Nanaimo Travel Guide

  • Things to Do
    by shavy
  • Things to Do
    by shavy
  • Things to Do
    by shavy

Nanaimo Things to Do

  • Nanaimo boat basin

    At one time, all you would see parked here were fishing boats. But since the decline in the fishery happened, what we see parked here now are mostly pleasure craft. This is looking north east across the Nanaimo Harbour when I took this shot, I was looking through the channel that goes between Newcastle Island and Protection Island. You can walk...

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  • The Court House

    From a distance this building means business I imagine that it was and still is humbling to walk toward this building. The Nanaimo Court House is different from most in that its site location is not a corner lot. This beautiful building sits on sloping land with beautiful harbor, mainland and island viewsThere's a landscaped public space at the...

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  • The Bastion

    We walk away from the harbor at the main road we met this Bastion . The Hudson is Bay Company completed the Bastion in 1853 as the centre of a settlement dedicated to coal mining. The Bastion is perhaps most famous for its exciting cannon firing ceremony every day at noon from International Museum day (Sunday, May 18, 2014) to Labour Day (Monday,...

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  • Wandering through the end of the harbor

    As we keep on walking to the end of the waterfront, and how further you go, how more you discover a beautiful stylish building. This is a first harbor I've ever seen which has a very modern environment. The large building in the background is a combination pub, restaurant and seaplane terminal. It has been built on wooden pilings over the ocean and...

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  • Stroll to the waterfront

    The famous Nanaimo waterfront provides a haven to those interested in fishing, wildlife cruises, kayaking and water sports. Hundreds of visitors pass through its harbour, which services tugboats, sail boats, float planes and freightersFormerly a coal mining town and third oldest city in British Colombia, this Harbour City radiates history and...

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  • The harbor

    A walk to the harbor for it's famous and varied landscapes the city of Nanaimo boasts one of the prettiest waterfronts. A playground of land and sea activities, Nanaimo is a perfect place for a family vacation, a year-round golf getaway, or a romantic weekendThe bustling harbour is the central focus for visitors to Nanaimo, with freighters, fishing...

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  • Celebrating the local salmon

    (work in progress)You don't have to spend very long in British Columbia to realise that salmon in all its incarnations forms a major component of the province's economy. Given its economic significance, it's not surprising that the salmon is celebrated in local artforms, including municipal art.This fountain is located close to Nanaimo's casino and...

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  • Whimsical art celebrating local history

    (work in progress)I love it when art is used to transform an everyday item into something that's interesting as well as functional, so I was delighted to find this amusing piece next to the casino.A large metal box (presumably housing telephone or electrical infrastructure) has been painted to make it look as though you're looking into the stopes...

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  • Nanaimo Museum

    The Nanaimo Museum displays the history of this Pioneer town from its founding year till present. The perminent exhibition addresses Nanaimo's lifestyles, the Coal Mine, the Harbour, In The News, the Snunéymuxw, Educating Nanaimo, Timber! , the Bastion Era and the Sports Hall of Fame.Furthermore additional temporary exhibitions are...

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Nanaimo Hotels

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Nanaimo Restaurants

  • Coffe at the harbour

    The Javawocky Coffee House is a small coffeehouse at the Nanaimo harbour with a few seats inside and some additional outside. Their drinks are perfect and so are the muffins and other small food, including the local Nanaimo Bar.

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  • Pub & Bistro

    There is a ferry that goes to the pub, every hour during the day. See the web side for more information. I had pizza and it was really good, but not as good as the dessert. The dessert was fantastic, read the note, the name says it all.

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  • Authentic English Pub

    You feel as if you've stepped back in time when you arrive here. The grounds, the buildings and the ambiance inside the pub all combine to make you feel as if you're actually at an Elizabethan era pub in England. It is really charming! We weren't hungry at the time and just had a pint of Kilkenny's and a pint of the cider they had on tap. We look...

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  • Have Tea, Get your Fortune Told & Eat...

    My favourite place to eat in Nanaimo. The owner, a tea leaf reader, provides a cosy, English atmosphere perfect for her to tell you your future by reading your tea leaves. The scones with strawberry jam, lemon spread and whipped cream are the best I have had anywhere in my life and trust me I have tried many places. I can't rave enough about this...

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  • Southwestern cooking

    Used to be a little hole-in-the-wall takeout, but got waaaay popular and had to expand. There's a branch at the north end of town, but the downtown original is still the best.Roll-ups, burritos, salads and more. Veggies and imported goods for sale.Outdoor patio in summer. Shrimp roll-up. Light and fresh, with a scale of hotness from mild to nitro....

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  • fine dining south of town

    Small restaurant in an older house in Cedar, 10 minutes south of Nanaimo. Contemporary, inventive dishes, never disappointing. Often use local producers for ingredients. Extensive wine list; owner-manager loves to chat about wine, and is knowledgeable about local BC wines as well as everything else on the list. Great local art on the walls. Good...

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Nanaimo Nightlife

  • Live music every night

    Local artists and featured bands. Eclectic bunch of patrons - grannies to teeny-boppers, hippies to bikers. If you get a chance to see Wunderbread (70's disco band), go - they always get the place hopping.

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  • GBLT Nightlife

    70below is one of the best nightclubs I have had the luck of visiting.The atmosphere is fabulous, the music is always wonderful and they ALWAYS play your requests if they have it. Guaranteed to make friends, even if you only go out for one night (though I couldn't keep away.)Well worth a visit, and if you're into alternative, they run a fetish...

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  • Comedy / Dancing

    We went to Nanaimo to visit a friend, and found out he had unexpectedly gone to Mexico! Somewhat at a loss, we stopped by the lounge at the Tallyho motel to have a drink and decide what to do. They had comedy scheduled that night, so we checked it out. It was very fun, and we ended up staying there that night. It made a not-so-great situation very...

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Nanaimo Transportation

  • Aboard BC Ferries

    Great views of the sea and mountains and Vancouver skyline can be seen from the BC ferry. The BC ferry is fairly convenient as there are restaurants and shops.

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  • Ferry to Vancouver (Horseshoe Bay)

    You can catch a ferry at the Departure Bay Ferry Terminal in Nanaimo for a trip to Horseshoe Bay just north of Vancouver in under two hours. Cars are allowed on this BC ferry, but be sure to arrive at the terminal at least 30 minutes early in order to ensure there's a space for your car on the ferry. During the summer months this ferry runs every...

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  • B.C. Ferries

    B.C. Ferries have two terminals in Nanaimo. The south terminal at Duke Point receives passengers and cars arriving from Tsawassen south of Vancouver and the Departure Bay terminal is the docking point for ferries arriving from Horsehoe Bay in West Vancouver.Crossing time: Duke point-Tsawassen : 2hrs Horshoe Bay- Departure Bay: 1 hr35 min.

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Nanaimo Shopping

  • The Main Shopping Street

    Commericial Street is the right name for this curved street that is one of a kind in the mostly straight running Nanaimo streets. Both sides of this street are packed with shop, restaurants and some other businesses. In short: There's something for everyone. Whatever you need.

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  • 25 Years of grammophone records

    Fascinating Rhythm isNanaimo's premier independent music shop since 1988. The store sells Compact Discs, Records, Movies and Books. It's one of the Top 5 best records stores in Canada and for a reason. I had a hard time to use my limited time while trying to select records of my hihest interest. You have to be on floor level, at the back of the...

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  • Live crab

    We didn't buy crab to cook, no. But during the trip we had crab in some restaurants and the price was around $40.

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Nanaimo Local Customs

  • Karolina01's Profile Photo

    by Karolina01 Written Aug 27, 2006

    3 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    After enjoying the beautiful sunset in Nanaimo, we stopped to listen the performance of this music group. I am very sorry but I forgot to write down the name of the band. The music that they performed was really good.

    Related to:
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons

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Nanaimo Warnings and Dangers

  • CatherineReichardt's Profile Photo

    by CatherineReichardt Updated Nov 6, 2012

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    (work in progress)
    When your trip is of limited duration, there's always a particular temptation to try and get the most out of your time by cutting it fine when travelling back to your point of departure.

    Which is a risky strategy if you're driving back to catch the ferry from Nanaimo from the north (ie. Tofino/Ucluelet/Port Alberni side). The road signage is great, and when you come across the turnoff from the 'highway' that indicates that you only have 10km to go to the ferry terminal, you may be excused for thinking that your worries are behind you.

    Think again. This stretch of road is lined with retail outlets and light industrial development, and there is an intersection with traffic lights virtually every kilometre: what's even more galling is that they don't seem to be particularly well synchronised. Travelling this last 10km section took us nearly half an hour in light traffic, and could take much longer in heavier traffic or if there were roadworks or an accident.

    In off peak periods, missing the ferry wouldn't be catastrophic, as they run every hour. However, if you're visiting in the high season and/or have a booking for a ferry at a particular time, things could get more problematic, so be prudent and allow yourself sufficient travel time to negotiate this last section of road in a stress-free manner.

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Nanaimo Off The Beaten Path

  • Coombs

    Coombs is a really cool little town north of Nanaimo, about 20 miles or so. There is a general store there that has put the town on the map, so to speak. It's called the Goats on the Roof General Store. The roof on the old store is sod and a family of goats can often be seen on the roof, grazing on the sod. The day we stopped there it was rainy and...

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  • Walk Buttertubs Marsh Wildlife Santuary

    This marsh has great walking trails around it. This is a great place to relax, feed the ducks and bird watch. There is a lookout tower and benches along the trail. Note that pets are not allowed in the park due to the large number of birds.Check out all my photos.Directions:There are a few points around Buttertubs Marsh where one may park, and a...

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  • McNab's Corn Maze

    A fun outing especially for kids. Just 25 mins. south of Nanaimo on a beautiful farm on the way to Yellow Point! Great fun!

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Nanaimo Favorites

  • Perhaps the best tourist brochure I've...

    (work in progress)It may seem unlikely, but possibly the best free travel brochure that I've ever come across is the 2012 Official Nanaimo Tourism Guide.What makes it so good? Well, quite simply, it is an outstanding example of a town putting its best foot forward by promoting its unique combination of attractions in an original and positive...

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  • General Info

    Tourism OfficeTourism Nanaimo 2290 Bowen Road, Nanaimo, British Columbia, V9T 3K7 - Tel.: (+1) 800 663 73 37- Tel.: (+1) 250 756 01 06- Fax: (+1) 250 756 00 75Internet:- www.tourismnanaimo.com- www.nanaimo.ca- E mail: info@tourismnanaimo.com

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  • Nanaimo Hotels

    27 Hotels in Nanaimo

    1 Reviews

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