Shopping local in Hamilton has never been more fun. The city is packed with festive events and lots of opportunities to find the perfect, thoughtful gift for everyone on your list.
Holiday Markets in Hamilton
Hamilton loves its crafts. Local holiday markets are a fun way to shop local and support our artisans. Make everyone on your nice list happy with one-of-a-kind presents this year.
- Stuffed! Holiday Shopping Event at Collective Arts Brewing (Nov. 26): Shop to your heart’s content for those stocking stuffers while jamming to the tunes of DJ Donna Lovejoy and grab some delicious Collective brews while you’re at it (a great gift in itself!).
- Handmade Hamilton at Staircase Theatre (Nov. 26-27): This holiday craft show, now in its 5th year, brings together 32 of the finest makers of jewelry, textile art, ceramics, visual art, accessories, home decor and more. Bonus: the first 50 people will receive a swag bag.
- Sugar and Spice Holiday Market at The Spice Factory (Nov. 26-27): There will be live music and a licensed bar to make your shopping experience even more enjoyable.
- Craftadian (Dec. 3): Craftadian is back with a Christmas Pop Up Market (formerly Made by Hand Show) on Dec. 3 at McMaster Innovation Park. The market will host over 70 jury-selected artisans as well as a Santa Clause photo booth and local food trucks. Free swag bags will be given out to the first 50 families.
- James North! Makers’ Market at Christ’s Church Cathedral (Dec. 2-3): Known for its outdoor markets outside the historic James St. cathedral during art crawls, the eclectic James North! Makers’ Market wraps up the season with a special two-day indoor market this holiday Friday evening AND all day Saturday.
One of my favourite ways to explore the city and discover new places is to choose a local BIA (Business Improvement Area) and set out on foot. There are lots of holiday events coming up in various Hamilton neighbourhoods to help you get into the holiday mood.
- “Shop Downtown” with Downtown Hamilton BIA and International Village Nov. 26. Enjoy a free coffee at Mezza Cafe in the Lister Block then use that caffeine to shop until you drop downtown Hamilton. Keep your eyes open for Santa at International Village! A free “Shop Downtown” trolley will be running 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. or take advantage of 2 hour free parking until December 24.
- International Village hosts its 6th annual “Victorian Night in the Village” Dec. 2 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. There will be free horse and carriage rides from Niagara-on-the-Lake, free hot apple cider at Ferguson Station, carolers, a holiday DJ, and maybe even an appearance by Santa, himself.
- Waterdown Village Holiday Crawl runs Dec. 2 and Dec. 3. “Jingle ‘Round the Block” while enjoying draws, deals, treats, a holiday market and seasonal music on the sidewalks!
- Locke Street BIA hosts “The Lights of Locke Street” on Dec. 3, filled with family fun all day including crafts at Locke Street Library, letter-writing to Santa at Quills, live music at Picks & Sticks, carollers, and of course local shopping. Pick up a Locke Street Shopping Passport for your chance to win a Locke Street Shops gift basket. Councillor Aidan Johnson will also be on hand to light the Christmas tree.
- Concession Street celebrates the Winter Solstice for the first three weeks in December with various events, merchant sales and free parking. On Dec. 3, join friends and neighbours at the annual Breakfast with Santa at St. Stephens on the Mount Anglican Church. And keep an eye out for more events uptown this season including Christmas Music in the City on Dec. 8.
- James Street North will host its last Art Crawl of the year on Dec. 9. There are countless shops to help round out your Christmas shopping – Mixed Media, The Hamilton Store, White Elephant, James North General Store, La Bichette, Burlap & Twine, and many more. Or how about a gift card to a fantastic local restaurant?
- “Dickens of a Christmas” in historic and picturesque Downtown Dundas, offers free horse and trolley rides and hot apple cider and Ginger Boy cookies every weekend until Dec. 18.
- Ottawa Street hosts a Christmas Market every Saturday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. The historic outdoor market will be extra special as it gets festive for the season.
Give the Gift of a Unique Hamilton Experience
And why not add a few unique Hamilton experiences to your shopping list – the perfect clutter-free gift for the Hamilton lover on your list and a great way to support some local attractions.
- The Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra hosts spectacular concerts year-round and offers full subscriptions as well as packages.
- Experience a classy night on the town with a live show at Theatre Aquarius. A season membership provides seats to six upcoming productions.
- The Art Gallery of Hamilton is a world-class gallery right in our own backyard. Exhibitions change frequently, so a gift membership is the perfect way to take in everything the gallery has to offer, including special perks.
- The outdoor lovers on your list will no doubt appreciate memberships to Royal Botanical Gardens, Canada’s largest botanical garden and a National Historic Site or Hamilton Conservation Authority, a vast network of stunning natural lands.
- Give your adventurous friend a trip to one of Ontario’s top tourist attractions – African Lion Safari. Gift cards can be used towards admission, Safari Tour Bus, food and souvenirs throughout the park. You can also get a 2017 season passport to get in on early bird prices. Another unique option here is the “Wake Up The Wild: VIP Experience” which gets you ‘behind the scenes’ access to the park before it opens. Visitors can get up close to the animals with a personal tour guide and exclusive photography opportunities.
- Look no further for a memorable culinary experience than Pop Up Hamilton, which pairs fantastic local chefs with unique spaces in the city. Guests are treated to a fabulous multi-course meal with drink pairings, entertainment, and wonderful company. Contact them for gift certificates – trust me when I say you’ll have a ball!
There are countless opportunities to find a unique gift while supporting local here in Hamilton. Happy shopping and happy holidays!
Kristin Archer is a lifelong Hamiltonian and the blogger behind the popular blog I Heart Hamilton where she inspires every local to “be a tourist in your own city.” She’s passionate about discovering her hometown, new experiences and sharing all that Hamilton has to offer. Catch Kristin Fridays at 2 p.m. when she hosts “I Heart Hamilton” on 93.3 CFMU and follow her on Twitter and Instagram. Kristin’s #MyHamilton blog offers an insider’s look at Hamilton’s buzz-worthy arts and culture scene including James Street North staple Art Crawl, great music festivals and venues, outdoor events, theatre, dance and specialty shopping.