Planning a solo trip to Halifax, Canada? Here’s everything you need to know for your visit:
- Founded in 1749, Halifax is the capital of Nova Scotia and has a population of around 420,000.
- An important seaport, it is the largest urban area in the Atlantic provinces of Canada.
- A popular tourist destination, Halifax is known as the home of Alexander Keith’s Pale Ale.
- Nickname: The City of Trees.
- Currency: Canadian Dollar (CAD).
- Spoken languages: predominantly English.
- Best time to visit: from May to October. Summers are mild and not too humid, while winters are cold (though far from the coldest in Canada!)
- Arriving via airport: public transportation by bus costs $4.25 CAD per ride (exact fare is required). Taxis from the airport to downtown cost approximately $70 CAD.
- Uber is not always readily available at the airport. For those pressed for time, you’re better off pre-booking a taxi from the airport (they will track your flight). A reputable company is Deeplink Airport Taxi (+1 902 412 8832).
WHERE TO STAY
- Best hostel for solo travelers: Halifax Backpackers. The main draw here is the downtown location – just a 15 minute walk to Argyle Street (where all the action is). Clean rooms, decent common areas, and friendly/welcoming staff. As good as hostels get in Halifax – make sure to book ahead!
- Anywhere downtown would be convenient for a city trip.
- Great neighborhoods include: Dartmouth, Bedford, and the Harbour area.
- Halifax operates MetroTransit, a public transportation system that includes buses and a ferry service. The cost for bus or ferry services is $2.75 per ride. MetroX (express buses) cost $4.25 per ride.
- Instead of bothering with taxis, consider calling an Uber (using their smartphone app). It’s generally cheaper and faster than a regular cab.
- Drinking age is 19 and last call is 3 AM to 4 AM, depending on the bar.
- Fun fact: Halifax has more pubs per capita than any other city in Canada!
- Main nightlife areas: Sackville Street, Grafton Street, and Brunswick Street.
- College scene: Argyle Street, Gottingen Street or Barrington Street.
- Great bars to start your night: The Brown Hound Public House, Niche Lounge, The Old Triangle Irish Alehouse, Henry House (British pub), Propeller Arcade (video arcade bar), Roxbury Urban Dive Bar (younger crowd), The Split Crow Pub, and The Loose Cannon.
UNIQUE LANDMARKS TO VISIT
- Halifax Public Gardens – a Victorian inspired garden that has been open to the public since 1875. One of the city’s best nature walks.
- Citadel National Historic Site – an 18th Century fort with fabulous views of Halifax – one of the most visited historical sites in Canada.
- The Fairview Lawn Cemetery is best known as the final resting place for over 100 victims of the RMS Titanic. There is also a memorial for the victims of the Halifax explosion.
- Lawrencetown Beach A 1.5km long beach that has great surfing conditions but the water tends to be on the cold side here. This is a popular beach and is family friendly.
- Chain of Lakes Trail is a 7.25 km walk that takes visitors through the Bayers Lakes Industrial Park to the Lakeside Business Park.
- Halifax Waterfront Boardwalk is a 3.8 km walk along Halifax’s famous and beautiful waterfront. Visitors can also take a carriage ride along the boardwalk and see incoming cruise and cargo ships.
- Urban exploration: start from the steps of the Maritime Centre on Barrington Street and explore the surrounding areas.
- Halifax has a strong connection to the Titanic tragedy – many of the recovery ships came from the city. There is a permanent Titanic Museum at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic.
- Great restaurants to try in Halifax: Verano Food Purveyors, El Chino Snack Bar, Kanpai Izakaya, Aster Cafe (Ethiopian), Shiraz Restaurant (Persian), Kee Heong (cheap dim sum!), The Imperial Bombay.
- Dangerous areas: Halifax is generally a safe city, but has a few troubled areas. At night, it is recommended that you avoid Highland Park, Preston, Cherrybrook, and Central Halifax (near the MacDonald Bridge).
Recommended trip duration: 1-2 days