Plan Your Halifax Getaway: Off-Season Halifax City Guide

Halifax has recently undergone a bold transformation, offering enticing new choices for dining, drinking, and entertainment even during a Canadian winter!

Toronto Guardian experienced the Atlantic Sex Show, celebrated at the legendary Marquee Ballroom for the Road to the Junos, and saw numerous Halifax drag performances.

In just a few years, Halifax has evolved remarkably, with Haligonians proudly declaring that their beloved burg has blossomed into a bona fide city. The post-pandemic era has seen rapid growth, with businesses flourishing.

Halifax, Nova Scotia, is a bustling coastal municipality, drawing in tourists by land, sea, and air, eager to explore its recently renovated pedestrian-friendly waterfront, new hotels, restaurants, as well as truly Canadian events like the Junos, alongside historical sites like Africville.

According to Statistics Canada, Halifax (HRM) ranks among the fastest-growing urban regions in Canada. Despite its rapid growth, Halifax retains its appeal as a highly walkable and safe city. 

Plan Your Halifax Getaway: Off-Season Halifax City Guide

Craft The Ultimate Canadian Cold Weather Getaway To Halifax

Don’t let the cold stop you from coming to Halifax in the off-season! 

Take your time to explore all the city has to offer if it’s your first trip to Halifax. With so much to see and do, consider spending a week to ensure you don’t miss out on anything. Keep in mind that many places in Halifax are closed on Sundays or Mondays, and even Tuesdays, so it’s essential to check opening hours before heading out.

If you’re visiting Halifax in the off-season, be sure to pack sturdy waterproof boots and sunglasses. Also, bring a tote bag when you go out, as most stores do not provide shopping bags.

Despite heavy snowfalls in Halifax during the winter, snow removal is fairly fast and efficient, allowing for easy navigation around the city. In downtown Halifax, Dartmouth, and the North End, you’ll find well-cleared sidewalks for the most part. From talking with locals, December may be the coldest month, and January and February still receive plenty of snow. 

The city has numerous cold weather retreats like the Muir and Moxy hotels, as well as holistic spas offering massage therapy, infrared sauna sessions, and 5-star facials. Additionally, you’ll find cosy cafes and restaurants adorned with real candlelight and inviting fireplaces, perfect for snuggling up.

Our Toronto Guardian guide to Halifax is ideal for last-minute travellers itching for an early spring escape and people making long-range plans for their next winter vacation. 

Let’s get you started with the best Halifax travel tips and recommendations for an off-season escape to the East Coast of Canada! 

Top 3 Areas Of Halifax To Explore

To ensure your stay in Halifax covers the finest hotel accommodations, shopping, dining and drinking experiences, this guide is thoughtfully segmented into three essential areas to explore: Downtown Halifax, Dartmouth, and Halifax’s North End (which is often compared to Toronto’s West End during its upgrade era). 

Downtown Halifax: Walkable Waterfront, Fabulous Hotels & Where To Dine

The historic and easily navigable city centre offers everything you need for a dynamic mini vacation. Choosing a downtown Halifax hotel during colder months ensures immediate comfort when the winds blow. Here are three enticing hotels for your weekend or extended stay in downtown Halifax.

Muir, Autograph Collection Hotel 

The Halifax Muir recently opened in December 2021. This 5-star luxury hotel is the first Marriott International Autograph Collection hotel in Nova Scotia. Muir is at the heart of the new Queen’s Marque district on the waterfront and offers stunning views of Halifax Harbour, the intriguing Queen’s Landing steps, and the illuminating Tidal Beacon. Its modern architecture and contemporary interior design reflect elements associated with ocean voyages and East Coast nature, enhanced by original artwork from regional artists throughout the hotel.

What makes staying at the Muir so desirable, especially in colder months? For starters, the Muir wellness centre, Windward Wellness, has a tranquil spa pool, cold plunge pool, sauna and steam room, plus an ‘active’ halotherapy salt room (tip: book the salt therapy in advance). Muir’s rooms are spacious and bright, featuring an enticing bathtub-shower room combination and luxury brand Aesop bathroom essentials. Another perk is the Muir car service, offering transportation for short distances in the downtown area — a blessing when temperatures drop or rain starts pouring. Elevate your wintertime stay by requesting a balcony room, allowing you to bask in glorious afternoon sunshine with a lovely view of the water.

Plan Your Halifax Getaway: Off-Season Halifax City Guide

Lord Nelson Hotel & Suites

The Lord Nelson Hotel is full of surprises, from its Halifax naval heritage name to hosting rock legends like The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, and Ozzy Osbourne (room 417). Opened in 1928, the hotel enjoys a prime location near the Halifax Citadel, Public Gardens Victorian Park, and popular Spring Garden Street. Stepping into the lobby, you’re greeted by a blend of old-world glam and modernity, a theme that carries into the hotel rooms, capturing the timeless elegance of the Lord Nelson Hotel.

Why choose the Lord Nelson Hotel for a cosy retreat? Book a Parkview Suite with a fireplace to find out! Refurbished Nelson rooms feature lush velvety furnishings and snug robes, perfect for indoor relaxation while a storm blows past the windows. Indulge in room service meals served on silver trays, and enjoy the fully stocked bathroom with LATHER essentials. Premium Lord Nelson Parkview Suites offer separate work and sleep spaces, ideal for digital nomads seeking an extended stay in Halifax (tip: the hotel has a DIY laundry room for guests to freshen up their travel wardrobe). Plus, for Torontonians craving Kibo Sushi, a new Kibo market awaits just around the corner from the Lord Nelson Hotel.

The Westin Nova Scotian Hotel 

Dating back to 1930, this historic and grand Nova Scotia hotel was one of the first Canadian National Railway landmark hotels built to connect East to West. The late Princess Diana hosted a royal dinner at the Westin Nova Scotian in the 1980s. Conveniently located next to the VIA Rail station, the Westin is an ideal choice for train travellers.

Perfect for cold weather convenience. Arriving at the Westin Hotel brought joy after a two-day delay to Halifax caused by a fierce nor’easter snowstorm, resulting in cancelled flights. After check-in, finding solace in the hotel’s whirlpool was heavenly, melting away travel tensions. Halifax Westin is perfect for travellers who love a blend of old-timey hotel charm and budget-friendly conveniences (i.e., Atlantic Superstore and NSLC beer & wine is right next door). Travel tip: Start your day with the Seaport Social Salted Cod Fish Cakes and unwind in the evening with a ‘Vitamin O nightcap’ at the hotel bar while gathering local intel from the bartenders. 

These premier downtown hotels offer attractive qualities for a winter holiday. We hope our experience will assist you in making the best choice for your needs. Keep scrolling for additional Halifax hotel recommendations.

Dining Downtown Halifax

One way to affordably enjoy Halifax’s culinary scene is to visit Dine Around Halifax (similar to Toronto’s Winterlicious & Summerlicious food events). It is strongly recommended you make restaurant reservations no matter the time of year, and check online or phone ahead to ask about Happy Hour specials on drinks, meals, and oysters! 

Expect downtown meals to be a bit pricier; after all, it is the most touristy area of the city. When it comes to tipping, 18% is considered the norm. 

Two of the absolute best places to eat in Halifax are Drift at the Muir Hotel and the neighbouring Café Lunette.

Drift extends a warm welcome to all, offering all-day dining whether you’re a guest of the Muir or just stopping by. Curated by the renowned Chef Anthony Walsh, the Drift menu showcases modern adaptations of classic Atlantic Canadian dishes. With two cosy fireplaces and a stunning view of the harbour, the atmosphere is as marvellous as the food. Highly recommended for breakfast are the ‘hipster’ poached eggs, mushroom and cheddar omelette, blueberry pancakes, coffee cake, and organic yoghurt and granola. Judging by the superb breakfast, one can only imagine that lunch and dinner at Drift must be equally outstanding. 

Nearby the Muir Hotel, you’ll find Café Lunette Bistro — a delightful touch of France in downtown Halifax. Fans of ‘Emily in Paris’ will love to share Instagram stories of Lunette’s charming decor and fanciful cocktails. Like Drift, Lunette bistro at the Queen’s Marque offers all-day dining, featuring cold-weather comfort foods like French onion soup, steak and eggs with béarnaise sauce, and delightful treats such as the most wonderful crème brûlée and zesty pina colada French macarons. Don’t miss their incredible Happy Hour wine specials! Ideal for a late luncheon, the European approach to eating and drinking here is truly worth your time, especially on a rainy day.

Peacock Wine Bar 

Perched perfectly in the Queen’s Marque district, with a captivating waterfront view, Peacock is a beloved spot for locals and visitors alike. Ideal for a leisurely dinner, begin with refreshing prosecco accompanied by oysters and a grazing board featuring an abundance of cured meats, cheeses, and fermented treats. Progress to tapas-style sharing plates or savor one of the delicious handmade pasta mains (try the A+ mushroom truffle pappardelle). Check out the Sunday meal specials and 3-course prix fixe offers, and leave room for the irresistible chocolate flan topped with crème fraîche and a tangy sea buckthorn twist. Tip: Reserve a gilded-cage table for the ultimate in ambience. 

Shuck Seafood + Raw Bar 

Head to Shuck for Happy Hour to slurp up buck-a-shuck oysters and enjoy drink specials, especially if you need a break from sightseeing. Located on Lower Water Street, this nautical-themed eatery excels at fresh seafood, offering a diverse selection of tasty oysters. If oysters aren’t your preference, order the panko fish & chips dinner — a crispy and less oily alternative to traditional beer-battered fish. 

 The Press Gang Restaurant and Oyster Bar

Despite rave reviews for this long-serving Halifax restaurant, the Dine Around menu — comprising appetizer, main, and dessert — failed to satisfy. Press Gang certainly has an atmospheric environment, especially if you enjoy dining in dimly lit stone buildings from the 18th century with the chance of a ghost making an appearance.

There are plenty of entertaining places to have a drink downtown in Halifax. If you are after live music featuring Maritime tunes, then pop by the popular Old Triangle Alehouse and mingle with locals and out-of-towners who love to sing along to the music at the top of their lungs. If you seek Nova Scotia brews, then go to Stillwell Brewery and order a variety of Halifax beers in 5-ounce servings to sample different types (try the duck fat popcorn!). The music is loud and the patrons are a mix of students and Gen X’ers who enjoy a punk-rock vibe.  

If you want to dance, then check out The LOFT and Hide+Seek (also called The Complex) for local DJs spinning a diverse mix of styles. Was lucky to catch DJs’ WORKER, iinchworm, and Vero spin at the Atlantic Sex Show after-party at this dance venue! Take note, Halifax bars and party venues seem to have varying times for last call.

Downtown Halifax has an abundance of dining, drinking, and entertainment options, ensuring there’s never a dull moment — even during the colder months. For those seeking an off-the-beaten-path experience, it’s time to hop on the ferry and cross the harbour to Alderney Landing in Dartmouth. 

Discover Dartmouth Across The Harbour  

Dartmouth, just a 15-minute ferry ride across Halifax Harbour from downtown, offers a laid-back atmosphere. There’s nothing quite like cruising over to Dartmouth on a sunny day. Basking in the sun on the upper deck while it warms you through your coat is blissful. Compared to downtown Halifax, Dartmouth feels like a quaint little village.

The ferry terminal at Alderney has Evan’s Seafood for creamy and thick lobster rolls for a quick bite. It also has a public library, a pub, and a charming Sunday market year-round. Dartmouth is a lovely place on a sunny day to slow down and recharge. Try Café GoodLuck and Two If By The Sea cafe, both highly popular with locals. 

Café GoodLuck offers a different scone flavour daily, roasts their own coffee, and serves fun and quirky drinks. Highly recommend trying their scrumptious scones and delicious breakfast sandwiches. The café seats about 12 people, and the kitchen closes at 2 pm, so plan accordingly — you wouldn’t want to miss this local favourite. Love the vibe here; it’s so friendly and relaxed, and they have cool cafe merch! 

For a delightful dinner experience in Dartmouth, The Canteen on Portland comes highly recommended. This casual neighbourhood spot offers a menu crafted from seasonal ingredients, with standout items like seared scallops and Sober Island oysters. While the kale salad is popular, it’s a bit heavy on the kale. The snow crab dip and mussels, while good, might leave you expecting a bit more dynamism. Overall, it was an enjoyable evening out with good service. Give it a try for Brunch! 

If you are staying at a Dartmouth Airbnb, then you must go by Maria’s Pasta Bar & Pantry for snow-day supplies. This family-run pasta shop and Italian pantry has high-quality dinner kits and ready-to-bake and eat items like lasagna, ravioli, gnocchi, meatballs, tomato sauces, tiramisu and coconut chocolate cake, plus small batch made in Nova Scotia Goodmore Kombucha — all meals and desserts are made from scratch using local ingredients. They also serve pasta meals for lunch on Fridays and Saturdays. Ideal for an Airbnb night-in, especially if a nor’easter storm hits. Top tip: Always be prepared during a Halifax winter or early spring with extra food and drink just in case, and consider having a flashlight handy.

Another fabulous way to hang loose in Dartmouth is to book a restorative massage or thermal water circuit at Nature Folk Wellness Collective, scroll down for Halifax day spa reviews. 

Plan Your Halifax Getaway: Off-Season Halifax City Guide

Halifax’s Dynamic North End

After experiencing downtown Halifax, venture to the North End for a renaissance of development and expansion. This part of HRM, abundant in creativity and culture, boasts a flourishing arts and food scene, plus a lively nightlife, making it highly attractive with the emergence of numerous new businesses.

Haligonians debate about where the North End begins and ends in Halifax. But for the sake of making sightseeing easy for visitors, it roughly starts near the far north end of the Halifax Citadel, and encompasses two main streets — Agricola and Gottingen — until they bump into the Hydrostone District. Happy to hear in the comments if you feel differently! 

Moxy Hotel Halifax 

Moxy Halifax is the first Moxy Marriott to open in Canada! The new boutique-style hotel captures the North End’s youthful energy with its fun work-and-play philosophy. Its central location, between downtown and the north side, means you can easily walk anywhere. Your Moxy stay will be a refreshing departure from the traditional ‘big box’ hotel experience. Picture this: check-in is at the bar, where a Moxy signature cocktail welcomes you. The busy bar area is the heart of social activity, where guests gather to eat, drink, meet friends, work, and more!

Why does Moxy make for an ideal off-season stay in Halifax? Because you can watch the snow sweep wildly over Citadel Hill from the corner window of your King Corner Studio while preparing a light meal in the well-equipped kitchenette, complete with a full-size fridge, stovetop, microwave, pots, pans, dishes, cutlery, and a toaster! Feeling sociable? Head down to the Moxy communal area to remote work by a cozy fireplace, visit the bar for delightful drinks and food (order the fresh green salad and the Spicy Gambas!), and chill in the evening with a rousing game of Cards Against Humanity or Jenga while a local weekend DJ creates a party atmosphere open to Moxy guests and Halifax locals (shout-out to DJ Caesar!). 

The North End’s Thriving Food Scene

The Narrows Public House 

For a truly local experience, skip the downtown Henry House Pub and head to The Narrows, where locals gather to eat, drink, and enjoy live Maritime music. This neighbourhood public house was featured in the 2023 Canada’s 100 Best list! Be sure to make reservations, as this heritage house-turned-restaurant is a beloved home-away-from-home for locals. The Narrows is like a mini museum of Halifax history, ideal for cold weather meals as wood stoves create a cosy and authentic Maritime atmosphere. Don’t miss the fried pepperoni, Dutch Mess with haddock, or any dish featuring bologna — a surprisingly popular choice in Atlantic Canada. Indulge your sweet tooth with heavenly sticky toffee pudding or Earl Grey panna cotta. The service at The Narrows is exceptional, ensuring you’ll never feel neglected. 

Bar Kismet 

Torontonians who are fans of Bar Raval will seek out Bar Kismet, as chef Annie Brace-Lavoie and partner Jenner Cormier worked there together. The Kismet bar has been recognized by Tales Of The Cocktail Spirited Awards and North America’s 50 Best Bars as being unique for inventive cocktails and thoughtfully curated wine. Diners are encouraged to order distinctive veggie dishes, fresh seafood, and handmade pasta tapas-style for sharing.   

Agricola Street Brasserie 

This stylish North End restaurant offers French-inspired seasonal cuisine in a modern yet rustic setting. On a cold night in Halifax, we found sweet French onion soup paired with steak frites for dinner to be the perfect meal. Agricola Street Brasserie also participates in Dine Around Halifax and offers a 3-course prix fixe menu Sunday to Thursday. With excellent choices of wine by the glass, inventive cocktails, and generous food portions, it’s a must-visit for travellers seeking the best cold-weather comfort foods, such as baked brie, beef Wellington, crème brûlée, and savoury oysters.

While The Narrows and Bar Kismet offer cosy and intimate settings, Agricola Street Brasserie, while still maintaining an intimate atmosphere, provides a more open space, making it well-suited for larger gatherings.

A night out for drinks in the North End is easy, there are plenty of restaurant bars that serve cocktails, and brewpubs like Stillwell Freehouse and Charm School, plus the award-winning Compass Distillers for artisanal cocktails and spirits. But if you want a clandestine bar experience, then you should seek out the private Charlie’s Club for a real Halifax throwdown. You can also head to the Marquee Ballroom for live music (including the Junos!), which is connected to The Local and The Seahorse, two other bars in the same building. Top tip: For underground music events check out rhythm_and_color on Instagram. 

When exploring the North End during the day, consider the following places for a casual meal or snack:

  • Creative Cup: Offers sandwiches, bagels, sweet baked goods, and fresh coffee.
  • FL Bakery: Known for buttery fresh croissants and bread (arrive early as they sell out fast).
  • 2 Crows Oxford Taproom + Yeah Yeahs Pizza: Enjoy local beer brews (try a flight of 4 beers) and delicious pizza slices. Check 2Crows’ socials for special events like Drag Bingo.
  • Hali Deli: A local favourite for breakfast and lunch, exuding classic old-world delicatessen charm. Feast on overstuffed sandwiches, smoked meats, and the famous potato hash (FYI cash only diner).
  • Dee Dee’s: Pop by for ice cream or grab a burrito to enjoy later, conveniently located near Hali’s delicatessen.
  • Julien’s Patisserie Bakery & Café: Located in the Hydrostone Market District, offering artisanal bread, buns, sandwiches, and other delectable sweet treats to recharge your body on a chilly day.

If your Halifax North End Airbnb or Moxy studio room with a kitchenette serves as your home base, consider grabbing ready-made meals at Jane’s Next Door. This tiny shop on Gottingen Street offers a good selection of frozen meals for a convenient grab-and-go experience. Additionally, Maria’s Pasta Bar & Pantry in Dartmouth and Pete’s Frootique & Fine Foods downtown are recommended for specialty groceries, ready-made, and deli foods.

Halifax’s Quirky & Artistic Shopping Scene

Many shops were visited to find the most perfect Halifax souvenirs to recommend, plus uniquely East Coast items that you might just keep for yourself. 

Downtown Halifax’s Must-Visit Shops

Carrefour Atlantic and The Puffin Gallery

Located at the Historic Properties on Upper Water Street, these two shops are owned by Michel Levasseur, a true character with incredible knowledge about East Coast artists and history. Carrefour Atlantic and the gallery space are both eclectic emporiums of books, art and handicrafts from Atlantic Canada, First Nations, and the Canadian North. Highly recommend you go in for a chat with Michel and his shop assistant Yolanda! 

Shoreline Designs

Also at the Historic Properties is Shoreline, a family business and working studio run by jewellery maker Jocelyn. The shop has an array of beautiful and affordable jewellery, especially wonderful is the range of gemstone rings, from larimar and green agate to golden quartz and stunning labradorite. One of Jocelyn’s sterling silver or gemstone rings will make for a lasting reminder of your trip to Halifax, especially if you make your own ring at one of the shop’s ‘Make Your Own Ring’ workshops.  

Another Shop 

Near the Muir Hotel is Another boutique for high-end clothing, including in-house line Sattva by Sarah, footwear (e.g., Vagabond and VEJA), accessories (e.g., Bare Knitwear and Yerse), bags and wallets (e.g., Elk and Ilse Jacobsen), and locally made Nova Scotia skincare products from cult brand The Cure. 

Dartmouth Destination Shopping 

The Trainyard General Store

If you’re in search of unique and fun Halifax souvenirs, look no further than Trainyard General Store! Not only does Trainyard offer a diverse selection of products, but they also give back to the community by donating 5% of sales to various charities, including Out of the Cold, Dartmouth Community Fridge, and The North Grove. Additionally, the store hosts on-site art and maker classes and features a community shelf offering free books and craft kits. From fantastic books by Maritime and Mi’kmaw writers to amusing postcards, pillowcases, tote bags, pins, and candles featuring iconic Nova Scotia images or cultural references, Trainyard General Store truly has something for everyone on your shopping list!

Renegade Records

Step into this old-school music shop and immerse yourself in walls filled with records, band t-shirts, CDs, 45s, posters, decals, and more! Whether you’re browsing or buying, it’s a fun place to hang out and listen to tunes, especially on a chilly day.

North End Must-Visit Shops! 

The North End of Halifax has wonderful shops for souvenirs and gifts. Though you may need to stroll a few blocks to reach them all, it’s well worth it, especially on a sunny day. Along the way, you can pop into a café or enjoy a pint at one of the neighbourhood’s local craft beer breweries.

Frabjous Delights Specialty Foods

Curated food and drink from Nova Scotia and around the world can be found at Frabjous Delights. Hidden down a side street, this culinary curiosity shop is home to Whim Chocolates, made in-house Belgium chocolate bars in an assortment of unusual flavours. Pop in for an informal chocolate tasting and to sample other shop oddities. Frabjous Delights also does foodie workshops like oyster shucking. 

Studio 14, Gifts & Gallery

The outside of this shop could be more enticing, but once inside it’s a treasure trove of affordable artwork by old and new Maritime artists you will definitely want to take home with you.

Other North End shops for novel Nova Scotia souvenirs include Lady Luck Boutique and Made in the Maritimes, both in the Hydrostone Market District. 

 Compared to Toronto, Halifax may not have as many vintage stores, making finding vintage garments and accessories in the city a true treasure hunt! Definitely seek out Lost & Found and Reiyee Vintage

Lost & Found 

Step into a dress-up world of fun vibes, where hand-picked secondhand fashion and vintage pieces stand alongside local artwork and hand-crafted accessories. Keep an eye out for NSCAD grad Anne-Sophie Vallée’s edgy and original jewellery. Fans of granny-chic and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel will adore this eclectic store.

Reiyee Vintage

Blink and you might miss this shop, as it’s on a side street. Well worth finding, thanks in part to the fascinating story of its owner, Bob, and how he stumbled upon his North End location: through an atypical storefront search on Kijiji! Bob originally operated a second-floor shop in Dartmouth but desired a more accessible space in the burgeoning North End. With a passion for vintage clothing dating back to his student days, Bob decided to segue into retail. Reiyee serves as an extension of Bob’s personal love for sporty and urban streetwear, offering a highly curated collection of collectable pieces.

Halifax Must-See Places & Seasonal Events

Africville Museum and Seaview Memorial Park 

Even if you learned about the history of Nova Scotia’s Africville in school (sadly, most Canadians don’t even know about this appalling saga), taking the time to visit this historic Halifax site will shed light on the experience of growing up and living in the once-vibrant community of Africville. If the Africville Heritage Trust executive director, Juanita Peters, happens to be on-site during your visit, be sure to speak with her; she’s a wealth of information about the lives and challenges African Nova Scotians endured on the southern shore of Bedford Basin in Halifax. Transportation tip: Take an Uber to Africville, as the city bus doesn’t take you close enough to the park and memorial church. 

Every July marks the Annual Africville Reunion, a cherished yet somewhat bittersweet occasion for former Africville residents and their descendants to gather, remember, and share the 150-year history of this nearly erased African Nova Scotian community. Africville was home to its residents until the 1960s when they were forcibly displaced, and their homes were demolished by the City of Halifax.

Other must-see places in Halifax include Peggy’s Cove (though it’s best to avoid the summer months when the road there is clogged with tour buses), the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, and the Halifax Waterfront, boasting one of the world’s longest urban boardwalks.

Atlantic Sex Show 

Unexpected but titillating, this three-day event in Halifax draws in locals ready to embrace their wild side! It’s a safe space to explore your sexual curiosity through workshops like tassel twirling, pastie making, kink negotiation, and intimacy sessions. The schedule is packed with kink and dungeon demos, panel discussions, fashion shows, comedy acts, burlesque, and drag performances, followed by fun after-parties at downtown music venues. Shop a diverse array of Maritime vendors such as Mystic Mint, Blackwater Armoury, Twisted Sun, Babalon Leather, and Venus Envy for all your boudoir and sexytime essentials. Additionally, delve into discussions about sexual health and connect with representatives from the AIDS Coalition of Nova Scotia (ACNS), Halifax Sexual Health Centre, and Stepping Stone Association. Even if kink isn’t your vibe, it’s an out-of-the-box Halifax experience you’ll likely find intriguing!

Highly recommend catching a show at Neptune Theatre, the largest professional theatre company in Atlantic Canada. Had a chance to see LAST SHOW ON EARTH ™!, a brilliantly original play by Breton Lalama. It was a cocktail of hilarious and provocative energy, channelling vibes from Rocky Horror, Hunger Games, David Lynch, and Lady Miss Kier of Deee-Lite. Be sure to check out Neptune’s season lineup of shows online.

Additional events to discover in Halifax include Road to the Junos, OperAtlantic, Nova Scotia Music Week, the outdoor electronic music festival Juno’s Icefest, Icewine Festival, and the Nova Scotia Lobster Crawl. Also, keep your eyes open for the inaugural Nova Scotia Stampede scheduled to kick off in the fall of 2024. 

Let A Halifax Spa Experience Brighten Your Day 

When inclement weather strikes and sightseeing is put on hold, it’s the perfect opportunity to take a beat and unwind at one of Halifax’s top-day spas. We did some spa-hopping and recommend these three very different spas across the city.

Spirit Spa

Spirit Spa Hydrostone, one of two Spirit locations, offers the best facials in Halifax. Their Northern Lights Facial is a standout, combining upper torso massage, a customized face mask, and LED light therapy for a luxurious experience. Using Eminence Organic Skincare products, it’s truly one of the best facials available. After your treatment, you can purchase recommended Eminence skincare, along with many other premium face and body products at the spa.

Spirit Spa itself is stunning, spread across several floors with tranquil relaxation lounges boasting floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the charming Hydrostone Market District in Halifax’s North End. Cosy up by the fireplace in a plush robe and sip hot tea without a care. A spa perk: Enjoy a complimentary steam shower before your treatment for instant relaxation. It’s no wonder Spirit Spa has been named the Best Spa in Halifax! Highly recommended!

Nature Folk Wellness Collective

Suffering from travel-weary bones? Take the ferry to Dartmouth for a rejuvenating spa day at Nature Folk. This modern bathhouse, sauna, and bodywork facility by the waterfront offers a one or two-hour thermal circuit to retreat from a grey Halifax day. Move from the dry sauna to the warm pool to the cold plunge pool, refreshing your body with a DIY salt scrub and mud mask provided by Nature Folk. You can also book an infrared sauna session or lymphatic deep tissue massage for further therapeutic benefits.

Nature Folk Wellness has an earthy and chill vibe, perfect for healing and reducing overstimulation due to travel or other life stresses. Beyond the Nordic sauna spa experience, you can book a yoga session, somatic movement class, or a certified Sherpa breathwork session. The spa team is amazing when it comes to booking last-minute massages, always keeping you informed about available openings and addressing any first-timer questions promptly. Spa tip: Book in advance as Nature Folk appointments fill up fast! 

For a downtown spa experience, indulge in a halotherapy salt treatment at Windward Wellness at the Muir Hotel. Beyond halotherapy, the hotel spa offers a sauna, steam room, cold plunge pool, and spa pool for complete relaxation.

Getting Around Halifax 

Halifax is a walkable and safe city, with courteous drivers who typically give pedestrians the right of way. You can purchase single-use bus tickets or a transit pass, depending on the duration of your stay. You can pay with exact change ($2.75), or buy a pack of 10 bus tickets ($24.75), or get a month pass for $82.50 at Lawtons Drug Stores.  

The ferry between Halifax and Dartmouth (Alderney Landing) is covered by the transit pass, or you can pay the exact change (the ferry terminal has a change machine to make getting the correct amount of coins easy). The Halifax-Dartmouth ferry is the oldest saltwater ferry in North America; it takes 15 minutes and has stunning views of Halifax and Dartmouth. Top tip: Ask for a ferry transfer to return for free within an hour. 

Getting to and from the Halifax airport cheaply: There is an affordable shuttle bus that loops between the airport and downtown, look for the Express #320 shuttle bus. You will need to pay the exact fare to board: $4.25 cash fare.

Halifax Uber and taxis: Uber is fast in Halifax (at least in the off-season), on average never waited more than one or two minutes, and on average the rate was about $8 dollars within the city core.  

In general, getting around Halifax is easy and doesn’t take long in the off-season. Public transit and rideshare services are affordable and reliable. 

Getting To Halifax, Nova Scotia 

Toronto-Halifax VIA Rail eco-friendly travel option: I would love to travel from Toronto to Montreal, and then onward to Halifax on the Ocean train. An old-school way to travel that offers one of the most scenic and leisurely ways to explore the vast landscape of Eastern Canada. From what I’ve been told, this route has the Skyline dome car and offers Sleeper Plus class (which is a good idea to book, as the Toronto-Halifax route takes a whole day!).   

Other approaches include flying into Halifax Stanfield International Airport or arriving by ship at Halifax Harbour. Over 200+ cruise ships are scheduled to visit Halifax in 2024, starting in April. 

Discover Halifax’s Year-Round Allure

Halifax offers an abundance of events year-round, excellent restaurants and breweries, diverse neighbourhoods to explore, and first-class hotel accommodations. 

To help plan your trip to Halifax, we recommend you look online at and, as well as Halifax Events on Facebook for announcements about upcoming concerts, comedy shows, theatre, live performances, drag and burlesque shows, and other fabulous events in Nova Scotia.  

When flying out of Halifax, make sure to visit Liquid Assets in the airport departure lounge. Here, you can purchase unique Nova Scotia wines, spirits, beer, and cider that you won’t find anywhere else. Treat yourself to a bottle of Raging Crow Distillery Dill Pickle Vodka, Caldera Hurricane Canadian Whisky, Compass Distillers x Unfiltered Brewing Beer Whisky, or Steinhart Maple Vodka — perfect as boozy gifts for family and friends (or yourself!). Ask about convenient travel-size 100ml bottles to lighten your load of souvenirs.

We hope you enjoy your next holiday in Halifax!


About Sonja Andic 64 Articles
Covers lifestyle, art, culture, entertainment, music, travel and city events for Toronto Guardian. A strategic communicator, popularity creator and social connector with a diverse portfolio of accomplishments.