Port of Spain is the capital of Trinidad & Tobago and the economical center of the island state. At first sight you might think there is not much to see and do but that’s certainly not the case. Port of Spain is not just business buildings but has plenty of heritage as well. Make sure to add a day for a Port of Spain city walk if you visit Trinidad during a Caribbean island hopping trip. I recommend staying at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad which is located in a prime location downtown Port of Spain.
I was pleasantly surprised when I walked the city for a few hours the last day before my evening flight. I have put together an efficient Port of Spain city walk itinerary. The list below includes the top 12 things to do and see in Port of Spain. They are arranged in order so that you can walk from the Botanic Gardens through the city to the last point MovieTowne for shopping and craft beer at Tommy’s Craft Brewery.
Visit the Royal Botanic Gardens
I recommend starting a Port of Spain city walk early morning when temperatures are cool. Start at the Royal Botanic Gardens which are most far out. I did take a taxi from the Hyatt Regency Trinidad there and walked back.
The Royal Botanic Gardens in Port of Spain are established in 1818 by Governor Woodfort. They contain over 700 tree species from all around the world. There is also a small cemetery where many of the governors of Trinidad are buried. The gardens are on par with other famous gardens I have visited like the Singapore Botanic Gardens or the Bogor Botanic Gardens in Indonesia.
At the Royal Botanic Gardens, I spend about 90 minutes exploring the various trees and plants. I continued the Port of Spain city walk to Queen’s Park Savannah which is just across the street.
Have a coconut at Queen’s Park Savannah
Queen’s Park Savannah is a park, a huge open space, in Port of Spain. It’s located between downtown and the Royal Botanic Gardens and the upscale neighbourhood. The perimeter is 3.5 kilometers, but I do not recommend walking the full circle. Exit the gardens and turn right towards the Magnificent Seven which will have you walk about 2 kilometers around the park.
The place once was a sugar plantation owned by the Peschier family, but it’s controlled by the government since 1817. One thing was agreed that it must stay a park and no construction can take place. During the years it did serve as a cattle ranch, airstrip and horse racing track but now it’s especially used for carnival.
You’ll for sure pass coconut sellers and I recommend having a fresh one to hydrate. They are delicious. If you’re in the evening there is an open-air food court opposite the NAPA Building (see below) but more street food later. Make your way passing the Magnificent Seven towards the NAPA Building.
Admire the Magnificent Seven
When you pass the corner of Queen’s Park Savannah on the western end of the park you will notice seven peculiar buildings. Seven in a row, called the Magnificent Seven. You’ll first see the Stollmeyer’s Castle (photo below) or Killarney. Next up are the Whitehall, Archbishop’s Palace, Ambard’s House, Mille Fleurs, Hayes Court and finally Queen’s Royal College (photo at the top of article). All these houses date to the early 20th century and are all listed as national heritage. Most are in use by the government, but one is still privately owned.
I personally was surprised to find such a row of houses in Port of Spain. Make sure you see them also if you do a Port of Spain city walk as they are amongst the top things to do and see in Port of Spain. Don’t forget that coconut while you continue your way to the NAPA Building on the other far end of Queen’s Park Savannah.
Port of Spain city walk: NAPA Building
The NAPA Building or National Academy of the Performing Arts is a modern building compared to the Magnificent Seven. It opened its doors in 2009 and with its domes it resembles the Chaconia, the national flowers. There is an academy, hotel, restaurant, and a huge auditorium. If you get a chance to visit, make sure to check out the steelpan, Trinidad’s national instrument.
Walk through Memorial Park
Memorial Park is located just opposite the NAPA Building and the National Museum & Art Gallery. The park is dedicated to those who served in World War I and World War II. Cross into the park from the NAPA Building and exit on the other end to visit the museum.
Visit the National Museum & Art Gallery
The National Museum & Art Gallery is located opposite memorial park and next to the NAPA Building. It’s located in a beautiful colonial style building dating to the British West Indies era. The museum is a must visit if you do a Port of Spain city walk as, I think, a national museum is always a must visit to understand a country. It has quite a vast collection. This includes collections about the geology, petroleum history and carnival. If you want to learn more about Trinidad & Tobago, I recommend also visiting the other three related museums downtown: Port of Spain city museum, Money Museum, and the Police Service Museum.
I spend about an hour at the National Museum of Trinidad and continued my Port of Spain itinerary to Woodford Square.
Woodford Square & Red Building
Woodford Square is a large square or better a park downtown Port of Spain. You should not miss it during your Port of Spain city walk. It’s surrounded by various government buildings most eye-catching the Red Building which is the seat of parliament. Make your way to the other side to visit the Holy Trinity Cathedral.
Visit the Trinity Cathedral
The Holy Trinity Cathedral construction took place from 1816 to 1818. It’s built in a Gothic style and is the burial place of the first government of Trinidad: Woodford. Unfortunately, at the time of my visit the interior was closed due to reconstruction. Coming from the Red Building I continued passing the cathedral and turn right towards Independence Square.
Watch people at Independence Square
Independence Square is a large square in the south of Port of Spain. As I mentioned in my Hyatt Regence Trinidad hotel review there is a large area of reclaimed land. Independence Square was the shoreline and in earlier times called Marine Square. It was renamed by the state after independence from the United Kingdom in 1962. It’s especially a long square or park with roads on both sides lined with shops. Through the middle runs a pedestrian path lined with trees and benches.
It’s a wonderful place to watch people, play chess with the locals and make sure to pickup some food at one of the many smaller food outlets. First go to the far eastern end to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Then turn around and make your way to the other end with a small detour to the old lighthouse.
Visit the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
The Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception is a must see in Port of Spain. Like the Trinity Cathedral construction started in 1816 but it wasn’t until 1851 when it was completed. It towers high with its twin towers on the eastern end of Independence Square. It is built in Gothic style resembling churches in the United Kingdom. Its interior is beautiful, and I just admired it for half an hour. Away from the bustling square and heat. It has a beautiful wooden roof and stained-glass windows.
Port of Spain city walk: South Quay Lighthouse
Halfway Independence Square turn left for a small detour to see the South Quay Lighthouse. It’s not in use anymore today due to reclaimed land but a major landmark and one of the best things to see in Port of Spain. It is in the middle of around a bout with congested traffic around it. Today it marks the border between downtown and the suburbs. Continue back to Independence Square and head towards the other end.
I went back to the Hyatt Trinidad to fresh up and finally took a taxi to MovieTowne shopping center to have craft beer and a great burger at Tommy’s Craft Brewery. You can also walk there which takes about 20-25 minutes. Just do not cross the Wrightson Road as you’ll be walking through the boring harbours. Stay north of the road and make your way west.
Drink Craft Beer at Tommy’s Brewery Pub
If you order a beer in Trinidad, you’ll get a Carib beer. It’s all right at the pool or at the beach but it’s not real beer. I highly recommend, if you like beer and good pub food, to end your Port of Spain city walk at Tommy’s Craft Brewery. It’s located in MovieTowne which also houses a cinema and has plenty of shopping opportunity.
I love craft beer, so I had to visit. Tommy’s Craft Brewery has an open kitchen, and you can see the brewery installation from the bar. It’s decorated like an American sports bar and serves delicious food. Make sure to try the burger! It’s good. There are over ten beers on tap which all are good beers. I recommend having a taster set first so you can enjoy the one you like in a pint after.
I hope this list of top things to do in Port of Spain helps you plan your Port of Spain city walk. A city on many tourists radar but certainly worth a day. I’ll cover the must see places outside of the city later plus also I’ll take you to Tobago.
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Did you visit Port of Spain too or do you have questions? Please leave a comment at the bottom of the page. Love to hear from you!