This is your thrifty guide to Hamilton (including an African safari)

Sep 19 2018, 3:59 am

British Columbia and Ontario are two very different parts of Canada.

If you’ve already visited the eastern side of the country, you’ve realized this for yourself. The first big difference, of course, is the weather. Ontario generally gets a longer, hotter summer than BC, which gives you a good reason to visit soon.

Hamilton is a port city, but there are plenty of things you can do there outside the city and tons of opportunities to immerse yourself in the picturesque outdoors. It’s not a concrete jungle, but it’s only an hour (ish) away from one if you want to hop on a train and go.

We don’t need to tell you the benefits that come with taking a well-deserved break away, but we can tell you that you can experience all of them and more during a trip to Hamilton. And better yet, you can do it in an inexpensive way. Here’s how.

Score a deal on cheap flights


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You don’t have to road trip across Canada, because the country’s only ultra-low-cost carrier, Swoop, can take you there. It’s a no-frills airline (also an independently operated affiliate of WestJet) that can get you from Abbotsford International Airport (YXX) to Hamilton International Airport (YHM) for less. See the latest offers here.

Check out the African Lion Safari


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When you’re in Hamilton, it’s definitely worth checking out Canada’s original safari adventure, African Lion Safari. The family-owned safari park straddles the cities of Hamilton and Cambridge where you can tour seven reserves via tour buses or in your own vehicle if you rent one for the day. Adult day tickets cost just $32.95 each. It might be the closest you’ll get to the savannah in Canada.

Feel the spray at Niagara Falls

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It’s not every day that you get to see one of the seven wonders of the world. Niagara Falls is a natural wonder that really needs to be seen to be believed. Feel the refreshing spray from Horseshoe Falls when you get the #12 bus from Hamilton to Niagara Falls. It only takes an hour and 10 minutes to get there and it will only cost your wallet $12.20. FYI, Niagara Falls also looks equally as amazing in winter. You’re welcome.


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Visit the Art Gallery of Hamilton


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Located in the heart of downtown Hamilton on King Street West, the Art Gallery of Hamilton is one of the oldest public art galleries in Canada. If you plan your trip wisely, you can visit the gallery for free. The gallery runs ‘Free Friday Nights’ on the first Friday of every month so visitors like you can explore all of the exhibitions and enjoy tours – for $0. You can find out more here.

Hike through underground caves


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If you’re a hiking enthusiast (of course you are, you live in Vancouver), Hamilton’s Eramosa Karst Conservation Area is somewhere you’re going to want to visit. It’s an earth science area of natural and scientific interest in Ontario filled with underground caves and streams, meadows and forests. It’s one of the watershed’s most unique natural gems that’s perfect for hiking.

Eat like a king for less


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Exploring Hamilton on a budget extends to where you’re eating and drinking during your trip. Save yourself some money by hitting up the local bars and restaurants during happy hour. The Ship, The Burnt Tongue, 541 Eatery and Exchange, are all worth your attention whether you’re hungry or thirsty.

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