72 Hours In Halifax44.6488° N, 63.5752° W
"Where the lands meets the sea"
Time is a precious commodity for some of us and we understand that taking time off doesn’t seem like a it could be a reality. Not because you can’t but sometimes, we find ourselves lost in our work, whether we are passionate about it or not. In our latest travel series, we spend an allotted amount of time in places that we think that you should visit. Once you arrive, you can choose to disconnect, or you can share your travels with us and your friends.
With that being said, you only have 72 hours in Halifax, what do you do? where do you eat? what should you go see? The city moves a lot slower than most but in a good way. You won’t feel rushed and it certainly won’t rush you. In fact, it’s almost as if Halifax is imploring you to slow down. Have a drink, eat our seafood, navigate our waters and take a moment to breath in the ocean air.
Scroll down to begin our 72 hours guide to Canada’s Maritime city.
Catch Your Flight, 10:00 AM.
Porter Airlines has flights going to and from Halifax daily. If you’re from Toronto, you can fly out straight from the Billy Bishop Airport and enjoy the complimentary snacks, drinks, and Wi-Fi in the lounge. What we love the most about flying in and out of this airport is its proximity to Downtown Toronto and the free shuttle that takes you straight to Union Station. Once you’re on the flight, you can catch up on some work, have another snack and loosen up with a glass of beer or wine.
Check-In, 12:00 PM.
Once you grab your baggage, you’ll walk across a walkway that will take you straight into the ALT hotel, which is where you will be staying for two nights. The ALT usually hosts business people flying in and out of the province so you can expect the space to be quiet and formal. The rooms are small but superbly modern and the beds are very comfortable. You will have access to free Wi-Fi, a coffee maker, plus large flatscreen TV with a connectivity panel. There is also a pool and a gym area where you can unwind and keep your weekly routine going. If you’re feeling peckish, there is a cafeteria-style eatery in the lobby. There you will find an eclectic mix of dishes ranging from Italian, Indian, to Thai made from a local caterer.
Get Into Your Car, 2:00 PM.
For your time here, you will need to rent yourself a car and you can conveniently rent one from the Alamo or Avis at the airport. Downtown Halifax is roughly a twenty-five drive from the airport. You can either cross into the city via the MacKay Bridge or the Macdonald Bridge. Have some change on had as it costs one dollar to cross the bridge from both sides.
Check out RCHMD Shop, 3:00 PM.
Located on 1876 Hollis St. is a menswear shop called RCHMD. The shop features a well curated list of brands that range from Acne Studios, Common Projects, Our Legacy and Stone Island. The exposed brick walls surround the space, while the products hang neatly on black clothing racks. While most of us may perceive Halifax to be out of the loop in terms of what’s trending in the fashion world because of its distance to cities like New York. RCHMD shop certainly knows what’s going on.
Walk the boardwalk, 4:00 PM
Halifax’s boardwalk is just a few blocks down from RCHMD. If weather permits, you should take the rest of the afternoon to explore the area. Docked at the Theodore Too the Tug Boat from Canada’s beloved Children’s show and right next to it is the Bluenose II, an exact replica of the famous racing schooner and the ship featured on the Canadian dime. You’ll also spot the CSS Acadia, one of the few ships to survive the disastrous Halifax harbour explosion in 1917. The boardwalk stretches to the south towards the Halifax Seaport and to the north you will end up at the Casino Nova Scotia. Notable museums are located on the waterfront, the Pier 21 immigration museum, the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic.
Dinner at the Bicycle Thief, 6:00 PM:
The restaurant, Bicycle Thief, is named after a classic Italian movie about a man and his son’s search for a stolen bicycle that is supposed to help them bring income. Their dishes are well proportioned and hearty. The handmade gnocchi with San Marzano tomato, caramelized onions, bacon, spinach, and parmigiano reminded us of home cooked Italian recipe. The sauce was rich and flavourful. When you’re in Halifax, you have to try their seafood. With that being said, we also tried their take on lobster.
Visit a Pub or Lounge, 8:00 PM:
If there’s one thing the locals like to do, it’s enjoy a nice cold one. You may have heard it once before but Halifax has the most bars per capita of any city in Canada. So you can be sure to find a place to your liking. If you want a traditional pub experience, visit “The Old Triangle Irish Alehouse” or head over to “Lot Six” for a trendier atmosphere. Remember, you still have to drive back to the hotel, so be responsible!
Go back into time at the Halifax Citadel, 10:00 AM.
The hill that sits atop of the city was first fortified in 1749, the same year Halifax was founded. It was fort that was occupied by the English centuries ago but it was never attacked. The guards are dressed in traditional military garb and tours of the grounds are offered every fifteen minutes. You’ll be spending some time here so be prepared to explore the depths of the Citadel and take in all the stories it holds.
Quick Lunch, 12:00 PM.
Grad a bite to eat at Flip Burger, located on the corner of Argyle street. Their patties are made from local ingredients, while their hand cut fries and buttermilk onion rings are deliciously cooked in truffle oil. Pair your meal with a cool old-fashioned milkshake.
Visit the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, 1:00 PM.
The gallery is home to over 17,000 works of art in its varied collection. Inside its renovated heritage buildings are historic and contemporary Nova Scotian, national and international paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, photographs, ceramics and other works from temporary exhibitions and the Gallery’s Permanent Collection.
Alexander Keith’s Brewery Tour, 3:00 PM.
Tour the brewery where Alexander Keith himself crafted his very own beer. It’s also one of the oldest commercial breweries in North America. The guides are dressed as citizens from 1863 and as you are taken through the space, you will be served a variety of brews and you’ll learn about the brewing process itself. Once you get to the historical tavern, the guides will sing traditional Nova Scotian songs.
Dinner at Lot Six, 5:00 PM.
The ambiance of Lot Six reminds us of a place we would find in a big city. The crowd is young and hip, the cocktails are tasty and the dinner menu is worth taking a look at. If you’re still in the mood for seafood, order the swordfish, you will not regret it. You’ll also like their deconstructed tacos. We also recommend that you stay for dessert!
Head back to the ALT Hotel, 7:00 PM:
You have an early day ahead of you tomorrow, so you should head back to the hotel, enjoy the room but if you’re in the mood for a nightcap, try their bar downstairs.
A Picture Perfect Tour of Peggy’s Cove, 6:00 AM.
If it’s your first time in Halifax, it’s a must that you drive out to Peggy’s Cove. It’s a small rural community located on the eastern shore of St. Margarets Bay in Nova Scotia’s Halifax Regional Municipality. At the edge of the town is the Peggy’s Point Lighthouse, which is one of the most recognizable lighthouses in the world. If you want pictures of the landmark that aren’t “touristy” then you should go down with Geordie Mott’s Halifax Picture Perfect Tour. The tour is great for amateur, semi-professional, even professional photographers, who are looking for new ways to capture Peggy’s Cove and the lighthouse. Geordie will take you along to the surrounding areas where you will be able to capture the iconic lighthouse before the crowds come and believe us they come in droves. Afterwards, you can grab lunch at the visitor’s centre. You should definitely take back a souvenir with you as many of them are handmade by the locals.
Whale Watching with Murphy’s the Cable Warf, 3:00 PM.
After a quick jaunt at Peggy’s Cove, you’ll be heading back into Halifax to board the Haligonian III for a whale watching tour. This two-hour tour will take you just outside the bay of Halifax to the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. The guides will provide you with a bit of history and inform you on the local sea life that inhabits the waters below you.
Return to the airport, 5:00 PM.
It’s time to go home. Hop back on your Porter Airlines flight and dump all your photos from your time in Halifax as you head back to reconnect with the rest of the world.
Words & Photography: Jon Carlo Tapia
Videography: Kevin Alcalde