Mention the East Coast of Canada to anyone and they’ll immediately talk about the friendly faces and the stunning views of the seacoast which is exactly what you will find in the city of Halifax. This quaint city, rich with culture, is home to many historical moments that are still celebrated today.
Halifax is definitely the most frequented airport for those looking to explore the Atlantic coast and makes for a great starting point for any East Coast road trip. This is exactly the reason we found ourselves in Halifax with a toddler and a baby during the quieter summer months. With plenty to see, learn, and taste, a busy but relaxing weekend can be experienced in the “city of trees’’.
Central to the downtown area, the Lord Nelson Hotel is perfect for families looking to be in the heart of it all. What lures most to this hotel is the rich history that has been well maintained. Original pieces from when the hotel was first built in 1928 are still in place; from the lobby floors and ceilings to the grandfather clock, and even the Canada Post Mail drop, it’s all in use today.
The Lord Nelson Hotel offers suites that make it easy for families to have a little more space, making it a very comfortable visit. From cribs, kitchenettes and the most friendly staff who not only leave you notes about the next day’s weather forecast, but also plenty of water and chocolates for the little ones, this hotel will take care of your every need. A lovely mix of historic charm and modern amenities makes this cozy boutique hotel the perfect backdrop for anyone looking to soak in the maritime air and culture.
Note that kids aren’t allowed at restaurants and bars beyond 9 p.m. so be sure to plan for early dinners if you are travelling with anyone under the age of 19.
Dhaba Express: Out in Bayers Lake, this desi spot is a must visit when you want something spicy. Their veggie thalis and curries come highly recommended, and if you pop by on the weekends there’s a buffet to have you feeling stuffed like you just visited your dadi’s house.
Stillwell: This is one cozy beer bar that has a stellar rotating collection of local craft brews. If visiting with little ones, pop by during the less busy afternoons and be sure to sample from their menu. Classic menu items surpassed our expectations and proved to be the best we’ve had. Did I mention there’s an arcade here as well?
Brooklyn Warehouse: The freshest seafood and constantly changing menu can be found in this casual bistro. If you like comfort cuisine with a modern twist and food plated extremely well, check out this spot in the north end of Halifax.
The Bicycle Thief: A good meal is guaranteed here. The music may be a bit loud at times but it’s great for large and small groups. North American food with Italian soul is what they promise and you definitely will want to enjoy a glass of wine from their fine collection.
Edna: Swing by here if you want to brunch in style. Their regular menu is also fantastic so there’s no going wrong whenever you visit. It is a busy spot so it may be best to swing by during less busy times if you have young ones along for the meal.
Donairs: This isn’t a restaurant but a type of sandwich which no visit to Halifax is complete without sampling. Ask the locals and they’ll direct you to their favourites, and be ready to judge, as there’s a heated debate on which spot makes it best.
Waterfront and Boardwalk: A great place to let young kids stretch and run along, the boardwalk is the longest in the world. Kids can stomp around the playground, attempt climbing structures and of course get some frameable pictures of the Halifax waters. Many a ship and yacht sits on the water and perhaps you’ll meet a friendly fisherman who’ll let you aboard!
Harbour Hopper: To get a complete land and sea view of the downtown core, hop on one of these tours and have your camera ready. From the views atop Citadel Hill to those of the city skyline from the water, you’ll leave with plenty of pictures and some quirky details of the history of Halifax.
Citadel Hill: This stroller friendly attraction is truly the heart of the city; no matter where in the city you are you will always have a view of the Halifax clock at the top of the hill. Plan a visit around the Noon Gun to experience the pageantry and spend a few hours commemorating Halifax’s role as a key naval station in the British Empire.
Maritime Museum of the Atlantic: Titanic fans will not only get a good overview of the history but also have the chance to interact with some of the famous artifacts here. Meet Merlin the Macaw and the original models of Theodore the tug boat as you peruse through over 30,000 artifacts including the CSS Acadia. Psst…the CSS Acadia is known popularly as the Titanic, which sunk in 1912.
The Public Gardens: One of the finest surviving examples of Victorian Gardens in North America is also a spot for a casual stroll or picnic. Pick up some ice cream from the café and wander around the gardens as the kids chase the birds and call out the colours of the flowers.
Halifax has a small city feel with the big city culture, namely because of the student population that rules the streets during the scholastic year. In the summer, the streets are quieter and pushing the stroller up the hilly roads is a fantastic workout as the views at the top are always breathtaking. Mix in a weekend of family adventure in Halifax to feel the cool, salty breeze on your face and the beat of the Maritimes in your step.
See more of the trip to Halifax in pictures below!