What to do in Halifax over reading week

From art to nightlife, there is always something to do in Halifax

If you are planning to visit Halifax over reading week, this is your guide to explore the city by day or experience the city at night. Through its many businesses and must-see attractions, Halifax showcases rich history and culture through a wide-array of attractions. This list of several places to visit in the city includes nightclubs, restaurants, arts, and a hidden outdoor gem if you are up to challenging the November weather.


Lower Deck: If you have been searching for nightlife and live local music, look no further than the Lower Deck, ironically found on Upper Water Street. Comprised of an outdoor and indoor area, you can dance the night away to live music every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. A common spot for university students in Halifax to visit, you can count on a spirited atmosphere each weekend. Follow along on their Facebook to stay up to date on bands performing and if there is a free-entry for students.


Economy Shoe Shop: All live entertainment lovers will want to go to this place. The Economy Shoe Shop (formerly a shoe shop) offers music themed nights from Wednesday to Sunday during reading week. Throughout the week, some events include comedy nights, 90s music, karaoke, local talent, and a jazz/blues night. No matter your taste in music, there will be something fun and interactive for you here on Argyle Street!


The Bicycle Thief: On Lower Water Street you can find this top-notch restaurant featuring a wide array of appetizers, Italian food, and seafood. Whether you are looking to spend a little or a lot on dinner, the Bicycle Thief is the place for you. It does not stop at only food as the Bicycle Thief presents signature cocktails paying tribute to the regions of Nova Scotia and local tap beer. In addition, the restaurant is known for its top-notch service. In a busy area of restaurants near the waterfront, reservations are recommended.


Bar Sofia: Celebrating Latin culture, Bar Sofia pays respects to the Argentinian heritage of their head chef, Anthony Walsh. Stepping into Bar Sofia, you will be met with a colorful and green atmosphere as well as the work of surrealist Rafael Silveira. A few menu items include empanadas, tacos, chorizo and seafood inspired dishes. Bar Sofia emphasizes Latin culture on their drink menu with several drinks including tequila and mezcal. Its cocktails include some favorites such as margaritas and sangria. Another great spot on Lower Water Street, Bar Sofia is open until 12 a.m. each night and 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.


Art Gallery of Nova Scotia: Home to about 19, 000 pieces, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia hosts all kinds of artwork ranging from sculptures, ceramics, paintings, photos, and more. Being the largest art gallery in the province, Nova Scotian as well as international work is on display. A temporary exhibit called Generations is currently on display from the Sobey family. Generations holds art from Indigenous, Québécois, European, and 20th century Canadian art. Arguably its most famous exhibit, the Maud Lewis section, is also at the gallery and has been since 1998.

Pier 21: Another waterfront attraction plays host to the rich history of Halifax. Pier 21, now a national historic site, was the door that allowed for one million immigrants to begin a new life in Canada and also the place that sent away 500, 000 Canadian soldiers and military leaders during WWII. A temporary exhibit to check out over the reading week is Hearts of Freedom. This exhibit showcases the stories of Southeast Asian immigrants fleeing from a genocide-ridden country to the safety of Canada. Another exhibit, Destination: Canada tells the life story of two Dutch immigrants through comic book-style art by George Zwaagstra. 


Duncan’s Cove: Tucked away on the South Shore is the Atlantic masterpiece, Duncan’s Cove. Approximately 20 minutes from Halifax you can find this quiet spot filled with plants, wildlife, seals, and even international ships. If you are lucky, you may be able to spot whales in the ocean. This trail begins with a steep decline, however, once you reach the main attraction, the hike will be worth it, just be sure to be cautious of your surroundings and the weather!

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