We visited Halifax during our 2 week road trip of New England and Canada. We rented a car in Boston, explored Maine, spent some fun days along the Bay of Fundy, and relaxed in Prince Edward Island (PEI) before heading to Halifax.
We knew that it was a bit out of our way and that it was a long way to go for a short visit, but we were still excited to get into Nova Scotia and to explore the harbor town of Halifax.
We arrived in town by around 1 pm and got set up in our room at Homewood Suites (booked for free with points earned from a Hilton credit card signup bonus). Then we headed out to explore. It was a very hot day!
What We Did
We grabbed a quick lunch in the food court of Scotia Square which was only a few blocks from our hotel. It was a big food court with lots of options. Eric got Indian food and Della a shawarma plate. We hadn’t brought our highchair so Kiddo had to sit in his stroller and consequently didn’t eat much. We were in a bit of a rush though, so it didn’t matter too much.
We roughly used this self-guided walking tour to follow throughout our day. Our first stop was City Hall and St. Paul’s Church, the oldest still-standing Anglican church in Canada. We then headed down to the waterfront. Our first destination was the Maritime Museum…. err.. rather, the maritime themed playground outside of it. In an ideal trip, we would have spent some time poring over the 30,000 artifacts here, but we knew Kiddo was a bit too young and we were definitely pressed for time. As mentioned above, it was a HOT day and playing around the playground got us all a bit red-faced! So, we did the most natural thing – we got some icecream at Cows and relaxed in the shade while we ate it.
Our next stop was the Farmer’s Market. We had intended to do a quick stroll through and at least get to the Pier 21 Immigration Museum, but as soon as we saw the market was indoors, we decided we would spend a little more time there. By this point, we also knew for sure that, to our disappointment, we were likely not going to make it into the museum. Kiddo didn’t seem likely to relax or take a second nap. Unfortunately, while the Farmer’s Market was indoors – it did not have air conditioning! We also were arriving late in the day so many of the market stalls were closing up. However, we stopped a the Ursan Mead stand which was offering free tastings. We tasted several different kinds including spritzer-like fruity meads and, the most unique, a baklava flavored mead. This was a fun stop and we purchased a few bottles! (It was also a good short celebration because we had just found out that Della’s sister had gotten engaged!)
We walked by a couple more buildings on the tour we were following, but didn’t really stop until we reached the Public Gardens. Holy cow! These Victorian era gardens are beautiful! You can easily imagine people wearing lovely dresses and top hats strolling through them. We enjoyed a leisurely walk ourselves, stopping for a Kiddo snack.
Our final stop was the Citadel. Getting up this fortified hill was a bit of a hike, but it was, at least, on the way back towards our hotel. We were all hot and tired at this point and Kiddo actually did end up falling asleep in his stroller. For that reason, and because the Citadel itself was closing quite soon, we didn’t go in. Instead we just enjoyed the views of the city before heading back down.
We took advantage of the fact that Kiddo was still napping and stopped for a beer at a brewery called 2 Crows which was right next to the hotel. It was actually the most perfect timing. It had lovely air conditioning and Kiddo slept long enough for both his parents to enjoy a semi-leisurely pint.
Kiddo was a bit grumpy when we woke up so we decided to stay in for dinner. Eric headed out to grab a local specialty donair which was actually quite a bit like a gyro.
We really wish we had more time to spend in Halifax. While it was quite a drive ultimately out of our way, we are glad we went!
Traveling With Kiddo (Lessons Learned)
Most parents know that traveling with snacks and drinks is a must. We try to mostly keep Kiddo on a schedule where he eats regular snacks and meals, but sometimes a well-timed snack can save an afternoon! On this trip, we found one of the best snacks was little Clementine oranges. You can carry them un-refrigerated in your bag all day, they have a good amount of juice to keep you hydrated on really hot days, and Kiddo LOVES them.
We’ve also mentioned how our baby tent helped us out quite a bit. In Halifax, we used cushions from the couch in the room to set him up in the kitchen area of our room. That meant we had a little more distance between us and him after he went down and we didn’t worry about our reading lights disturbing him nearly as much.