The Government House Nassau is one of the many grand historical structures in Nassau Old Town. Dating back to the early 19th Century, the site is well worth a visit for travelers looking for things to do in Downtown Nassau.
Nassau Old Town is full of historical and cultural sites, with the Government House Nassau being one of the top attractions. Serving as the official residence of the governor-general of the Bahamas, the structure dates back hundreds of years and is easy to visit on a Nassau day trip.
A structure has existed on the current site of the Government House Nassau since 1737. In that year, construction teams built a home for Governor Richard Fitzwilliam. Located on Mount Fitzwilliam, one of the higher points of the island, it featured excellent views of New Providence.
In 1806, construction teams tore down the original structure and replaced it with a larger building. Stretching over 100 feet and housing a balcony that spanned from one end of the building to the other, the second Government House Nassau stood for over 100 years until a hurricane destroyed it in 1929.
Builders constructed the third and final version of the building shortly after the destruction of the second. Since then, it’s served as the residence of the governor of the Bahamas, which it continues to do to this day. While its appearance has changed throughout the centuries, it still boasts excellent views and a uniquely Bahamian color scheme.
As mentioned, the current Government House Nassau dates back to the early 20th Century. Its colorful architecture is typical of the Bahamas while remaining reminiscent of the American South. Besides the architecture, you can find many other British touches scattered across the estate.
The Government House previously had a statue of Christopher Columbus in front of it. After a man with a sledgehammer damaged it in 2021, the local government placed it in storage while it determines what to do with it.
Gregory’s Arch is another Nassau Old Town attraction that’s right around the corner from the Government House. Crossing over Market Street, it’s stood for hundreds of years, separating Downtown Nassau from the rest of the island.
Graycliff Heritage Village is a cultural highlight of the island. Also near the Government House Nassau, it features everything from a chocolatier to The Heritage Museum of the Bahamas. The latter exhibits a staggering collection of historical artifacts.
There’s also an art gallery, a winery, and a pizzeria.
The Government House Nassau is in the downtown area of the capital, making it easy to visit on a Bahamas vacation. Located on Duke Street, it’ll take around 10 minutes to walk to the site from the Nassau cruise terminal.
Travelers staying on New Providence or Paradise Island can taxi to Nassau Old Town. From there, you can walk from attraction to attraction.
There isn’t an entry fee to enter the complex, and the site is open to the public from 9 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday. However, the local government is often renovating different parts of the building, which may limit access to the grounds.
If you’re able to enter the Government House Nassau, you’ll find yourself confined to a couple of paths that make their way around the estate. The grounds features beautiful gardens and excellent views of Nassau, so can take plenty of photos. Travelers not able to enter the complex can still enjoy views of the house from the road.
After stopping by the Government House, make sure to continue walking to some of the other nearby attractions. Old Town is home to many of the top things to do in Downtown Nassau.
Depending on when you visit, you may not be able to enter the Government House Nassau grounds, as parts of the structure are often under construction. However, one thing you should try to witness is the changing of the guards.
This event happens every second Saturday of the month at 11 am in front of the Government House. Featuring a marching band and different branches of the Bahamian military, the changing of the guard is a spectacle you’ll want to observe.
Nassau Old Town is full of history and culture, but sadly, much of it gets missed. If you’re looking for things to do in Downtown Nassau and want to learn more about the country you’re visiting, the Government House Nassau is a must-visit destination. Combining history, political significance, and architectural beauty, it’s a worthwhile attraction to see.
After seeing the Government House Nassau, you’ll want to tour some of the other nearby destinations: West Hill street leads through the Graycliff Heritage Village to John Watling’s Distillery is around the corner, as are Queen’s Staircase and Fort Fincastle.
If you’re looking to learn more about the top (and sometimes top-secret) Nassau destinations, check out our other articles and our interactive travel map.Explore our Nassau Travel Guides