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Your guide to Nassau
Welcome to Nassau
Many people come to the Bahamas to swap the hustle and bustle of city life for days of idyll on white-sand beaches. But it would be a mistake to skip a visit to vibrant Nassau, the capital and largest city of this island paradise nation. The commercial and cultural hub of the Bahamas, its thriving port welcomes cruise ships, which has contributed to a lively harbour scene. The waterfront is home to restaurants, duty-free luxury shopping, and boutiques selling Bahamian arts and crafts.
During the day, beachcombers alight on pretty Cable Beach to lounge, play volleyball, and sip sky juice — a concoction of gin and coconut water. At night, upscale restaurants and buzzy clubs keep the festive atmosphere going. All of this takes place against a backdrop of grand Georgian architecture, a remnant of Nassau’s colonial past. Glam resorts have cropped up here, but Bahamian culture still dominates, particularly in an area known as Fish Fry, where rainbow-colored stalls serve up the catch of the day alongside hearty helpings of rice and beans.
When is the best time to stay in a vacation rental in Nassau?
The Bahamas are a vacation mecca in part thanks to their reliably nice weather. You’re likely to encounter sunshine and warm temperatures any time of the year, although there are wet and dry seasons. Summers tend to bring rain, while winters are more arid. Hurricane season stretches from June to November, so it’s a good idea to keep tabs on the weather forecasts during those months. Expect crowds to swell during Spring Break, when the college crowd descends on Nassau. On December 26, July 10, and January 1, there are festive Junkanoo celebrations — street parties featuring colorful, intricate costumes; dancing; and general revelry.
What are the top things to do in Nassau?
National Art Gallery of the Bahamas
Housed in the stately Villa Doyle, a white and yellow mansion built in the 1860s, this museum boasts four galleries showcasing the work of Bahamian artists. The vast collection includes pre-independence, turn-of-the-20th-century works alongside contemporary art in order to tell a story about the nation’s history and future. Check the calendar for a schedule of artist talks and other events.
Nassau Public Library
You would be hard pressed to find a more unique study space than this one. The library’s octagonal facade, circled by a pretty veranda and completed in 1800, was once a prison complete with a basement dungeon. Now the cells have been converted into reading nooks, while the upper floor displays historical artifacts. Visitors are welcome, but remember — sightsee at a respectful volume, or risk a shushing.
Built by the British in 1788, the ruins of this fort offer plenty to explore, including a moat, underground tunnels, and a dungeon. There are also 42 cannons stationed here. On Wednesdays and Fridays, you can travel back in time as performers in period costume reenact historical scenes for visitors and fire off one of those cannons at noon.