Jen’s Declassified #hamont Summer Survival Guide

So exams are over, most of your friends have moved back home, and you’re still in Hamilton… now what?

While catching up on your favourite shows on Netflix or hanging out at second floor Mills might be super fun, there is so much more Hamilton has to offer, and what better time is there to go out and explore than the summer?

Hamilton is an amazing place for discovering independent, local business and restaurants, experiencing music and art, and enjoying nature. Here is your ultimate guide for things to do in Hamilton in the summer:

#1. Art Crawls

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(Art Crawl on James St. N-Credit:

Hamilton has a really cool arts scene, and you haven’t really experienced Hamilton until you’ve been to one of the monthly art crawls on James St N. On the second Friday of each month, this downtown street gets transformed with different sights and sounds of art and music. Local artists sell their art on the streets, musicians and bands perform at along the street (my favourite is seeing the bands that perform on the roof of the Dr. Disc store), and the art galleries are free for you to enter! To top it all off, the businesses along James St are open later, so you can grab late night ice cream or snacks if you’re hungry. Art crawls run all year long, but they’re the best to experience in the summer!

#2. Burlington Sound of Music Festival

This is one of the festivals I’m looking forward to the most this summer. This is a completely free music festival in Burlington, complete with carnival rides, a downtown streetfest, a marketplace, and food trucks. Some of last year’s headliners included Mother Mother and July Talk and I am very excited to see what this year’s lineup is! This festival is held at the Burlington Waterfront, which is absolutely beautiful. There are usually shuttle buses from Hamilton to Burlington during the festival, so it’s just a bus ride away!

#3. Other Festivals in Hamilton

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(Festival of Friends – Credit:

There are so many other free festivals in Hamilton, such as music festivals including the Festival of Friends, the Hamilton World Music Festival, and other fun festivals like the Dundas Cactus Festival, It’s Your Festival, the International Dundas Buskerfest, and so much more. I love summer in Hamilton because there’s always some kind of event or festival going on, and these events will usually feature local musicians and food vendors. Music and food, my two favourite things!

#4. Explore the local restaurants and businesses

This is my favourite thing to do during the school year when there are less festivals and free events to go to, but this is also great to do during the summer, because summer means patio season! There are so many small local restaurants and businesses in Hamilton that it’s overwhelming for me because I want to try every single of one them but I’m only on a student budget! I am a huge foodie and if you want to find good food in Hamilton but don’t know where to start, I would suggest checking out Locke St and James St (North and South). There are also so many Hamilton food Instagram accounts if you ever need any inspiration on where to go for your next dinner out.

If you’re in summer school and Thode life just isn’t for you, check out some of the local coffee shops. A few of my favourites for studying during this last exam season were Ark & Anchor Espresso Bar on King St W and Brown Dog Coffee Shop on Locke St. They both have an upper floor with big tables, great for spreading out all your notes and hanging out for a few hours to get things done. Also, the first Tim Hortons ever opened in Canada is just over on Ottawa St! There’s an upper floor with a mini Tim Hortons museum, and it’s also a pretty place to study.

#5. Hiking or Biking the local trails

You’ve probably heard “Hamilton is the waterfall capital of the world” more times than you can count during your time here at Mac. They aren’t lying! Some waterfalls you can check out include Chedoke Falls, Sherman and Tiffany Falls (they’re pretty close together, and not much of a hike), and Albion Falls. There are also a good number of trails great for hiking or biking in Dundas if you’re looking for something close by. You’re bound to see deer, a pretty waterfall, or both!

I hope this was helpful! These are just a few things I like to do during the summer, but if there are any cool things you like to do in Hamilton, feel free to share it with us in the comments below. Happy exploring!

-Jennifer Chan

*Editor’s Note: Our featured photo is an edited version of the logo from Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide; credit goes to Nickelodeon and whoever is the original creator of the logo