Located right in the middle of the “Golden Horseshoe” that accounts for a vast majority of the population in Southern Ontario, Hamilton is a city that is currently experiencing a renaissance. For a long time it’s been stuck in the shadow of its big sister down the QEW (Toronto), but over the past decade Hamilton, Ontario has grown into its own. A big influx began due to it being a more affordable option than living in Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, the list goes on – but it’s not just cheap rent that is bringing people to this once-thriving industrial steel city.
Situated on the beautiful Niagara Escarpment, Hamilton (also known as The Hammer) and the surrounding area provides countless opportunities for those who are looking for ways to enjoy everything it has to offer. It’s known as the waterfall capital of the world and is well connected to trails and conservation areas for the outdoor-minded. With its recent surge of expats coming from other cosmopolitan cities, it has also become a thriving hub of dining, nightlife, arts, and culture. On top of that, Hamilton has some of the most passionate fans in all of Canadian sports.
If you’re looking for ways to maximize your time in Hamilton, we’ve got you covered with our list of the top things to do.
GO AXE THROWING AT BATL AXE THROWING HAMILTON
The sport of urban axe throwing that has taken the world by storm started just as you might think it would: at a cottage with friends. In 2006, founder and CEO Matt Wilson to a cabin just outside of Toronto with his closest pals and after hours of rain, they had to find a way to keep busy. The group began throwing hatches at a tree, and instantly felt the cathartic release of sinking an axe into softwood. Little did they know this was the start of something huge.
BATL Axe Throwing Hamilton opened its doors back in 2017 and offers a fully licensed bar and food menu, meaning all you have to worry about is throwing axes! A visit to BATL Axe Throwing is sure to keep you and your friends entertained and leave a lasting impression. Located conveniently in the Jackson Square area of downtown, BATL Hamilton is easily accessible from Burlington, Stoney Creek, St. Catherines, Niagara Falls, Buffalo, and the entire Golden Horseshoe.
Walk-In Axe Throwing Sessions (BATL Casual): If you’re looking for a casual way to get involved with the sport of axe throwing, all BATL venues across North America (including BATL Hamilton) offer public walk-in sessions no reservations required every weekend – no reservations required. It’s the perfect way to test the water when it comes to axe throwing, with little commitment. Our expert coaches are on hand to guide you the whole way, so whether you’re new to the sport or looking to hone in on your skill BATL Axe Throwing has you covered.
Private Axe Throwing Event Bookings (BATL Premium): BATL Hamilton offers private event bookings for groups of 2 and up that last 1.5 hours, the most immersive axe throwing experience. You’ll get exactly what BATL Axe Throwing has become world-famous for – the best one on one instruction from our skilled and friendly staff members, followed by a round-robin style tournament and single elimination playoff – all orchestrated by our staff, leaving you with nothing to do but throw axes and enjoy the company of your guests. These parties are perfectly suited to any adult gatherings (bachelor/bachelorette parties, corporate team building, adult birthdays, etc) and our Hamilton location has a fully licensed bar and kitchen offering a selection of local beers, wine, and coolers, as well as a delicious shareable food menu in partnership with National Pizza & Wings.
Weekly League Play: It’s no secret that the foundations of BATL Axe Throwing start with our axe throwing leagues. We call ourselves the BATL Axe Throwing, after all. Thousands strong we show the power of being good to each other, using the axe as a tool to build community inspired by our backyard roots.
Our axe throwing leagues run for 8 weeks, completely under the guidance of our resident axe gurus. Each season consists of round-robin style tournament play, where you’ll throw 28 games against other people in the league, culminating in a top 16 double elimination playoff on week 8. Our leagues are suitable for people of all skill levels, with staff on hand at all times ready to give you tips and tricks to make sure that you’re hitting the bullseye. League play falls under the National Axe Throwing Federation (NATF) umbrella, the worlds foremost governing body of the sport of axe throwing (of which BATL Axe Throwing is a founding member). Being part of the NATF also gives you access to the most advanced statistic tracking in the sport of urban axe throwing.
EXPLORE THE CITY
The best way to get to really know a city is simply by exploring it. Hamilton has numerous unique neighborhoods to offer, each with its own unique flair. Explore Ottawa Street, Hamilton’s historic fabric district, now a destination for food and design. Enjoy the many antique and interior design shops, or visit the food truck rally held each May. James street is known as the heart of the city and extends from the West Harbour all the way to the Niagara Escarpment.
It’s a lively street that is the arts hub of the city, made famous for its monthly art crawls. If you’re looking for something quieter, visit the neighboring city of Dundas and enjoy the charm of its independent coffee roasters, restaurants, and art galleries.
LEARN SOMETHING NEW
Hamilton might not have the same reputation as Toronto when it comes to world-class museums and the like, but they certainly hold their own. For those interested in military and aviation history, the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum will not disappoint.
The museum’s total collection includes over 40 restored aircraft, including the Avro Lancaster which was used in WWII. For history buffs, Dundurn Castle offers a look into the impression Italian-style villa built in Hamilton in the 1830s. For Canadian Football enthusiasts, the Canadian Football Hall of Fame & Museum is a must-visit.
BECOME ONE WITH NATURE
Hamilton offers a bounty of treasures for those who like to get outdoors. With over 100 waterfalls gracing the surrounding area, it’s easy to get lost in one of the many parks dotting the landscape. If trails are more your thing, the Hamilton to Brantford Rail Trail is a completely off-road hiking and biking trail that has been established on a resurfaced section of railway. Beginning on Hamilton’s west side, near the McMaster University campus, the trail stretches along the Dundas Valley up towards Jerseyville in a scenic route which is perfect for cyclists, walkers, and even horseback riders.
If you’re looking for a day outdoors with a little less physical impact, head to Hamilton’s Royal Botanical Gardens (the largest botanical gardens in Canada). It has a rock garden, arboretum, wildlife sanctuary, and the famous Centennial Rose Garden where you can find thousands of different varieties of roses in bloom from June until October.