Table of Contents Hide
If you’re planning to spend a few days in Halifax, you’ve come to the right place. I’ve put together a city guide: 3 days in Halifax. If you follow me on Instagram and Youtube you know I had the opportunity to explore Nova Scotia (and if you’re not following me yet, what are you waiting for?) a few weeks ago.
I have other articles to help you prepare your stay in Nova Scotia: 5 specialties to try in Nova Scotia, and I had to prepare a city guide to Halifax. The weather wasn’t exactly on our side during our visit, but I really liked Halifax and especially the way they’ve developed their waterfront into a living space for the community. You have restaurants, green spaces, places to sit. The locals told us that everything had been renovated 5 years ago. Bravo Halifax, good job!
One more little note, and I promise we’ll get to the heart of the matter: I posted one video a day on Youtube during my trip to Nova Scotia, you can watch it here (English subtitles available). You can also read my blog post to help you prepare your road trip to Nova Scotia.
This trip was realized in collaboration with Tourism Nova Scotia, you can find more information on their website. I travelled with Marine from the OffToMontréal blog, you can also find articles about our stay on her blog.
Before getting to the heart of the matter, here are a few interesting facts about Halifax
- Halifax has a population of 470,000, making it Canada’s 13th largest city.
- Halifax grew up around its harbor, which is one of the largest and deepest ice-free harbors in the world.
- Halifax is closely linked to the story of the Titanic, as the search for the victims after the sinking was based in Halifax, and the bodies of the victims were repatriated and many were buried in Halifax. It wasn’t the nearest port (St John, NL), but it was the most accessible.
- For years, Halifax was the main entry point for immigration to Canada, thanks to its port and the fact that the city was closer to Europe.
- Halifax has many firsts in Canada: first public school, first supreme court, first printed book, first newspaper, first place of freedom of speech and freedom of the press in the British Commonwealth and more!
Now that you know more about the city (I’ve limited myself to 5 points, but there’s so much more to know about Halifax), let’s get to the heart of the matter.
Where to stay in Halifax?
We stayed at Westin Nova Scotian. The hotel is magnificent, having opened its doors in 1930, and since then it has welcomed many celebrities and even royalty. Princess Diana, for example, hosted a meal there during her visit to Nova Scotia.
The hotel was clean, the wifi was a little slow if you want to download videos from Youtube like me, but for everyday use it was sufficient. They have ample parking if you come by car.
They have a pool and a gym, with mats, weights, enough to do a little workout (I note this because the last time I was in Montreal I couldn’t find any info on gyms in hotels and wanted to have the option of going to the gym!).
We had breakfast included, lots of choice, very copious, they prepared the omelettes of your choice in front of you. We always left with full bellies!
The location is ideal: you can walk everywhere, and the oceanfront is only 5-10 mins away on foot. Lively streets with restaurants 10-15 mins away and just minutes from the farmers’ market, which is the oldest farmers’ market still operating in North America.
My advice: whether you decide to book a hotel or an airbnb, I’d recommend staying close to the center. The city isn’t very big, so if you have central accommodation you’ll save a lot of time, and you’ll be able to make the most of the city’s atmosphere.
Where to eat in Halifax ?
If you love seafood, you’re in for a treat! Canada’s east coast is synonymous with fish and seafood. As I said in my introduction, the waterfront was redesigned 5 years ago, and you now have plenty of small restaurants right on the water. From more traditional restaurants to more innovative options. We tried out several of them, but my only advice would be to take a good look at the menu before settling in, because some of them were more on the high side in terms of budget.
On the first day we ate at the pub just opposite the hotel, Pier Pub. The fish and chips were delicious, and the place is simple and welcoming.
Dining the Westin Nova Scotian:
On our last evening, we had dinner at our hotel restaurant. Not only was the meal delicious, but the service was top-notch. Our waitress was incredibly kind.
Sea Smoke Restaurant & Bar
Their terrace overlooks the water, and they have tables with a fire in the middle. Really cute. I loved what I ordered, really delicious (that’s the photo you see above). However, a word of advice: be sure to ask if the fires will be lit. The day we went, they’d run out of gas for the fires, and I have to admit we were a bit disappointed (2 content creators together, we already had a thousand ideas for our videos and photos). But that doesn’t take anything away from my dish. Another little tip: if you choose this address, take advantage of the Asian fusion cuisine and try something new, as the more traditional dishes were more classic and didn’t offer the same experience as I did with my fusion rolls.
A very cute restaurant, with a French and I’d even say Parisian touch. The chairs on the terrace are like those on Parisian terraces: oriented to watch people go by. The setting is very cute and instagrammable, but we’re sticking to the classic stuff you find everywhere, like avocado toast, for example. You can stop in for the setting, but you won’t get any particular local specialties.
This is just a small selection of the restaurants we tried while in Halifax. The list could be much longer between all the recommendations we received, but with only 2 meals a day we had to make choices.
7 coffee shops to try in Halifax
So if you come across this article without knowing me: I don’t drink coffee. But I do love coffee shops and beautiful decor! I’ve spotted several addresses that look pretty cool. Here are a few options where you can stop in the morning to start your day of sightseeing, or take a break during the day.
- Cabine Coffee – hyper cosy
- Café Lara
- Seven Bays Café
- The Ville Caffeine Bar
- Terra Café
- Bliss Caffeine Bar
- Mera Cafe
What to do in Halifax ?
Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21
Go visit the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21: number 1 and the one I’d absolutely recommend if you can only do one. I learned so much about Canadian history, as Halifax was for years the entry point for immigrants arriving in Canada. In fact, the museum is housed in the building where they used to arrive. It traces the journey of immigrants to Canada. Be careful, don’t do as we do – look in the right direction!
You’ll follow their journey from arriving in Halifax by boat, through customs, to the doctor, to waiting for permission to disembark. And then to the options they had afterwards: settling in the region, taking the train across Canada to settle elsewhere in the country, or joining relatives already here. As an immigrant myself, this museum obviously resonated with me, and even though conditions are completely different, we can’t remain indifferent to the stories of these thousands of people. In fact, you open the museum with a room recognizing the contribution of immigrants to Canada. It was very touching.
Price per adult: $15.50
Maritime museum of the Atlantic
Visit the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic: if you want to learn more about the history of the Titanic and even see objects recovered during the search: this is the museum to visit. I’d really have liked to go, but just as you can’t try every restaurant, you can’t do every museum either, especially when they’re so interesting and you spend 3 hours there with no time to spare. The museum isn’t just dedicated to the Titanic; you can also enjoy other permanent and temporary exhibitions.
Price per adult: Between $5.15 and $9.55 depending on the time of the year.
Take the ferry from Halifax to Darmouth
You can plan a little excursion with a ferry crossing from Halifax to Darmouth, the town opposite. You might even get the chance to see the town if, like us, it’s not under a thick fog. Darmouth was an independent town until 1996, when the provincial government decided to combine Halifax and Darmouth under the Municipality of Halifax County.
Of course, after the crossing, I’d recommend a stroll through the Darmouth district. I invite you to enjoy the waterfront, but also to explore the little streets. You’ll find much the same atmosphere as in downtown Halifax: stores with beautiful storefronts, small businesses and beautiful murals.
Have food by the water
I think if you’ve made it this far, you’ve realized that my big favorite thing about Halifax is their waterfront design. I think they’ve really created a space for the community to enjoy. They have a small market with different food vendors. If you’re in a group, everyone can choose what they want to try and meet in the middle. And everyone can enjoy a nice moment with a nice view: what more could you ask for?
Visit Sullivan’s Crossing filming locations
It’s the first taste I’ve had of Nova Scotia’s landscapes. The TV show Sullivan’s Crossing with the very famous Chad Michael Murray, our Lucas from One Tree Hill and Scott Patterson, Luke from Gilmore Girls. As you wander around town, you’ll recognize some of the places that were used in the series. I was traveling with a big series fan, and she had prepared a list of key locations for us, which I loved. I love seeing in real life what we’ve seen on TV. It’s also a great way to get out and about: you find a place you’d like to see, and you walk there. That’s what we did with the Hali Dali dinner, which is used in the series with a minimum of change!
Visit the graves of the Titanic victims
Most of the victims of the sinking of the Titanic are buried in Halifax’s Fairview Cemetery. If you’re ever planning to visit Canada and you’ve never seen a cemetery here, it’s really quite different. I’d describe it more as a living space than in France, in my opinion. It’s a big open park, unlike French cemeteries, which are closed. There are signs telling you where to go. There are also guided tours if you want to learn more. Listening to the guided tour that was going on next to us while we were there, we learned that the graves all looked the same because they had been paid for by the company that owned the Titanic. Some families added on to the budget to make improvements, and crew members also have bigger graves than others.
Meet locals at the oldest North American Farmer’s Market
Halifax is home to the oldest active farmers’ market in North America: the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market. You’ll find fruits and vegetables, as well as local products like sea salt. We both bought some at South Shore Sea Salt as a souvenir. I like to bring back local products that I can incorporate into my daily life at home. I also bought a tote bag that they sell on site to help their association, which helps provide meals for families in difficulty.
Visit the colourful neighbourhood around Via Agricola
We went to this neighborhood to try and visit Hali Deli, a restaurant where the characters from Sullivan’s Crossing often go. The restaurant was closed, but we discovered a neighborhood of very colorful houses. We really enjoyed walking around it, and I’d recommend it 100%! We walked from downtown to this street. If you take it easy and enjoy it, it’s easily doable.
Visit the historic Granville street
We stumbled across this street while out and about. What a discovery. A cute little historic street. You’ll find little plaques on the store fronts telling you the history of the place. We spent an inordinate amount of time here. Observing, soaking up the history. Reading the signs, enjoying the moment.
Address: 1859 Granville Street
Visit the Halifax Citadel
We didn’t have time to take the tour. We did, however, stop by to enjoy the beautiful view over the whole city. You’ll learn more about the city’s history. Back to 1749 and Halifax’s social and military history, with the 78th Highlanders and the 3rd Brigade Royal Artillery.
Bike to discover Halifax
It’s an activity that’s been recommended to us several times. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t on our side, so it wasn’t ideal. But it’s a great way to enjoy the city. There are several routes to choose from. There are several rental options, including a store on the waterfront.
Visiter l’une de plus vieilles brasseries d’Amérique du Nord
La brasserie Alexander Keith’s a ouvert il y a plus de 200 ans à Halifax. Elle est toujours en activité et c’est un stop pour les fans de bières. Ne buvant pas de bière je ne peux pas vous en dire plus sur le goût. Mais je peux vous confirmer que la bâtiment vaut le coup d’oeil.
Si vous voulez en apprendre plus, ils proposent des visites. Vous pouvez trouver plus d’informations sur leur site internet.
Visit the Historic Properties
It’s a historic part of Halifax built on the water’s edge. With the mist, it had a very mystical and special effect. We came across a surprise too. In the middle of a street (1869 Upper Water St, Halifax) you have an old torture device. I did quite a bit of research and couldn’t find out why it was there. If you ever know I’m curious, let me know.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list to help you prepare for your stay in Halifax.
Feel free to add your suggestions in the comments section!