The Weekender

Enjoy history, culture and shopping this weekend in Nanaimo.

Image by Nancy Shields

Day 1


Voted “Best Breakfast on Vancouver Island”, Gabriel’s Cafe is located downtown Nanaimo and is the perfect way to start your day.


Explore Nanaimo’s history with a trip to our two Downtown Museums:

Nanaimo Museum – Learn about the history of Nanaimo, including the culture and history of the Snuneymuxw First Nations, on whose traditional territories we live and work. You will also learn about Nanaimo’s history as a Coal Mining town.

Vancouver Island Military Museum – Browse through the more than 25 exhibits and displays showcasing Canada’s proud Military History and Traditions. For more than a quarter century, the museum has assembled a truly impressive collection of military memorabilia and artifacts from the War of 1812 right through to Canada’s involvement in Afghanistan.


Catch the ferry from Maffeo Sutton Park to Newcastle Island, Saysutshun, traditional territory of the Snuneymuxw First Nation. Buy lunch at the Saysutshun Bistro, like smoked salmon and bannock and enjoy a picnic amongst the trees or on the beach in this beautiful park.


Head back to Nanaimo’s harbour and spend the afternoon strolling the shops downtown including Hill’s Native Art, Flying Fish Kitchen & Gift, the gift shops at Nanaimo Museum and Nanaimo Art Gallery and the many boutiques in the Old City Quarter.

Stop for a Nanaimo Bar, our iconic dessert, at Bocca Cafe.


Enjoy a delicious, easy meal at Delicado’s, located downtown. This southwestern restaurant and deli makes delicious salads, tacos, burritos and more and you really must try the salsa.


Enjoy live music at The Queen’s, as well as a glass of your favourite beverage.

Day 2


Nothing says Sunday quite like Sunday brunch. Here are some hot spots for enjoying this best and first meal of the day:

Longwood Brew Pub – North Nanaimo

SimonHolt Restaurant – North Nanaimo

Ricky’s All Day Grill – 2 Locations: North and South Nanaimo

Gabriel’s Cafe – Downtown

Mon Petit Choux – Downtown

2 Chef’s Affair – Downtown

Modern Cafe – Downtown

Coco Cafe – South Nanaimo


Bring your shopping bags, it is time to head to Cedar Market just outside of the city of Nanaimo. There you will find farm, food and craft vendors as well as live music and lots of fun.


Enjoy a snack in Cedar and take a load off at the Crow and Gate pub, located next to Cedar Market. Enjoy traditional pub food.


Take a walk in Colliery Dam, a large park in Nanaimo that is also a popular swimming hole. This is a perfect hiking spot, and offers a glimpse into the industrial history of Nanaimo. The Dams were built in 1910 to supply water for coal washing.


Make your way back downtown to the harbourside and have a delicious meal at Minnoz, located in the Coast Bastion Hotel, just across from the street from the harbour.


End the day with a quiet stroll along the seawall. Take in the sights and sounds of Nanaimo’s harbour and the beauty, including public art displays, of Maffeo Sutton Park.

Book Your Stay Now