THINGS TO DO IN HAMILTON, BURLINGTON - Hamilton City Magazine Skip to main content
Celebrating all things Hamilton / Welcome Message
Happening Now


We are spoiled for things to see and do in #HamOnt and #BurlOn. HAMILTON CITY Magazine helps you keep up with it all. Think of us as your plugged-in friend who knows all the cool stuff happening around town! Get out and enjoy – and tell them HCM sent you!


Home to Stay
The Hamilton Community Foundation is presenting a morning discussion about what local service organizations are doing about eviction prevention. Three local experts will talk about strategies to keep people in their homes: Sarah Cameron (housing and homelessness supports and services manager, Hamilton Regional Indian Centre), Mohamad Bsat (staff lawyer, Hamilton Community Legal Clinic), Renée Wetselaar (executive director, St. Matthew's House). This event follows up HCF’s Vital Signs: Affordable Housing report released in September. The event is free to attend but please register here. Dec. 7, 8 a.m. to 9 a.m., Simply Italian Bakery (212 Ottawa St. N.)

Hamilton Rock N' Gem Show
Thousands of new crystals, gemstones, jewelry, beads and fossils on more than 375 tables at the
Hamilton Rock N' Gem Show. Dec. 7-10, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday to Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Hamilton Convention Centre, 1 Summers Ln.

Pollyanna The Musical
The world premiere of the musical adaptation of the beloved 1913 book by Eleanor H. Porter hits the Theatre Aquarius stage for its opening night on Dec. 8 and continues its run until Dec. 23. This continues the tradition of the holiday show at the King William Street theatre. Prepare for joy, nostalgia, singing, dancing and impressive sets and costumes. Pollyanna The Musical is an uplifting tale of hope triumphing over adversity, and how the power of one young girl’s positivity can – and does – change the people around her. This show was showcased at the 2016 From Page to Stage Festival in London, England and shortlisted for the Playwrights Guild of Canada – Best Musical. Tickets are available here. Running until Dec. 23, Theatre Aquarius.

Rent: The School Edition
Glendale Secondary School is presenting Rent: The School Edition. Set in Manhattan in the 1990s and inspired by Puccini's opera La Bohème, this rock musical by Jonathan Larson follows a group of impoverished young East Village artists, performers and philosophers living through the AIDS crisis and societal upheaval. Tickets are available here. Dec. 8, 12, 13, 14, 15, 7 p.m., Glendale Secondary School, 145 Rainbow Dr.

The Synch
Innovative performing arts company Emerson Arts is presenting The Synch, a musical parody of The Grinch that will be coupled with a Christmas dinner. The family-friendly musical is set to popular tunes from the ’90s and 2000s. ​Dinner is turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, seasonal veggies, gravy & bread, with a dessert course and cash bar. Tickets are available here. Dec. 8, 9, 10, with shows at 12:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., The Cotton Factory, 270 Sherman Ave. N., Hamilton

Pooch Holiday Photos
Bowwowwow Photography will be at the Bring Your Dog Cafe where you can have your pet photographed with Santa Paws on Saturday and The Grinch on Sunday, done in support of St Joe's Paws for Wellness Program. For $35, you get three professional high-res digital photos. Contact Jim directly at 905-512-3720 via phone or text to book your spot. Dec. 9 to 10, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., 9 Richwill Rd.

Christmas Carol for a Cause
Media personalities Connie Smith, Matt Hayes, Bill Kelly, musicians Jude Johnson, Jim Witter and surprise guests accompanied by the St. Andrew’s United Church choir will present a dramatic reading of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, a fundraiser for Interval House of Hamilton. Funds raised will support Interval House of Hamilton emergency shelter for women, with or without children, who are escaping abuse, violence, and/or trafficking. To sponsor, donate or purchase tickets click here. Dec. 9, 2 p.m., St. Andrew’s United Church, 479 Upper Paradise Rd., Hamilton

Hamilton Vintage Community
The Happy Holiday Market is back at the beautiful and historic Cotton Factory. The market features more than 60 vintage curators and vintage-inspired makers for your holiday shopping. You can support small, local businesses while crossing names off your Christmas list. Admission and parking are free. A toy drive will benefit the Hamilton YWCA, so bring new, unwrapped toys, games and arts supplies. Dec. 9, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., The Cotton Factory, 270 Sherman Ave. N.

The Craftadian Hamilton Handmade Market
The Craftadian Hamilton Handmade Market features two days of shopping with 150 makers, artisans and designers, with different makers each day. Enjoy local craft beers, wine and hot drinks, along with food trucks and DJ vibes while shopping for the best in handmade. Free parking. Tickets are here. Dec. 9 and 10, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., McMaster Innovation Park, 175 Longwood Rd. S.

Winter Wonders
We are so fortunate to have the RBG as a backyard we can borrow – it’s like having a friend with a cottage – and the fun doesn’t stop once winter comes. Hendrie Park will be set aglow for Winter Wonders, where visitors are invited to stroll the park’s pathways, illuminated by festive lights and interactive installations. picturesque pathways adorned with charming festive lights, interactive installations, and magical displays that tell the stories of unique winter wonders. Explore the indoor Botanical Train display and Mediterranean Garden, pick up unique gifts from the shop, and indulge in seasonal treats. Live entertainment and festive snacks will be available, and warm drinks will be on offer along the route to warm your cockles – but be sure to wear extra socks to warm your toes. Check the RBG website for info and to purchase tickets. Nov. 23 to Jan. 7, Thursday to Sundays

Burlington Bulbs
When the holiday lights power up in Spencer Smith Park, we know Christmas season is really upon us. The Festival of Lights has been making Burlington burn brighter for nearly 30 years, and a park pilgrimage to see the colourful holiday installation has become a tradition for many. While a simple drive-by is enough to get you into the spirit, there is something magical about wandering among the flickering displays on a quiet snowy night – and maybe this is the year you’ll run fast enough to catch a ride on Santa’s merry-go-round. Nov. 24 to Jan. 8

Dickens of a Christmas
There are plenty of reasons to visit Dundas – the charm, small-town ambiance and tree-lined streets of the historic downtown, arts, culture, and more than 100 shops, restaurants, food emporiums and services. Now add the four festive Dickens of a Christmas weekends hosted by the Downtown Dundas BIA. Featuring carollers, roaming Mr. & Mrs. Claus, free hot cider and treats, free horse and carriage rides, photo stations, music, entertainers and plenty of shopping.This weekend's lineup includes the Hamilton Aerial Group and Captain America and Wonder Woman. Find a detailed schedule here. Saturdays and Sundays, Nov. 25 to Dec. 17.

Favourite Things
There were a whole bunch of favourite things listed in the Sound of Music song and maybe that will inspire some of the work in the Women’s Art Association of Hamilton’s exhibit “My Favourite Things.” The WAAH’s third annual show runs from Nov. 17 to Jan. 5, Cotton Factory, ground floor, 270 Sherman Ave. N. Open weekdays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Christmas at Dundurn Castle
The city’s favourite castle gets dressed up in its holiday best this winter for a Victorian Christmas, thanks to the Garden Club of Hamilton. Adorned with flowers, ribbons, and cedar boughs, Dundurn’s hallowed halls turn fragrant and festive for a mid-19th-century-style celebration. Guided by costumed interpreters, guests are invited to travel back in time and live for a moment like an upper-crust Victorian, celebrating a tricked-out family Christmas with nary a video game or new phone under the tree. Tickets are here. Nov. 28 to Jan. 7, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.


The Canadian Masters of Magic

The Canadian Masters of Magic, produced by the Ontario OWOW Magic Festival, are coming to Hamilton for a Vegas-style show. This show features Ryan Joyce and Nathaniel Rankin showcasing the best of the best in Canadian magic. The Canadian Masters of Magic have wowed audiences and judges on popular shows like Penn & Teller's Fool Us and Canada's Got Talent, with mind-boggling illusions,impressive feats of mentalism and sleight of hand. The show is in support of Make-A-Wish Canada. Tickets are available here or at 1-800-516-5810. Dec. 12, 7 p.m., McIntyre Performing Arts Centre, 135 Fennell Ave. W.

Hamilton Concert Band
The Hamilton Concert Band, made up of 70-plus local musicians, is pleased to announce its holiday concert series Let the Bells Ring, which will get you in the spirit with merry tunes and holiday classics. Tickets at the door are $10 for adults, kids under 13 are free. Dec. 16, 7 p.m., St. Andrew's United Church, 479 Upper Paradise Rd., Hamilton

Sinfonia Ancaster
Sinfonia Ancaster presents “Home for the Holidays” where it promises music “so very traditional, even some of our sheet music is yellowed, hand-written, and dog-eared. Several parts are believed to have candle-wax stains.” The performance will feature the Strata Vocal Ensemble on seasonal favourites and leading the carol sing-along. The colourful and exciting program includes many classic orchestral arrangements, such as “Carol of the Bells,” “Christmas Fantasy,” “Adeste Fideles” and “Christmas Fantasy” among others. And back by popular demand is Sean O’Boyle’s “Christmas Story,” a fun-filled and hilarious piece that kids of all ages enjoy. Lastly, but never least, conductor Jeffrey Pollock will bring his signature super-charged personality to the stage. He is so popular with Ancaster audiences that the orchestra is putting him up for sale in its annual Christmas silent auction. You can bid on having Pollock come to your home to serve champagne to your guests. Tickets for the holiday show can be purchased here. Dec. 15, 7 p.m., Peller Hall, Ancaster Memorial Arts Centre, 357 Wilson St. E.

Winter Makers Market
A Winter Makers Market will feature local artisans, live music and $1 hot cocoa! Free admission and all are welcome.
Dec. 15, 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Churchill Park Clubhouse

Space Oddities
Ground Control to Major Tom! À La Mode Choir, under director Emily Taub, is exploring the galaxies through song in its upcoming concert called Space Oddities-A Melodious Journey Through the Cosmos. Prepare to be whisked away on an interstellar adventure, full of oohs, aahs and a bit of laughter along the way. À La Mode Choir is a community choral ensemble of all ages specializing in a cappella music. No genre is off limits and the repertoire of this ensemble is eclectic, innovative and wide ranging.  Profits of concerts are donated to local charities and organizations to better the Hamilton community and also to fund the choir’s chorister bursary program. Tickets are available here. Dec. 16, 7:30-9:30 p.m., The Music Hall, 24 Main St. W., Hamilton

The Ghost of Christmas (Music) Past
The Christmas music playing on repeat in the shopping mall may get on your last nerve, but hearing it live is guaranteed to make your heart grow a couple of sizes bigger. Join the Theatre Ancaster Chorus for its Christmas Top 40 show where, accompanied by a small band, the singers perform a countdown of the top 40 Christmas hits of decades past. The interactive concert will feature well-known music from Bing Crosby, Stevie Wonder, Pentatonix and more, and even the Scroogiest Scrooges are guaranteed to break out in at least a hum. Dec. 16 and 17, Peller Hall, Ancaster Memorial Arts Centre

The HPO and the Bach Elgar Choir will come together for the majestic holiday tradition of Handel’s monumental work Messiah. From the soft beauty of the opening notes to the resounding joy of the Hallelujah Chorus, this performance, led by conductor Alexander Cann, promises to uplift and delight audiences during the festive season.
Get your tickets here. Dec. 16 at 7:30, p.m., Dec. 17 at 3 p.m., Melrose United Church, 86 Homewood Ave., Hamilton


The Holiday Rock Show
The Holiday Rock Show returns to The Studio featuring up-and-coming rock stars JJ Wilde and Gravely in a holiday event you don't want to miss! Gravely was selected as a past winner of the long-standing 97.7 HTZ-FM Rock Search Competition. The Salvation Army will be accepting donations on-site with kettle bells in hand in their continued efforts to help local families in need. The show will be hosted by HTZ-FM's Soper & Brown. Tickets are available here. Dec. 20, 7:30 p.m., The Studio, 10 MacNab St. S.

JR DiGS Acoustic Christmas
The local tradition that is the JR DiGS Acoustic Christmas show had to be cancelled in both 2020 in 2021. Last year, a wicked snowstorm postponed the event until after Christmas. We hope this year’s concert goes off without a hitch. JR DiGS promises the show will: “Still keeping the intimate vibe that has always made the show such a special & unique Hamilton holiday fundraiser for so many but the lineup this year is going to be even more incredible than you might possibly imagine.” The show raises much-needed funds for local charities. Tickets are running out quickly. Dec. 23, 8 p.m. to 11 p.m., The Music Hall, 24 Main St. W. Tickets are also available to the after-party, Dec. 23, 11 p.m. to 2 a.m., Bayfront Studio, 243 Queen St. N.

Merry Milers
Support the YMCA and your cardiovascular health at the same time by taking part in Hamilton’s annual Boxing Day run. Run or walk the 10- or 4-mile course of this historic race that attracts speedy folks from all over. The event routinely draws more than 1,000 participants. This strong field helps create a stronger city because each year the race’s generous donation to the YMCA Strong Kids Campaign means that there are far more winners beyond the ones wearing the running shoes. Dec. 26, noon start.

New Year’s Summer Nights
Slide into the New Year with the help of some Greased Lightnin’ at an epic sing-along event at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre. Sing-a-Long-a Grease invites participants to come dressed as their fav character from the 1977 film and belt out the well-known soundtrack as the movie plays on screen (lyrics are posted for brain-fog moments). The singing will test vocal abilities and a costume contest will test creativity while determining which version of Sandy comes out on top this time around. Dec. 31, 8 p.m.


Pet Propaganda
If your dog thinks that they are pretty special because they keep your floor crumb-free, you might want tell them about the latest exhibit at the Warplane Heritage Museum. “Even A Dog Enlists” is an encapsulation of the crucial role that animals played in war – both as active participants on the field and as featured figures in the propaganda of the time, when their images were used to increase national pride and enlistment. These heroic animals throughout the Allied countries made a tremendous sacrifice for us all, so all joking aside – give your own furry friend an extra tight hug tonight. Until March 18, Warplane Heritage Museum, 9280 Airport Road, Mount Hope

Pet-ty Fun
Ancaster’s Triple C Farm is a spot quite like no other – an idyllic patch of country heaven that offers sanctuary to a literal menagerie of farm animals. Commune with nature while getting in your furry fix by scheduling a visit to the farm’s petting zoo, and just try to not fall in love with at least one of their charges who, by the way, cannot go home with you. Feeling flexible? Check out the farm’s website for other memorable offerings including animal walks, horseback rides and – no kidding around – goat yoga. Visit the website for full details and to register. Triple C Farm, 500 Carluke Rd. W., Ancaster

Feeling Sketchy 
Do you ever suddenly feel the need to create? Hopefully it happens on a Thursday, when each week visitors are invited to drop in to the McMaster Museum of Art to take part in unguided Sketching Sessions. While surrounded by the museum’s vast collection, budding artists are encouraged to simply sketch, drawing inspiration from the variety of the M(M)A’s works. A little imagination is mandatory, but no registration is required, and neither is preparation – shared art supplies are provided. Thursdays 4:30-6:30, McMaster University

Stories of Migration and Belonging
Hamilton is a diverse and vibrant city thanks to the immigrants who have chosen to come here. Through a new video exhibit on immigration produced by the Hamilton Immigration Partnership Council, viewers can learn about the experiences of immigrants and refugees from all over the world who have made Hamilton their home. The project includes video interviews with six immigrants from Italy, China, Ivory Coast, Sri Lanka, Sudan and Ukraine who moved to Hamilton between the 1940s and all the way up to 2023. The exhibit also includes facts about a wide range of historic and current immigration topics.

Innovation Meets Art
Artefact Social and the Hamilton Technology Centre has unveiled a new rotating exhibition space called Art at Seven Innovation. The first exhibition features 32  local artists and showcases about 50 pieces. A range of artists are taking part, from emerging artists to well-known, established artists such as Paul Elia and Cheryl-Ann Hills and exciting new-to-the-area artists such as Joseph Leanage. Hamilton Technology Centre, 7 Innovation Dr., Dundas

Big 80s Energy
Were you fortunate enough to experience the joys of 80s music the first time around (hi!) or were you introduced to the magnitude of its awesomeness at a different time? Either way, fans of that dot on the musical landscape are invited to hit the Casbah’s dance floor on the first Saturday of each month, when DJs Mark and DMurk host their Risky Biz 80s night. The music that came out of that decade was eclectic and revolutionary – and having a monthly celebration of this fact is totally rad. See you there. First Saturdays of the month

Go for A Beer Run
When it comes to exercise, different things motivate different people, and if you are motivated by either a supportive group or beer – or both – Fairweather Brewery has you covered. Open to runners of all abilities, the Fairweather Runners running club meets every Sunday morning for an easy, friendly 5K group run. You’re welcome to head home for a well-earned hot shower afterwards but consider lingering a bit at the brewery instead, bonding with your new gang, swapping stories about your favourite routes, newest gear, and latest injuries. Sundays, 10:30 a.m.

Buoyed by Hamilton
Viewing any city’s skyline from the water is a magical thing: the new nautical perspective provides a mysterious, almost storybook vantage point. Our Hamilton is no different, and when viewed from the water, with its industrial, commercial, and residential areas on display in one glance, it’s staggering to see the beautiful scope of what the city offers. Intrigued, but no boat? No problem. Now in its 19th season, The Hamiltonian – a 12-passenger sightseeing vessel – offers a leisurely 50-minute narrated tour of the Hamilton Harbour, where guests earn their sea legs while learning about a different side of the city. Tours depart from Pier 7 docks.

Work As A Group, Individually
Being an artist can sometimes be a solitary endeavour, yet at the same time, creativity breeds creativity. With this dichotomy in mind, the Youth Art Collective regularly welcomes young artists 14+ to come together to share their skills and hone their craft with like-minded cohorts at art-making meetups. The casual drop-in events are offered each month at the Art Gallery of Hamilton, and offer a welcoming and inspiring space for sketching, painting and creating en masse. 6:30-9 p.m., Art Gallery of Hamilton

A Moment At The Mic
Have a song, comedy set or poem you’re itching to debut, but no audience? The Staircase is ready to provide one for you at its monthly open mic nights. Performers simply need to sign up for a 10-minute time slot upon arriving and then wait for their chance to take the cozy stage. Relay Coffee is in the house providing coffee and snacks, so expect a fully caffeinated and alert crowd cheering you on in the welcoming air of the theatre. Check out the website for details and more dates. Wednesdays, The Staircase

Tree For All
Get up to something new this spring at Treetop Trekking at the Binbrook Conservation Area. Visitors looking for a bit of adventure can test their skills – and bravery – on an array of suspension bridges, Tarzan swings, or zip lines that promise to offer more than the usual walk in the park. Rest assured that the younger crew is not left behind in the trees, as a lower-to-the-ground course is available for visitors five to eight years old. For a more reflective visit with less screaming, the park will also offer a forest bathing experience, where participants are led by a certified forest therapy guide who will help them connect with nature, and themselves, on a new, deeper level. Binbrook Conservation Area.

Hiding in Hamilton
When you’re searching for a new activity to do with your pals, family or even co-workers, look no further than Hamilton Hopper – an app-lead scavenger hunt by Let’s Roam. Available in cities all over the world, the 90-minute to two-hour hunts are equal parts tour and game, each customized to the number and ages of participants. and are a perfect way to have fun and get the competitive juices flowing. With an assortment of challenges popping up along the way – those that are photo-based are quite literally “a picture or it didn’t happen” – the tours offer a perfect opportunity to seek out, and hopefully find, some new aspects of the city that have been hiding in plain sight this whole time.

If you have an event happening in Hamilton and Burlington you would like to see listed here, email

Arts for All