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Kristin Archer
Travel like a local.
Insider takes on the best of the city – by Kristin Archer

This holiday season, show everyone on your nice list just how much they mean to you with one of these made-in-Hamilton gift ideas.

From unique travel experiences to one-of-a kind gifts you can wrap under the tree, find just what you're looking for here in Hamilton.

Give the Gift of a Unique Hamilton Experience

Why not add a few unique Hamilton experiences to your shopping list? Choose from one of these clutter-free gift… all perfect for the Hamilton-lover on your list or an out of towner looking to explore Hamilton's many visit-worthy attractions.

  • Give the gift of music. 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. Flexible subscriptions available and include must-see upcoming productions like Hairspray or the Johnny Cash musical Ring of Fire.
  • The Art Gallery of Hamilton is one of the region's oldest and most impressive art institutions. With a collection that boasts more than 10,000 pieces, a gift membership is the perfect way to allow for repeat visits to take it all in.
  • The outdoor lovers on your list will love a membership 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.
  • Get a jump on next spring and summer at 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 2019 season passport to get in on early bird prices.
  • Get the history buff or aviation enthusiast on your list an annual membership at the Warplane Heritage Museum, home to close to 50 restored planes, including the legendary Avro Lancaster. You can also upgrade your membership to enjoy a flight in a vintage aircraft!

Made in Hamilton Souvenirs

Give the gift of a Hamilton souvenir or a locally sourced gift from one of these Hamilton-lovin' shops and studios:

  • The Hamilton Store is the perfect one-stop shop "for people who love their city". You'll find the perfect made-in-Hamilton gift here including everything from locally sourced treats like honey and mustards to gorgeous prints and cards. Don't forget to ask about their gift basket options.
  • James North General Store harkens back to that traditional general store filled with just about everything! Find a thoughtfully curated selection of locally-made gifts. Fuel your shopping with a cup of coffee, tea or vintage bottle of soda.
  • It's a one-stop shop for local over at the Tourism Hamilton Visitor Centre located downtown in the Lister Building. Grab a Hamilton inspired t-shirt, tote-bag and other souvenirs - all perfect stocking stuffers.
    Gifts at Visitor Centre
  • Locke Street is home to the lovely Pure Home Couture, filled with an array of delicate items included locally-made fragrances, candles and soaps.
  • For the fashionistas on your list, look to garments created by local designers including Blackbird Studios, Angela DeMontigny, and O's Clothes who often collaborates with local artists on unique designs like the now-iconic HAMont emblem or the sweet J'aime Hamilton logo.
  • Steeltown Garage is a retail café that's not only home to a wickedly good coffee bar but also unique lifestyle items including motorcycle gear, vintage art and their house brand of apparel and leather accessories. Be sure to explore their branded holiday gift guides.
  • Score big points with an original art piece under the tree. Just a few of the many artists depicting unique Hamilton scenes to choose from are: Gordon Leverton, whose signature paintings focus on buildings' shadows and lights; Paul Elia who creates one-of-a-kind urban landscapes; and Jelly Bros. who produce neighborhood maps and gorgeous prints of iconic Hamilton landmarks. Want to see more? The city is brimming with galleries big and small, packed with tons of original art - perfect for framing and wrapping.
  • Looking for more unique shopping destinations? Explore our neighbourhood guides and many shopping districts for even more unique shopping destinations.

Give the Gift of Delicious

With Hamilton making headlines for its red-hot food and drink scene, this is the perfect season to share the gift of something delicious.

Made-in-Hamilton Cookbooks

Share some of Hamilton's tastiest recipes with locally produced cookbooks. Earth to Table Every Day includes favourite takes on slow food from the insanely popular Earth to Table Bread Bar restaurants. The newly published Hamilton Cooks collects top recipes from local restaurants like The Burnt Tongue, Berkeley North, and Cake & Loaf. It's available at all Tandia Financial Credit Union and participating restaurants with all proceeds benefiting local charity Food4Kids.

Food & Drink Tours

With so much to taste in the city, a guided tour is the perfect way to experience our food and drink scene while enjoying the city. Options here include Original Hamilton Beer Tours, providing guided tastings at leading breweries and cideries, and neighbourhood culinary tours available through Hamilton Food Tours or
Food Tour Adventures.

Restaurant Gift Cards

For the perfect stocking stuffer, look no further than our many gift-worthy restaurants - perfect for picking up a gift card. Visit our food & drink blogs for some culinary inspiration.

Free Parking!

Shopping local here in Hamilton is even easier this holiday season thanks to Free Parking at various shopping areas across the city. Look for free parking signs at on-street meters and municipal parking lots from Nov. 24 to Dec. 31.

Kristin ArcherKristin 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.