Colorful homes on the Nassau coastline, Bahamas

Things to do in  Nassau

A pastel-hued capital

Despite being a bustling Caribbean port, Nassau maintains a relaxed pace and carefree lifestyle that attracts travelers to the former pirate haven, especially cruise ship passengers. Here, historical attractions like Fort Charlotte combine with beachside excursions. At the straw market, locally made goods and souvenirs line the stalls, while vendors sell conch fritters. The city also serves as a jumping-off point for deep-sea fishing charters and day trips to smaller Bahamian islands such as Pearl Island, Rose Island, or Exuma, so there are always plenty of things to do in Nassau.

Top 15 attractions in Nassau

Rose Island

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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

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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

Fort Charlotte

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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

Queen's Staircase

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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

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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

Arawak Cay

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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

Fort Fincastle

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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

Blue Lagoon Island

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With its stretch of white sands fringed by coconut palm trees and a lush rain forest, Blue Lagoon Island—or Salt Cay—provides an idyllic escape from the crowds of Nassau, offering 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

Straw Market

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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

Cable Beach

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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

Atlantis, Paradise Island

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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

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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, who continue to capture the imaginations of visitors.More

Parliament Square

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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

National Art Gallery of the Bahamas (NAGB)

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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

Christ Church Cathedral

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The Gothic-style Christ Church Cathedral has a brilliant white stone tower, vaulted mahogany ceilings and altar, and truly special handmade stained glass windows depicting the life of Jesus Christ. Built in 1841, the present structure is the fifth church that has occupied this spot embellished with memorial plaques from the 1800s illustrating the history of Nassau’s residents.More

Top activities in Nassau

Exuma Elite Escape: Luxury Fly-In Pig Beach Adventure - 7 Stops
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Nassau Food and History Bus Tour

Nassau Food and History Bus Tour

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Pearl Island Bahamas Snorkeling Experience and Lunch
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Rum Reggae and Rhythms Tour

Rum Reggae and Rhythms Tour

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$73.00
Sunset Dinner Cruise in Nassau
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Sunset Dinner Cruise in Nassau

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$128.90  $12.89 savings
Pearl Island Ocean View Cabana from Nassau
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Pearl Island Beach Escape with Lunch from Nassau
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All about Nassau

When to visit

Here in the Bahamas, winter is the high season—and if you visit from mid-December to April, you’re guaranteed ideal weather conditions with the chance for lots of things to do in Nassau. You can also discover the festivities of Junkanoo, one of the Caribbean’s must-do carnivals, traditionally held on Boxing Day (December 26) and New Year’s Day.

If you’re after a calmer experience (and lower rates), visit during the April or May shoulder months. Just be mindful that hurricane season is typically from June to November and is when the rain picks up.

Getting around

The Bahamas’ biggest airport (and one of the largest in the Caribbean) is Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) in Nassau. The other major international gateway to the Bahamas is the Nassau Cruise Port. In terms of getting around, there are a number of city bus lines, although taxis offer a speedier way to travel. The Paradise Island Ferry Terminal is also a popular jumping-off point for day-trippers exploring nearby islands.

Traveler tips

In 2014, Nassau was named a UNESCO City of Crafts and Folk Arts—one of only a few cities in the wider Caribbean region to earn the designation. To learn more about the city’s folk art traditions—and to celebrate the work of local artists—venture to Doongalik Studios. The gallery space hosts cultural events as well as temporary exhibitions featuring works by local artists.

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People Also Ask

How do I spend a day in Nassau?

A compact city center makes it 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.

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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.

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Is Nassau the capital of the Bahamas?

Yes. It's the capital of the Bahamas, which means there are plenty of things to do in Nassau. It serves 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.

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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.

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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.

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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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