West Hamilton is home to well-established neighbourhoods that sprang up for their proximity to downtown and to McMaster University. Picture tree-lined streets, plenty of independent businesses and lots of green space.

EAT

Casual

Bean Bar

It’s been a neighbourhood go-to for 25 years in the Westdale area. It’s the ideal restaurant when you’re trying to please a wide range of tastes. No shortage of options here with pizzas, pastas, generous salads, pub favourites and burgers. Save room for dessert with the city’s largest selection of incredible cakes.

Papagayo

Even on a chilly day, the tasty Mexican cuisine and sunny yellow dining room never fail to bring warmth. Its elevated dishes tap into authentic flavours and spices. Pick a combo plate for a bigger sampling of homemade dishes. Even nacho chips are made in house.

Coffee Shops and Treats

Weil’s Bakery

When the craving for something sweet hits, locals head to this Westdale bakery. It has made-from-scratch treats customers buy in multiples – cupcakes, donuts, cream puffs and cinnamon buns. It’s also well known for its beautiful special occasion cakes.

Paisley Coffeehouse & Eatery

Located on King Street West, this busy spot has a winning formula, offering organic, free trade coffee along with homemade baked goods, like cheddar cheese biscuits, banana loaf and scones. Heartier options, like soup and sandwiches, are available at lunchtime.

Walker’s Chocolates

This family-run business makes more than 50 types of different chocolates and candies, making quick decisions tough. Whether you pick up truffles or caramel corn, you should also take home their famous mint meltaways – a trademark sweet.

Iconic

Valentino’s

For more than 40 years, the kitchen here has been churning out delicious things with Italian roots. Pizza and pasta classics are winners. Come summertime, gelato scoopers get a workout with a steady stream of customers.

Global

Nannaa

The aromas get your taste buds revved up the moment you walk in the door of this Persian eatery. Helpful wait staff help you navigate your way through a menu that might seem unfamiliar. The payoff is memorable meals with unforgettable flavours.

SEE AND DO

Royal Botanical Gardens

Spanning almost 5,000 acres, this top attraction continues to grow and grow, literally. Referred to widely at RBG, it’s Canada’s largest botanical garden – adding new and restored gardens, exhibits and events. Highlights here include the world’s largest collection of lilacs, gorgeous tea houses and the newly restored Rock Garden, a National Historic Site.

Dundurn Castle

If there’s one thing non-locals know about Hamilton, it’s Dundurn Castle. The former home of politician Sir Allan McNab was completed in 1835 and is now a National Historic Site. Visitors come to tour the vast historic home (with costumed interpreters), enjoy hands-on experiences, like cooking in a Victorian kitchen or experiencing the two-acre historic kitchen garden, and learning more about the site’s fascinating military history.

Westdale Theatre

The historic Westdale Theatre has been beautifully restored into an exciting new hub for art and independent film screenings, as well as a state of the art exhibition and performance space. Originally built in 1935, the theatre is ready to take centre stage in the neighbourhood once more.

McMaster Museum of Art

Considered one of the finest campus galleries in the country, it showcases everything from from American and Indigenous works, to Asian and Canadian pieces. New exhibitions and a curated collection attract art lovers who like to seek out hidden gems.

SHOP

Mixed Media

This self-described “corner store of art” has everything you need to fuel your creativity including art supplies, canvases, frames, and an amazing selection of unique magazines, books and creative gifts and cards. You’ll often find locals and visitors here lingering to chat about the city with knowledgeable staff.

Lora’s Walk-in Closet

When it’s time to dress up for a special occasion, this boutique consignment store is a perfect alternative between high-end clothing boutique and thrift store. Find upscale, gently-used and new designer fashions at more affordable price points. Is the Chanel handbag in your closet real? Find out with their luxury purse authentication service.

Take Note Stationery Boutique

There are still many people who appreciate the tactile pleasures of printed greeting cards, elegant notebooks and journals. Find them here along with a host of unique gifts like pearl earrings, harmonicas, cozy socks and scented candles. This small but lovely shop is a browser’s paradise.

Casual Gourmet

It caters to foodies of all ages with cooking classes for kids and adults alike. Plus, it stocks an impressive selection of kitchen staples, from bundt pans to vegetable peelers, from top international brands.

For more information, see the Westdale Village and King Street West BIA websites.

 

Michele Sponagle

Michele Sponagle is a prolific journalist born and raised in Hamilton. Her work has appeared in top media outlets across Canada. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Michele’s blog takes a fresh look at some Hamilton classics, from iconic eateries to the quirky stories behind its most beloved and well-known attractions.