Fireworks during New Year's Eve in Halifax

7 Unforgettable Ways to Celebrate New Year’s Eve in Halifax

A time for celebrating new beginnings, New Year’s Eve is a great time to visit Halifax, as the city comes to life with numerous celebrations, parties, and family-friendly attractions. Start the year right with these seven unforgettable ways to ring in the new year in Halifax.

The 7 Best Ways To Celebrate New Year’s Eve In Halifax

1. Watch or Partake In The New Year’s Eve Celebrations at Grand Parade

Nova Scotia’s biggest New Year’s Eve celebration is held right here in downtown Halifax’s Grand Parade Square. Organized by the Halifax Regional Municipality, the city’s New Year’s Eve celebrations kick off with a great lineup of live musical performances before leading into the Annual Atlantic Countdown, finishing with the largest fireworks finale in the province. Residents and visitors are invited to join the festivities at Grande Parade or to tune in to the live TV broadcast on Eastlink Community TV.

2. Go Public Skating at the Emera Oval

Promising free public skating, the Emera Oval is a great way to ring in the New Year with family-friendly activities. Along with offering public skating throughout the night, the Halifax Oval traditionally hosts live entertainment and a fireworks show at both 7 pm and midnight, allowing children to partake in the New Year’s Eve festivities before the larger celebrations kick off at Grande Parade.

New Year's Eve Halifax Harbourfront lights

3. Join The New Year’s Eve Celebrations At The Halifax Glow Gardens

The Glow Gardens’ New Year’s Eve Celebrations at the Halifax Exhibition Centre are a great way to celebrate the new year during the day, with the event kicking off at 4:00 pm and concluding at 8:30 pm. The event itself promises family-friendly entertainment, including enjoying a drink at the onsite bar or dancing along with the tunes under a million lights on the dance floor. The whole event wraps up with one of the city’s most vibrant firework displays.

4. Bring The Little Ones To Cole Harbour Place’s New Year’s Eve Family Party

Promising plenty of family-friendly activities, Cole Harbour Place is a great spot to spend New Year’s Eve with your family, with its New Year’s Eve Family Party running from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Throughout the festivities, guests can enjoy swimming, skating, crafts, bouncy castles and more. Just be sure to grab your tickets in advance, as this popular activity is known to sell out quickly.

5. Take A Scenic Stroll Along The Halifax Harbourwalk

The Halifax Waterfront promises a quieter way to ring in the New Year while avoiding the bustling hubs of the city’s more active parties and celebrations. Home to several museums, food stalls, restaurants, and seasonal festivals, a day exploring the many sites of the historic harbourfront is both a great New Year’s Eve date idea and a great way to experience the city with your family. Just be sure to find a good spot for watching the midnight fireworks display as the harbour becomes a popular haven for enjoying the evening’s light show.

A New Year's Eve Party in Halifax

6. Take Advantage Of New Year’s Eve Sales At The Halifax Shopping Centre

While most malls are closed on New Year’s Day, New Year’s Eve is a great time to visit these shopping centres to take advantage of the season’s sales. The Halifax Shopping Centre, Mic Mac Mall, Park Lane Mall, and more are all open December 31st and make for a great day, perusing fantastic deals. Just be sure to check specific store hours before visiting, as many stores may close early for the holiday.

7. Attend A New Year’s Eve Party In Downtown Halifax

From local favourite restaurants to upbeat nightclubs and bars, downtown Halifax promises plenty of ways to ring in the New Year. For a quieter, laid-back evening with your significant other, you can book a dinner at a popular restaurant, such as 2 Doors Down, Hermitage, or the Barrington Steakhouse. Meanwhile, the city’s active nightclub scene is perfect for those looking for an upbeat party with live music, with the Level 8 Nightclub and The Dome being some of the most popular party spots for spending New Year’s Eve.

Where To Stay In Halifax On New Year’s Eve

Need a great accommodation for exploring all of Halifax’s exciting New Year’s Eve celebrations? Well, Cameo Suites delivers the best base for visiting all the holiday’s top parties and attractions from its convenient location in the heart of downtown Halifax’s historic Entertainment District. Within walking distance from the top venues, restaurants, and parties, our cozy suite options promise plenty of comfort for ringing in the New Year. Reserve your room now as spaces are limited.

Getting Around Halifax On New Year’s Eve And Day

On New Year’s Eve, the Halifax Transit offers free bus and Alderney Ferry Services from 6 pm until around 2 am, with the last ferry at 1:30 am. Meanwhile, buses operate on their regular holiday service schedules on New Year’s Day. All ferries are closed for January 1st.

Halifax Date Ideas

9 Halifax Date Ideas and Things To Do For Couples

Boasting a picturesque harbourfront, charming historic buildings, and several scenic parks and natural areas, Halifax can be a romantic destination perfect for a couples getaway. Whether you are planning a special escape for Valentine’s Day or simply want to spend some quality time in the city, you and your partner can share an intimate night out with these nine romantic Halifax Date Ideas.

3 Halifax Date Ideas For A Fun Night Out

Walking couple - Halifax date ideas

​1. Spend The Evening At A Board Game Cafe

A popular first date spot in Halifax, the Board Room Game Cafe is a great spot for enjoying an entertaining evening getting to know your date while breaking the ice with a friendly competition of all of your familiarly favourite board games. Whether summer or winter, the cafe promises a comfortable location for blending fun and romance while providing good food for your night out.

2. Try Your Luck At One Of Halifax’s Escape Rooms

Another fun date idea for a night out in Halifax is to try your luck with your partner at completing one of the city’s escape rooms. And hey, with two facilities located downtown and 13 unique games between them, you could even make a night of it. You can start the evening with one of the historic Halifax-focused games at Captured Escape Rooms and follow it up with a cinematic experience at Trapped Halifax. By the end of the games, you and your date will have plenty to talk about as you finish the night over drinks or dinner.

3. Download A Halifax Scavenger Hunt App

A fantastic way to combine a romantic night out with a thorough exploration of downtown Halifax is to take your date along on a scavenger hunt of the city. Using nothing but your smartphone, Operation City Quest will feed you and your partner riddles to solve. These riddles will lead you to various points around the city, which you must confirm by sending photos through the app. You earn points for each riddle you solve, which are then listed on the app’s leaderboard, making this the perfect Halifax date idea for those competitive couples.

3 Halifax Date Ideas In Winter

Halifax Date Ideas In Winter

4. Enjoy A Romantic Sleigh Ride At Hatfield Farm

Bringing with it picturesque snowfalls and a whole slew of seasonal activities, winter is a great time to plan a few date nights in the city. And while it may be a short drive from the downtown area, Hatfield Farms’ sleigh rides are one of the most romantic winter date ideas in Halifax. Surrounded by beautiful Nova Scotia countryside, you and your partner need only to sit back and relax as you let the breathtaking surroundings set the mood for your romantic winter evening.

Visiting a local museum or gallery is a great way to combine a fun winter date in Halifax with an exploration of the city’s local culture and history. The best part is that while these attractions may be busy in the summer months, the winter crowds are much more sparse. So grab your partner and head to the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia or the historical interactive exhibits of the Maritime Museum Of The Atlantic or Halifax Citadel National Historic Site for an intimate exploration of Halifax’s heritage.

6. Go Skating At The Emera Oval

Ice skating is a classic winter date idea. One of the best places for partaking in this traditional courtship activity is at Halifax’s Emera Oval. Located in Halifax Common Park, Emera Oval is a year-round facility that is frozen into an ice rink during the winter months. However, it can still make for a great date during the warmer months, with rollerblading and biking being popular activities.

3 Halifax Date Ideas In Summer

Halifax Date Ideas In Summer

7. Enjoy A Picnic At The Halifax Public Gardens

Be it spring, summer, or fall, it doesn’t get much more romantic than having a picnic in the park with your loved one. A great place to share a romantic meal is located right in the heart of the city, at the Halifax Public Gardens. Just be sure to stop by the Halifax Seaport Farmers Market to pick up fresh ingredients and local food beforehand.

​8. Take A Stroll Through Point Pleasant Park

Another good place for a picnic or even just a romantic stroll through its natural areas is Point Pleasant Park. Located at the southern end of the Halifax Peninsula, this 75-hectare park promises plenty of walking trails for escaping the crowd for an inmate excursion with your partner.

​9. Have Drinks Along The Halifax Waterfront

Promising scenic views and plenty of great restaurants and bars, the Halifax harbour makes for an obvious date idea in Halifax. However, just because it’s obvious doesn’t mean it’s bad. Whether grabbing a romantic dinner date with some of the city’s most delicious food or just drinks at the Halifax Beer Garden, the waterfront is a must-stop destination along any date night in the city.

The Best Hotel In Halifax For A Romantic Getaway

If you are planning a romantic getaway to Halifax, you will need an equally romantic place to stay. Located in the heart of the entertainment district in downtown Halifax, Cameo Suites is within walking distance of the waterfront and several parks to provide a convenient yet intimate setting for sharing a romantic evening in the city.

Start planning your next date night and reserve your room today!

Women enjoying the Halifax Wine Festival

Halifax Wine Festival: A Toast to Nova Scotia’s Finest Wines

Join us in December for the Halifax Wine Festival. Set to become Atlantic Canada’s premier consumer wine event, this annual festival features two exquisite wine-tasting sessions and a month-long array of secondary events leading up to the main celebration. It’s the perfect choice for connoisseurs and anyone seeking an exciting fall experience in the city. From the best nearby accommodations to the variety of entertainment, this is everything you can expect from the Halifax International Wine Festival.

Events and Things to Do at the Halifax Wine Festival

Wine and Spread

1. Sample Over 200 Wines During A Tasting Session

The keystone event of the festival is the celebration’s two wine-tasting sessions. Visitors to these evening or afternoon sessions have the unique opportunity to sample over 200 different varieties of wine from across Nova Scotia and beyond. 

The festival’s afternoon tasting session takes place from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm, while the evening session opens from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. However, both sessions offer VIP tickets, which grant an hour of early access for extended tastings and meeting associated agents and special guests.

Along with offering a large selection of red wines, white wines, and roses, the Halifax International Wine Festival also offers a selection of premium non-alcoholic wines for sampling new, unique flavours along with your traditional favourites.

2. Pair Your Favourite Varietal With A Local Dish From The Food Pavilion

What better way to enjoy an afternoon of sampling some of the province’s best wines than by pairing them with a delectable selection of local foods and snacks? Hosted by Taste of Nova Scotia, the event’s food pavilion will feature several dishes highlighting the province’s culinary traditions and recipes. Whether a wine connoisseur or a foodie, this mouthwatering event is sure to offer a delicious exploration of local flavours for every palate.

3. Enjoy The Social Vibes And A Series Of Secondary Events

No one wants to drink alone, and at the Halifax Wine Festival, you don’t have to. Providing a warm, welcoming atmosphere, the tasting sessions are a great place to share your favourite drinks with fellow connoisseurs from around the globe. 

While the festival itself is only a one-day event, the organizers also host a series of secondary events throughout November for visitors unable to make it to the main celebration or for those who just want a little more sampling of the local wines. You can find announcements for these various side events on the festival’s official Facebook page.

4. Find Your Favourite Festival Wines At The Virtual Wine Store

Throughout the tasting sessions, guests will have access to the festival’s virtual wine store, which will allow visitors the opportunity to order several of their favourite varieties throughout the tasting process. Whether stocking up for the upcoming holidays or simply looking to purchase a box of a newly discovered vintage, the virtual store makes it easy to extend the festival’s celebratory atmosphere long after the event has ended and provides convenient home delivery for an easy yet enjoyable shopping experience.

Dining over wine

When Is The Halifax Wine Festival 2023?

The Halifax Wine Festival is an annual fall event. The main tasting sessions occur the first weekend in December, while a series of secondary events can be found around town throughout November.

Date: December 2, 2023

Where Is The Halifax Wine Festival?

The Halifax Wine Festival’s secondary events are held in various venues across the city. However, its primary tasting sessions and event will be held in Pavilion 22 of the Halifax Seaport.

Address: 1031 Marginal Rd, Halifax, NS

Giving Back: Charities Supported by the Halifax Wine Festival

Committed to giving back to the community, the Halifax Wine Festival uses its various events as an opportunity to raise funds for its partner charities. For attendees, this means you get a fun day of sampling delicious wines while your donations go towards helping these good causes. This year’s partner charities are Feed Nova Scotia and the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia.

Where to Stay for the Halifax Wine Festival

After indulging in a day of sampling the finest wines from Nova Scotia and neighboring provinces, the perfect retreat awaits. Ideally situated in downtown Halifax’s Entertainment District, Cameo Suites is a mere 15-minute walk from the event venue and conveniently located near the city’s top nightlife hot spots. Ensure your post-festival experience is just as memorable as the event itself.

Be sure to check availability before visiting to reserve your room for this exciting event.

Christmas in Halifax: Halifax Evergreen Festival

Celebrate Christmas in Halifax | Halifax Evergreen Festival

Christmas in Halifax is one of the most beautiful times of year to visit the city. From the colourful street lights of the Halifax Evergreen Festival to popular winter activities, there is so much to explore, with the Nova Scotia capital becoming a genuine winter wonderland, making it a great spot for celebrating the holiday season. So pack up your family and head to the city to celebrate Christmas in Halifax with these popular upcoming events and holiday attractions.

The Halifax Evergreen Festival

The Halifax Evergreen Festival is Nova Scotia’s premier Christmas celebration, reigning in the holiday season between November and December. The four-week festival organized by the Halifax Regional Municipality sees the city come to life with breathtaking light displays scattered throughout the downtown area and beyond. Meanwhile, Halifax’s iconic waterfront is converted into the Evergreen Festival, promising plenty of entertainment, shopping, and cultural attractions for guests celebrating the joy of the season.

2023 Festival Dates: November 21 to December 17

6 Exciting Ways To Celebrate Christmas In Halifax

Evergreen Light Festival During Christmas in Halifax

1. Admire The Lights Along The Evergreen Bright Trail

From the Halifax Public Gardens holiday lights to the breathtakingly illuminated Halifax harbourfront, the city comes to life throughout the festival season with thousands of colourful light displays. And weaving its way through these marvellous attractions along the waterfront, downtown Dartmouth, downtown Halifax, and other public spaces is the Evergreen Bright Trail, offering a romantic evening for couples or a perfect adventure for getting the family into the holiday spirit.

2. Explore The Evergreen Village

Throughout the Evergreen Festival, the iconic Halifax waterfront is converted into a full-blown winter wonderland, with many local businesses, vendors, and activities partaking in the holiday spirit. Known as the Evergreen Village, the waterfront becomes a haven of Christmas attractions that include a Ferris Wheel, the Evergreen Stage, and the Evergreen Market, promising an exciting Christmas shopping experience.

3. Enjoy Live Music With The Evergreen Stage Series

Presented by the Halifax Jazz Festival, the Evergreen Stage Series is a festive line-up of live performances from your favourite local bands every weekend throughout the Halifax Evergreen Festival. The shows are entirely free to attend and welcome families to get cozy stageside for enjoying the holiday music, or guests can reserve seats at the Halifax Beer Garden, which sits adjacent to the stage. Shows run from 5-9 p.m. on Fridays, from 1-9 p.m. on Saturdays, and from 1-4 p.m. on Sundays throughout the festival.

4. Grab A Hot Chocolate Along The Evergreen Cocoa Trail

Nothing screams the holidays quite like a warm cup of hot chocolate. Luckily, this festive drink has become a quintessential part of the Christmas season in Halifax, with the city’s annual festival even establishing the Evergreen Cocoa Trail. Guiding guests through the Halifax Evergreen Festival’s Christmas village and winter light displays, the Cocoa Trail stops at several businesses along the way, offering diverse samplings of some of the community’s best hot chocolates. Following this path is a great way to experience all the Christmas attractions the city offers while enjoying the delicious, family-friendly treat.

5. Bring The Family To The SaltWire Holiday Parade Of Lights

While not officially a part of the Halifax Evergreen Festival, the SaltWire Holiday Parade of Lights kicks off the holiday season each year. A family favourite in Halifax, this annual parade has been one of the most anticipated holiday events in Nova Scotia since the conception of the celebration in 1995. The parade route cuts right through the heart of the city’s downtown area and is known to attract thousands of visitors from across the province. So grab your family and snag your spots early in the day to ensure you get the best views of the floats and Santa.

6. Visit The Glow Gardens

Laugh & stroll under the twinkle of a million lights at Glow Gardens “Around the World”. Enjoy a tour of China, The Netherlands, France, Mexico, The United Kingdom and India with larger-than-life illuminated installations representing some of these countries’ iconic structures. Towering exhibits, interactive activities, and glowing playgrounds will delight the whole family. Kick back at the licensed bar and enjoy a selection of beverages, food, and festive music by local performers. Shop the winter market, showcasing local artisans and boutique businesses.

The Best Hotel In Halifax During The Holidays

With so many Christmas attractions and activities in the city, Halifax is a fantastic weekend destination for getting in the holiday spirit. Cameo Suites provides the perfect accommodation in the city for experiencing it all. Located in the heart of downtown Halifax, our budget-friendly suite options promise cozy lodging within walking distance of the city’s holiday attractions and a convenient location for attending the Christmas parade.

Be sure to check availability and reserve your room before we are booked up for this holiday season.

Oysters at Gahan House Restaurant

Halifax Oyster Festival 2023: Guide to Canada’s Largest Oyster Fest

First held in 2015, the Halifax Oyster Festival has quickly become Canada’s largest oyster festival. Following a brief hiatus during pandemic years, the event finally returned last year, attracting visitors from across the country. Still, the 2023 Halifax Oyster Festival is poised to be even bigger and better than previous years and is one of the most anticipated upcoming events in Nova Scotia. Keep reading for more details for visiting the Halifax Oyster Festival 2023.

What is the Halifax Oyster Fest?

Home to Canada’s biggest raw bar, the internationally recognized Halifax Oyster Festival attracts oyster lovers from all over the world and serves more than 65,000 oysters each year from various farms across Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and New Brunswick. Along with promising delicious flavors of its oyster offerings, the festival also hosts its own Halifax oyster shucking competition and features a wide array of vendors serving craft beer, food, and novelty items. The festival is one of the most enticing reasons for visiting Halifax in the fall and is a fantastic way to explore the province’s oyster industry.

Events and Things to Do at the Halifax Oyster Festival 2023

1. Indulge In Oyster Tastings And Other Food Vendors

If you’re going to visit the festival, you have to try the event’s staple delicacies. Featuring different oyster farm booths from within Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, the festival is the perfect place to explore the diverse cultural flavors of oysters from across Atlantic Canada.

And while oysters are the focus of this annual event, the festival does offer a selection of alternative food items for guests with varying palates. However, while oysters are included in general admission passes, these additional menu items are not and come at an additional expense.

2. Sample Local Craft Beers and Wines

At the Halifax Oyster Festival, a culinary exploration of Halifax’s oysters can be perfectly paired with a local craft beer or wine for a further sampling of the province’s local flavors.

With drink vendors scattered throughout the venue, the Oyster Festival is a great place to socialize while enjoying a delicious variety of locally brewed beverages.

Live band on stage

3. Dance Along To Live Music and DJs

The festive atmosphere would not be complete without some lively entertainment. Luckily, the Halifax Oyster Festival features live music and DJs throughout the event to accompany the traditional ambiance of Nova Scotia’s oyster culture.

While the musical lineup is still to be determined, guests can expect local bands and DJs throughout the weekend.

4. Learn The Craft With Cooking Demonstrations Or Partake  In A Shucking Contest

The Halifax Oyster Festival provides visitors the unique opportunity to interact with professional oyster farmers from across Nova Scotia and Canada’s maritime provinces. These farmers are available to interact with at their personal booths. Meanwhile, the venue’s main stage also hosts a lineup of cooking demonstrations and the annual Nova Scotia Shucking Championship.

5. Meet The Halifax Oyster Festival Mascot

Pearl, the Halifax Oyster Festival’s mascot, received international fame last year after going viral on social media thanks to her horrifying visage of a giant oyster with a dozen eyes, long legs, and big pursed lips.

Despite her creepy appearance, Pearl has become a beloved embodiment of the festival spirit and is one of the most anticipated festival highlights of the 7th annual Halifax Oyster Festival in 2023.

Halifax Harbourfront

Where Is The Halifax Oyster Festival?

Held alongside the iconic Halifax waterfront, the 2023 Halifax Oyster Festival will be held within Pavilion 22 of the Halifax harbour. Located next to the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, the venue offers a historic and spacious location for sampling the city’s cultural delicacies.

Address: 1031 Marginal Rd, Halifax, NS B3H 4P7

When Is The Halifax Oyster Festival 2023?

The Halifax Oyster Festival used to be held every September. However, following the effects of 2022’s Hurricane Fiona, the event was moved to November 25. The 2023 Halifax Oyster Festival will continue to be held in November, with the exact dates still to be determined.

Dates: November 2023 (Exact Dates TBD)

Halifax Oyster Festival Ticket Packages

While ticket prices have yet to be announced, the event traditionally offers four types of admission passes to its guests.

The Briny Pass: Perfect for visitors looking to sample the festival’s staple offerings, The Briny Pass includes admission to the festival and oysters from all of the featured farms.

VIPEARL Pass: Features everything from The Briny Pass and provides access to the festival’s VIP Lounge, which includes private shucking, a bar, a private bathroom, and additional appetizers.

Npoyster Pass: Provides cheaper admission to the festival but with no oysters.

VIP Npoyster Pass: Provides cheaper admission to the festival and VIP Lounge but with no oysters.

Where to Stay for the Halifax Oyster Festival?

Looking for a great nearby accommodation for basing your visit to the 2023 Halifax Oyster Festival? Check out our rooms at Cameo Suites! Boasting a central downtown location just over one kilometre from the event venue, we provide comfortable lodging with budget-friendly rates, perfect for hosting your excursion to Canada’s biggest oyster fest.

Be sure to check availability before visiting and reserve your room in advance to guarantee your stay.

Canoeing Musquodoboit River Near Halifax in Fall

Fall in Halifax: 7 Things To Do This Autumn in Nova Scotia

With fewer crowds and picturesque vistas, fall in Halifax is the best time of year to explore the city’s many attractions while immersing in the breathtaking natural landscapes of Nova Scotia’s countryside. From admiring the changing crimson colours of eastern Canada to taking advantage of the region’s off season, discover all of the city’s seasonal adventures with this list of things to do in Halifax this fall.

1. Enjoy The Beautiful Fall Colours at Point Pleasant Park

Promising 75-hectares of pristine wooded area, Point Pleasant Park is one of the best places in Halifax for enjoying the changing fall colours. Located at the southern tip of the Halifax Peninsula, the park provides a natural escape just a short drive from the downtown area and features 39 kilometers of interweaving hiking trails perfect for getting lost in the colorful foliage.

While Point Pleasant Park is the most convenient area to do some fall hiking, visitors looking for a more comprehensive variety of trail systems can also plan a trip over to the Cape Breton Highlands National Park along Nova Scotia’s east coast.

Dog walkers at point pleasant park in fall

2. Take a Road Trip to Annapolis Valley

Annapolis Valley is another great place to immerse in the colorful leaves of Nova Scotia’s fall foliage and natural landscapes. Starting from Halifax, the scenic drive leads seasonal adventurers north of the city to Wolfsville before following the coast west to Annapolis Royal. Along the way you will enjoy some of the province’s most spectacular fall views as you pass through small sleepy towns, agricultural landscapes, and sweeping vineyards.

The drive itself takes about five hours to complete. However, with plenty of breathtaking vistas, you should plan on making several stops along the way.

3. Enjoy Live Music Along The Halifax Harbour

With the tourist season beginning to wind down, the fall season is the best time for experiencing the authentic maritime culture of Halifax’s iconic waterfront. While summer patios may be closed, the waterfront’s vibrant restaurants and pubs remain open throughout the fall, and promise lively entertainment and fantastic social scenes.

A staple of the Halifax Harbourfront, The Lower Deck promises live music 7 days a week and features some of the best musical talents the city has to offer. With fish and chips, cold beer, and upbeat vibes, a night enjoying the sounds of The Lower Deck is a great way to spend a fall evening in Halifax.

The Nocturne Festival during fall in halifax

4. Immerse In Halifax’s Halloween Spirit

Throughout the month of October, Halifax comes alive with the Halloween spirit, with several haunted houses and exciting attractions popping up to accompany the spooky season. Throughout the month, the city offers several haunted houses and ghost tours throughout its historic downtown area. However, for even more thrills, visitors should plan to venture to the Nova Scotian countryside to enjoy a variety of spooky attractions at Noggins Corner, which features a haunted mansion, wagon rides, and a pumpkin patch.

5. Attend a Fall Festival or Convention

The fall season plays host to many of Halifax’s top events and festivals, and it is definitely worth a visit to the city to partake in one or more of the fantastic affairs. Some of the season’s best offerings are the Halifax Urban Folk Festival, also known as HUFF and held at the end of September, and Nocturne Halifax, an outdoor visual art festival that illuminates the evenings mid-october.

Other great Halifax festivals running this fall include the Hal-Con Sci-Fi & Fantasy Convention, the Halifax Oyster Festival, and the Nova Scotia Forest Festival.

Little girl at Halifax Public Gardens

6. Enjoy a Picnic at an Urban Park

A picnic at an urban park is a great way for visitors not keen on hiking to embrace the changing autumn colours of the fall season. Luckily, Halifax is home to several beautiful public parks that provide the natural feel of Nova Scotia’s wooded areas while being within walking distance of the city’s accommodations. Located right next to Citadel Hill, the Halifax Public Gardens and Victoria Park are great spots for a fall picnic. Meanwhile Shubie Park is slightly further from downtown, but offers plenty of natural fall scenery just north of Dartmouth.

7. Take Advantage of Halifax’s Low Season Crowds

One of the biggest advantages of visiting Halifax in the fall is that many of the region’s top attractions are free of the heavy crowding that can occur throughout the summer months. From late September onward, the streets of Halifax host far fewer tourists than peak season, making the fall a great time to visit the city’s most popular landmarks, including the Halifax Citadel, the Canadian Museum of Immigration, and more.

Where To Stay In Halifax in the Fall

Looking for a great accommodation for exploring all the fun and exciting things to do in Halifax this fall? Book with us at Cameo Suites. Not only are we available to point you in the direction of all of the top sites, but our central location in the heart of downtown Halifax’s entertainment district means we are just a short walk from all of the city’s best landmarks and parks while also serving as a comfortable base for further afield adventures and road trips.

Check our availability before visiting and reserve your room today!

Girl in a nurse costume

Hal-Con 2023: A Guide to Halifax’s Sci-Fi and Gaming Convention

Step into the captivating realms of science fiction and fantasy at Hal Con Halifax, the premier sci-fi and fantasy convention in Atlantic Canada and the largest gathering of its kind east of Montreal. Immerse yourself in a weekend tailored for enthusiasts from around the world as Hal Con beckons you to delve into diverse themes of the genre through an array of exciting activities.

Whether you’re a seasoned convention-goer or a newcomer, this guide equips you with everything you need to fully embrace the enchantment and wonder that Hal Con 2023 has in store.

What is Hal Con?

The Hal Con Sci-Fi, Fantasy & Comic Convention, known simply as Hal Con for short, is Atlantic Canada’s largest sci-fi and gaming convention, bringing a variety of celebrity guests, cosplayers and vendors to Halifax, Nova Scotia each year.

Initially started in the late 1970s, Hal Con was a popular convention throughout most of the 80s. However, after ten years of attracting comic book enthusiasts and lovers of the sci-fi and fantasy genres, the conventions ceased their annual celebrations following the 1987 event.

Two Decades later, a group of individuals within the Halifax regional municipality breathed new life into the convention, with 2010 representing the official return of Hal-Con.  Over the past decade, the new Hal Con Sci-Fi, Fantasy & Comic Convention has come to be known as the geekiest sci-fi convention in Atlantic Canada, attracting cosplayers and fans of the celebrated genres from all over the world.

Events and Things to Do at Hal Con 2023

From meeting celebrity guests to partaking in a series of workshops, gaming centres and costume contests, Hal Con promises a full weekend packed with fun and exciting things to do. These are just some of the top activities guests can expect from Halifax’s biggest sci-fi and fantasy convention.

Collection of comic books

1. Panels & Q&A Sessions

Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes to produce the magic content within your favourite sci-fi TV shows, movies, or comic books? Well, at Hal Con, you can find out with several celebrity panels and Q&A Sessions with professionals within the field.

From actors to writers and artists, some of the biggest names featured at the 2023 event include Timothy Zahn, a published writer known for his Star Wars novels, Oded Fehr, known for his role as Ardeth Bay in The Mummy and The Mummy Returns, and the famous Arthur C Clark Award Winner, Adrian Tchaikovsky.

Along with attending discussion panels, visitors can get up close and personal with their favourite guests at the autograph and photo booths located throughout the venue.

2. Cosplay & Costume Contests

What would a sci-fi and fantasy convention be without some incredible cosplay of all of your favourite characters from throughout the genres? While not mandatory, Hal Con encourages guests to dress up as their favourite heroes, villains, or any other character and even awards the best costumes with prizes in several categories, including the best video game characters, best group costumes, and best look-alike.

While the convention runner encourages guests to be as creative as they can, Hal Con is a family event and maintains an appropriate clothing policy. This means your costumes cannot include nudity, promote offensive ideologies, or pose a risk to others’ safety.

3. Workshops and Demonstrations

Guests can receive a hands-on look at the production of various pieces of sci-fi and fantasy content with several workshops and demonstrations put on throughout the Hal Con weekend. These can include anything from the best comic book-making practices to cosplaying tips and tricks and even often include demonstrations of swordplay.

4. Vendor Marketplaces

Guests can find a wide variety of sci-fi and fantasy paraphernalia scattered throughout Hal Con’s vendor marketplace located within the ballroom floor level off the Halifax Convention Center. Here, visitors will find plenty of vendors selling all the souvenirs they can hope for, including comic books, model collections and replicas, posters, board games, and other forms of art and souvenirs.

5. Gaming Centres

With a floor dedicated to gaming, Hal Con is home to the largest gaming convention east of Montreal. It promises over 100 tables scattered across 15,000 square feet and offers everything from miniature war games to classic board games and collectible card games.

Along with its tabletop gaming, Hal Con also features a diverse catalogue of video games and offers a deep library of games on new-generation consoles along with classical arcade-style machines.

The Halifax Convention Center

When is Hal Con 2023?

Hal Con is traditionally held each fall. This year, the Hal Con Sci-Fi, Fantasy & Comic convention is scheduled for October 27 – 29, 2023.

Where is Hal Con 2023 Held?

Hal Con 2023 is being held at the Halifax Convention Centre, where it has been hosted since the venue’s construction in 2017. 

Address: 1650 Argyle St, Halifax

How to Get Your Hal Con Tickets

Weekend passes to Hal Con 2023 start at $120.00 per ticket. Single-day passes are also available at varying prices, starting at $40.00 for Friday access. You can purchase your tickets here.

The Best Hotel in Halifax for Attending the Hal Con 2023

Located just a 3-minute walk from the venue, Cameo Suites offers comfortable and affordable accommodation near the Hal Con. With a selection of studio and multi-bedroom suites, we are a fantastic base for immersing in the sci-fi and fantasy atmosphere of the convention, whether you are visiting by yourself or with a group.

Be sure to book your room in advance, as units tend to fill up fast as we approach the event’s dates.

colourful residential homes in Halifax

Halifax Airbnb Regulations and Alternative Short-Term Rentals

While once a popular accommodation option in the city, Airbnb and short-term rentals are not as widely available in Halifax as they once were, and many visitors to the city may find their favourite stays no longer listed for rent. Following a public hearing in February, which saw the Halifax Regional Municipality pass new regulations governing short-term rentals in the city’s residential zones, the city has experienced a massive reduction in Airbnbs and entire-home rentals in the city.

With the new rules and regulations beginning to take effect, this is everything you need to know about the new Halifax Airbnb regulations and where to find the best short-term rental alternatives.

The New Halifax Airbnb Rules

Not all Airbnb listings and short-term rentals in Halifax are affected by the new regulations. According to this staff report, the following are the new short-term rental rules governing a property’s eligibility in the city, with a short-term rental property being defined as a rental period of 28 days or less.

  1. Short-term rentals in Halifax’s residential zones must be the host’s primary residence.
  2. Short-term rentals are still permitted in commercial or mixed-use zones where tourism accommodations are already present.
  3. Short-term bedroom rentals are also permitted in residential zones as long as the property is the Airbnb owner’s primary residence.
  4. Parking, bedroom limits, and maximum signage of short-term bedroom rentals must adhere to current requirements for all bed and breakfasts.

Ultimately, Halifax’s new regulations limit entire home rentals in the city’s residential areas and limit current multiple short-term rental property owners to just a single property in these zones. Of course, short-term rentals in commercial and mixed-use zones are entirely unaffected by the new rules.

Downtown Dartmouth

Why is Halifax Banning Airbnb and Short-Term Rentals?

Short-term rentals haven’t been entirely banned in Halifax. However, new regulations have been approved by the city council to limit the number of these Airbnb-style stays in residential zones throughout the city. The controversial decision to enact these new regulations comes as the city attempts to address the regional housing crisis.

With stricter bans in place, the city is attempting to encourage landlords to revert their business models to long-term rentals while limiting the number of ghost hotels in the city, which see landlords from outside the region purchasing property to profit off the local tourism industry. In the process, these previously short-term rental properties should be opened up to become more long-term housing options available to address Halifax’s own housing situation.

Of course, this has drawbacks for many people, including property owners making a living through their Airbnb and short-term rental businesses. In fact, of the 2,000 short-term rental properties in Halifax, about 1,300 of them are going to find themselves disqualified under the new regulations.

When Does the New Halifax Airbnb Ban Come Into Effect?

While the Halifax Regional Municipality passed the new Halifax short-term rental regulations in February 2023, the city gave property owners time to alter their business models.

Halifax Airbnb and short-term rentals must follow the new regulations as of September 1, 2023

It is also worth noting that all short-term rentals in Nova Scotia must register with their municipality to receive a registration number, according to a new regulation passed by the provincial government.

Man sitting at Citadel Hill

Who Does the New Halifax Short-Term Rental Regulations Affect?

Along with interfering with many businesses, Halifax’s new short-term rental regulations also affect many tourists and renters looking for short-term stays.

Property Owners

The property owners are the most obvious group affected by the new Airbnb regulations in Halifax. While the regulations should prove effective in limiting ghost hotels and out-of-province landlords, the new short-term rental rules also affect many local businesses and families that rely on their short-term rentals for extra income.

With a blossoming tourism industry, many Halifax locals have created pop-up hotel and property management businesses in recent years, many of which focus on the city’s residential areas. Additionally, the new rules further limit these business opportunities, as an Airbnb host can only offer bedroom rentals within their primary residence. 

The Airbnb communities in Dartmouth and peninsula Halifax will be particularly affected by these new rules, as they boast the greatest concentration of these short-term rental units.


Another group of people that these new short-term regulations affect are the renters of the property themselves. 

By permitting only bedroom rentals in residential homes, the city limits the number of full-home rentals available to visitors requiring more space, such as for families or those visiting for health reasons.

Of course, these groups of travellers still need a place to stay.

Why Cameo Suites is the Best Airbnb Halifax Downtown Alternative

Offering plenty of space, a sense of privacy and independence, and a convenient location in the heart of downtown, Cameo Suites is the best short-term rental alternative in Halifax, following the new Airbnb regulations.

With the now limited availability of entire-home rentals, our multi-bedroom suite options offer plenty of space for visiting families and groups, regardless of the purpose of the visit. 

Our 2-bedroom and 3-bedroom suite offers spacious open concepts for four and five guests, respectively, with fully equipped kitchens at affordable rates. Moreover, our hotel is surrounded by convenient services and amenities for comfortable accommodation whether you are visiting for a weekend or a few weeks.

Planning a family trip to the city? Or maybe you are visiting for medical reasons. Either way, check our availability to book the best short-term rentals in Halifax following the new Airbnb bans.

Family picnic on Citadel Hill

How to Book the Best Hotel Rates in Halifax

Boasting an iconic waterfront, over two and a half centuries of Maritime history, and some of the most vibrant festivals and events in Nova Scotia, Halifax is one of the best travel destinations in Atlantic Canada and is made even better with a great accommodation deal.

Whether visiting for the food, culture, or unique and vibrant experiences, this is your guide to booking the best hotel rates in Halifax to explore one of Canada’s most iconic destinations for a fraction of the cost.

Factors That Can Affect Hotel Rates in Halifax

To book hotels in Halifax at the best available rates, you must first understand the factors influencing accommodation costs.

1.   Seasonal Travel Periods

The first and most critical factor affecting hotel prices in Halifax is the season of your travel dates. Peak season in Halifax is from May to August, when many families take summer vacations. Thanks to the increased demand, hotel rates are often at their highest during this time.

Conversely, travelling during Halifax’s off-season is a fantastic way to experience the city and is the best time for receiving significant discounts on popular accommodation options.

2.   Event and Festival Weekends

As a cultural hub of Atlantic Canada, Halifax is famous for its world-renowned festivals. And like the city’s peak season, these celebratory events are often accompanied by an influx of tourists, significantly driving Halifax hotel prices to substantial rates.

The summer and fall months feature most of the city’s annual festivals, and these weekends should be avoided if you plan on snagging a Halifax hotel at an affordable rate.

3.   Variety of Onsite Amenities

The most obvious factor affecting hotel prices in Halifax is the availability of onsite amenities. There are many luxury hotels in the city boasting a myriad of luxury services ranging from an indoor pool to extensive spa services or a fitness centre.

Naturally, these extensive facilities are also accompanied by some of the highest nightly rates in Halifax. If you plan to visit Halifax at the best rates, you should instead look for accommodation that emphasizes the basics, focusing on providing top-of-the-line in-room comforts without the bells and whistles of an on-site restaurant or business center.

4.   Location

The final factor affecting hotel rates in Halifax is the location of the accommodation. It is typical for popular hotels near famous attractions to feature higher nightly rates, such as those near Citadel Hill.

Keep reading for some of the better locations for booking a cheap hotel in Halifax.

Happy tourists on a patio

Tips to Book Hotels in Halifax at the Best Rates

Now that we know what factors affect hotel prices in Halifax, here are a few tips to help you get your ideal hotel at the best available rate plan.

·      Book in Advance

The first step to booking cheap hotel rates in Halifax is to book your accommodation in advance. By doing so, you can get ahead of the market and lock in your accommodation rate before the tourist crowds drive up the prices.

·      Consider Traveling During the Off-Season

Another great way to get seriously impressive discounts for your stay in Halifax is to visit during the off-season. While the spring can often be a little damp in Nova Scotia, it is also when you can get the best prices for a hotel in the city.

While not quite as cheap, Halifax hotels also often offer discounted rates from November to January, which is typically considered a better time to explore the area.

·      Sign Up for Hotel Newsletters and Loyalty Programs

If you have some flexibility with your vacation time, signing up for a hotel’s newsletters or loyalty program can be a great way to save money on your stay in Halifax. Just be sure to grab the offers when they become available.

·      Book Directly with the Hotel

If you’ve tried the tips above on sites like or Expedia, but still aren’t seeing the prices you want, you can always try the hotel’s direct website. Some hotels charge a higher price for reservations made on third-party website to make up for the commissions that they pay to those websites.

Argyle Street, downtown Halifax

The Best Areas for Cheap Hotel Rates in Halifax

As promised, these are some of the top areas in Halifax for booking the best hotels at great rates.

1.   Downtown Halifax

The perfect place for booking some great hotels for a relatively low rate is in the heart of downtown Halifax. Along with boasting some of the city’s best prices, downtown also gives visitors convenient access to the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site and the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic.

2.   North End

The city’s North End is another great place to book an affordable hotel in Halifax. While near the downtown attractions, the area north of Halifax Common also boasts budget-friendly hotels and a wide selection of services.

3.   Dartmouth

Located just across from the downtown area, Dartmouth is one of the best places for affordable hotels in the city. However, they are slightly more removed from popular attractions.

Final Thoughts

Whether booking your business trips or a family holiday to Atlantic Canada, the best practices for getting the lowest hotel rates in Halifax are always going to be the same;

  • Book early
  • Avoid peak weekends
  • Monitor deals
  • Choose your location wisely

At Cameo Suites, we provide top-of-the-line accommodation at affordable rates by focusing on the most important thing; the comfort of your room. Check availability for your travel dates here to take advantage of our special rates.

Highlander drills at Halifax Citadel

Atlantic International Film Festival: Everything You Need to Know

As Canada’s largest film festival east of Montreal, the Atlantic International Film Festival is one of the most anticipated events in Atlantic Canada and attracts movie lovers and filmmakers from around the world to celebrate local and international talent.

Whether you are looking to submit your own film, partake in one of the event’s filmmakers’ panels or Q&As, or catch some of the best international films of the festival season, this is everything you need to know about the 2023 Atlantic International Film Festival.

What is the AIFF?

The Atlantic International Film Festival is an annual eight-day celebration of film that highlights both regional and international talents while providing an outlet for professionals and audiences to explore the art of storytelling through the genres of comedy, action, drama, and documentary.

Held in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the AIFF is one of Canada’s premier celebrations of film and converts the city into a cultural hub of creativity and art each year. The cultural festival welcomes international visitors and submissions and has become a global haven for film lovers worldwide. 

While an international festival, the AIFF maintains its commitment and strong ties to promoting the Canadian film industry through film selections of local productions, specifically those made within the Atlantic region.

The History of the Atlantic International Film Festival

The 2023 season marks the Atlantic International Film Festival’s return to its iconic AIFF branding, having been known as the FIN Atlantic Film Festival since 2017. Despite this, the AIFF began 43 years ago as a small grassroots operation in St. John’s, Newfoundland, in 1981.

​The festival was moved to Halifax the following year, where it has since spent four decades promoting the unique filmmakers and thriving art community of Atlantic Canada, becoming one of Canada’s biggest film festivals in the process.

The AIFF’s new logo change is now set to return the festival’s focus to its established legacy with a new line-up of films and a broad range of cinematic initiatives to promote the talents of local and international filmmakers.

When is the Atlantic Film Festival 2023?

Downtown Halifax cityscape

The AIFF is traditionally held in Halifax every September. This year’s festival runs from September 14th – 21st, 2023. The festival’s box office opens about a month before the first weekend, on August 16th, 2023, at 3:00 p.m. Atlantic Time.

Check AIFF’s official website for the finalized program launch and ticket sales.

What Types of Films Does the FIN Atlantic International Film Festival Feature?

The AIFF screens films of various genres, formats, and themes and offers an immersive escape for all movie lovers. From short films to feature-length movies, the AIFF is Atlantic Canada’s curator of unforgettable stories from some of the film industry’s biggest players.

The Atlantic International Film Festival invites eligible submissions within three categories. These categories are classified as short or feature films and are divided according to whether the production is by an Atlantic, National (Canadian), or international filmmaker.

While the Atlantic International Film Festival screens films from around the world, it maintains its mission of promoting the local film industry by awarding prizes and special recognition to Atlantic Canadian filmmakers.

Selected by a committee of Atlantic Canada film professionals, the AIFF’s long list of coveted accolades includes The Gordon Parson’s Award for Best Atlantic Feature, The Michael Weir Award for Best Atlantic Screenwriter, and The Joan Orenstein Award & David Renton Award for Outstanding Performance in Acting.

What Other Special Events Does the AIFF Feature?

Halifax Convention Centre front door

As the champion of local filmmakers, the Atlantic International Film Festival offers several ways for aspiring talents to hone their crafts, including various workshops, filmmaker panels, and Q&As that are announced with the program.

The following are just some other ways the AIFF allows its audience to engage in the festival experience beyond its film screenings.

AIFF Filmmaker Lab

Presented by RBC Emerging Artists, the AIFF Filmmaker Lab is a special program that provides a select group of individuals access to exclusive events throughout the summer. These events include private workshops and a one-on-one meeting with the festival strategist to help create a special festival release for a short film.

The Filmmaker Lab’s keystone event is an exclusive networking reception where participants can meet and exchange ideas with industry professionals.

AIFF Online

Designed for those unable to attend the festival in person, AIFF Stream features a fresh collection of streams available to all Atlantic Canadians. With a focus on regional productions, the AIFF celebrates the Atlantic film industry by providing access to some of the festival’s best films.

Where is the Best Place to Stay Near the Atlantic International Film Festival 2023?

The Atlantic International Film Festival is held annually in downtown Halifax, and booking nearby accommodation is critical to the festival experience. 

And where better to spend your visit than at a hotel housed within a historic movie theatre that was a staple of the Canadian film industry for over 80 years?

Located only a 10-minute walk from the AIFF venue, Cameo Suites promises an immersive stay in one of the most historic buildings in the city and is the perfect way to celebrate the evolution of local movies and their filmmakers.

Our premier accommodation is especially popular during the film festival season, so be sure to book your room before we are filled up.