New Providence could almost be England—but for the weather, that is, and for the staunch sense of Bahamian nationalism. The shops draw a lot more business than the museums, but no other city in the Bahamas is as rich in history. You can climb up the 18th-century Queen's Staircase to Fort Fincastle or learn about the traditions of the Junkanoo festival at the Junkanoo Expo. It's an intoxicating, laid-back city, one that offers a good dose of British colonial charm, where tropical foliage lines streets and horse-drawn surreys trot by.
Things to Do
Cable Beach is perfect for families with its soft white sand, gentle waves and children's clubs. Away from the beach, take a swashbuckling trip back in time at the interactive Pirates of Nassau museum. Examine religious and folklore paintings at Nassau's National Art Gallery of The Bahamas or learn about the rich history and colorful costumes of the Junkanoo festival at the Junkanoo Expo. In Nassau's harbor, numerous glass-bottom boats wait to take you through the colorful sea gardens off New Providence Island.
Most of New Providence shopping is on Bay Street in Nassau. Look for cut-price jewelry, cosmetics, and hand-rolled cigars, as well as a plethora of T-shirts and souvenirs. Hotel arcades are also worth browsing, as well as duty-free antique shops. Junkanoo carnival masks from artists' studios bring a little Caribbean flavor into your home.
Nightlife & Entertainment
As the sun goes down, Cable Beach offers fine dining, glitzy casinos, cabaret shows, moonlight cruises, romantic evening strolls, and parties on the sand. In the old town of Nassau, you can dance to soca and calypso in intimate clubs, or rattle your ribcage with pounding techno on Paradise Island. At local joints around the island, you can enjoy favorites such as "Funky Nassau" and older, more nostalgic tunes like "Goin' Down Burma Road" or "Get Involved."
Restaurants & Dining
New Providence accents its Bahamian fare with ethnic specialties such as Asian, Latin and European cuisine. Thus, you can expect to find everything from steak and kidney pie (dating from the days of British colonial rule) in the celebrity-chef dining rooms of Nassau to the favorite conch salad, served at roadside shacks on the way to Cable Beach. Fresh seafood should not be missed, especially grouper, snapper and conch.