The National Art Gallery of the Bahamas showcases unique paintings, sculptures, textiles, ceramics, photography and other artistic works, housed in a work of art itself – the Villa Doyle. This makes a perfect first stop when exploring the riches of Nassau’s art world.
Once the city’s jail, the octagon Nassau Public Library and Museum was built in 1797 and the cells that once contained prisoners now teem with books, historic artifacts and documents.
The non-profit Bahamas Historical Society, a tiny one room museum on Elizabeth Avenue provides detailed insight into the 500 years of life on the islands including the original settlers, the Lucayans, followed by years of strife, pirates and finally British control, which ended in 1973. Self guided tours cost a donation of any amount.
Those interested in the darker side of the Bahamas’ past must check out the Pirates of Nassau Museum. Come aboard the “Revenge” and see life through the eyes of the pirates who controlled the Caribbean through pillaging and plundering. Learn their code of conduct and walk among them as they drink, gamble and plot in their search for treasure.
Walking Tours of Nassau
While most cruises offer day tours of Nassau, one of the best ways to explore is by foot. Head up Elizabeth Avenue and climb the Queen’s Staircase, a sixty-five step staircases cut into the limestone hill by slaves.
At the top of the stairs explore Fort Fincastle, a ship-shaped fortress built on the highest point in Nassau. Offering the best views of the city, dwarfed only by the vantage point of the nearby Water Tower, a 216 foot structure built in 1928, the fort was completed in 1793.
The sprawling Fort Charlotte in the city’s east end took over one hundred years to complete, beginning in 1788 when work began on the barracks. Completed in 1891, the fort is now open for tours. Many of the original structures remain intact today including the moat, the ravelin, the north rampart and the underground chambers.
Walking to Fort Charlotte may take a while. To save time and foot strain, take a local bus to the entrance. A one-way trip costs US$1.00.
Another option to walking is to rent a horse-drawn carriage. Most tours begin at Woodes Rogers Walk and cost around 10$ for a twenty minute tour.
Must See Attractions in Nassau on a Bahamas Vacation
Other places of interest include the massive pink colonial house known as the Government House. Now the official residence of the Governor General, if in town on a Saturday come around 10 am and watch as the Royal Bahamas Police Force Band perform during the changing of the Guard.
Several Parks in the city are worth a look. The Garden of Remembrance, located derriere the Parliament Square is home to the war memorial commemorating the Bahamians who sacrificed their lives in the two world wars while just opposite the Parliament Square, Rawson Square features a bust of the first Bahamian Governor General, Sir Milo Butler.
Nassau, with it’s beautiful weather and attractions, makes a perfect Caribbean destination any time of the year