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Things to do in Nassau

Things to do in  Nassau

Welcome to Nassau

The sleepy, sandy pace of the Bahamas beaches recede in Nassau, the island nation’s only city. Travelers will find a bustling Caribbean port—once a haven for pirates searching for treasures, it's now a center for shopping and business. City tours offer insights into the historical and cultural highlights of this city on the sea, including stops at Fort Charlotte, Fort Fincastle, Ardastra Gardens, and the Government House. Climb down the famous Queen's staircase and stop by the perennially popular Straw Market and Arawak Cay to purchase locally made straw goods and other souvenirs to take home. Since Nassau is a deep-water port, it’s a popular cruise ship destination. Passengers disembark onto Bay Street, where you can select a tour to explore the island, or head straight to Junkanoo or Cabbage beach to enjoy the island’s aqua waters by snorkeling and swimming or revving up with parasailing, jet skiing, or underwater SUB adventures (which let you view the marine life without getting your hair wet). Explore the mostly flat island by bicycle or scooter, or simply eat your way around town: conch fritters, island-sourced spices, and barbecue are favorites. Nassau is also a top jumping-off point for deep-sea fishing charters and day trips to smaller Bahamian islands such as Pearl Island, Rose Island, or Exuma, all known for their pristine sands.

Top 15 attractions in Nassau

Rose Island

Rose Island is an idyllic private getaway off the coast of Nassau. Home to a coral reef and a lone beach bar, this tiny, tropical islet offers an exclusive setting for snorkeling and sunbathing on an 11-mile (18-kilometer) stretch of uninhabited, privately owned Bahamian beach.More

Government House

Built in 1801 on an estate on top of Mount Fitzwilliam, Government House is often considered the best example of Georgian Colonial architecture in all of the West Indies. The mansion is painted a vibrant pink with a bright white trim (a nod to Nassau’s famous conch shells) and is the residence of the Governor-General of the Bahamas.More

Queen's Staircase

The Queen’s Staircase, one of Nassau’s most visited attractions, holds an important place in Bahamian cultural history. Around 1793, slaves carved this 102-foot (31-meter) staircase, comprised of 65 steps, out of solid limestone. Later it was named in honor of Queen Victoria’s 65-year reign and her role in abolishing slavery in the Bahamas.More

Paradise Island

Just across the water from the Bahamas’ main island of New Providence, Paradise Island is a fun-filled destination with stylish resort hotels, beautiful beaches, restaurants, casinos, and more. Visitors come to take in a show, try their hand at the blackjack tables, or enjoy some wet-and-wild exhilaration at the world-famous water park.More

Fort Charlotte

High atop a hillside overlooking the harbor of Nassau is British-colonial era Fort Charlotte—the largest fort in Nassau. Built in the late 18th century for a battle that never took place, this historic site offers picturesque views of Paradise Island, Nassau, and the harbor. You can also see hidden underground passages, a dry moat, remote dungeons; and even canons, which have never been fired in battle.More

Fort Fincastle

Overlooking the city of Nassau from its vantage point atop Bennett’s Hill, Fort Fincastle was built in 1793 to protect the island of New Providence from outside invaders. Much of the imposing building remains intact today. Visitors come to explore the fortifications and enjoy the view from the highest point in Nassau.More

Arawak Cay

The evening fish fry is a much-loved tradition across many Caribbean islands, and Arawak Cay in Nassau, Bahamas, brings the custom to life. Find colorful huts selling fresh fish dishes, such as conch salad and lobster, along with vendors making tropical cocktails, and there’s often live music, too.More

Cable Beach

Famous for its golden sands, the Bahamas' Cable Beach is a popular water sports and lolling destination for visitors to New Providence Island. This 2.5-mile (4-kilometer) stretch of idyllic beach is home to several massive resorts—including the Atlantis on nearby Paradise Island—each with their own claim staked in the sand.More

National Art Gallery of the Bahamas (NAGB)

For a real taste of Bahamian culture, head to the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas (NAGB) in Nassau. Housed in a classic 19th-century colonial-style building known as Villa Doyle in the center of town, the gallery displays paintings, sculptures, and other pieces by local artists from the 1850s to the present day.More

Straw Market

The traditional craft of straw working is an integral part of Bahamian culture and industry. Each island has its own distinctive braiding style that locals use to create beautiful straw hats, baskets, and other goods. The Straw Market on Nassau is the ultimate place to pick up these traditional Bahamian souvenirs.More

Atlantis, Paradise Island

The Atlantis Paradise Island in the Bahamas is the ultimate resort and water park. Accommodations range from standard hotel rooms to villas and condos to the Bridge Suite (once ranked the world’s most expensive hotel suite). And even if you’re not a hotel guest, you can still enjoy some of the resort’s amenities, such as Dolphin Cay.More

Pirates of Nassau

Grab your eye patch and peg leg to delve into one of the most infamous aspects of Caribbean history. At the Pirates of Nassau museum, you can discover Nassau’s history as an 18th-century pirate base through replica ships and exhibits. The city was once considered home to the world's largest concentration of swashbuckling seafarers.More

Parliament Square

The island of Nassau is the seat of the Bahamian government and the four bubblegum pink buildings that house its key branches lend a distinct island vibe to what’s known as Parliament Square. The pastel Georgian-style buildings of the Supreme Court, the Public Library and Museum, and the Houses of Parliament surround the square—where a statue honoring Queen Victoria stands.More

Blue Lagoon Island

With its stretch of white sands fringed by coconut palm trees and a lush rain forest, Blue Lagoon Island—or Salt Cay—offers an idyllic escape from the crowds of Nassau and has everything you'd expect from a tropical island. Bring the whole family along for some fun in the sun, or take it easy for a day of pure beachy bliss on Blue Lagoon Island Beach.More

Nassau Public Library & Museum

With its pink exterior and unusual octagonal shape, the Nassau Public Library is a well-loved local landmark. Although you might not think to visit a public library while on vacation, a detour to see this building is well worth the effort. The library once served as the town’s jail, and the books are housed inside the former jail cells.More

Trip ideas

Island Hopping Tours from Nassau

Island Hopping Tours from Nassau

How to Spend 1 Day in Nassau

How to Spend 1 Day in Nassau

How to Spend 2 Days in Nassau

How to Spend 2 Days in Nassau

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Recent reviews from experiences in Nassau

Great way to see some of the sites in Nassau near the cruise port
Matt_N, Mar 2023
Dilly Dally Walking Tour of Nassau
Great way to see some of the sites in Nassau near the cruise port.
Having fun in Nassau with Shonel... :)
Trish_N, Mar 2023
City tour sight seeing wine tasting queens staircase beach day transfer
We were able to experience lots of fun things in the few hours that we spent with her in Nassau.
Fabulous way to see Nassau
CrystalL_W, Mar 2023
Nassau Shore Excursion: Island Highlights Sightseeing Tour
We got to see highlights of Nassau and our guide was amazing.
Sip Slow!
Aaron_A, Feb 2023
Rum Reggae and Rhythms Tour
No better way to see parts of Nassau than with a glass of Sip Slow and dancing to music and making new friends.
Jeep day with family in Nassau.
Lisa_S, Jan 2023
Pirate Jeep Sightseeing Adventure!
We were able to see some sites in Nassau with a guide.
Excellent way to spend the day learning about Nassau
Karlen_H, Jan 2023
Nassau Food Tasting and Cultural Walking Tour
You will definitely discover a place to eat or historical / cultural site you want to visit again.
Nice overview
PENNYL_B, Jan 2023
Nassau Shore Excursion: Island Highlights Sightseeing Tour
Our ship was late porting, but Tyrone came back for us and made sure that we were able to see almost everything.
Local Color/Detail
Martin_P, Dec 2022
Dilly Dally Cultural Bike Tour of Downtown Nassau with a Guide
This experience was exactly what I was looking for: a unique way to see and hear about the Nassau area, history and culture.
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People Also Ask

How do I spend a day in Nassau?

A compact city center makes Nassau easy to explore in one day. Start at the Queen's Staircase and Fort Fincastle. Then, head to the Straw Market for local handicrafts. Next, relax at Cable Beach—it's near Nassau and offers snorkeling and watersports. At night, grab a cocktail at a lively bar along Bay Street.

What is the best excursion in Nassau?

Nassau offers excursions aplenty. Book a day pass to the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island, off the coast of Nassau. Or take a trip to Rose Island. Don't miss exploring Bahamian cuisine and culture on a walking tour of the town’s historic neighborhood, sampling local foods along with handcrafted rum cocktails.

Is Nassau the capital of the Bahamas?

Yes. Nassau is the capital of the Bahamas, serving as the archipelago’s hub for commerce, education, and media. Here, you’ll find Bay Street, which runs parallel to the shoreline and is the city’s main shopping street. The Lynden Pindling International Airport, the largest airport in the Bahamas, is located in Nassau.

Is Nassau expensive to visit?

Yes. The Bahamas can be an expensive destination. That’s because most food and supplies need to be imported onto the chain of islands. To save money, many travelers book all-inclusive resort packages that include accommodations and meals. Also, keep in mind that gratuity is usually automatically added to restaurant bills.

Was Nassau a pirate island?

​​Yes. Due to its location near trade routes, Nassau became a popular pirate haven. Here, pirates established their own “republic” and operated undeterred. In 1718, the British regained control of the Bahamas with the help of notorious pirate Benjamin Hornigold, a mentor to the infamous Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard.

Is Nassau safe for tourists?

Yes. Nassau is relatively safe for tourists. However, take precautions to avoid petty theft. After dark, take taxis instead of walking. Visitors to New Providence Island, where Nassau is located, should avoid "over the hill" neighborhoods south of downtown, particularly at night. When renting vehicles such as Jet Skis, exercise caution—not all are maintained.


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Frequently Asked Questions
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