Hotels in Halifax, Canada
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Halifax – Peaceful and Cultured Capital of the Maritimes
Set in gorgeous natural surrounds, and standing a little apart from mainstream urban Canada, in both geography and culture, Halifax is a uniquely peaceful city. It offers visitors a laid back atmosphere, a surprising number of cultural attractions for its size and the chance to access the wild Atlantic coast that is the very essence of the Maritime Provinces. The downtown core is well known for its active nightlife and the city as a whole boasts one of the highest number of pubs and clubs per capita in the nation.
Alexander Keith and the Soul of the City
No discussion of Halifax is complete without bringing up a certain Mr. Alexander Keith. Three times mayor of Halifax, he was a popular figure in the mid 1800’s. Perhaps for the way he carried out his civic responsibilities, but more likely for his role as the city’s first star brewmaster. Modern day visitors can tour Alexander Keith’s Nova Scotia Brewery, set right in the bustling and popular Waterfront District, home to many of the city’s best hotels. Staff dress in period costumes and guests typically have a blast drinking good craft beer from the 1800’s and getting lost in the atmosphere of a bygone era. Of course Alexander Keith’s isn’t the only place to get a drink in the city. Nearby Argyle Street is especially well-known for tons of pubs and clubs, many with terraces allowing you to watch the world go by. The Visitor Information Centre can provide a map, or just ask a friendly local for directions.
Cultural Capital of the Maritimes
Of course Halifax doesn’t only offer pubs and clubs. Despite the city’s remote location and small size, it offers terrific cultural attractions, from formal symphony orchestras and other examples of high culture to events with more local flair. The region’s strong Scottish heritage shines through in many of these attractions. Symphony Nova Scotia performs at the Dalhousie Arts Centre, and regularly tours throughout the province. The city is well known for its many arts festivals throughout the year, when hotel rooms are at a premium and guests are advised to book well in advance. Perhaps best known among them is the Halifax Pop Explosion, a two week festival showcasing great rock, pop and alternative bands, which perform at locations throughout the centre of the city. Another big annual event is the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo, a Canadian take of the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, but with a unique mix of military and civilian acts. The crisp fall nights are set ablaze during the Nocturne Festival, when the city streets come alive between 6 PM and midnight to the sights and sounds of contemporary art and music. For summer visitors, the very popular Shakespeare by the Sea Festival is a big drawcard, with fans of the Bard heading to the open air of Point Pleasant Park. The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia features a strong collection of art from the Maritimes and regularly features traveling exhibitions. It is situated right in the downtown core.
Revolutionary War Citadel in the City Limits
Given the long and fascinating history of Halifax, the city has some remarkable and significant attractions that will allow visitors to really get a sense of the history of the region. Prime among them is the Halifax Citadel. Also known as Fort George, it offers a commanding view over the city and harbour and is within easy walking distance of all the downtown hotels. It dates from the mid 1700’s and was used as an active military installation since before the American Revolutionary War. Tours are available and the site also includes a fascinating museum section. Pier 21 is another not to be missed site for those interested in Canadian history. Located in the heart of the harbour, near the cruise terminal, it was the point of entry of many immigrants to Canada from 1928 to 1971 and now houses the Canadian Museum of Immigration. It is often compared to New York’s Ellis Island. Those not exploring the Atlantic coast further afield should at least try to visit Peggy’s Cove, about 27 miles from downtown Halifax. Its lighthouse is a historic monument and it is a great spot to get a sense of the wild Atlantic.
A Paradise for Seafood Lovers
It will come as no surprise to visitors that seafood is very popular, with many city restaurants specializing in dishes using the best locally sourced bounty from the sea. Mussels, scallops and of course lobster are all very popular, but a very wide range is available. The waterfront is, unsurprisingly, the best spot for great seafood restaurants. Five Fishermen Restaurant is on bustling Argyle Street and is known as one of the best in Halifax. Aside from fresh local seafood, it also serves excellent Angus steaks brought in from Alberta. Those on a modest budget also have a great selection. The city centre is well known for its food trucks, so a wide variety of good value food is available on the go. Donair kebab is especially popular, particularly with those partying in the nightlife district, and is the perfect midnight snack for visitors before returning to their hotel for the night.