Twenty-four hours is not enough time to truly immerse yourself in the history, architecture, culture and food scene in Halifax, Nova Scotia. You need at least several days!
When your time is even shorter for playing tourist – for example, only two hours – you have to really plan your visit well. My recent business trip offered me just a bit of time to explore, so I’ve come up with a mini list of “Things to Do in Halifax in Two Hours”. Don’t judge! The conditions were a chilly fall day with a sleet and snow mix and I was on foot.
Walk Up to the Halifax Citadel
Not only do you get to explore a part of Halifax’s history, you get a view of the downtown core below. Although the landscape is obstructed by tall buildings, you get a good lay of the land. Along the way, signage gives you a history lesson and photos from the past that show the city in the early 20th century. Guided tours are available during the summer and early fall period. Fee upon entry.
Note: It’s quite the walk up from the downtown core area to the Citadel. If you have trouble walking, look to take a cab up to the entrance.
View the Halifax Town Clock
The Halifax Town Clock sits at the base of Citadel Hill on Carmichael Street. It can be easily seen from Barrington Street, several hundred metres below, making it a focal point. It’s one of the most photographed buildings in Halifax and for many, the most recognizable. Built in the early 19th century, it began keeping time in 1803. You can’t miss it!
Old Burying Ground
Visiting a cemetery may sound spooky, and this one, when viewed in late Fall, really can give you the creeps. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to visit it on a Sunday in November. The gates were closed! I only had a chance to peek through the metal fence at the old gravestones.
Established in 1749, it’s the oldest cemetery in Halifax. Buried here is British Major General Robert Ross, who was instrumental in the Washington Raid of 1814, and the burning of the White House.
Location: The corner of Spring Garden Road and Barrington St.
The Grand Parade has its origins in 1749 when it was a military square. On one side is St. Paul Church – the oldest building in Halifax, and Canada’s first Anglican church. In the center is the cenotaph commemorating Canadian soldiers who died in World War I. On the other side is Halifax City Hall, built in the late 19th century. The view from the cenotaph looking west is the Halifax Town Clock.
Dining along Argyle Street
Five Fishermen Restaurant on Argyle Street has been consistently voted as one of the best seafood restaurants in Halifax. If you have time for a great experience, this is the place to stop. There are numerous other establishments along the road include pubs and bars that are worthwhile a stop for a quick lunch. One thing you MUST do is have at least some fresh lobster. It would be sacrilegious (in my humble opinion) to not have some fresh lobster either whole or as part of a meal such as lobster roll – unless you don’t eat seafood or are allergic.
What are your recommendations for things to do in Halifax if you have limited time? I hope to visit the city again in the next little while and would love your tips!