Seasonal February 5, 2014

A Family Winter Getaway to Halifax, Nova Scotia

Are you planning a family visit to Halifax, Nova Scotia and needing some advice on how to organize your weekend? I’ve put together a sample itinerary for what our family would do if we were coming to Halifax for the first time and only had a weekend to see everything. We tend to fit a lot into our travel schedules, so if you would rather have a more relaxed visit, than simply remove one or two activities per day.

Day 1

Arrive as early as you can on a Friday. If you aren’t coming from far away or can take the afternoon off of work you’ll be much more rested for your weekend’s adventures. I suggest staying at one of the local hotels that has a pool if your children like swimming, or at least a hot tub for mommy and daddy to relax in. Check the Destination Halifax website for package deals that include dinner, breakfast, parking etc. Some great hotel suggestions for families are:

Atlantica Hotel Halifax, 1980 Robie St.

Hampton Inn & Suites Dartmouth Crossing, 65 Cromarty Dr.

Comfort Hotel Halifax, 88 Chain Lake Dr.

In the evening you might want to head to the Emera Oval, an outdoor ice skating rink on the Halifax Common. Skate and helmet rentals are free. Most Friday nights starting at 6:30 p.m., 101.3 The Bounce radio station takes their road show to the Oval with fun, prizes, and music.

Day 2

Wake up early and either grab breakfast at the hotel if it’s included, or head straight to the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market, 1209 Marginal Rd. There are so many wonderful vendors there with homemade treats to try. You can get coffee, smoothies, and pastries fresh out of the oven. Make sure you pick up some local fruit and goodies for your hotel room. Parking is free on the weekend in the parking lot or at any of the parking meters near the Market.

From the Market, head to the Discovery Center, 1593 Barrington St., a hands-on science center where children will have a blast for about 2 hours and not even realize they are learning. Don’t worry, it’s fun for parents too! You can park at any meter close by.

There are many lunch options in the area. Here are some restaurants I would choose for my family keeping a budget in mind:

Subway, 1560 Argyle St.

Certainly Cinnamon (soup and sandwiches), 1673 Barrington St.

Scotia Square Mall food court

After lunch why not take the family to the Museum of Natural History, 1747 Summer St. They have recently renovated and added a large globe called Science on a Sphere where you can see the Earth’s ocean currents, earthquakes happening in real time, temperature ratings, and much more. Other permanent exhibits include Gus the Gopher Tortoise who is 91 years old, marine and archaeology galleries.

Now might be a great time to go back to the hotel for a swim or nap. Some restaurants you might want to consider for dinner:

The Wooden Monkey, 1707 Grafton St. and 40 Alderney Dr.

The Five Fishermen Restaurant and Grill, 1740 Argyle St.

Waterfront Warehouse, 1549 Lower Water St.

Kempster’s Cookhouse and Eatery, 3644 Kempt Rd.

Montana’s, Jack Astors, Boston Pizza or Swiss Chalet in Dartmouth Crossing

Day 3

After checking out of your hotel (and possibly having one last swim) head to Hatfield Farm, 1840 Hammonds Plains Rd. for the Weekend Family Round Up. Included in this adventure package: Wagon/Sleigh Ride, Petting Pen, Mini Golf, All-You-Can-Eat Hot Dogs, Unlimited Juice, Pop, Coffee & Tea and time in the Rubber Rodeo with Inflatable Games. This starts at 11 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. It’s about 20 minutes outside of the city but worth the drive.

A few other options you might want to add to your trip if your schedule permits:

A Halifax Mooseheads hockey game

A performance at Neptune Theatre (Mary Poppins is coming up!)

For more sample itineraries, visit