If you want to truly experience a place, you have to ask a local for tips. And that’s what we set out to do when we asked Canadians in five cities across the country to tailor-make itineraries for visiting Americans that love to discover the unexpected and go off the beaten path. The result? A local’s guide to each city that isn’t so much an itinerary, but instead a collection of things to do, eat, try, and experience.
Set out in the seaside city of Halifax to experience everything from big city vibes at local watering holes, to live music by the water, to adventure along the rugged coastline. You’ll soon discover why this place is known as one of the friendliest cities on the planet.
Halifax natives, Jenna and Jordan of Stoked for Saturday put together this list of hot spots for Adam and Hannah of Getting Stamped. Check out their experience in the video above, then read on to plan your own trip to Nova Scotia’s capital.
Day 1: City exploration with a side of music
Start your day with breakfast at Annie’s Cafe. This local spot will definitely set the Maritime mood — think friendly service and a perfectly slowed-down atmosphere. The food is homemade and the space, well it feels just like home!
After you’ve satiated your morning cravings, check out the eclectic boutiques along Grafton and Argyle Streets that feature traditional and handmade items — the perfect souvenirs to bring back home. Top spots include The Black Market Boutique for unique jewelry and other items hand picked from around the world, The Biscuit General Store, which features local designers, innovative cosmetics, and understated accessories, and Inkwell Modern Handmade, which lives up to its name as a handmade letterpress studio with local paper art.
Find some mid-day fuel at Darrell’s Restaurant. The spot is a serious must-try for comfort food in the city. Serving up classic grub since 1992, Darrell's has an amazing patio to enjoy a Peanut Butter Burger on. Yes, you read that right. This burger features all the regular fixings with the addition of peanut butter — an unexpectedly delicious must-try.
If the weather is nice, head to the Halifax Public Gardens for amazing photo opportunities or the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site to step back in time. If you want some inside time, check out Seven Bays Bouldering for some indoor rock climbing to burn off that burger.
In the evening, The Wooden Monkey is a lovely spot, considering itself a “restaurant with a conscience,” as it uses the best local and organic ingredients to craft top notch dishes. Wash down you superb supper at The Gahan House where you’ll find cold drinks and live music. Their weekly schedule of events can be found here.
Day 2: Local wilderness and wild music
Rise and Shine at The Wired Monk! Here you’ll find no fuss, delicious breakfast wraps and coffee. Be prepared to queue up, as this place is popular with locals, but it will give you time to plan your adventure in Fleming Park. Here, the Dingle Tower Walk comes highly recommended. It’s a scenic route that allows you to explore the 95-acre park, including trails along the ocean and around ponds.
Because you’ll be on the road, make sure you pack a lunch before you head to the Bluff Wilderness Trail. This is described as one of the best hikes just outside the downtown area and there’s added incentive to visit in September when the fall colors are absolutely stunning!
Head back into town and hunt down an early dinner — you’ve earned it! If the timing lines up, check out the Halifax Food Truck Party, but remember to bring cash. If you’re looking for another option, locals recommend the Economy Shoe Shop, a kitschy spot that offers up something for everyone, or Brooklyn Warehouse where local ingredients reign supreme and the vibe is chill.
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 a variety of local operators who will help you explore the city from the water. Trust us, this will provide a truly beautiful end to your day!
Day 3: Waterfront views and hand-crafted brews
The Coastal Cafe is a must-visit place for breakfast. This is a small spot, so grab a breakfast sandwich to-go and head down to the water. From there, drive to Chebucto Head, a truly off-the-beaten-path destination with a great view of Halifax and the ocean. Pack a lunch along with you and enjoy the scenery.
On your way back to your accomodation, make a pit stop at Stubborn Goat Beer Garden. Here, you’ll be treated to a very cool outdoor space at their Waterfront location that serves up only Nova Scotian wine and beer, immersing you in the local culture. With over 20 beers to choose from, grab a flight and taste what this coastal province has to offer.
Once you’ve spent enough time sitting (and drinking) in the sun, rent a bike and explore Point Pleasant Park just as golden hour sets in. As you ride around the peninsula, you’ll find plenty of spots to stop and enjoy the scenery or snap a photo.
As the sun sets, it’s time for another drink! Check out Lion & Bright for some of the top cocktails in the city 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.
After exploring for a few days, you’ll begin to see how you can get lost in all Nova Scotia has to offer. Discover more attractions here and start planning your trip.