History, Culture, and Art Live Here

It’s no surprise that you can spend a number of days exploring the rich tapestry of art, culture, and history that live in Nanaimo. From our galleries to our walking tours, there is something for everyone!

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Day One

Get your trip started with coffee and breakfast from The Vault Café. Either sit down in their socially distanced café or grab some takeout. Their breakfast wraps are mouth-watering, and there’s even a vegan option!

A leisurely 4-minute walk from breakfast will bring you to the Nanaimo Museum; make sure to book in advance as it’s an appointment-only right now! Enjoy a self-guided or guided tour within your household party only and immerse yourself in Nanaimo’s unique history. From Indigenous culture, with items donated and curated by members of the Snuneymuxw First Nation, one of the largest Nations in British Columbia, to Coal Miners and Chinese immigrants’ role in the formation of Nanaimo.

Lunch awaits you just a short drive away at Baby Salsa! Grab some Mexican cuisine takeout and head to Beach Estates Park to eat and enjoy. After fueling up, feel free to journey along the winding trail that follows along Northfield Creek as it descends the ravine and eventually into the ocean at Departure Bay. You won’t want to miss the gentle waterfall that cascades over a rock face.

After lunch, exercise, and some fresh air, it’s time to take in some art! Head on over to Artzi Stuff on Church Street to see a unique collection made by over 65 local artists from across Vancouver Island and the surrounding Gulf Islands. From ceramics, paintings, carvings, jewellery, and fashion accessories to metal and glassworks - there is a lot to discover!

Finish off a perfect day by enjoying a hot meal from Lighthouse Bistro and Pub. Located right on the waterfront, eat-in or grab some takeout to take back to your room. You have your choice between gourmet pub burgers or delicious seafood!

After grabbing supper, head back to your room at the Coast Bastion Hotel, located in the heart of Nanaimo’s Arts, Shopping & Harbourfront district. Make sure you check out the view!

Lighthouse Bistro and Pub

The view at Coast Bastion Hotel

Day Two

Treat yourself to French Toast à la Mode from Mon Petit Choux, a delicious slice of heaven right downtown Nanaimo! If the weather’s warm enough, enjoy their patio seating to start your day off.

After breakfast, your first activity is just a few steps away. Nestled among the boutiques and cafes, you’ll find the Nanaimo Art Gallery. Make sure you wear your mask and follow the strict physical distancing protocols set out by the gallery. The exhibitions are informative and interesting enough to capture the attention of everyone in your bubble. You can also join an Art Lab to learn more about art and art appreciation!

After exploring the gallery, take a short 5-minute walk to the Vancouver Island Military Museum, where you can browse through more than 25 exhibits and displays showcasing Canada’s proud history and traditions. For more than a quarter-century, the museum has assembled an awe-inspiring collection of military memorabilia and artifacts from the War of 1812 right through to Canada’s involvement in Afghanistan – the perfect stop for any history buff in your group.

For lunch, take another stroll to Modern Café, famous for its delicious food, and Nanaimo Bar Martini. You can’t go wrong with the Chicken Tacos, and their entire menu is available for takeout! Follow up lunch with a walk around the Old City Quarter and grab a Nanaimo Bar Cupcake at A Wee Cupcakery for an afternoon treat.

Spend the rest of the day on a self-guided walking tour by downloading the app OnThisSpot. You’ll learn all about life in early Nanaimo, from the 1850s to the 1920s, beginning with the early pioneer days and the town that grew up around the tiny cluster of log cabins and the warren of mine shafts that ran under downtown and the surrounding areas. Along the way, you’ll see the immense challenges these pioneers faced in laying the foundations of the city we know today!

End the night with a delicious meal from the Bold Knight Restaurant. Kids menus are available, and the staff is happy to help! Take advantage of their takeout option so you can get back to your room and enjoy the view of the waterfront landscape you’ve been exploring all weekend!

Mon Petit Choux

A Wee Cupcakery

Nanaimo is excited to be welcoming guests back to our beautiful beaches, quiet forests, and friendly businesses, so let’s remember to explore responsibly! Wear a mask indoors and aboard the ferry and adhere to social distance guidelines when necessary. We’re happy to welcome you to Nanaimo!

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