Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
- Local Time
Proud Halifax locals (known as Haligonians), many of whom have come from other parts of Nova Scotia, have a great quality of life: Sea breezes keep the air clean; leafy, manicured parks and gardens nestle between heritage buildings; there’s a thriving arts, theatre and culinary scene and the numerous pubs, with their craft–brew culture and love for bands, quite simply, go off.
Where to stay
- The stylish front desk desk at the Prince George Hotel in HalifaxThe Prince George HotelFor a night on the town
- Neutral toned elegance for the lounge at the Lord Nelson Hotel & Suites in HalifaxThe Lord Nelson Hotel & SuitesFor the historic charm
- A pool table and complimentary tv at the Alt Hotel Halifax AirportAlt Hotel Halifax AirportFor the proximity to the airport
- The red brick exterior with double wooden doors at the HalliburtonThe HalliburtonFor the hospitality
Eat & Drink
That snug sense of home you feel at this luxe Maritime seafood outpost comes from being hugged from above by a curved, oak–planked facsimile of a ship’s hull. It’s not just the modern–yet–warm interior that welcomes, but the way the sure–handed crew takes you under its wing, steering you to dishes like lemon–spritzed lobster, shrimp and haddock cake with chow chow and brown butter tartar sauce, or the bronzed halibut atop steamed greens and bubble and squeak. Pair them with a green apple–scented Domaine de Grand Pré Tidal Bay white and feel the crisp air and sunshine of Nova Scotia on your face. Longlisted as part of Canada’s Best New Restaurants 2022.
Two if by Sea
Though a scenic ferry trip across the harbour is reason enough to visit this downtown Dartmouth café, it’s the colossal croissants that have attracted a cult following. Rub elbows with locals at the communal table, and sip espresso made with direct–trade beans roasted at neighbouring Anchored Coffee.
Offering 12 taps of local and Canadian craft beer (along with a few imports), Stillwell is the city’s premier beer bar. Pair your lager with an order of Tokyo Fries or the Okonomiyaki Fries, served with Kewpie mayo, sriracha, nori and katsuobushi. In the warmer months, Stillwell’s second location, the Beergarden on Spring Garden Road, is the ultimate spot to enjoy a local pilsner at the communal alfresco tables.
Coastal Online Kitchen
This popular brunch spot serves up creative dishes, from bacon cheeseburger eggs Benny to the signature Elvis: slices of Montreal bacon, banana and peanut butter sandwiched between two buttermilk waffles. Expect to wait for one of the 20–odd seats. It’ll be more than worth it.
Halifax’s only Spanish–inspired restaurant features an extensive menu of traditional tapas and pintxos with a focus on local seafood. The cocktail list, including the Fernet Buck – a mix of Fernet–Branca, Benedictine, rye, ginger, pineapple and lemon – plus an appreciation for amaro put this bar at the forefront of the city’s cocktail culture. Arrive early; the no–reservations policy most certainly means a wait.
Chef Maurizio serves up North American food with an Italian twist at this Bishop’s Landing eatery. Dishes like Italian seafood stew with lobster and short ribs braised in Barolo pair perfectly with any number of bottles on the lengthy wine list. This waterfront destination has an outdoor champagne bar in the summer, which transforms into a Fire and Ice bar, complete with fur blankets and warm libations, in the winter.
Diners wash down plump Tatamagouche oysters with flutes of Benjamin Bridge Sparkling in Edna’s salvaged–wood dining room. Jenna Mooers’ bistro menu draws from Nova Scotia’s land (tender beets and salad greens from the Annapolis Valley) and sea (seared local albacore in a dashi). Her mother and long–time restaurateur, Jane Wright, contributes desserts like salt–flaked vegan chocolate mousse. Weekend brunch consistently draws a crowd.
What to Do
Recently rebuilt in a large, industrial glass and steel–lined space on the Halifax Waterfront, the three–level Discovery Centre takes family fun to new heights. Stargaze in the Dome Theatre, build a circuit in the Innovation Lab or let toddlers run free as they explore interactive exhibits on everything from farming to acting.
Located one hour from the city, Old Town Lunenburg is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Colourful historic buildings line the narrow streets, where artist studios abound (don’t miss the souvenirs at Dots & Loops) and local seafood shines (try the Digby clams at the South Shore Fish Shack). Minutes before the exit to Lunenburg, take a detour to Mahone Bay for sweeping views of the bay and its many islands.
An expansive green space in the middle of the city, the Halifax Common has it all: a swimming pool, playground and skate park as well as tennis courts, baseball diamonds, soccer fields and water fountains. Emera Oval, the largest artificial outdoor skating rink east of Quebec, has free skate rentals in the winter and doubles as a track in the warmer months.
Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market
Housed in a bright building of floor–to–ceiling windows on Halifax’s waterfront, the farmers’ market is a bustling hub of farmers, butchers, bakers and artisans. Taste the award–winning aged Gouda from That Dutchman’s Cheese Farm and vintage wine from one of Nova Scotia’s vineyards. Lunch from one of the many food stalls – the steamed buns at Chenpapa come highly recommended – is best enjoyed on the rooftop patio. The market is open daily year–round (except on Mondays), but many vendors are only there on Saturdays.
Alexander Keith’s Nova Scotia Brewery
Take a walk through history at one of North America’s oldest breweries, which has operated out of the same building since 1820. Live music plays in the background as tour guides explain the brewing process behind popular pints like the India Pale Ale and Red Amber Ale.
Maritime Museum of the Atlantic
Located on the waterfront, the museum’s permanent exhibits are dedicated to preserving Halifax’s maritime heritage. Immerse yourself in the history of boat building or learn how the 1917 Halifax explosion changed the face of the city. Titanic: The Unsinkable Ship, a captivating exhibit showcasing items found washed up onshore, details Halifax’s role in the tragedy and offers a glimpse into life aboard the iconic vessel.