Entertainment Guide to Nassau
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Discover great local attractions, activities and things to do in Nassau, Bahamas.
Perhaps the two words that come to mind when people consider Nassau entertainment are Paradise and Island. Developed in large part in the 1970s, it features the Atlantis Paradise Island, a resort that ranks among the largest in the world. It has 3,779 rooms, a mega-casino, golf course, tennis courts and a water-slide pool. And it's growing. If not a resort, it could be its own small city.
Start with its renowned casino—all 1,100 slot machines and more than 90 gaming tables, including roulette, poker and blackjack. But that's only the beginning, because it has what it calls the Entertainment Complex that incorporates nightclubs, restaurants, shopping. Travel agents fawn over Paradise Island, just over a bridge from Nassau proper. The toll is a dollar American.
The Atlantis showroom has the Sunsation, a stage show featuring everything you would find in a cabaret. The Nassau Beach Hotel on Nassau proper also has an exciting stage show where dancers and singers work to make your heart pump. The Palace Theatre at the Marriott Crystal Palace does the same type of dinner-theater type thing. Don't forget the smashing Crystal Palace Casino at the Crystal Palace.
But not all entertainment in Nassau revolves around resorts. Nassau teems with all sorts of fun, from underwater adventures at the reefs to museums to mere window-shopping. It's especially popular with residents of and visitors to South Florida (USA), who have easy access via small aircraft that can be chartered, popular cruise lines, and private vessels that can make the trip in just a few hours.
Quite fun is the interactive museum Pirates of Nassau, where you can get the islands' history from Blackbeard to Anne Bonney, pirates all. Also check out the Pompey Museum, another pirate museum whose building goes back to the 1700s. Folk art and slavery—Nassau's past is intimately tied (unfortunately) to the slave trade—are featured prominently.
On Elizabeth Hill is the Queen's Staircase, so named for Queen Victoria of England. The attraction does, indeed, consist of a structure with 65 steps. There also is a straw market for all things Bahamian, although it's not nearly as substantive as the straw markets in, say, Freeport and Port Lucaya on Grand Bahama. You might want to save your straw-market spending money for the latter two if you take an island trip.
Junkanoo, a musical form unique to the Bahamas, is celebrated at the Junkanoo Expo at the Prince George Wharf, basically an homage to the annual festival marked each Christmas season, when the locals and visitors get down and do some serious partying to celebrate the islands' heritage. However, it's undergoing some renovation, so at this writing, you might find it only nearly close to reopening. Call or stop by to confirm.
When the boat or plane drops you off, what do you think? You think beaches, you think surf. You think diving, you think Jet Skis, you think fishing, you think shelling. There are numerous opportunities for all of that, and operators are more than willing to cater your trip from land to the sparkling water. Are you a family? A newlywed couple? A group of kids on spring break from school? They can make your water experience yours alone.
Part of that experience should be the Dolphin Encounter, at Blue Lagoon. Humans are only slight brighter than marine mammals, and you can find out first-hand here.
And what about The Dig? You will dig this. This is a re-creation of the mythical underwater city of Atlantis. It has an aquarium and more. You can even walk under the aquarium through glass tunnels to look up and see the marine life, a nice play on the usual glass-bottom boats where you go to the reef and look down to see that same marine life.
But you also would do well to see the island and its reefs from the air. In Nassau, give a call to +1 242 363 4016. And bring your Kodak.
OK, so now your day is done. You've gone back to your hotel room, you've napped, you've awoken and showered. You are ready to hit the night. The night in Nassau is ready to greet you, as well. As a certain Internet pioneer says, where do you want to go today? Just change that to night.
You first want to go to anywhere that serves the native cuisine. That consists of conch, of course, and bull dolphin (mahi-mahi game fish, not the Flipper sort), grouper, bonefish and more ocean delicacies. And anywhere means anywhere, from the large resorts to the mom-and-pop local operations.
Then you want music, dancing, drink. You'll find far too many fun places to list here, but a sampling includes, besides Atlantis, the Joker's Wild, a comedy club; the We Place on Thompson Avenue, where locals make up the clientèle for the most part; Kings & Knights at the Nassau Beach Hotel; the Waterloo, a five-bar disco on East Bay Street; Cocktails & Dreams, where you can smush your feet in the sand, since it's the only club directly on the beach. Or if the night still seems young to you but most places are closed, stop into the Drop Off Bar for that last hoorah.
And when you are all done with that nightlife, go to your hotel, kick off the shoes, toss the clothes on the floor, turn out the lights, and get ready to do it all over gain the next day.
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