Exploring Hamilton as a McMaster student

Hey, Marauders! It is easy when coming to McMaster in first year to stay on campus and forget that a city exists outside the school’s bubble. There is a lot to see and do in Hamilton, and you would be doing yourself a disservice by not exploring the city. So come on, make some friends and get out there. 

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These blogs are part of Mac101: Introduction to University Life, a collection of events, workshops and more to support your university transition.

July 16, 2023

By: Nabeelah (McMaster Graduate, Biology, Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour)

Exploring Hamilton can be inexpensive, active and convenient. Make sure to always keep an eye out for deals on events/activities for McMaster students.

  • When entering the McMaster University Student Centre (MUSC), you can find a board near the main atrium that will often have deals on tickets for events going on in the city.
  • There are also several promotions offered by businesses specifically for McMaster students.
  • Also, when choosing transportation, opt for cheap/active options. There are many walkable attractions to see near campus, specifically great natural scenery. If you need to go further, you can rent city bikes on campus or your free HSR bus pass to take you anywhere you need.

Check Mosaic for more information about how to load your voucher on to your presto card. You can plan your trip using the City of Hamilton website. Let’s check out the many things you can do in Hamilton.

As part of the Niagara Escarpment, Hamilton offers many beautiful waterfalls, hiking trails and parks to incentivize getting outside in nature. Right off campus are great trails that lead into Coote’s Paradise, an amazing local wetland area.

I would also recommend taking advantage of excursions put on by the university to amazing spots like Tiffany falls. My personal favourite walking trail is the Hamilton-Brantford rail trail which you can access right off Emerson Street across from campus.

If you want to get close to the water, I recommend Bayfront Park and for a great hike make sure to check out Dundas peak for some amazing views.

Hamilton’s natural beauty is one of the best aspects of the city so make sure not to miss out.  

Another great way to experience a city is through its food. Off the east side of campus is the Westdale neighbourhood which also houses a wide variety of restaurants and cafes with some of my favourite restaurants. If you’re able to venture further from campus, downtown Hamilton is definitely the place. Locke street has some amazing restaurants and shops while Hess Street has some awesome patios. Some of my favourite spots include: 

Make sure to explore all these areas and maybe even find your new favourite food place.  

Love sports? Check out: 

Make sure to also keep an eye out for when Tim Horton’s field hosts special events. Just last year it hosted the grey cup, the Heritage classic between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabers and The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) world cup qualifying match between the US and Canadian men’s national teams.  

Love music? Check out: 

  • Concerts at Tim Horton’s field and see groups like the Arkells (McMaster alums).
  • Concert at the First Ontario Centre and First Ontario Concert Hall where you can see the orchestra.  

Love art? Check out: 

Signing off

As a reminder, try to find deals and free admission. There are a lot of incredible things to see when exploring Hamilton.

Nabeelah student blogger standing in front of a wooden door

Nabeelah (she/her) is the program support assistant for the Student Success Centre’s (SSC) academic skills team. She has recently graduated from the Biology, Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour program here at McMaster University. Outside of school, she loves to play tennis, bake and hang out with friends and family.