Nassau is compact and easy to see in a day, which is quite convenient considering many visitors (coming off cruise ships) only have that long to see it. This would also be a great walking tour for those staying at Atlantis or other hotels on Paradise Island, as that is the starting location!
1. Potter’s Cay
Under the bridge from Atlantis you will find Potter’s Cay, one of my favorite spots in all of Nassau. (See link for previous post).
2. A Bit of History and Hospitality
Walking in towards Nassau town on Bay Street, you will pass a grand church on your left at the aptly named Church Street. It wasn’t listed in my guidebooks or any maps but I was able to identify it as St. Matthews with a bit of google sleuthing.
While we wandered around the grounds of this church, we encountered the caretaker who approached us kindly, asking how we were enjoying our stay in the Bahamas. His eyes lit up when we told him about our trip through the outer islands and he offered us a tour of the grounds of what he then informed us was the oldest church in the Bahamas. Speaking with him was one of the highlights of the day! It’s a beautiful building and worth nosing around to look for. Even more impressive was the hospitality of the caretaker, just another reminder of the kindness of the Bahamian people.
3. Cruise Mania
About 3/4ths of a mile past Potter’s Cay you will reach the cruise ship terminal. I actually went here looking for the Junkanoo Expo, which was very poorly marked on maps and I never did find. But there were some floats and costumes in the terminal from Junkanoo (the Bahamas biggest festival) so it wasn’t a total loss.
4. Rawson Square
Rawson Square is a filled with benches in which to hide in the shade and get some respite from the hot Bahamas sun. Across the street is the grand pink parliament building, where lawmakers still wear full white wigs!
4. Junkanoo Beach
Junkanoo Beach is a beautiful and conveniently located stretch of sand. On my way into the Bahamas from the airport, my taxi driver informed me that not long ago it was only a local’s spot and he marveled that tourists now use this beach as well. I can see why they do, and its somewhere between the white sand and glassy blue water. Looking off in one direction you are treated to the sight of a charming lighthouse, and in the other direction, the giants of Bahamas tourism: Atlantis and the cruise ship. There is also some great graffiti to check out.
5. The Pirate Museum
Say arrrrg at Pirates of Nassau! (Click link to see previous post)
6. Balcony House
The 18th century Balcony House is the oldest residential structure in Nassau. There are tours available, but we were just walking by as the house is right around the corner from the Pirate Museum.
7. Nassau Public Library and Museum
I love libraries. This one would be interesting even to non bibliophiles for its unusual octagonal shape and the fact that it used to be Nassau’s jail. The cells are now lined with books and historic prints.
The second floor was sadly closed for repairs when we stopped by, but it seemed like the views would be great.
8. Keep Your Eyes Peeled for Art
While walking around Nassau I kept noticing interesting art works shown in public. Some of them were really fun and I couldn’t wait to look up the website on the accompanying signs (you scan see the sign above in the top left corner). It turned out to be a public arts project aimed at sprucing up Nassau sponsored by Coca Cola, using all art from local artists. There is a map of all the pieces, from murals to sculptures on the website. I wish I had known about this beforehand because it would make for a really fun day walking around trying to see them all. Here are a few of my favorites. Points for art, for supporting the local arts movement, and for urban beautification!
View and print my Walking Tour of Nassau, Bahamas on Google Maps! It was my first time making a map so a bit of a learning curve but I really enjoyed it and I think its something I will try to keep doing in the future.