A Complete Guide to Hamilton City, Bermuda
Capital of the island since 1815, Hamilton is a small, vibrant and a friendly city. It's the heart and commercial hub of the island. For being the main container port in the island, city of Hamilton is also the center of shipping and trade in Bermuda. Hamilton City is located centrally in the island and in Pembroke parish facing the Hamilton Harbor (the tapering water area between Pembroke and Paget parishes).
Hamilton was formally established in 1793 and named after the then Governor of Bermuda Henry Hamilton. It was then a town. In 1815 it became the capital of Bermuda when the capital was relocated from St. George's town. And in 1897, Hamilton became a City.
Hamilton City, Bermuda
Go to this Parish Map
to see location of Hamilton City. Front Street
runs along the water edge and is the first part of the city seen by the cruise ship passengers as they come to shore in Hamilton. Front Street is the life and soul of Hamilton City and center of all the main activities. This is where most of the island's glittering retail shops, great restaurants and many other commercial establishments like banks & insurance companies are located. And as expectedly, this is the busiest place in the island.
Hamilton City is the place to stay if you want all the conveniences in one place as well as the easiest access to the rest of the island. Many great restaurants and shops are located in Hamilton. The central bus terminal and the main ferry terminal are also located here that connect to most parts of the island.
And there is no better place for nightlife in Bermuda than the Hamilton City. And not surprisingly, some of the best hotels of Bermuda including the landmark hotel Hamilton Princess & Beach Club are located here as the city is the island's main business and financial hub.
There are numerous hotels of all types in Pembroke parish where Hamilton City is located including budget, boutique, mid-priced and luxury hotels. Many are within walking distance from the city center. However you won't find a beach-side hotel here. Most hotels are in garden setting or have nice views of Hamilton harbor.
Visit Hamilton Hotels
to know about our favorite hotels in and around Hamilton.
Restaurants & Bars in Hamilton
There are a number of restaurants on Front Street having balconies with wonderful view of the Hamilton harbor which looks spectacular at night when the lights at the banks are all illuminated. While you dine or take a drink, you can watch the boats on the harbor and the busy street right below.
Of course there are plenty more eateries, cafes, bars, pubs and restaurants at several other places in Hamilton including at Reid Street, Washington Mall etc.
Visit Hamilton Restaurants
to get a list with reviews of almost all the well known restaurants & bars in Hamilton & Pembroke parish, and then choose the one you like.
At the west end of Front street you will find the Visitor's Information Center
located next to the Hamilton ferry terminal. Here you can collect useful pocket maps and brochures for free showing you the main tourist attractions in Hamilton and rest of Bermuda.
While you can enjoy most of Hamilton attractions on foot, you can also avail a carriage ride - there is nothing more romantic than a horse drawn carriage
taking a stately route of Hamilton City. Horse carriages are usually available on Front Street or you can book a ride in advance.
Another good option is to take the Train Trolley ride
with audio commentary. The train trolley moves on wheels and takes you past various tourist sites within Hamilton and completes a circuit... this is a good way of seeing the city in a short time and learn about the main landmarks. There are of course buses (leaving from the Central Bus Terminal on Washington Street) that can take you to various points within the city and the outskirts in Pembroke parish.
Here are the top places to visit in Hamilton City:
City Hall and Arts Center
: Located in Church street, you won't miss this bright white building with a painted clock on the front facade. It houses the Bermuda National Gallery
having collections of 17th & 18th century European paintings by such artists as Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Gainsborough.
Bermuda Society of Arts
is also located at the City Hall. It displays and sells creative artwork like paintings, sculptures and photographs of local artists. City Hall is often busy with performing arts like theatrical plays, orchestral performances, dance & recitals etc. Many international acts are also performed here.
: Close by, there is the Bermuda Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity, consecrated in 1911 after a fire destroyed the previous edifice in 1884. The style is early English, with a tower rising 143 ft. and provides a nice view of Hamilton city.
St. Theresa's Cathedral
: This Catholic church was built in 1932 to replace a smaller church and now boasts of the largest weekly attendance in the island.
: Located behind the Hamilton ferry terminal, it has a nice park having a great view of Hamilton harbor and ideal for relaxing.
: An attractive city park. Other than many types of trees and shrubs, there is also a beautiful band stand here imported from Scotland.
Queen Elizabeth Park
(earlier known as Par-La-Ville Park): This is a beautiful city park on Queen Street. It has many shaded trees, great walkways and wooden benches.
: This is the newest addition to the recreational space on Front Street and located beside the ferry Terminal. A great place to relax, have snacks & beverages.
Bermuda House Of Assembly
(or Session House): This is where Bermuda's Parliament sessions are held. It also has the Supreme Court in the ground floor.
Bermuda Cabinet House
: Cabinet Building is where Bermuda's cabinet sessions are held with all the ministers and key officials.
: Cenotaph is a replica of the monument in Whitehall, London. This is a memorial for the war heroes who died in the world wars.
: A memorial at the Cabinet Office grounds east of Cenotaph dedicated to the Bermudians who served during the first and second world wars.
Perot Post Office
: On Queens street is Perot Post Office, named after the man who was appointed Bermuda's first Postmaster General in 1821. The little post office, is still very much as Perot kept it, neat and simply furnished.
Barr's Bay and Park
: Barr's Bay Park is a nice waterfront area overlooking the Hamilton harbor and has great historical significance. This is where the slaves from the ship Enterprise
disembarked in 1835 and became free for ever.
: This metal structure was once used by Bermuda police to regulate traffic at the junction of Front Street and Queen street.
Bank Of Bermuda
: A landmark in Hamilton City, the bank has rare collection of coins. It is now part of HSBC Group.
: Happy Valley Road from Kings Street leads to Fort Hamilton which was built in 1889 to protect the Hamilton harbor. Today it offers spectacular harbor views, especially when cruise ships are in port.
: If you happen to be in Bermuda between June to November, visit the City Market in Hamilton which is set up on Saturday mornings. Smalltime Vendors sell vegetables and all kinds of homemade food. You can sample many items including Bermuda honey, banana breads, lemongrass creams and more. It's a great place to meet the locals and feel what a typical Bermudian market is all about.
Hamilton City is the main shopping center in Bermuda. Most of the renowned stores of the island have their main branches in Hamilton. Many of these shops are located on Front Street, and also on Reid Street, Queen Street and Burnaby Street. Quite a few are located on Court Street as well in north Hamilton. Also, do not miss out on the small roadside stalls on the narrow alleyways of Front Street that sell many kinds of small gifts, souvenirs and knick knacks.
There are also several shopping malls in Hamilton housing many types of boutique stores. The most popular ones are the Washington Mall (Between Church Street and Reid Street), Walker Arcade (between Front Street and Reid Street), The Emporium (on Front Street and east of the Flagpole), Bermudiana Arcade and Windsor Place (both off Queen Street).
The shops in Hamilton are usually open between 9am to 5pm (Monday - Saturday). On Sundays and public holidays, most of the shops remain closed. On Wednesdays during the Harbor Nights, many shops on Front Street, Reid Street and Queen Street remain open until 9pm and some beyond.
Check out Hamilton Shopping Guide
to know about most of the well known stores in Hamilton city, items they sell, location, address and contact information of the stores etc.
Activities & Entertainment in Hamilton
: Between May to September on Wednesday evenings, Front Street is lit up and becomes a bustling festive venue. Many vendors on their colorful dresses set up stalls & sell various items including homemade food, artwork & craft, and many other articles. Gombey dancers
take to the street with bands playing loud music. Visitors, locals and kids all flock around and chat with each other.
It's a great occasion to get the island's original flavor. During the Harbor Nights, you can also see the Beat Retreat Ceremony
where Bermuda Pipe Band and Corps of Bermuda Regiment, march along the Front Street in full military dress to recreate centuries-old ceremony.
: Recently introduced by Bermuda Department of Tourism, this is a cultural program featuring music and dance from some of the best artists and bands in the island. It is held between June to October and provides a great evening entertainment option for both tourists and residents. This outdoor program is complete with nice food offerings so that you can dine while experiencing the performances. X This program has been discontinued
Nightlife in Hamilton
: There are plenty of options including nightclubs, bars & pubs, and also performing arts like ballet, pop/rock & musical concerts that are organized at different venues in Hamilton, more so during the summer months. Front Street itself is full of cafés, Jazz clubs, sports bars, nightclubs, and venues many of which have live bands and dancing during high season. All of these usually operate until late night.
Happy Hour: On every Friday you can join the happy hours at hotel Hamilton Princess. It's a great way to kick off the week end where many Bermudians come and join a social get together as they enjoy a drink. There is also a live band. It's an opportunity for the tourists to get a glimpse of Bermuda's social life, enjoy the great view of the harbor and the sunset.
Bermuda Folk Club
organizes monthly musical events at the Spanish Point Boat Club. They bring in local talents as well as overseas performers to hold the club nights usually on the first Saturday of the month. The nights are open to both members and non-members. Check out the above link for details about the event.
: There are couple of nice movie theaters in Hamilton City (Specialty Cinema and Liberty Theatre) that show latest Hollywood movies and sometimes European and Caribbean movies as well. These are also the venues for the well known Bermuda International Film Festival. Check out the link above to know about the theaters and their locations.
Bermuda Musical & Dramatic Society
stages regular plays in Daylesford Theater
located on Washington Street, one block north of City Hall. There is also a bar in the premises.
Old Colony Club in Hamilton is open to local and expat members. The club holds regular musical evenings. Folk music often takes center stage. Location & Contacts: 5, Trott Road, Hamilton, Pembroke. Phone: (441)296-6362
All Hamilton Activities
: There are plenty of sporting and other recreational activities in Hamilton City and its surrounding Pembroke parish including Tennis, Health & Fitness centers, Fishing, Horse Carriage rides, boat tours, Scuba Diving and lot more. Check out the above link to get detailed information.
Self Guided Tour of Hamilton City
The best way to explore the City of Hamilton and its outskirts is by taking a self guided tour on foot and explore the places yourself. You will need half a day to full day depending on how much time you want to spend at the places. Below I have shared a link to a detailed self guided tour which you can follow... it covers almost all the important attractions in Hamilton including Perrot Post Office (office of the first Post Master in Bermuda), National Library, Historical Society Museum, City Hall & Art Center, National Library, several lovely parks, historic Fort Hamilton and lot more.
If you are unable to spend half a day in Hamilton, there is a section in the guide which gives you information about how to take a 2-hour free guided tour with the Town Crier.
Visit Hamilton City Tour Guide
to get a complete self guided tour of the city covering all its important tourist places. This is a walking tour. However, you can also take a horse carriage (from Front Street) or take a bus to visit some of the places if you do not want to walk to all places.
And if your legs are tiring and you need some rest, or you have your family and kids with you who need to relax, have some snacks & beverages, then check out the Parks & Places to relax in Hamilton
Here is a Hamilton City Map showing you the main streets leading to all the important places and attractions within the city.
Check out Hamilton Weather for a forum discussion about the weather conditions that you can expect in Hamilton.
Hamilton Location Map
Buses, Ferries & Taxis in Hamilton City
There are many bus routes that go out from the central bus terminal at Hamilton City, reach out to different parts of the island and return. The central bus terminal is located at Washington Street near City Hall & Art Center, Phone: 441/295-4311. The ferry terminal is located next to the HSBC Bank Head Office at the western end of Front Street.
Visit Bermuda Bus Services
and Ferry Services
for routes and schedule details. There are taxi stands outside Hamilton Princess Hotel. To call a taxi from a Hamilton based agency, dial 441/295-4141 (for Bermuda Taxi Radio Cabs) or 441/292-4476 (for Bermuda Industrial Union Taxi Co-operative).
2) Check out Pembroke
to know about the areas surrounding Hamilton City.