What to do on a rainy day in Hamilton?

Summer has finally arrived. The sun is shining and outdoor activities are calling: hiking one of the many trails, visiting the waterfalls, patio hopping. Hamilton offers some great outdoor fun.

Unfortunately, not every day will be filled with sunshine. There will be the occasional grey, rainy day. But that doesn’t mean you have to stay inside and binge watch Netflix. There are tons of fun indoor activities to do around Hamilton. Here are six ways to spend a rainy summer day.

Visit a museum

The Hamilton Public Library offers much more than just books. With your Hamilton Public Library card, you can visit Hamilton’s Civic Museums for free. This includes: Dundurn National Historic Site, Hamilton Military Museum, Fieldcote Memorial Park and Museum, Griffin House Museum, Whitehern Historic House and Museum, Hamilton Children’s Museum, Battlefield House Museum and Park and Hamilton Museum of Steam and Technology. Just make sure everyone who’s joining you brings their library card to ensure free entry.

On July 27th and again on August 24th, the Dundurn National Historic Site is holding “MacNab’s Kitchen”, a paid event where costumed staff lead you through over 40 rooms while sharing the history of the MacNab family and servants’ 19th century home. Pre-register for the event which also includes a traditional recipe cooking session. Fieldcote Memorial Park & Museum is planning a Teen Quilt Academy week-long paid camp starting August 12th.

Whether it’s a paid event/tour or free entry with your library card, why not make it a summer goal to visit each museum?

Go see a movie

What better way to escape the rain than by watching a movie and eating tons of popcorn? This summer brings some promising Hollywood blockbusters: Toy Story 4, Yesterday, Spider-Man: Far From Home, live action Disney film The Lion King, and Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, to name a few.

There are many theatres in Hamilton, but I would recommend Landmark Cinemas at Jackson Square because of their amazing recliner seats. Also good to keep in mind: most theatres offer discounts on Tuesdays.

If Hollywood blockbusters aren’t your go-to and you’re more into independent cinema and art house films, you should definitely check out the Westdale (1014 King St W) or Playhouse Cinema (177 Sherman Ave N).

The Playhouse Cinema’s July lineup includes films Tolkien, The Dead Don’t Die (a zombie apocalypse movie with a star-studded cast), The Neverending Story, Wild Rose (a UK country singer wannabe on parole with ambitions to make it big in Nashville), The Fall of the American Empire, Saturday Night Fever, and the list goes on.

Take a free trip to the tropics

Don’t let the weather stop you from being connected to nature. Another great free rainy day activity is the Tropical Greenhouse in Gage Park. The new Tropical Greenhouse opened this spring with the spring bulb show as its first big event.

The greenhouse is over 14,000 square-foot (1,300 square metres) and features a collection of subtropical plants, unique species and palm trees. You’ll find ponds with fish, turtles and water lilies. And for those who are bummed out that they can’t visit one of Hamilton’s great waterfalls, you can also find a few in the greenhouse.

Visit the Hamilton Farmers Market

Of course visiting an outdoor farmers market is the ultimate summer experience. But don’t let a rainy day stop you from getting your local products. The indoor Hamilton Farmers’ Market is open all year-round.

Over 60 vendors offer local, national and international foods, so you will definitely find what you’re looking for. Don’t forget to check out the food court located on the lower level. I’ve had some of my best lunches in Hamilton here. Also, the cookies, squares and tarts at Lina’s are to die for.

Extend your trip to the market by visiting the connected massive Hamilton Public Library Central location (go pick up your library card so you can visit the museums), Jackson Square shopping centre (go see a movie), and Hamilton’s City Center (go bowling at Thunder Alley).

Enjoy a coffee and a good book

My favourite way to spend a rainy day is with a good cup of coffee and a good book. Aside from the many Hamilton Public Library locations, there are plenty of cafes in Hamilton where you can sit down and read for a few hours, while enjoying a cup of coffee and a nice treat. My personal favourites include: Paisley Coffeehouse & Eatery in Westdale, Cannon Coffee Co. on Ottawa Street, and Mulberry Street Coffee on James Street North.

For more ideas on great cafes to cozy up in, check out Urbanicity’s top 10 cafes in downtown Hamilton and the top 10 cafes that opened last year.

If you go to Mulberry, try to get a seat by the window so that you can look up from your book every once and a while and watch the world go by. Or check to see if it has stopped raining.

Stay active indoors

Just because you’re cooped up inside doesn’t mean that you can’t stretch the old legs. Go swimming at one of Hamilton’s indoor public pools; take the crew bowling at Mountain Lanes (Concession and Upper Wentworth), Thunder Alley (Hamilton City Center), or Splitsville Hamilton (1525 Stone Church Rd E); play laser tag at Lazer Mania (865 Upper James St); or jump around on a seemingly infinite number of trampolines and foam pits at Flying Squirrel (1550 Upper James St).

Don’t forget to keep your brain active, too! For kids and teens, the Art Gallery of Hamilton offers summer camps and family fun days. Not too artsy? Check out a board game cafe such as Mancala Monk (1229 Cannon St E), Gameopolis (223 King St E), Black Knight Games (864 Mohawk Rd E) or Waypoint Games (97 King St W, Dundas). For a real mind challenge, take your buddies to one of Hamilton’s many escape rooms such as The Crux (287 King St E or 847 Upper James St), Alcatraz (576 and 604 Concession St), Rubix Rooms (75 Lancing Dr), KeyMasters (305 Grays Rd, Stoney Creek), or Escape Canada (151 York Blvd).

Let us know your favourite rainy day activities in the comments below!

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