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Hamilton in Canada is laid-back yet thriving, surrounded by nature yet full of cosmopolitan flavour. It's known as the "City of Waterfalls", and for good reason – it's home to more than a hundred cascades. Hamilton also has a vibrant music scene, with everything from intimate clubs to bustling festivals with live performances. It's a hotspot for food lovers too, with a variety of international cuisines, such as French and Japanese, to sample.
The Hamilton hostel scene includes a 19th-century limestone mansion with original features like a grand winding staircase and a glittering chandelier in the common room. There are also Hamilton hostels with outdoor terraces for sociable barbecues, and games rooms where you can engage in a spot of friendly competition with fellow travellers. Most hostels in Hamilton feature handy amenities like air con for the warmer months, and central heating for when the temperatures start to plummet.
Neighbourhoods in Hamilton include West Harbour, an urban waterfront area where you'll find bike trails and cafés with a view. The lively district of Kirkendall is filled with contemporary eateries, independent shops and some of the city's best nightlife. Another top spot is the community of Stoney Creek in Hamilton's east end. There's lots for visitors here, from drive-in theatres to lakeside restaurants. It's also home to several wineries, a few of which conduct vineyard tours.
When in Hamilton, it's a must to visit the waterfalls in the Spencer Gorge Conservation Area. These include Tew's Falls, which towers over the landscape at a height of 41m. Adventure seekers should hike the Bruce Trail, which provides scenic views of the cliffs and streams along the Niagara Escarpment. Foodies will love the Hamilton Farmer's Market, which is housed in a contemporary glass-fronted building and filled with numerous vendors. Dundurn Castle – a 19th-century Neoclassical mansion – is also a major draw, with guided tours conducted by costumed staff.
For visitors flying in, John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport is closest to the city. From here, local buses will take approximately 30 minutes to reach downtown. The Hamilton GO Centre in the heart of the city is another key transport hub, with Coach Canada, Greyhound Canada and GO Transit commuter buses serving the wider province. Within the city, make full use of the Hamilton Bike Share programme, which has around 110 docking stations across town.