Over the course of 7 days, the hubs and I managed to sneak out on 3 date nights. One of those date nights was actually a whole day without the kids thanks to my brother taking over his uncle duties and not only watching and feeding the kids, but he also did the camp pick up for Little Monkey. While he was tending to the kids, the hubs and I joined our Travel Massive peeps on a press trip to Hamilton. Yes, I said Hamilton (and no, not the Broadway Show).
The Hammer may have a bad rep amoungst Torontonians but I’m here to tell you that Canada’s 9th largest city is a food and art mecca. Most of my friends who dabble in the arts will be quick to tell you that Hamilton is a charming city where the art scene is not only alive but thriving. Until we explored Hamilton with Tourism Hamilton and Travel Massive I didn’t really understand what they meant. James Street North outshines Toronto’s Queen West in my opinion.
I was SHOCKED to learn that there’s an art crawl every second Friday of the month where artists of all forms flock to James Street North and sets up shop. As we walked around James Street that afternoon we met with jewellers and painters. We even met a children’s theatre performer! By the time 7 p.m. rolled around we could feel the energy of the place as the city prepared to party into the night. We sadly didn’t get to hang around and experience it, but I do promise to head back and experience that in person. I won a prize that night which will see the Murphys heading back to explore the food and art scene ( I know!! TOTALLY lucky!!) so we’ll be sure to report back with more details. With or without kids is the decision we need to make! In the mean time, if you’re looking for an excuse to head to Hamilton, check out Supercrawl which takes place between September 9 and 11 this year. What fascinated me most was how the congregation of artists happens naturally in Hamilton. Supercrawl has no main organization supporting or scheduling the events, it all happens organically. REMARKABLE! Supercrawl sounds a bit like our Nuit Blanche in Toronto, but it’s a bigger gathering of musicians and artists in a truly fashionable way.
We had a jam packed day visiting art galleries, clothing stores and of course, restaurants! Below are my top 5 favourite spots we visited during our day in Hamilton.
- Art Gallery of Hamilton : A visit to the oldest and largest public art gallery in southwestern Ontario is definitely mandatory for art lovers. Similar to our AGO, this spot is great for families and offers a family program every last Sunday of the month.
- Lake Road Restaurant : The team here is absolutely fabulous and mixes up some amazing cocktails and yes there’s a speak easy in the basement!! You know how much I love my hidden cocktail bars!
- Saltlick Restaurant : I can see us spending an afternoon here drinking local craft beer and shoving BBQ meats into our bellies on our next visit!
- The Hamilton Store : The moment we stepped in here we knew we’d have to return and grab some Christmas gifts for the hub’s grandmother (she used to live in Hamilton before heading to Cape Breton). You can find some amazing items featuring local artwork or designed by local artisans.
- Collective Brewing : As craft beer fans we not only loved the behind the scenes tour here but we got to experience a concert here. It’s a party venue with a fabulous patio and twinkly lights to put you in the mood for beer meets art.
If you’d like to see what else we got up to that day, click here! We’ve visited Hamilton before and dined at Canon Coffee and Earth to Table Bar, explored Dundern Castle and of course visited the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum. On that trip I vowed to explore the waterfall capital of the world and so I’m eager to head back soon and not only explore the waterfalls but also the burgeoning food scene that the local bloggers share with me on a daily basis through Twitter.