Halifax, Nova Scotia is a beautiful seaside city full of history and character. It’s a great place for a family vacation because there’s so much going on here. Summertime is especially nice, with festivals filling up the calendar and warm weather inviting waterfront walks. There are plenty of cultural activities too, with museums featuring art, science, and history.
Food is celebrated at restaurants and markets throughout the city, so Halifax is not to be missed if you want to experience great locavore food in Nova Scotia. Fresh seafood is a staple in Nova Scotia restaurants, but there are many places that go beyond fish ‘n chips and focus on a menu full of locally sourced food. There are dozens of great options for dining in Halifax. I’m highlighting family-friendly restaurants and markets that will help you stick to real food while on vacation here.
Stubborn Goat Gastropub: My husband heard about this craft brew mecca from a bartender at the Salt Shaker Deli in Lunenburg. As a homebrewer, he was excited at the prospect of dining here. I read an article in Local Connections Halifax that detailed the Stubborn Goat’s philosophy of using locally sourced ingredients, so it met my locavore test too.This is a great place for a family meal because the menu focuses on sharing small plates among everyone at the table. We enjoyed a wide range of dishes, and my husband couldn’t have been happier with his oatmeal stout.
Wooden Monkey: The Wooden Monkey’s mission is to build a strong sustainable food system in Nova Scotia. This casual restaurant depends on dozens of local food and drink suppliers to build its delicious menu. I had a fantastic lunch of soup and salad here, and my husband loved the fish and roasties.
Chives: Chives is a well-established locavore restaurant in the heart of downtown Halifax on Barrington Street. The ever-changing menu reflects the produce that’s available at the farmers’ market and the seafood that comes off the boats in the harbor.
2 Doors Down: Two doors down from Chives, you’ll find its sister restaurant, 2 Doors Down. We stopped here for dessert one night, and there were several delicious options. My kids are still talking about the s’mores pudding. The lunch and dinner menus feature several options with an international twist.
Selwood Green: Located at the Halifax Seaport Market, Selwood Green is a counter service, farm-to-table restaurant. This is exactly the type of place I’m looking for on vacation, because it’s a quicker, more affordable option than a sit-down restaurant. We had lunch here on a day when the farmers’ market was closed, so it wasn’t crowded. The menu is limited, but it includes a handful of all-day breakfast options plus soups, salads, and sandwiches.
Heartwood Restaurant: Heartwood is a vegetarian, whole food restaurant that uses ingredients as close to the source as possible. They offer a wide range of organic salads, veggie burgers, pizzas, sandwiches, and other entrees, as well as a children’s menu.
Agricola Street Brasserie: Located in Halifax’s North End, Agricola Street Brasserie is a casual, rustic space that boasts a locally sourced menu of French-inspired specialties. Many items are made in-house, including sausage, bread, kimchi, and condiments. This would be a great place to celebrate a special occasion.
Coastal Cafe: The Coastal Cafe offers a unique menu with breakfast all day, along with sandwiches during the week. This counter service restaurant uses locally sourced ingredients when possible. Get there early, because this popular restaurant gets crowded.
Morris East: Morris East depends on local farms, bakeries, and breweries to put together their menu. They feature organic salads, gourmet pizzas, and sandwiches at lunchtime. This is a menu that appeals to kids and adults. Pizza crust options include traditional, whole wheat, and gluten-free.
There are several other higher end locavore restaurants in Halifax. For more dining options, order a copy of Taste of Nova Scotia’s Culinary Guide. I wish I had a copy of this comprehensive guide when I was planning our trip.
I’m always looking for places to grab lunch or snack ingredients on the go so we can avoid sitting down at a restaurant for every meal. Here are a few places with locally sourced grab-and-go options in Halifax.
Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market: This is the largest continuously running farmers’ market in North America, dating back to 1750. With over 250 vendors, this is a fantastic place to visit for healthy food. The full market is only open on the weekends, but several shops are also open during the week.
Local Source Market: The shelves of this small neighborhood market are stocked with local produce, grass-fed meat, sustainable seafood, and organic homemade bread. If you have a kitchen where you’re staying, you can shop here for all the ingredients of a great meal. Local Source Market also hosts cooking classes that use seasonal, locally grown food. This place would be my hangout if I lived in Halifax.
Lion and Bright: Attached to Local Source Market, Lion and Bright is a small cafe and wine bar. We stumbled upon this cafe looking for a mid-afternoon snack, and it couldn’t have been more perfect. The pastry case is full of homemade, healthier pastries and cookies with the ingredients clearly listed. Everything was delicious.
There’s a lot to do in Halifax besides eating. These are some of the highlights that will keep your family entertained during a visit to the city.
Citadel: The Citadel sits atop a hill in the middle of Halifax, and it’s a fun place to visit. You can take a self-guided tour, or simply wander around the grounds and enjoy beautiful views of the city. This national landmark was once an active British military base, and you can’t miss the sound of the cannons firing each day at noon.
Public Gardens & Point Pleasant Park: These beautiful green spaces make Halifax feel less like a city. Enjoy a walk through the Public Gardens in the summer to enjoy the colors of the season. And don’t miss Point Pleasant Park, an oasis of hiking paths with beautiful views along the harbor.
Museums: The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic highlights the maritime history of this area, including exhibits about the Titanic as well as the Halifax explosion. Stop by the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 to learn about the history of Canadian immigration. If you’re looking for something for the kids to do on a rainy day, the Discovery Centre is a hands-on science museum geared toward children. The Museum of Natural History and the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia are other worthwhile stops in Halifax.
Hydrostone Neighborhood: Halifax is full of unique neighborhoods, and Hydrostone is one with lots of character. The neighborhood was built for families displaced in the 1917 Halifax explosion, and the architecture is characterized by its cinder block construction. This is a nice place to take a walk and do some window shopping.
Homewood Suites: The new Homewood Suites hotel in downtown Halifax is a fantastic place for a family visiting on vacation. We were happy to spread out in our big room in this all-suite hotel. The rooms have kitchens, so you can stock the fridge with healthy ingredients instead of going out for every meal. My kids loved the pool, which is conveniently located right next to the laundry room. We appreciated the free breakfast in the morning, which filled us up before we set out for a day of sightseeing. The hotel is within walking distance of many downtown restaurants and attractions.
To hear more about my Nova Scotia travels, read this post about real food in Nova Scotia’s south shore. And come back next week for my final Nova Scotia post, which will detail the amazing locavore options in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley.
Disclosure: Nova Scotia Tourism Agency hosted us on our trip to Nova Scotia and covered our travel expenses. All opinions expressed here are 100% my own.