Halifax City Guide

Halifax is a beautiful Port City and the biggest city in Canada’s Atlantic Region with a growing cultural and culinary scene. Here are some of my favourite spots.

Cafés

  • Bliss Caffeine Bar: Coffee is good but the baked goods are excellent.
  • Weird Harbour: Excellent, excellent coffee in a stylish, bright, central location. Note however, there is no seating and no washrooms, and the food selection is extremely minimal.
  • Café Lunette: A very beautiful space in Queen’s Marque where the coffee and pastries are relatively good, though it’s really the space that you’d want to go for.
  • Uncommon Ground: Good coffee and really cool underground space that still has great light for working. Food options are at a “university café” level.

Coffee, doughnut and plant in water on counter at Bliss Caffeine Bar

Restaurants and Bars

  • Lot Six Bar & Restaurant: Located inside the historical Carleton Hotel building, this is a fun establishment that uses foliage and wicker to create an intimately chic indoor patio dining experience. Friends who have been more recently than me recommend focusing on the cocktails rather than the food, and trying to secure a reservation in the Atrium if you can.
  • Highwayman: A cozy bar focused on Spanish tapas, snacks, and a rotating mix of fun cocktails. This is a great place to come to if you arrive late as they have an extensive late night menu.
  • Bar Kismet: If you can, try to score a reservation here well before you arrive, as the spots are limited, and this place is popular as heck.
  • Edna: A beautiful, one small room seasonal restaurant with a very comfy little bar.
  • Stillwell Beer Garden: This is the place to come for a nice sit with a nice beer, and they have fun snacks too (the beets with buckwheat is a great choice and is a refreshing change from fries and chips).
  • enVie a Vegan Kitchen: A really thoughtful vegan restaurant.
  • The Ostrich Club: Modern, quiet and stylish restaurant with very considered food options.
  • Bar Sofia: An Oliver & Bonacini modern Latin restaurant in the trendy Queen’s Marque District with an extensive margarita menu.
  • Dave’s Lobster: While it looks like a tourist trap, this is actually one of the best places to go for a lobster roll (always at market price) in town. Located right on the waterfront.

Other Fun Food Experiences

  • Dairy Bar: The best soft serve I think I have ever had, this place is tucked beside Stillwell Beer Garden. The line is worth it.
  • The Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market: This place is just a good stop if you have the time.
  • Alexander Keith’s Brewery Tour: It is as traditional as it is conceptual, and is as much of a lesson on hops as it is on the history of the city.
  • Lobster from the Halifax International Airport: Before I experienced it, I didn’t think it was real! If you arrive at the airport during regular business hours and you’re not traveling too far, you can bring a few live lobsters home in an expertly-packed crate.

Attractions

  • Halifax Citadel: I came here as a kid and then again as an adult, and I really think it’s a must-see in Halifax. There is a small entry fee but tours are included, and there are always some interesting exhibits happening all the time about Canada’s history especially as political and military power in the 1800’s.
  • Pier 21 Museum of Citizenship and Immigration: A well-run museum that has a great overview of the Canadian immigrant experience over time.
  • Halifax Public Gardens: These gardens are just so well-curated and beautiful. You need to walk through them.
  • Queen’s Marque: A trendy neighbourhood on the waterfront that you should just take a walk through.
  • Halifax Common: A huge urban park that has a new aquatic centre, tennis and pickleball courts, and lots of space for softball games and picnics.
  • Halifax Waterfront: Lots of fun little touristy booths and shops to grab a quick bite to eat and watch the boats go by.
  • Inkwell Modern Handmade: This is a small boutique featuring works from local and Canadian artists (including me, and Chu on This Studio!) and is a perfect stop to pick up gifts.

Daytrips

  • Lunenberg: Old Town Lunenburg is one of only two urban communities in North America designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site and is definitely worth a visit. This is the home of the Bluenose (the ship on the 10 cent dime) and you can come find its replica sitting in the shores.
  • Peggy’s Cove: You don’t get any more iconic of a view of Canada’s East Coast than the Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse. A must-see when you’re in the area.

This guide is largely based on my experiences traveling to Halifax in 2017 and 2023. For more information, you can also check out my blog post from 2017 called a Taste of Halifax.