CITY GUIDE: Halifax
Today’s city guide is brought to you by Kristin of Halifax!
Hello and welcome to my neck of the woods – Halifax, Nova Scotia! We’re a quaint little seaport city located on Canada’s far Atlantic coast. But that’s what I love about it the most – we have the luxury of city life and its amenities, but with the honest to goodness friendliness and ease that goes along with simple country life. We’re a very laid back city where anyone and everyone is welcome, where you’ll always run into a friendly face (honestly, it’s difficult avoiding bumping into an acquaintance on any given outing) and no matter where you’re from, you’ll quickly fall into our relaxed way of life.
One of my absolute favourite places to spend a Saturday or Sunday morning is at the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market. The market is open all weekend long year round (with additional days during the warmer months), and is filled with great food, drink, locally made crafts and art work, home grown produce and plants, and often you can catch the odd musician or busker performing. It’s a well-rounded little market with a bustling atmosphere that really celebrates all of the talents and crafts of our locals from within the city proper, and out into the rural countryside as well.
While in this neck of the woods, a local and tourist favourite is a stroll down the waterfront. The boardwalk really comes alive in the summer months – with buskers and entertainers, fireworks, bikers, artists, musicians, you name it! – all out in force. It can get a bit crowded, especially on weekends, as it’s a well-known and popular tourist location.
But, there’s still tonnes to be enjoyed as a local. There are fantastic restaurants all along the length of the boardwalk and handfuls of little shops and stalls depending on the season. I highly recommend The Bicycle Thief, an Italian and North American bistro – not only does it have delicious food, but it’s also a beautifully designed space from the interiors right down to the menu. Perfect for design-enthusiasts and foodies of all sorts.
Though they’re closed in the winter, if you’re in the area during the late spring to late autumn, two absolute musts are to stop and get a BeaverTail pastry (then you can call yourself a true Haligonian!), and wander over to Cows Ice Cream (hands down the best ice cream to be found, and they have an adjoining t-shirt and souvenir shop filled with hilarious cow meets pop culture puns and illustrations).
And if that’s not enough waterfront-y goodness for you, hop on the harbour ferry over to Dartmouth (the city on the opposite side of the harbour). It’s a short ride which will give you spectacular views of both cities, and the harbour mouth leading out to the Atlantic ocean. Plus, you’ll get a little taste of a local’s daily life as many workers come in and out of the city daily via the ferry.
For the shoppers of the bunch, Halifax has lots of unique and locally owned shops and boutiques. One of my personal favourites is The Black Market. A “you’d miss it if you blinked” spot, this quaint little shop is jam packed full of goodies from top to bottom. Jewelry, scarves, and assorted trinkets are brought in from all around the world. The merchandise is constantly changing so there’s always something new to look forward to on each visit. A few other much-loved locally owned and founded stops include: retro-inspired clothing shop Biscuit General Store, stationery and letterpress boutique Inkwell, and for the sweet tooth, stop by Freak Lunchbox, a novelty candy shop filled with everything wacky and sugary under the sun.
I’d be a terrible, terrible Haligonian if I failed to make this guide weather proof! Our winter’s are cold, and we usually get a solid dumping of snow a few times throughout the cold months (as evidenced by my photo selections here… the snow couldn’t be avoided!). One plus side to the frigid weather and near constant blanket of white is the recently built Halifax Oval outdoor skating rink. It’s typically a bustling spot on the weekends, so my insider tip would be to hit up some grub first, and then take to the ice in the evening. Just a few blocks away is my absolute favourite place to eat in the entire city, B-Well Sushi and Cafe. Fill up your belly, take a little stroll back through the Halifax Commons park area where the rink is located, and then strap on a pair of blades for a little skate in the park under the lights.
Another great outdoorsy location a bit off the beaten path is Point Pleasant Park. Located at the south-eastern most tip of the peninsula upon which the city sits, this sprawling woodland park is full of trails for walking, biking, dog walking, and, my poison, a long, morning run. The park has beautiful views throughout the forested area, and being at the tip of the peninsula, when you reach the edge, you can see straight out to the Atlantic ocean.
Though this is only the tip of the iceberg, I hope you’ve enjoyed my favourite little spots from around the city of Halifax. Feel free to give me a shout if you’re ever out this way – I’m happy to dive in deeper for any visitors! Happy travels. :)
*Featured image by joshbousel