Whether you’re in Halifax now or will arrive later, the city has a lot to offer students during their stay. If you’re looking for a new experience, a quaint place to study, or somewhere to get a great coffee for a student-friendly price, there’s a place for you here.
Trident Booksellers & Café
Secluded down by the waterfront on Hollis St., Trident Booksellers & Café is a secret oasis for booklovers and coffee addicts alike.
Stepping through Trident’s double doors, you are easily transported back to what you could only imagine a 1920s Parisian café to feel like. Small round tables scattered on a deck and around corners of bookshelves offer intimate seating for coffee dates—or simply go by yourself to study and get lost in the timelessness of their collection of second-hand books.
Trident offers their own blend of coffee beans, roasted in-house. They also have an ever-changing assortment of pastries, quiches and cakes stored in their display.
Due to COVID-19, there is limited seating for dine-in as their floor plan is arranged to fit social-distancing protocols. Instead, they offer free home delivery of their coffee beans, tea and food. Trident also offers to search their abundance of second-hand books upon request.
However, Trident’s largest appeal is that you’re most likely to bump into your favourite King’s faculty!
Dilly Dally Coffee Café
The Dilly Dally Coffee Café is a wonderful choice if you’re looking for a fun environment with close proximity.
Located at the corner of Quinpool & Vernon, Dilly Dally is hard to miss with its turquoise storefront and circus themed, red and white shades.
What’s truly unique about the café is their assortment of fine painted china that they plate their food on. Think 19th century garden party of the elite. Pearly, white dishes decorated with intricate flowers. Teacups on saucers and no two are the same.
Dilly Dally’s baristas are known to be the best in the city, according to readers of The Coast in 2019. They offer a tasteful menu, especially suitable for vegan and gluten free lifestyles. Dishes including their decadent Avocado Toast cannot be ignored.
Dilly Dally’s produce is locally sourced with a “market to table” mantra. All their baked goods are made in-house, including their raspberry peach babka, pillowy sugar donuts and my personal favourite, gooey cinnamon buns.
As a result of COVID-19, Dilly Dally has adopted an effective “skip the line, order online” method. Simply place your order and pay on their website and it’ll be ready to pick up at their window in as soon as 10 minutes.
The Coburg Social is your quick caffeine fix. Beloved by all, the shop is constantly crawling with students, King’s and Dalhousie alike. From their early opening hours until closing, you’ll struggle to find an open table or even snag a chair.
The reason behind The Coburg’s high frequency of customers is its close proximity to the King’s Campus.
The coffee shop is a great place for a quick bite to eat or to study. Their drink list has all of the fan favourites, such as London fogs and chai lattes.
Their kitchen also offers a limited, more expensive menu that changes often. However, if you’re a big fan of flavourful pizzas, vegan cinnamon buns, or jackfruit tacos then you’re guaranteed to walk out with a happy stomach.
Glitter Bean Café
The Glitter Bean Café is one of the most beloved coffee shops in the city.
The worker owned co-op was formed as a safe space for employees who had lost their jobs because of unfair work environments. Their aim is to provide a community space for for queer, two-spirit, and trans people in K’jipuktuk (Halifax).
If anyone knows anything of the Glitter Bean, it is their infamous fairy lattes—coffee decorated with different colours at the top and usually swirled into an intricate design. If lattes aren’t your thing, rest assured that the baristas can add rainbows to almost every drink.
Glitter Bean also offers a variety of vegan and gluten free baked goods, some of which are acquired from the Tart and Soul Café. One particular highlight is their decadent brownies topped with Girl Guide Cookies. Needless to say, this café is a must-visit!
Ardmore Tea Room
If you’re looking for a student-priced place to eat, you’ll be sure to get the bang-for-your-buck at the Ardmore Tea Room.
Established in 1958, the restaurant gives off the feel of an old-fashioned diner, complete with compact leather booths and multiple shelves of assorted vibrant teapots.
The Ardmore is known for their extensive menu that can settle any craving, no matter the time of day. You won’t be disappointed with their classic breakfast—eggs, meat and toast for $6.25.
Of course, you can’t be a 7-time winner of The Coast “Best Diner” without serving your infamous milkshakes in large metal cups. Customers are known to order them from open to close.
If you’re planning on going on the weekends for breakfast, be sure to anticipate a line. Don’t fret, customers are moved fairly quickly without the pressure of feeling rushed.
Since COVID-19, the Ardmore has also opened their kitchen up to online ordering. With this, customers have the opportunity of ordering grocery items, such as their highly coveted iced coffee. One litre for $5!
Willy’s Fresh Cut
Willy’s Fresh Cut has been open since 2008 and has quickly risen to become a staple of Halifax eats. A literal hole in the wall at the heart of downtown, the restaurant is arguably the best place to get poutine in the city.
Their poutine is made from hand-cut French fries and generously drowned in vegetarian gravy and cheese curds. They also offer a variety of add-ons and extras, including fried onions and mushrooms, donair or steak. Willy’s portions are large enough to share, but you’ll find that you won’t want to.
The takeout-out only eatery is known to have accessible hours, especially if you’re out late and need to settle fast-food munchies. If the poutine isn’t enough, they also serve burgers and pulled pork sandwiches. Their produce is all locally sourced from Oulton’s Farms, just a 45-minute drive from Halifax.
The staff are lively, and music you hear bellowing from the kitchen in passing can be heard at any hour. Willy’s customers are highly loyal—it’s unlikely that you try their poutine once and can resist returning.
Tucked into the North End on Gottingen St., Laurent French (LF) Bakery is a French inspired bakery.
Though their main showing is croissants, they also offer baguettes, brioches and other baked goods. Everything is baked fresh in the morning and those who pass by find it hard to resist the flavourful, rich smell.
The gruyère cheese croissant for $3.75 is a customer favourite but you won’t be disappointed with a $2 classic butter croissant either. Rumour has it that the flaky pastry is made of 25% butter—however, that’s yours to discover.
They also have a collection of sandwiches that quickly sell-out. Try creations that won’t disappoint, such as smoked salmon with lemon cream cheese and cucumber on a milk bun or a ham and béchamel on a croissant.
The Dairy Bar
If you’re looking for cool ice cream, you don’t have to look very hard past the Dairy Bar.
The quaint cabin is tucked at the corner of Spring Garden Rd. and specializes in soft serve, sundaes, and nitro coffee—think upscale Dairy Queen.
They offer new flavours every week which are updated on their Instagram page. The Dairy Bar prides itself in using “equal parts seasonal ingredients from local producers and guilty pleasure junk food”, says their website. Their soft serve creations include peaches and cream, turmeric ginger, and vanilla Earl Grey, to name a few.
Their team’s imagination is boundless, and they’re likely to create a flavour that catches your attention!
Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market
The Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market is an experience you simply cannot miss. On Saturday mornings, the bustling district proudly hosts over 250 vendors and boasts itself as the “longest continuously running market in North America”.
There are many reasons to visit the market—the baked goods, the local produce and the homemade crafts to name a few. You’ll meet farmers, artisans, bakers and retailers all under the sturdy roof by the ocean. There’s a great appeal in meeting the people who grow your food and the entire experience will have you feeling knit directly into the community.
Entering the doors to the Seaport mimics a homecoming. If you’re new to Halifax, one trip to the market is a head-first dive into our city’s vibrant life.
The Board Room Game Café
The Board Room Game Café has an ever-growing vault of 500+ games.
Located on Barrington St., the café is a cozy place to spend the afternoon with friends. At $6/person to “Stay and Play”, customers easily lose track of time among the games. You’ll want to come back again and again as you rack up points on their rewards system.
The kitchen is always open and offers a variety of options that are perfect for snacking on while playing board games like Catan or Anomia. The $15 “Everything Platter” is hard to resist, especially if you go with a large group of friends. The dish is shareable with an assortment of “grilled pepperoni, cheddar cheese cubes, grilled naan, pretzels, veggies, candy, chocolate and two dips”.
The Board Room is open until late, so you can feel free to play into the night.
Seven Bays Bouldering
If you’re looking for new experiences or simply want a fun way to work-out, you should give Seven Bays Bouldering a visit.
Seven Bays is located on the North End and is a quick bus ride on the 1 with a drop-off right in front. The facility consists of a large bouldering wall and a training center in the basement.
They offer a variety of membership packages, including “Bouldering 101”, a 7-day unlimited bouldering pass with free shoe and chalk rentals for the week. For the more advanced, there are student memberships at a reduced price.
Every Monday, Seven Bays offers a Woman’s Climb Night with reduced day passes for women between the hours of 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.. Additionally, every Saturday morning from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. they offer a climbing related yoga class.
Due to COVID-19, Seven Bays has put in place a live occupancy counter on their website. There, customers can easily track the number of climbers currently at the gym to control the maximum capacity.
There is also a great café for studying afterwards or in-between working on a challenge. They bake in-house, and if you’re lucky, you’ll visit on cinnamon bun day.