With a warm sense of hospitality and a well-preserved history, Halifax will win you over with a laid-back flair. More than just the invigorating sea air or the historic buildings, you'll fall in love with the friendliness of Haligonians, as the city's residents are called.
Traditional multicolored buildings blend with modern glass and steel structures along Halifax's waterfront, and this busy and important harbor in the North Atlantic connects to over 150 cities through the Port of Halifax.
The city's Scottish colonial roots are now blended into a modern, multicultural society. As the air cools down at night, the city's nightlife scene heats up, full of live music venues where you can hear the unique East Coast style of folk music, among other genres. There is also a thriving arts, theater, and performing arts scene to check out.
As an important port city, Halifax played a key role in some of the colonial period's major events, and there are many monuments to its past, such as the iconic Halifax Citadel fort that overlooks the city. There are also many museums devoted to the city's rich maritime history, including the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic and Maritime Command Museum.
From a pleasant stroll up Citadel Hill to hiking or berry picking, Halifax and its sea breezes make for perfect outdoor activities of any kind. The city has many green spaces where you can enjoy the leafy countryside inside city limits, and cycling is a popular alternative to walking. You can also swim in many places like Chocolate Lake, just 2.5 miles out of town and accessible by bus.
Enjoy the ocean-side lifestyle in this pretty city, from boating and fishing to simply walking along the busy waterfront. Even the city's cuisine is heavily influenced by the abundance of fresh seafood. The Lighthouse Route is a charming drive that begins in Halifax and follows a scenic roadway along the south coast of Nova Scotia to Yarmouth.
No matter how short your visit, you have to spend at least one afternoon or evening in a pub. Halifax is home to a thriving brew culture, from the larger Alexander Keith's Brewery, where your tour includes guides in historic costumes, to the many pubs that line the city's downtown streets. Music is part of the fun, with a unique East Coast style that is influenced by its Celtic roots.
The ocean and rich agricultural lands have created a fantastic farm-to-table foodie scene in the city. Along with fine dining and numerous seafood restaurants, you'll find many places offering traditional pub fare, including fish and chips and other favorites, along with a sampling of international cuisine from Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, and other locations.
The 18th-century birthplace of this seaside city is the great hill at the heart of downtown. Britain's military was responsible for this imposing, star-shaped fort, which successfully held attackers at bay for centuries. Today it looms over the city as a reminder of the past and visitors can let their imaginations run wild on excursions across the premises. Historic artillery and exhibitions on a day in the life of a soldier await at the Army Museum, alongside gorgeous views over the harbor outside.
All the best vibes in the city are found along the ever-stunning Halifax Waterfront. Notable institutions like the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic and the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 are filled with interesting exhibitions about the history of the region. Meanwhile, some of the best galleries, restaurants and bars are found overlooking the water with views that eternally entice. For especially fresh eats, hit the Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market.
Nova Scotia is famous for its incomparable nature, and even at the center of its urban capital tourists will find a perfectly curated wonderland of flora and fauna. Small but memorable, the gardens feature bridges, ponds, statues and memorials amidst delightful flower beds. From dahlia flowers to plants of the tropics, there is an impressive variety to the selection here all year round. Let the serenity of the natural world wash over you on this respite from the streets.
The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia is the largest museum on the east coast of Canada, and for over a century it has drawn crowds to its inspirational collection. Most unique are the exhibitions featuring Nova Scotian folk art and Inuit artifacts - from tools to stone carvings. Local history comes to life in these halls as phenomenal regional artists highlight the beauty of their small province. You'll want to explore every corner of Nova Scotia after a walk through these nature-filled galleries.
Just outside of Halifax, this small fishing community welcomes visitors to explore their quaint shores. The coastline seems straight out of a painting, with adorable wooden houses speckling the landscape and heavy duty lobster boats tethered in the harbor. Smell the ocean air, enjoy the rustic atmosphere, and keep your eyes out for delightful photo opportunities. Peggy's Point Lighthouse is the highlight of the area, an icon of Canada and a classic prototype from tip to toe.
Atlantic breezes keep the weather temperate even in summer, when long days of sunshine bring the tourist crowds. In the fall, colors light up the foliage to attract a second influx of tourists. The ocean currents can bring storms during the late fall and winter, when there are typically significant accumulations of snow. Some attractions are open seasonally.
Halifax Stanfield International Airport (YHZ) is located about 22 miles from the city. The #320 route of the city bus service runs the route regularly from the airport to the city center during the day for a fare of C$3.50. There is a seasonal shuttle bus from downtown to the airport between May 1 and October 31 for C$22.00. Taxis and limousines both charge a flat fare of C$63.00 for downtown drop offs.
The Halifax railway station is the last stop on the eastern leg of the VIA rail route that begins in Montreal. From Montreal, connections are available to Toronto and points westward, as well as south to New York State.
Provincial highways 101, 102, 103, and 104 connect the city to the rest of the province of Nova Scotia and beyond. Highway 104 is the Trans-Canada Highway, with connections to New Brunswick, Maine, Quebec, and Prince Edward Island.
The Maritime Bus Service operates from the Halifax railway station in the south end of the city. Connections are available to many centers in the Canadian Atlantic provinces, including Moncton, Fredericton Airport, and into the province of Quebec.
Accommodations are very affordable in Halifax, ranging from sleek contemporary international brands like the Delta Hotels by Marriott Barrington and Halifax Marriott Harbourfront to small, independent guesthouses and hostels. The Prince George Hotel offers upscale amenities in a convenient location with direct access to the World Trade and Convention Centre. At the Halliburton, occupying a set of three historic townhouses, you can get a taste of the city's history.
Downtown Halifax – this is where you'll find most hotels and many restaurant and nightlife options. It incorporates Halifax Harbour along with major museums and historic sites such as the Citadel.
North End – located just to the north of downtown, this area is loaded with restaurants and nightlife venues, including many live music clubs. Gottingen Street is the heart of this area, which is known for its artistic vibe.
Spring Garden Road and Barrington Street – this is the best place to find boutique shopping, such as in the Spring Garden Place mall, along with a number of entertainment options. It's also where you'll find the iconic Lord Nelson Hotel, the city's oldest hotel that was founded in 1928.
Public transportation is available by bus and ferry to Dartmouth across the harbor via Halifax Transit, but the routes and schedules are geared more to commuters and shoppers and you may find them limited. A 10-ticket pass costs C$20.00.
There are several cab companies serving Halifax, including Yellow Cab, A-Cab, and Casino Taxi. The starting fare is C$3.20, with an additional C$1.70 for each 0.62 miles.
Driving in Halifax is generally relaxed in comparison to many urban centers, and pedestrians are given priority. Be forewarned that people will cross the street anywhere, and cars are expected to stop for them. Street parking is available in many locations downtown, with metered rates ranging from C$1-4 per hour depending on the location. A compact rental costs about C$25 per day, and you'll find Avis, Budget, and Enterprise outlets in town.
Spring Garden Road is lined with over 200 retail outlets, including national brands along with specialty stores. The Hydrostone Market is a historic shopping and entertainment district in the North End. You'll find local artisan work including leather and wood crafts and jewelry at the Halifax Waterfront.
When it comes to groceries in downtown Halifax, the Atlantic Superstore in the South End has well-stocked shelves and reasonable prices. Pete's Fine Foods is where you'll find a good selection of imported goods along with prepared foods. A quart of milk costs about C$2.50 and a dozen eggs costs about C$3.30.
Durty Nelly's Authentic Irish Pub is part of the city's pub scene, with a menu of favorites like Irish stew and bangers and mash starting at C$15. The Five Fishermen is housed in a historical building, with a menu of seafood, Angus beef, and pasta dishes that start at about C$30. The Stubborn Goat Gastropub specializes in craft brews and comfort foods like gourmet burgers and meatloaf that start at C$17.