The list of things to do in Nassau Cruise Port on a trip with Bahamas Air Tours is endless. As the Bahamas’ capital city, this lively destination sees more visitors than anywhere else in the country. It is home to bustling craft-markets, sizzling Fish Fry’s, casinos, resorts and a host of noteworthy historical sites. Nassau also serves as a hub from which cruise ship passengers can discover the authentic Bahamian experience in the Out Islands, which will be the perfect addition to their cruise itinerary.
However, there is a wide range of things to do in Nassau Cruise Port, which means a day exploring these streets will be time well-spent. A historical Nassau walking tour will undoubtedly bring you directly into the district known as Old Town. With history etched into every street and building, there is no better place to uncover the stories of a time gone by.
1. Parliament Square
The pink walls of Parliament Square house a 16-member Senate and a 38-member house of assembly. When the House is in session you can sit in on the important debates that take place concerning the future of the Bahamas. Having been built in 1815, Parliament Square is a treasure trove of historical significance. You will also find a magnificent statue of a seated Queen Victoria at the very heart of the Square. This site is an excellent start to a Nassau self guided walking tour and is one of the top things to do in Nassau Bahamas for free. This is because it combines discussions about the Bahamas of today with the historic New England colonial architecture, providing some perspective on how times have changed.
2. Nassau Public Library and Museum
The sense of historical conservation on a Nassau city tour is undeniable. Visiting the Public Library and Museum ranks as one of the top things to do in Nassau Cruise Port. It is located on the southern side of Parliament Square, making it a logical second stop on your self guided walking tour of Nassau Old Town. This octagonal building was originally built as a prison in 1797. The prison cells now hold books instead of prisoners and a visit will also grant you access to the museum where you can learn more about the Bahamian history and view some of the authentic Arawak artifacts.
3. Queen’s Staircase
Not only is the Queen’s Staircase a significant historical landmark, but a climb to the top will also provide you with the best viewpoint on New Providence Island. Gazing out across the island’s coastline is one of the top things to do in Nassau Bahamas for free on your Nassau city tour. Built in 1793, and standing at 38m tall, this building is impressive to behold. While it may be named the Queen’s Staircase, it is, in fact, a water tower which was built for Fort Fincastle.
4. Fort Fincastle
Fort Fincastle is an excellent stop on your tour of Nassau. It was built at the top of Bennet’s Hill as a lookout post. The fort is made from cut limestone, and construction was completed in 1793. When it was no longer needed as a lookout station, it was repurposed into a lighthouse for New Providence Island’s northern shoreline. Visiting this architecturally unique site is one of the top things to do in Nassau Cruise Port.
5. Gregory’s Arch
Gregory’s Arch was built as a cart bridge over an intersecting road and now stands as a monument to the resilience of the colonial architecture. This is a very scenic part of the Nassau walking tour. Not only do you get an excellent sense of history from the arch itself, but you also have a marvelous view of an area of Nassau known as “Over The Hill”. Visiting Gregory’s Arch is one of the best things to do in Nassau Cruise Port.
6. Government House & Statue of Christopher Columbus
Upon arrival at Government House, you will immediately see the unique Bahamian pink and white style building, the same scheme as that of Parliament Square. While the colors may catch your eye, the most impressive sight will be the statue of Christopher Columbus on the steps leading up to the Government House. The statue was sculpted in 1830 and gifted to the Government House from London to commemorate Columbus’ arrival in the Bahamas in 1492. Of all the historical things to do in Nassau Cruise Port on your Nassau self guided walking tour, a visit to the Government House is among the very best.
7. Heritage Museum of The Bahamas
This Old Town walking tour brings you to a number of excellent sites in Nassau. The Heritage Museum of the Bahamas is no exception to this. Built in the 1850’s this building hosts a number of even older relics that tell the story of the Bahamas of the past. Some of these artifacts are exclusively held by this museum, which means that a visit here will be one of the more fascinating things to do in Nassau Cruise Port simply due to the incredible rarity of some of the displays.
8. National Art Gallery of The Bahamas
With names like Antonius Roberts, Amos Ferguson, and Brent Malone, a visit to the National Art Gallery is one of the top things to do in Nassau Cruise Port. Though the paintings are an excellent attraction, the Gallery building is an artwork itself. There is a sense of elegance that envelops the entire building. Proud columns frame the heavy wooden doors which open to reveal glossy floors and countless paintings along every wall.
9. John Watling’s Distillery
A trip to the Nassau would not be complete without an authentic rum tasting experience at John Watling’s Distillery. A visit to this red, white and blue building is one of the best things to do in Nassau Cruise Port. You will be able to taste rums of varying shades, aromas and flavors, each of which provides an entirely different taste sensation.
10. Junkanoo Beach
If your head is starting to feel a little overloaded with all the history that you’re learning on this Nassau walking tour, then a stop at Junkanoo Beach will be a welcome rest. It will also be a great chance for you to immerse yourself in the local culture and is an excellent place to get a drink or try one of the local conch dishes. A visit to Junkanoo Beach is one of the best cultural things to do in Nassau Cruise Port.
11. Pirates of Nassau
Everyone loves a good story about Pirates, and there are few pirates more notorious than the infamous Blackbeard. If you’re looking for things to do in Nassau Bahamas Cruise Port and the idea of a pirate museum tickles your fancy, then a visit to Pirates of Nassau is for you. Not only is the museum complete with sound effects, it also has interactive displays that will make learning about Blackbeard and his Privateers Republic that much more entertaining. This is one of the most popular sites in Nassau Old Town because it caters to all ages.
12. Christ Church Cathedral
A walking tour of Nassau Old Town will bring you to some picturesque places, like Christ Church Cathedral. The stained glass windows set against the cathedral’s grey walls makes for quite a striking image. Visiting this cathedral is one of the most scenic things to do in Nassau Cruise Port. It will not only give you the chance to view the beautiful windows, but you will also have a chance to stroll through the Garden of Remembrance on your walking tour Nassau Bahamas.
13. Pompey Museum & Pompey Square
The Pompey Museum, like many of the other museums in Nassau, is home to a number of historical artifacts. The building was used for slave auctions in the 18th century but is now an interesting historical landmark. If your walking tour Nassau Bahamas lines up with one of the many festivals that the country has each year, then Pompey Square will be a buzzing hive of energy. A visit to Pompey Square during a festival is one of the best and most exciting things to do in Nassau Bahamas Cruise Port. The colorful vibrancy of these festivals will ensure an unforgettable experience on your Nassau tour.
14. Straw Market
Though the Straw Market building may have been destroyed by a fire in 2001, the steadfast locals have since breathed life back into it. Located on Bay Street it is now a temporary structure comprised of tents and gazebos covering each stall. This is a favorite of things to do in Nassau Cruise Port since the cruise ship passengers can browse for local crafts, souvenirs, and even get your hair braided with beads by some of the local women. A stop here will add a fun shopping experience to your Nassau tour.
15. British Colonial Hilton
The British Colonial Hilton Hotel was built in 1923, but only became a Hilton Hotel in 1999. The building still displays some of the impressive architecture from almost 100 years ago, when it was owned and operated by Sir Harry Oakes. Oakes was undoubtedly the most powerful man in the Bahamas at the time but was not well-liked. This led to his murder in 1943, which was named the “crime of the century” and has not been solved to this day. This building serves as an exciting stop on your self guided walking tour of Nassau because it was also the location for several action-packed scenes in the James Bond films.
Top things to do in Nassau Cruise Port
These are but a few of the many things to do in Nassau Cruise Port. With historical buildings, museums and architecturally significant sites to visit in Nassau Old Town, any history enthusiast will feel as if they’ve landed in paradise. Of course, with shopping, pirates and fascinating old forts on the list as well, this walking tour of the city has a little something for everyone. Be sure to book a trip with Bahamas Air Tours to discover the historical beauty that is Nassau, as well as the picturesque Out Islands of the Bahamas.
Learn more about New Providence island in our Nassau Travel Guide.
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