What's there to do in Halifax?
January 17, 2007 8:56 AM   Subscribe

How can I kill a few hours in Halifax?

I have 3 or 4 hours to kill on Friday morning, and I'll be staying at the Lord Nelson Hotel on the corner of Spring Garden Rd and South Park Street. Is there anything interesting in that area? Is it too cold to walk around? I keep hearing about the Citadel and Google Maps tells me it's fairly close--is that worth seeing? Thanks!
posted by reformedjerk to Travel & Transportation around Halifax, NS (12 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: The Lord Nelson is at a great, very central location. You can walk almost anywhere in Halifax from there in about half an hour. It can get very cold, but with good winter wear it's very bracing and refreshing.

Some ideas:

There are a lot of really interesting shops on Spring Garden Road, if you walk toward the Harbour (and thus also the Citadel).

I really enjoyed the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, which has some Titanic memorabilia. If you are interested in the history of the Titanic, there is also Fairview Cemetery, which has the graves of 121 people who died in the Titanic (including one J. Dawson, whose grave got a lot of visitors in the wake of the movie). The nearby Historic Properties are quite interesting too.

There is a casino, too.

JWD bookstore is worth a visit. Seriously.

Point Pleasant Park is a bit of a walk from the Lord Nelson, but it's a beautiful wooded park on the Atlantic Ocean.

One of the great things about Halifax is the culture -- live music, theatre and more -- but I don't know how much you'll catch on a Friday morning. Check out The Coast for listings.

Enjoy Halifax! It's a wonderful place.
posted by sueinnyc at 9:28 AM on January 17, 2007

To answer your question about the Citadel, it's interesting if you like historic sites, but to my recollection you don't get to see very much.
posted by sueinnyc at 9:29 AM on January 17, 2007

Friday: possibility of snow or rain; high of 4C.
The Citadel is interesting in a military history sort of way, but it looks like its museum is closed from November to April. You could also walk to the Museum of Natural History, or the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic (it's a mile or two from your hotel, but there is pretty regular bus service in that area) - intriguing naval and Titanic displays. You will be in a good shopping area by your hotel, and there is a touristy shopping zone (Historic Properties) close to the latter museum. Also a few miles away is Pier 21, "From the twenties to the seventies, Pier 21 was Canada's 'front door' to over a million immigrants, wartime evacuees, refugees, troops, war brides and their children." The site says it's open Tuesday-Saturday; 10:00am - 5:00pm.
posted by fish tick at 9:34 AM on January 17, 2007

posted by fish tick at 9:34 AM on January 17, 2007

Best answer: Right now it's -20, but it's suppose to be about freezing on Friday, so it won't be too cold by any means. Unfortunately the Public Gardens, which is right across from your hotel, will be closed. The Citadel is indeed right by the hotel, too, but it's not open at this time of year. You could walk up the hill and get a nice view of the city, but you can't get into the fort.

Your hotel is downtown, so there's lots to do around there.

If you want to walk in a park, a 15-minute walk along South Park St will get you to Point Pleasant Park, which is nice to walk around even in winter. It was devastated by Hurricane Juan a few years ago, so if it looks like there are a lot of downed trees/clear areas, that's not because Haligonians are chainsaw-weilding madmen.

You could check out the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, which is on Hollis St, near the water and a close walk to your hotel. Quite nearby to that is the Martimite Museum of the Atlantic. If you're interested in immigation to Canada, check out Pier 21, here.

What else to do? It's too bad you're not here on Saturday, or I'd recommend the Halifax Farmer's Market. At the same location Keith's Brewery Tours run, but not, unfortunately, at the time you're in town.

Halifax has tons of bars, but I don't think that'll be much use to you. You know, if nothing downtown strikes your fancy, and it's not too bad on the roads, I might recommend renting a car, if you feel like it, and driving down to Peggys Cove along the 333 - it's a beautiful drive, even in winter, though if it's too cold of if the roads aren't clear it might not be fun. But I did it last January when the roads were clear and it was beautiful. In 3 or 4 hours you could go down to Lunenberg and back. I would recommend driving the whole 333 - past Peggys Cove is the memorial to Swissair 111, and it's a great drive.

I hope that's useful. Have a good time while you're here. I'm from Toronto myself and I love this city, though you may not have quite enough time to fully enjoy it.

Oh, and if you're in the mood for an extended walk in the cold, email me and I'll suggest a route.
posted by Dasein at 9:37 AM on January 17, 2007

Yes, sueinnyc is right about JWD. Incredible bookstore.
posted by Dasein at 9:38 AM on January 17, 2007

However, I would also suggest that if one is looking for used books that aren't priced like new ones, one might visit Back Pages Used Books halfway down Spring Garden Road or Schooner Books, or even Dustjacket, at the foot of Spring Garden Road.
posted by fish tick at 9:46 AM on January 17, 2007

You could ride the ferry across Halifax Harbour (an inexpensive harbour tour!) to Dartmouth, and explore the Dartmouth Heritage museum, located in Evergreen, the former home of Dr. Helen Creighton, noted folklorist.
posted by fish tick at 10:25 AM on January 17, 2007

Go to the Economy Shoe Shoppe and have the lobster flambe, and a pint of Propeller.


posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 11:35 AM on January 17, 2007

There's more than one Halifax in the world (the question seemed to assume not), and if you're ever in the UK, pay Eureka a visit!
posted by dance at 12:59 PM on January 17, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for the great answers everyone! I hope it's not too cold when I'm there. Also, apologies for my Canadian-centric view of the world--it actually completely didn't occur to me that there was more than one Halifax in the world :-p Oops.
posted by reformedjerk at 9:03 AM on January 18, 2007

Sorry that there was wild weather in Halifax when you arrived, rj - hope you found something interesting to do.
posted by fish tick at 5:18 AM on January 22, 2007

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