Whether it’s your first time visiting Because Beer or you just want to size up your options for getting to Pier 4 Park, you’ve got plenty of transportation alternatives. Here are some tips to help you find your way to Hamilton’s premier craft beer festival. (For starters, our GTA friends should remember that when in downtown Hamilton, the lake is north, not south.)
GO Trains on the Lakeshore West line run from Union Station every 30 minutes, arriving in Hamilton six times between 4:30pm and 7:15pm. On Friday, July 14, Lakeshore West trains depart Union Station at 4:30, 5:00, 5:30 and 6pm to arrive at Hamilton GO Centre at 5:45pm, 6:15pm, 6:45pm and 7:15pm respectively. Trains also leave Union at 4:00pm and 5:15pm to arrive West Harbour GO at 5:12pm & 6:27pm respectively. Note: There is no return GO Train service out of either station until Monday morning. Hamilton GO Centre also offers bus connections to Aldershot GO Train Station, departing Hamilton every 30 minutes from 6:30am through 10:30pm.
GO Buses run frequently between Union Station Bus Terminal and Hamilton GO Centre. GO Buses also run from York University and Square One Bus Terminal to the Hamilton GO Centre. Hamilton/Toronto Express Bus service between Union Station and Hamilton GO Centre runs regularly throughout the day, with the final outbound buses departing at 11:00pm, 11:30pm and 12:30am. 407 West Bus service to Square One & York University runs from Hamilton GO Centre every half-hour until 10:30pm Friday and 10:00pm Saturday/Sunday. Lakeshore West Bus service connects Hamilton GO Centre to Aldershot GO Station, providing access to Lakeshore West GO Train service outside of weekday rush hour as well as convenient connections for VIA Rail and Amtrak Maple Leaf passengers. Buses depart Hamilton GO Centre for Aldershot GO Train Station every 30 minutes from 6:30am through 10:30pm.
Detailed information on GO schedules can be found at gotransit.com.
HSR – Option One: From James St N, you can catch the #4 BAYFRONT on the west side of James. It’ll take you towards Hunter, past the back of City Hall, up Bay, and then over to James St. N where you’ll get off at James St. N and Burlington St E. From there, head three blocks east and you’re at the festival. Just walk towards the water and hang a left. The route’s Friday service runs every 20 minutes from 5am-6pm, and every 30 minutes thereafter. Cash fare is $3. (PRESTO fare is cheaper still.)
HSR – Option Two. Board the vintage red-and-cream #99 WATERFRONT bus outside 110 King St. W. (Robert Thomson Building, across from the Art Gallery of Hamilton and just east of the Sheraton Hamilton). The 99 is free, wheelchair-accessible, and runs every half-hour between 10am and 8:30pm from downtown, travelling north to stop at James St. N. & Guise St., three blocks east of Pier 4 Park. Note that there are no bike racks on this replica trolley.
WALK – Once you get downtown you can wander along James Street North taking in the sights as you make your way to Pier 4 Park. Travel until just past the new West Harbour GO station, turn left on Strachan, then right at Bay and walk five blocks further north. The walk from King & James to the park takes a leisurely 25 minutes.
BICYCLE – Cycling from downtown is easy: It’s less than 10 minutes from James and Main to Pier 4 Park. SoBi Hamilton, the city’s bike share program, offers bike parking at the park’s entrance, and if recent years are any indication, they may be filled to bursting. You’ll find SoBi’s bold blue bikes stationed at racks around Hamilton (including Bayfront Park, Bay & Macaulay and more within a couple of blocks of Pier 4 Park), available for hourly rental. You can also ride your own bike to the festival — the zig-zag ramp to Bay is a popular choice for locking up (or down as the case may be).
CAR – If you’re coming in on the 403 westbound, take the York Boulevard exit and continue until you reach Bay Street, then turn left/head north. If you’re coming in on the 403 eastbound, take the Main Street exit and continue until you reach Bay, then turn left/head north. If you’re coming in on the QEW, take the Burlington Street exit and continue on Burlington until you reach James Street North, then turn right/head north. For GoogleMap directions to Pier 4 Park, click here.
PARKING - There are roughly 40 parking spots beside Pier 4 Park but 300 parking spots beside its western neighbour, Bayfront Park (Bay St. N. & Harbour Front Dr., prominently marked by a large metal topsail) which is located a short walk away. Pedestrian access from Bayfront Park to Pier 4 Park is via the Waterfront Trail, a paved pedestrian walkway that will take you northeast past the Macassa Bay Yacht Club and MacDonald Marine to the gates of Pier 4 Park, a 5-minute walk.
CAB – With 40+ incredible brewers taking part in this year’s edition of Because Beer, you may find that the day or weekend has gotten the better of you. If you’ve had too much of too much, you’ll find that local cabs will be happy to take you home to sleep it off. They typically congregate at the festival gates around close of day, but Because Beer staff will also be happy to call you a cab upon request. Or you can Uber if that’s how you roll.