here are some of our favourite places we recommend visiting, but check out the website for a full list of shops and restaurants.

Dundurn Castle

This castle is a national historic site, built in the 1830’s as a home for Sir Allan Napier MacNab, the Premier of the Province of Canada from 1854 to 1856. The one-hour tour takes you through the rooms of the house, all complete with historically accurate furnishings, allowing guests to learn more about this piece of Canadian history. The grounds and gardens surrounding the house are also lovely and wonderful to walk through.

The Royal Botanical Gardens

This expansive collection of gardens encompasses multiple locations consisting of both indoor and outdoor gardens. Gardens include The RGB Centre (with the Mediterranean Garden greenhouse), the Rock Garden, the Arboretum, Laking Garden and Hendrie Park. Each garden is unique and displays a wide variety of plants, trees and flowers. The RBG land also contains numerous hiking trails, through protected land such as Cootes Paradise, which are gorgeous to walk along.

James St. North (Downtown) 

James St. North is a pretty area in Downtown Hamilton full of shops and restaurants. Definitely worth an afternoon or evening walk. Here I highlight only a small sampling of the available options in the area. All my recommendations are vegetarian friendly.  There are truly a huge number of restaurants on or just off James, so if none of my favorites speak to you, this part of the city is still worth checking out.  Prices I give reflect what I’ve spent on a full meal (appetizer, entrée, and one drink) not just an entrée.

To get to James street take any of the 5 buses from McMaster and get off at MacNab. From MacNab go two blocks East and then head North (left) on James St.

The third block is King William street. This is a nice area with higher end restaurants. A personal favorite is The French (cost per person ~ $50-$70, reservations recommended, Worth the higher price for their homemade butter alone! Also, they have a nice cocktail and dessert selection.

Continuing down James street N the next left is York street, which has a year round Farmer’s Market (open Tuesdays, Thursday-Saturday, The market not only has fresh, local produce but also has a number of coffee, treat and lunch spots. For lunch on a hot day, I particularly like a Banh Mi sandwich and Thai Iced Tea from Nam Nom Banh Mi.

As you continue North on James there are numerous boutiques and art stores as well as a relatively new, local brewery, Merit ( Perhaps the best coffee (though there are a high number of quality coffee shops in Hamilton) and definitely the best London Fog in the city is found at Smalls (  just off James on Cannon. Next door to Smalls is a nice lunch spot for sandwiches and soups, The Burnt Tongue (~$15 per person,, I highly recommend the French onion grilled cheese and kale Caesar salad.

If you want a fun and unique cocktail consider Sazerac (though it is very small, so get there early, or for live music with dinner or drinks check out Zyla’s (~$25 per person,

For someone looking for extra time outside to get back to McMaster you can continue North on James for ~1.5km to Bayfront park and either walk or rent a bike with Soby and go all the way back (~6 km) via trails.

Near the Go Station (Downtown)

When you get off the bus at MacNab and head east towards James if instead you head South on James towards the Go Station there are excellent fusion tacos and tequila at  Mezcal (~25 per person,

Locke Street

Locke Street is a slightly closer alternative to downtown, it has fewer options but is more accessible. A nice street to walk down and grab a bite to eat or drink.  Any of the 5 buses from campus will get you here, get off at Locke.

There are several cafes including the all vegan, Democracy ( ), which is a nice place to sit and have cauliflower wings, which even omnivores will enjoy.  Alternatively, Brown Dog Coffee Shop ( ) is a great place to sit and get some work done.  Their drinks and pastries are tasty.

Locke street has the second branch of The Burnt Tongue or try Earth to Table: Bread Bar ( ) for lunch. For a local pub try West Town Bar and Grill ( ) or Brux House Craft Beer and Kitchen ( ).

%d bloggers like this: