Halifax, the capital of Nova Scotia, is a richly cultured city of Canada with its own uniquely styled personal life. In contrast to other major Canadian cities it flaunts interestingly painted houses sporting colours such as anything from lilac in a deep purple frame, to lime green walls. The hills in the city coupled with the waterfront only make it a more interesting and unique setting to wander through with a vibrant and beautiful coastline view. The reasons as to why guests to the city frequent Halifax tend to be the more mainstream tourist destinations. The Bluenose II boat, which boasts of a colourful younger life of bootlegging rum into Canada during the Prohibition in World War 1, is one of those popular attractions that drive hoards of people into the city to see. Peggy’s cove is in addition another popular tourist destination that convinces people from all over the world to drive the two hours out of Halifax to stand on the rocky coastline and gaze up at the pealing white and red paint of the light house. However, despite these historic and interesting attractions that Halifax offers and is so esteemed for, there is actually plenty of other, equally if not even more, fascinating and attractive sights to see while in the city. Here are a few off the beat and lesser known activities to seek out while you’re visiting Halifax.

For one, a popular musical event that takes place every Saturday at 4 o’clock is the frequented visit of a father and son duo at the pub Dirty Nelly’s. This pub fills during the moments leading up to the weekly show that has taken place at the same time same day over the last few years. The generational duet brags of a huge variety of songs in a variety of contrasting musical genres, anything from Pink Floyd’s Us & Them, to Snow Patrol’s Chasing Cars, all the way to Great Big Sea, and makes a point of sticking to the style in which the original musician intended for the song. These two men’s show is surely an authentic experience of Halifax that the locals frequently enjoy but may perhaps be something that tourists tend to miss or pass by unawares of. In this unfortunate reality, I implore those who are planning a visit in the near future to seek out this must see attraction for a generally local experience.

Furthermore the music life in Halifax is one of the most authentic and available music scenes around.  ImageThe city brags local music of all ages from aspiring young musicians to accomplished international legends. The music scene in Halifax is abundant, genuine, vibrant, atmospheric, and an experience one would never forget. To see music performed along the ocean, with the expanse of water in the bay throwing back the sound, with the addition of the birds in the trees adding their own musical dealings in when they choose, and the fresh salty sea air surrounding the entirety of the experience. That’s the summer atmosphere. However when weather ill-permitting there are the numerous age old pubs with their dark rooms and musky atmospheres: one could argue that that is how music is supposed to be heard.

In addition to the behind the scenes musical charm that Halifax so ably provides, a perhaps more well-known but equally vibrant and authentic experience of the city is the farmers market located along the shore line. This small market provides anything from authentic foreign foods to hand made enameled glass jewelry to beautiful local photography. The variety of goods and tasty treats ensures something for all who visit. The atmosphere of the space alone is a worthwhile experience in itself and another off the beat must see upon arriving in Halifax.

Moreover, it being true to Canada through and through the vivacity of Halifax and the genuiImagene kindness of the locals is a stellar addition to such a vibrant city. The bits of artwork patch worked in and around the city add a truly beautiful walk when wandering the streets and the waterfront.  A particular lamp post sculpture situated on the docks is a beautiful and eerie piece of art that is just one of the many in such an artistic city. It may not be common form for some tourists to simply wander a city due to its lack of destination as they are unawares as to where they are truly headed, but from personal experience that has come to be one of the best ways for one to truly get to know the bricks of an unfamiliar city. The general benevolence displayed by the locals of Halifax only make that practice more and more enthralling and a more genuinely engaging experience. If there ever was a city to wander with a tourists camera in hand and no map to speak of, Halifax would be the one. The waterfront, the pieces of art littering the sidewalks and docks, as well as the too nice people that will point you in the direction of your hotel should you get lost before dinner time, make it an experience to remember.

Furthermore I must point out for the runners, walkers, and outdoorsmen out there the greenery embroidering Point Pleasant Park, and what a beautiful space to wander through whether in your runners or your walkers. The city of Halifax is known for its hills and as such running along the paved streets can become rather difficult and is why the Bluenose Half Marathon, a half marathon situated in Halifax itself, is such an engaging and difficult run. The reprisal is the park, which places you in a pocket of greenery surrounded, perhaps unknowingly, by the city itself. This park is truly a beautiful place to wander through and an ideal running space for those who pack their running shoes when they vacation. And those insane enough to try, the Bluenose Half Marathon is a feat worth boasting of.

Lastly, there is no event more prideful, no attraction more rambunctious, and no celebration more homegrown than Alexander Keith’s birthday. Alexander Keith’s, a beer boasting of rich flavor and a Halifax origin, is never more consumed than the day that its creator and namesake was born. The university students and locals join together for a night of celebrating (and toasting) Mr. Keith into the wee hours of the morning. No experience is bettered more then by the situation and atmosphere that it is absorbed into. This unbeatable experience, whether or not it’s well known to the common public, that is to say the people who perhaps don’t live in Halifax or its surrounding towns and cities, is truly one that should be experienced at least once in a lifetime. You will never rival the friends made, the memories, and the truly indomitable experience.

If none of these road-less-traveled aspects of Halifax have convinced or thrilled you to the utmost, although I couldn’t imagine how or why, then hey, why not just come to the city for the well-known attractions? The viewing of the Bluenose II is a riveting experience complete with a two room museum and view of the boat itself. And just perhaps, while you’re spending your vacation reliving the glory days of this time infested boat, you might, just might chance upon one of the many more local amusements of the city and you just might just thank yourself for it.