Summer in the City
June 24, 2010 6:24 AM   Subscribe

I'm going to be in Hamilton, ON for the rest of the summer with a pretty lax schedule, pretty empty wallet and pretty much nobody I know. What is there to do, see and enjoy in the GTA for someone as myself?

I am 20 years old, feeling extremely adventurous and also can stay up all night (woo adulthood!).

As I mentioned, I know nobody here or in Toronto that's both in town and actually willing to go outside with me. Suggestions on things I can do alone or meet others, during either the daytime or at night will be best. That precludes things like going to a bar, a restaurant or the movies as they always feel odd to do alone.

Also, any advice regarding travel, timing and logistics is appreciated. I do not have a personal motorized transportation unit.
posted by Throw away your common sense and get an afro! to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (14 answers total)
The Bruce trail runs through hamilton and you really owe it to yourself to explore as much of it as you can. Walk all the way to niagara falls! Hang out in the library, visit all the locations to find a favourite. Great for people watching. Burlington is a short bus ride away and they have a lot of neat activities at Spencer Smith Park. In your shoes, I would look at volunteering in an area you are interested in. And you know there are free bus rides to the peaceful g20 protest from CLC, if you wanted to get out this Saturday. ; )
posted by saucysault at 6:46 AM on June 24, 2010

Best answer: - Pack a lunch and go to the islands. Just wander around at look at things, or bring a frisbee and try your hand at the free disc golf course.

-The Royal Ontario Museum is half price after 4:30 on Fridays.

-Check out the schedule for Shakespeare in the Park at Trinity/Bellwoods park. Totally free.

-Take a soccer ball to Christie Pits. If there isn't already a pickup game going, it's trivial to start one.

-Take a chess set down to the park at Queen and Church. There are always more people looking to play than there are chess sets.

-Pride Week starts tomorrow. There are no end of amazing festivities going on in the Church Wellesley area (and all over the city) for the next week.

Oh man, there are so many more things. Pick up a copy of EYE Weekly (or go to the website) every week and just scan the events section.
posted by 256 at 6:47 AM on June 24, 2010

In case you didn't know, the Burlington beach is much nicer and busier than the Hamilton beach. And there is a meet up at the g20 protest this Saturday, too.
posted by saucysault at 6:48 AM on June 24, 2010

Best answer: There is the free Festival of Friends in Hamilton on August 7th.
posted by backwards guitar at 7:06 AM on June 24, 2010

Hammer City Roller Girls
posted by Lucinda at 7:18 AM on June 24, 2010

The Ontario Science Centre is awesome.
posted by Lemurrhea at 7:27 AM on June 24, 2010

The Royal Botanical Gardens are awesome. Not free, but there are a ton of linked garden areas and trails that you can get into after you pay the admission fee ($9.50 if you're a student). You can get there by city bus from either Hamilton or Burlington.

If you want to do a little people-watching and wandering around, there are some nice shops on Locke Street. There's also a library and a couple of cafés in the immediate area if you want to spend an afternoon sitting around outside with coffee and a book.
posted by bewilderbeast at 8:16 AM on June 24, 2010

Best answer: Festival of Friends is great. There is also the slightly downmarket It's Your Festival in Gage Park next weekend.

A trip by GO Transit to Toronto is $9.50 each way, or you can avail yourself of a ten-ride pass for $88.00.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:33 AM on June 24, 2010

There is lots to do in Toronto and surrounding areas; your main issue will be getting there since Toronto is about 40 minutes from Hamilton. You can take GO Transit into Toronto but it’s not cheap (about $9 one way) and once you’re there, you may also want to take the TTC around town (subway/bus), although you can see a LOT just walking around the downtown core. Not that you can’t come into Toronto a few times over the summer, but if funds are low I would suggest you focus on getting involved in Hamilton itself. Here is the Recreation guide for the City of Hamilton. Volunteer, join a club or’ll probably make some friends with cars which could help you get into the city more often :)
posted by yawper at 8:34 AM on June 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

The HSR is a good transit system, so the whole city is open to you fairly cheaply.

If you like the outdoors, Sam Lawrence Park on the mountain brow at Upper Wellington is a good place for picnics among the rocks, trees, and flowers. There are a few staircases that go up the escarpment and a lot more trails than most people realise.

The AGH is worth checking out if you like art, or the Festival of Friends for music and craftier art.

Hess Village just west of downtown was funky years ago; it might still be worth checking out.

McMaster University is one of the prettier campuses I've seen.
posted by thatdawnperson at 10:14 AM on June 24, 2010

Best answer: Get yourself a bike and take on the excellent bike trails:

Also, I used to lurk on the stillepost message boards for updated concert listings- I was at the Casbah almost weekly when I was a grad student. Absinthe does a Motown night that is fun- lots of Mac students go to this. There is also a very hand Hamilton Cheapness Report for cheap drink/food deals:

I used to go to Toronto every weekend when I first moved to Hamilton since I didn't know where to go. Since I've moved, I've realized how much I miss all the hidden gems.
posted by charlton at 11:19 AM on June 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The second Friday evening of every month, the galleries and independent shops on James St North open their doors for an Art Crawl - like a street wide open house. It's pretty young hip and gritty (as opposed to an older, richer, fuddy duddy happening) and it's a great way to meet interesting people. Also freeee!
posted by Ladysin at 8:37 PM on June 24, 2010

Best answer: Well clearly a meetup is in order!
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 9:47 PM on June 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: All right, thank you to all for the excellent suggestions. I've marked best answers for all the things I definitely want to/would like to do in the next two months.

Looking at the answers, I should have clarified was that I am not new to the GTA. I actually spent much of puberty in and around Scarborough. So yeah, I've been to places like the Science Centre, but thanks anyway Lemurrhea & 256 (the ROM maybe worth a second visit soon though).

However, to my regret, In the time I lived here, I never got to know downtown T.O. too well (peer group of devout nerds didn't help). I plan to change that this year though, as much as I can.

Although, it's nice to know that Hamilton is more than a sketchy industrial zone, especially after hours. Thank you all for all the transit solutions as well. At this rate, I may as well put down a few hundred and get some 3rd hand rust bucket.

If anyone else has anything further, please feel free to comment or memail me if the thread closes. Thank you and happy summer!
posted by Throw away your common sense and get an afro! at 3:11 AM on July 2, 2010

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