You would genuinely need to try hard not to have fun in Halifax. One of the friendliest cities in the world, this Atlantic seaside city knows how to have a good time and aren’t shy to involve visitors in the fun. Whether you want to eat well, drink well, party well, or do all three, Halifax is the place to indulge.

 

Here’s how to make the most of three days in Halifax.

 

Day 1: Music and a market

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How do you get the lay of the land when you first travel to a city? Some people like to visit tourism information centres to talk to the pros; others like to go mingle with locals in coffee shops; but any good chef will tell you that you can learn so much about a place and its people by visiting a market. And for that, you can’t do much better than the Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market.

 

The market dates back to 1750, making it the longest continuously operating market in North America. Of course there’s local seafood and meat, produce, cheese and baked goods. But there’s also food spanning a variety of cultures, from African to Italian to Turkish, giving you a sense of the diversity at the heart of Halifax. What better way to celebrate diversity than chowing down on as many different types of food as you can fit into an afternoon?

While Halifax is now a very diverse city, it’s still Scottish at its roots (Nova Scotia means “New Scotland” after all). That heritage is proudly put on display in the countless bars and restaurants that host celtic music just about every night of the week. No matter your taste in music, you’ll be able to find something pleasing on the ears.  See what’s scheduled at the locally popular Seahorse Tavern or the Carleton Music Bar & Grill, or take a leisurely walk around downtown and see if any sounds flowing through open doors and windows draw you in. 

Carleton Music Bar & Grill

  • What to order: Nova Scotia lobster & potato croquettes and a maple bourbon sour
  • What to expect: Lots of Canadian musicians strumming away on guitar
  • Hours: Depends on who is performing, but usually open in the evening until late

 

Seahorse Tavern

  • What to order: Whatever drink gets your feet moving
  • What to expect: A few hundred people packed on the dance floor enjoying the night’s live band or DJ
  • Hours: Depends on who is performing, but usually open in the evening until late

 

The Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market

  • What to order: How much time do you have?
  • What to expect: Over 250 vendors, and even more great smells thanks to the seasonally rotating fresh, local ingredients
  • Hours: Monday to Friday, 10 am to 5 pm; Saturday, 7 am to 3 pm; Sunday,  9 am to 3 pm

 

Day 2: Eat, drink, and be merry

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Yes, eating and drinking were both pretty core parts of your first day in Halifax, but why not double up on a good thing. This city loves to eat and party, and when in Halifax you do as the locals do.

 

Basically all you need to look for is a big, red, painted lobster on the side of any building around downtown. Go inside, grab a bib, and enjoy the freshest shellfish you’ll ever have. Then, with one or two lobsters packed away, go for a walk along the Halifax Waterfront Boardwalk, maybe sneak in an ice cream cone, and then, once you’re hungry again, head to the restaurant of your choice. You’ll never be disappointed at 2 Doors Down, which focuses on casual fare made from scratch with only the best local ingredients. If like to try several dishes, Little Oak has an always-changing seasonal menu of small plates that made it a contender for EnRoute Magazine’s 2017 “Canada’s Best New Restaurants” list. 

A good meal always goes down better with a few drinks. Thankfully, Halifax has one of the largest ratios of bars and clubs per capita in Canada, so that won’t be too hard to arrange. A growing craft brewery scene means every variety of beer is within walking distance. The folks at Good Robot Brewing Co. will treat your palate with cleverly-named, often music-themed beers like Tom Waits for No One, a dark, sweet, smokey stout, and Smash Meowth Pale Ale, with notes of orchard fruits and candy.

 

If you want to feel like you really sampled everything Halifax had to offer, make a pit stop at Stubborn Goat Beer Garden. Enjoy one, or many, of the 20 beers they offer while enjoying the waterfront location. Or, if the timing is just right, you can check out the Oktoberfest Hops N' Brats event where local craft beer meets delicious sausage. You can find a variety of other local events here — like Craft Beer Week and the Savour Food and Wine Festival — to keep your evening interesting.

Little Oak

  • What to order: Tuna poke, seared scallops, or whatever the chef recommends
  • Hours: Monday to Wednesday, 4 pm to 12 am; Thursday to Saturday, 4 pm to late.

 

2 Doors Down

  • What to order: The fish ‘n chips or seafood-stuffed shiitake mushrooms
  • Hours: Monday to Friday, lunch from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm and dinner from 4:30 pm to 10pm; Saturday and Sunday, dinner from 4:30 pm to 10 pm

 

Good Robot Brewing Co.

  • What to order: Pick your beer, but when in doubt go with the Goseface Killah German wheat brew.
  • Hours: 12 pm to 2 am daily

 

Stubborn Goat Beer Garden

  • What to order: The beers on tap change every day, so ask your bartender!
  • Hours: Hours vary. They recommend checking if they’re open on Twitter

 

Day 3: Peggy and pictures

There’s something about a seaside city that just screams photography, and in Halifax your camera hand is probably going to get a good workout.

 

After a quick but delicious breakfast at the Wired Monk, head to Sir Sandford Fleming Park to take on the Dingle Tower Walk. This scenic route that allows you to explore the 95-acre park, including scenic trails along the oceanfront.

Next, a quick hour drive will bring you to the legendary Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse — likely the most famous and most photographed among Nova Scotia’s 160 or so lighthouses. Stationed on a rocky outcropping on the province’s South Shore since 1915, this red-and-white lighthouse overlooks a large bay and it basically made for postcards and pictures. Take a free walking tour, and while you’re in the area, stop at Ryer’s Lobsters for an unforgettable lunch before heading back into the city.

Once there, throw a fresh battery into your camera and make your way to the Halifax Public Gardens. This attraction features 16 acres of colourful trees, exotic floral displays, statues, and fountains dating back to the mid-19th century. For a bit more of an active experience, rent a bike and explore Point Pleasant Park. There you can experience the ruins of early forts, a swimming beach, and more picturesque coastal views. Interesting fact: Halifax “rents” the park site from the British Government for 1 shilling per year, on a 999-year lease.

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Just before the sun sets, grab some beverages and head out to George’s Island by kayak. You can book a guided tour and rent boats from local operators like Kayak Halifax who will help you explore the city from the water. Trust us, this will provide a truly beautiful end to your day and fill your memory card with photos of a lifetime!

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Sir Sandford Fleming Park

  • Hours: No set hours listed
  • Cost: Free!

 

Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse

  • Hours: At 10 am and 2 pm, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, lasting one hour
  • Cost: Free!

 

Point Pleasant Park

  • Hours: 6 am to midnight
  • Cost: Free!

 

Kayak Halifax (Harbourfront Tour)

  • Hours: May vary, but usually 1 pm, 4 pm, or 7 pm daily from May 15 to October 31
  • Cost: Approximately £33 ($55 CAD)

 

Other Halifax musts

Museums

Nova Scotia’s maritime history is put on display at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. Learn about the many small crafts, sailboats, on display, as well as exhibits on war convoys, cruise ships, and Halifax’s unique link to the Titanic. Another must-visit attraction is the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21. A million people passed through Pier 21 on their way in or out of Canada, and you can search ship rosters in the Immigration Database, or see photos of those landing in a new world full of fear and hope. 

 

Festivals

If you haven't yet grasped that people in Halifax love to party, you haven’t been paying attention! The city is home to countless festivals that prove that fact each year. From the TD Halifax Jazz Festival, to the Busker Festival, to Halifax Pride, to the Atlantic International Film Festival, there’s something for everyone. Find an event you’d like, and plan your trip around it!

 

See this trip in action:

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