Illustration by Jeannie Phan
Nautical adventures, historic treasures and all the attractions of city living—Halifax has it all, even that quintessential salty sea breeze!
Local landmark: Lord Nelson Hotel
Built in 1927, this downtown hotel is across from the nearly 6.5-hectare Victorian-themed Halifax Public Gardens. Have your cat or canine with you? This place has a pet-friendly floor. Before you check out, stop in for a meal or a cocktail at The Arms Public House, with its cozy booths and pressed-tin ceiling.
Historied hotel: The Halliburton
Located a short walk from the picturesque harbourfront boardwalk, this charming historic hotel inhabits a row of converted early 19th-century townhouses, one of which was the home of Brenton Halliburton, the eighth chief justice of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court. From 1885 to 1887, the main building also served as Dalhousie University's law school.
Ethical eats: The Wooden Monkey
With the belief that sustainable agriculture protects our environment, health, communities and animal welfare, this restaurant commits to using land-based closed-containment salmon, line-caught haddock and grass-fed beef and lamb sourced in Nova Scotia (there are also vegetarian and vegan options). Leave room for the Nova Scotia apple pie topped with locally made Dee Dee's vanilla ice cream.
Farm-to-table feast: Chives Canadian Bistro
Chef-proprietor Craig Flinn is the author of four cookbooks that highlight fresh local fare, and, as you'd expect, the menu at his downtown restaurant (and its neighbouring sister spots) features daily farmers' market selections. Keep a lookout for celebrities who are in town filming!
Superb seafood: Salty's
Offering everything from North Atlantic snow crab, Nova Scotia lobster, halibut, haddock and salmon to seafood stew, chowder and even lobster goat cheese mashed potatoes, Salty's will have you up to your gills in ocean offerings. Landlubbing foodies can choose steak, chicken, lamb, burgers, wraps or pastas, and everyone can enjoy the spectacular harbour view.
Science scene: Discovery Centre
Earlier this year, the Discovery Centre moved to its new multimillion-dollar waterfront space and doubled in size to 40,000 square feet. With an innovation lab, four themed galleries, a rotating featured exhibit and Atlantic Canada's only immersive Dome Theatre, the centre makes science fun and fascinating for all ages.
Soldier sightings: Citadel Hill National Historic Site
At this "living history" museum, you'll see re-enactment interpreters appear as the 78th Highlanders and the Royal Artillery, dressed in the same uniforms that their regiments wore in the 1800s. The Highlanders guard the entrance and conduct drills, while the Royal Artillery fires the Noon Gun daily. Don't skip the stunning view of the Halifax Harbour from the hill.
Garden Getaway: Cole Harbour Heritage Farm Museum
Dedicated to preserving Cole Harbour's agricultural past and fostering an understanding of plants, animals and farming today, this museum showcases heritage plants rescued from old farms growing alongside newer varieties, as well as sheep, poultry, pigs, calves and goats. Finish with a sweet at the Rose & Kettle Tea Room.
What's close by?
If you have time to range farther afield, here are three other cool spots to see in the province.
One hour away: Wolfville
Stroll around the 2.5-hectare Harriet Irving Botanical Gardens at Acadia University, then indulge in the signature burger at the nearby Library Pub & Wine Tavern.
1 1/2 hours away: Tatamagouche
Sample local beer at the Tatamagouche Brewing Co. and sleep in a converted boxcar at the Tatamagouche Train Station Inn & Railway Dining Car.
2 1/2 hours away: Joggins
At the Joggins Fossil Cliffs, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, you'll learn how high tides reveal fossil records of the Coal Age, dating back 300 million years.