A Perfect 24 Hours in Halifax, Nova Scotia 2024 1
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A Perfect 24 Hours in Halifax, Nova Scotia 2024

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Greetings, Internet Stranger! I’m Stella Jane, author of the travel guide Get Lost, and welcome to 24 hours in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Halifax is one of my favorite small cities in the entire world, and I’ve been to hundreds of cities, spread out over six continents, so this is saying a lot.

What exactly is Halifax’s charm? Well, it’s right on the water, so between April and October, it’s simply lovely for those of the maritime persuasion. It has adorable Victorian homes, friendly people, delicious Canadian food, especially seafood, and so much more.

Join me for 24 hours in Halifax, and I’ll teach you to appreciate this city as much as I do.

Stella’s Top 3 Picks: Halifax

#1 TOP PICK

A Perfect 24 Hours in Halifax, Nova Scotia 2024 2

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
HARBOUR HOPPER TOUR
✔️ Get on land and water
✔️ Expert local guide

#2 PICK

A Perfect 24 Hours in Halifax, Nova Scotia 2024 3

WINE AND LUNCH DAY TRIP
✔️ See beautiful Nova Scotia
✔️ Visit local wineries

#3 PICK

A Perfect 24 Hours in Halifax, Nova Scotia 2024 4

ALL OTHER HALIFAX TOURS
✔️ Find your favorite!
✔️ Get the best deals

24 hours in halifax

Morning: Harbour Hopper

Spellcheck seems to think I have misspelled harbor, but that’s just because I am an American. Remember, we’re in Canada, where they spell things the British way.

Anyway, as I mentioned earlier, Halifax is on the water, so you’ll want to spend at least some time during your 24 hours in Halifax on a boat. And the easiest way to get on the water is to book a tour in the famous Harbour Hopper.

This boat/van will take you all over Halifax, over both land and water, so you can learn tons of fun facts about the city. Our guide was a local, and she was full of hilarious Canadian jokes you can’t find anywhere else. She encouraged us to wave at the people on the street saying, “Some people will wave back at you, and some people are from Toronto.”

You can go ahead and book this adorable tour by clicking here.

I can’t share everything our guide taught us, but I can share…

Three Fascinating Facts: 24 Hours in Halifax

24 hours in halifax
1) What’s the most famous landmark in Halifax?

I would venture to guess that it’s the Citadel. That’s right, even though Canadians are famously peaceful, Halifax’s most famous spot is a military fortification. We’re going to go on a proper tour of the Citadel on our next 24 hours in Halifax, but for now, you get to enjoy the great views of the city on board the Harbour Hopper, as it ascends the Citadel’s hill.

PS. I do recommend showing up for the line to the Harbour Hopper early, as this way you have a better chance of getting a window seat. This way you can take better pictures.

If you’re interested in a little more Halifax military history, let me tell you the story of British officer Robert Ross, who is buried in Halifax. According to our guide, whom I shall call Anne with an E, Ross led the burning of Washington DC during the War of 1812. As the only American on the tour, I just sat quietly while the rest of the Canadians enjoyed hearing about the White House getting torched.

A short while later, Ross died, and he had to be shipped to Halifax for burial. (If you have a weak stomach, skip this next paragraph.) In order to preserve his body, they stored it in a casket of rum. Apparently that wasn’t so unusual in the 19th century, which is why I’ll never drink rum from the War of 1812.

24 hours in halifax
2) When do we get on the water?

Right now! There’s a bit of a bump as the Harbour Hopper converts into a boat, but otherwise it’s smooth sailings and tons of fun. And we’ll have a much better time than the residents of Halifax did during the famous Halifax Explosion of 1917.

You’ll hear all about this explosion when you’re in Halifax. It seems to be the most famous event that happened in the entire history of the city. For now, I’ll give you the short version, which is that two ships collided in Halifax Harbour back in 1917. (Halifax is a small city, but it has one of the largest ice-free ports in the world, so it gets ships from everywhere.)

Unfortunately, one of those ships was carrying explosives, and I personally would be a lot more careful about getting into crashes if I were working on a ship full of explosives. Almost 2,000 people were killed in this hideous disaster and many more lost their homes. As you explore this adorable city, it’s hard to imagine something so terrible happened here only a little over a century ago.

24 hours in halifax
3) Are there any romantic stories on this tour?

Is Titanic romantic enough for you? Well, Halifax has a close association with the ship Titanic. After all, that majestic creation hit an iceberg and sank just a short distance away from Halifax. So if Rose DeWitt Bukater had been a real person, and not just a character played by Kate Winslet, she might have been taken here after she survived the accident.

Unfortunately, many people don’t understand the concept of fiction, and after the movie came out, some discovered that there was a grave in Halifax that belonged to someone who went down on Titanic. The name on that grave? J. Dawson.

As in Jack Dawson, the character played by Leonardo DiCaprio? No. Again, he was not a real person. But there was a real J. Dawson who sank on Titanic, and people still come to Halifax to visit his grave. Anne didn’t seem too bothered by this because it’s good for Halifax’s tourism industry.

24 Hour Tip

Those are all the secrets of the Harbour Hopper that I can share for now. You’ll have to go ahead and book the tour by going here to learn the rest.

Check tour rates and availability right here!

24 hours in halifax

Afternoon: Halifax Maritime Museum

We’ve learned all about Halifax from the sea and land, but now let’s dive even further into her history at the Halifax Maritime Museum. This museum will teach you all about Halifax’s amazing seafaring ways.

Even if you’re not a maritime history buff, you’ll still find tons of interesting information here about treasure hunting, maritime ghosts, and of course, Titanic. So follow me as we plunge into…

Approximately Top 5: Halifax Maritime Museum

24 hours in halifax
1) Brawta Jamaican Jerk Joint

I love that although Halifax is a quaint Canadian city, it still has restaurants serving cuisine from all over the world. A great example of that is the popular Jamaican restaurant Brawta. (This restaurant is obviously not in the Maritime Museum, but we need to eat lunch before going to the Maritime Museum, no?)

I recommend the jerk chicken sandwich, and if you like spice at all, please ask for it spicy. It seems like many Nova Scotians are scared of spice because any time someone in Halifax would warn me that food was spicy, I would take a bite, only to discover that it was…not spicy at all.

But the jerk chicken at Brawta is moist and flavorful, and it will give us enough energy to discover what else is lurking in the waters of Halifax.

24 hours in halifax
2) Cow’s Ice Cream

OK, one more food stop before we head to the Maritime Museum. This is from Cow’s Ice Cream, a Canadian chain that has been voted the best ice cream in Canada. They have tons of cool flavors, but I recommend the Cownadian Maple, which is as Canadian as that Robin Sparkles “Let’s Go to the Mall” video. It features maple ice cream, a maple swirl, and maple cookie chunks.

Just keep in mind that Cow’s is only open during the warmer months. But does anyone really want ice cream during a Nova Scotian winter anyway?

24 hours in halifax
3) The Birchbark Canoe

OK, we’re finally at the Maritime Museum, getting acquainted with famous Canadian boats, like this birchbark canoe. This canoe dates all the way back to the end of the 19th century.

The indigenous Canadian people called the Mi’kmaq used this canoe to hunt porpoise for their oil. Specifically, this canoe belonged to Chief Malti Pictou, and it was actually once featured in a movie about porpoise hunting.

I have so many questions about this canoe, but here are just a few to start. What uses does porpoise oil have? Is it healthier than canola oil? And was there a big market for movies about porpoise hunting in the early 20th century? I find museums are a lot more fun when you let yourself ask all the questions you want, no matter how silly they are.

24 hours in halifax
4) Artifacts from the Halifax Explosion

Have you heard enough about the Halifax Explosion? I hope not, Internet Stranger, because you’ll be hearing about it your entire time in Halifax.

But one thing the Maritime Museum has that the Harbour Hopper doesn’t have is a whole bunch of artifacts from the Halifax Explosion, like this clock from the Mont Blanc, aka the ship with all the explosives.

I wish the Mont Blanc had flown a giant flag reading CAUTION! A WHOLE BUNCH OF EXPLOSIVES ABOARD THIS SHIP! That probably would have saved many lives.

My favorite story about the Halifax Explosion is about a little Halifax boy whose eyes were damaged from the blast. However, he lived and grew to become a motor mechanic even though he was blind. A true inspiration, and a reminder not to let adversity stop you from achieving your dreams!

24 hours in halifax
5) Dead Eyes Tell a Tale

OK, that’s enough about maritime tragedies. How would you like to experience a maritime mystery? One of my favorite exhibits at the Maritime Museum is about the mystery shipwreck found at Terence Bay. This wasn’t just any shipwreck–it was an 18th century schooner. And if you know anything about 18th century schooners, you know that it’s extremely rare to find one.

In fact, to this day, the Terence Bay wreck is the only 18th century schooner that survives today. So finding this beauty is basically like hitting the shipwreck jackpot. Now, maybe this mystery sounds a little dull to you, but I was personally fascinated by how the shipwreck detectives learned where this treasure came from by examining old spoons and other features of the boat.

Now, if only these same maritime detectives could figure out where Jack Dawson is buried, and why Rose didn’t let him on that big piece of wood so the two of them could live together. That would cause a real stir.

24 hours in halifax

Evening: Dinner at Cafe Lunette

Halifax actually has many nice restaurants to choose from, if you’re looking for somewhere to have dinner after a full day of learning about the Halifax Explosion. But you’re probably aware that Canada is a bilingual country with a rich French heritage. So why not stop for dinner at a lovely French restaurant called Cafe Lunette.

Start with one of their delicious cocktails, like the appropriately green Iago’s Pastis, made with pernod and peppermint schnapps. If you like licorice, you’ll love this concoction. And who doesn’t love a good Shakespeare reference with their booze?

24 hours in halifax

We’re having meat for dinner, so let’s have a vegetarian appetizer, like the cervelle de canut tart. Cervelle de canut literally means “the brain of a silk worker”, but don’t worry! There’s no cannibalism involved in this dish. It’s just a lovely cheese spread from Lyon, which is famous for delicious food and silk production.

24 hours in halifax

And it doesn’t get any more French than this rich duck confit with crispy onions, moist potatoes, and a decadent red wine sauce. I honestly wanted to strip my clothes off and take a bath in this sauce, but I’m pretty sure they would have kicked me out of the restaurant.

24 hours in halifax

Did you save room for dessert? I hope so! We started with a savory tart, so why not finish with a tangy lemon tart for dessert? I can’t guarantee that this exact tart will be on the menu, since they seem to change their desserts with the seasons, but I am sure that whatever you get will be delicious. And it’s the perfect end to a perfect 24 hours in Halifax!

Join me next time when we will explore the famous Halifax Citadel, chill out on the harbor, and try some of the most famous Scottish beer in Canada. Until then, my Internet Strangers!

24 hours in Halifax

24 Hours in Halifax

Where to Stay?

Halifax is a cute and walkable city, so you’re going to want to choose a hotel that has a convenient location within walking distance of all the main attractions. I assume that there’s Uber in Halifax, but I never needed to use a car, except when I was going to and from the airport.

So I suggest spending your 24 hours in Halifax at the Garden South Park Inn. It has a perfectly convenient location within walking distance of everything. As you can see from my photo above, the rooms were adorable. Plus, a very convenient breakfast was included with the price. What more could you want?

If you’re looking for a great deal for this amazing hotel, click here.

And if you’d rather save money on hundreds of other hotels in Halifax, click here. This search engine will help you find the perfect place to stay during your plans for your 24 hours in Halifax. With plenty of options to choose from, I’m sure you’ll find something for your schedule and budget.

24 hours in halifax

That’s a Perfect 24 Hours in Halifax!

What would you do during 24 hours in Halifax? Are you ready to start booking your hotel in Halifax now? Please email me at stellajane@aroundtheworldin24hours.com and let me know!

Stella’s Top 3 Picks: Halifax

#1 TOP PICK

A Perfect 24 Hours in Halifax, Nova Scotia 2024 2

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
HARBOUR HOPPER TOUR
✔️ Get on land and water
✔️ Expert local guide

#2 PICK

A Perfect 24 Hours in Halifax, Nova Scotia 2024 3

WINE AND LUNCH DAY TRIP
✔️ See beautiful Nova Scotia
✔️ Visit local wineries

#3 PICK

A Perfect 24 Hours in Halifax, Nova Scotia 2024 4

ALL OTHER HALIFAX TOURS
✔️ Find your favorite!
✔️ Get the best deals

Note: If you want to know how I put my travel itineraries together, just click here. Keep in mind that while each article is about how to spend 24 hours in a place, that doesn’t mean you should ONLY spend 24 hours in Halifax.

Experience a day with the best things to do Halifax Canada. You can also go for 24 hours in Toronto. Have fun with a day of the best Toronto attractions for tourists. Don’t miss out on a Niagara Falls from Toronto day trip.

A Perfect 24 Hours in Halifax, Nova Scotia 2024 8

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