This past summer I went to a wedding in St.Andrews by-the-sea, New Brunswick, located on the East Coast of Canada. I decided to extend my trip to spend 3 days in Halifax. I had heard incredible things about the city, and was excited to explore a place with a rich history, great Canadian breweries, gorgeous coast line and home to a little known hockey player named Sidney Crosby.
Looking to spend 3 days in Halifax? Below I outline our favourite places to eat in Halifax, amazing cocktail bars, things to do and a step-by-step guide to the iconic Peggy’s Cove and Lunenburg day trip that will have you draining that camera battery like nobody’s business.
Day 1 of 3 Days in Halifax
Breakfast at The Coastal Cafe
Get there early to avoid the line! This is one of Halifax’s best restaurants for breakfast and brunch. It’s small, so don’t go if you’re in a rush. Try the huevos rancheros or the breakfast sandwich with home fries!
After breakfast, wander down Argyle Street, one of Halifax’s most iconic streets and spend a few hours walking around downtown. I like to do this on the first day I visit somewhere new to get situated and establish points of interest!
Walk the Boardwalk
We visited Halifax during the Tall Ships festival, which was completely accidental and a nice surprise (although it was VERY crowded in the city). The ships were stunning, and some were open to the public.
Festival or no festival, the Halifax boardwalk is a must visit!
If you’re visiting between mid-June to mid-October, stop and have a drink and snack at the Stubborn Goat Beer Garden right on the water. Sit in the sun and enjoy people watching over an ice cold pint.
The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic
You may have heard of a little ship called the Titanic. What you may not know is how big a role Halifax played when the ship hit the iceberg in 1912. Halifax was the closest port city to the crash, brought the first responders to the ship and became the resting place for the perished.
You will learn all of this and so much more at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. I spent a good hour in the Titanic exhibit, reading the diaries of victims, admiring the craftsmanship and attention to detail of the uncovered artifacts.
It’s rather bone-chilling to learn about the human beings that lost their lives, and it opens your eyes to so much more than the “there was totally room for Jack on that door!!” debate.
Happy Hour at Lot Six
On a lighter note! It’s time for happy hour at this gorgeous venue, Lot Six! Make sure you get a spot at the bar in the atrium! This is such a cool spot to sip on a cocktail or two before dinner.
Dinner at Bicycle Thief
You can’t visit Halifax without a million people telling you to have dinner at Bicycle Thief. And for good reason. This is Halifax’s top rated restaurant, and great for delicious Italian soul food. I highly recommend getting a seafood based pasta dish (AND making a reservation!!). You are on the East Coast of the Atlantic after all!
We ate soo much seafood on the trip. Every time we said we needed a break from seafood, a delicious fish dish would be placed down at the table next to us, and we had to follow suit.
Day 2 of 3 Days in Halifax
Coffee at Dilly Dally
Wake up bright and early for a day trip to Peggy’s Cove, Lunenburg and Mahone Bay! Lots of ground to cover! Stop at our favourite coffee shop called Dilly Dally, a super cute cafe on your way out of town! Grab a breakfast sandwich to go as well.
Just don’t dilly dally because you have places to be!!
Ugh. Why Kaylee, you could have just left it alone!
Peggy’s Cove is one of the most well known attractions in Nova Scotia and houses the most photographed lighthouse in Canada. That’s a lot of most’s. This designation means it’s a liiiitle crowded, with droves of tourism buses stopping by at all hours of the day.
I loved this area for it’s fisherman’s charm. Docks littered with buoys, fishing netting and ropes, and small boats drawn up on shore. The coastline is surrounded by colourful houses atop rolling hills of greenery that spill into cliff rocks.
The smell of sea salt and vinegar carried by the wind from nearby restaurants is enough to make anyone hungry. Sooo.. next stop:
Known for the “Best lobster roll you’ve EVER had”. Seriously, check tripadvisor if you don’t believe me.
After stuffing your face and taking enough pictures to fill a memory card, drive to Mahone Bay and Lunenburg, about 30 minutes from Peggy’s Cove.
If you thought Peggy’s Cove was as East Coast as it gets, wait until you see Lunenberg. This is where you’ll find the colourful, barn style buildings lined on the fishing docks you’ve seen in the picture books!
Lunenburg is charming, but small. You should be able to cover most of it in an hour or two. If you want to stick around, grab a beer on the water at Old Fish Factory or have a bite to eat and one of the the best restaurants in Lunenburg, The Savvy Sailor (see what I mean about seafood overload?! It’s everywhere!!).
Drive through Mahone Bay on your way home, stopping to admire the churches, and popping into any eccentric stores that catch your eye. We had dinner at Rebecca’s on the water, with the bay stretched out in front of us.
A few other restaurants in Mahone Bay to check out are Ricardo’s Pizza, Oh my Cod, and Mateus Bistro.
Day 3 of 3 Days in Halifax
Brunch at Edna
Wake up and have brunch at Edna, one of the best restaurants in the city. Edna comes highly recommended by tourists and locals alike, so prepare to wait in line and get there as early as possible! They are known to have a line before they even open! Try the french toast, ricotta pancakes or veggie eggs benedict. Wash them down with a grapefruit mimosa. Mmmmm.
Citadel Hill National Historic Site
If you are traveling in 2017/2018, entry into the Citadel is free thanks to Canada’s 150 Birthday Celebration. Happy B-day Canada! Thanks for the free stuff!
Wander around the grounds, and learn about how the fortress was used to protect the city against enemy attacks. Take in the views of the city and harbour, and explore a few feature exhibits before making the trek back down. This is also a great place to go running, and you might even catch a glimpse of Sidney Crosby cross-training. Rumour has it Citadel sprints are an integral part of his off-season training.
Shopping on Spring Garden Road
Enough history, time to shop! Head to Spring Garden Road and visit a few boutiques and souvenir shops. Have a pint at Your Father’s Moustache, a vibrant pub with rooftop patio.
Another great place for views of the city is the Halifax Central Library. It was built to look like a stack of books, and houses an incredible fifth floor outdoor patio.
Quick stop: Lunch at 2 Doors Down for food and a glass of rosé
Halifax Public Gardens
From there, wander the Halifax Public Gardens, 16-acres of flowers, lawn, fountains, statues, and a very instagrammable iron entrance.
Dinner – Your choice!
Choose your own adventure! We decided to walk back up Citadel Hill for sunset to say sayonara to Halifax before heading to Boston (a great place to visit after Halifax if you have the time! One hour flights leave on the regular!)
Heading to Boston? Check out my post on how to spend 3 days in Boston.
A few dinner suggestions to pick from:
- Edna (if you didn’t get there for breakfast)
- The Auction House
- The Five Fisherman
After dinner drinks
- The Highwayman for cocktails
- StillWell for craft beers, depending on your taste!
- Good Robot Brewing
BONUS! Have an extra day in Halifax? Take a wine tour! We didn’t get a chance to do this but local upon local recommended checking this out. I heard great things about Wolfville Magic Winery Bus. A local favourite for food and wine is Pete Luckett’s Winery.
I hope this gives you some insight into how to spend 3 days in Halifax! If you are even shorter on time, try a duck tour! I know they seem cheesy, but it’s a great way to see the city and learn more about it’s history in a short 90 minute ride!