Downtown Hamilton gets its “Brooklyn” culture cred thanks in part to the scene on James St. North. Once a month, the neighbourhood art crawl takes over the streets for a festival of creativity, music and food. Galleries stay open late, and bars host local musicians as the action spills out onto the sidewalks.
1. Mod squad
Check out ultra-mod home furnishings by local artists as well as exhibitions and performance art events in the back space of the sleek, updated heritage building that houses the Art Gallery of Hamilton’s Design Annex. 118 James St. N.
2. Sew cute
Part fabric shop, part workshop, Needlework is a cozy space that boasts a dream library of gorgeously printed quilting cottons and cute dress patterns. While there, sign up for a refresher course in the sartorial arts. 174 James St. N.
3. Designer darlings
Find the flirtiest vintage frocks and best Canadian-made accessories at White Elephant. We love the printed leather clutches, statement necklaces made of cross-stitched suede and sweet cashmere underthings upcycled from old sweaters. 133 James St. N.
4. Fresh comfort
Serving up a locavore approach to classic comfort foods (think garlicky stone-baked pizzas and bacon-laden mac ’n’ cheese), Earth to Table Bread Bar is worth a little detour. Be sure to make a reservation and don’t miss the pastry bar for yummy sweets like whisky peaches or maple-drowned ice cream. 258 Locke St. S.
5. Sweet Stop
Delicious bakeshop Bitten is breathing new life into the cupcake trend. Our fave? The Hans Rolo, a chocolate bomb of devil’s food cake topped with the classic candy! And try the Creamsicle whoopie pie: Made with orange sponge and cream cheese icing, it tastes like the real thing. 219 Locke St. S.