We’re into February and the season of love, and it’s time to start planning your Valentine’s Day. If you want to head out for an afternoon or evening of activities, there’s plenty to do in Halifax. With options across the city and activity types, you’re sure to find something fun to do together. And if you’ve got sufficient transportation and time…why not do more than one?
Dining out on Valentine’s Day is a longstanding tradition, and even with the pandemic around it’s still very possible to have a wonderful evening out. February is Dine-Around Month, so there are deals and special meals all over the city, making it a night to remember for any budget range.
On that note, that means that you can beat the crowds and just have your Valentine’s Dinner out on a different night. After all, it’s your Valentine’s Day—why not have it when you want it?
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Board Game Cafés
Playing games together is fun, but if you don’t have the games you like at home, head out to a boardgame café. There are a few options around Halifax, and all of them offer great food, expert advice, and dozens of games to try. My personal recommendations are as follows: milkshakes, snack platters so you have a variety, and trying anything that looks interesting, because even if it ends up being lame, you can laugh together.
If you want more options for games, do a double- or triple-date, and then your only limits are your imaginations!
Look, I’m a bookworm, so this is my ideal Valentine’s Day date, and I’m sure that this appeals to other people too. Pick a local favourite or try out a new place, and bring some bags to carry out your purchases (this is a great way to make sure you don’t get too many…unless you ignore that limit and just carry out more. I have done both, I’m not judging anyone).
Get lost in a used bookstore, find some brand new favourites, and check out stationery and other bookstore specials. Take some time to pick out books for each other, choose a new one to read together, or have nerd fights about the best book in a series (just not too loud, you don’t want to interrupt someone else’s nerd fight).
Alright, this is the best word I could find for this sort of shopping, but I’m sure there’s a better term. Basically, Halifax has lots of little stores that focus on one or two specific things—specialty stores, I guess? Like Sarah & Tom’s (Asian pop culture), the Loop (knitting supplies), Strange Adventures (comics and graphic novels), and so much more!
Not Amazon gives you a good selection, and really you can pick a hobby or topic and put “Halifax” after it and you’re bound to find some interesting places to stop. Support local, do some fun shopping, and spend time together—everyone wins!
It’s a sweet day, why not go out and enjoy it with your tastebuds? You can steer past the heart-shaped stuff if that’s not your thing, and instead spend some time picking out your favourite candies to bring home for a sweet feast. Make sure to get double of the candies you both like to avoid any quarreling, and maybe pick out some new candies to try together. And hey…you can always go the day after Valentine’s if the Lindt Stores stuff is your thing, and you want a sweeter deal.
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Another stop for bookworms; I think Central is one of the prettiest places in the city to enjoy a snowy day. Once you’re up on the fifth floor, you’re standing in a glass cube that’s perfect to observe the city. Gather some books and magazines and spend some time up there enjoying the view, the reading material, and your lovely companion. Not necessarily in that order, of course! There’s currently no food available for purchase in the library, but you can bring in snacks, and it’s close to some of the candy stores linked above…
As of right now, it’s too early to tell if there will be snow on Citadel Hill come Valentine’s Day. Happily, it doesn’t really matter either way. If there is snow, you can spend the afternoon sledding and making more vertically inclined snow angels, which is certainly fun. However, if there’s no snow, you can still tramp up the hill to enjoy the view. Bring a good outdoor blanket and some thermoses and you can even have a winter picnic as you look down on Halifax and over the Harbour to Dartmouth together.
The Clay Caféis a Halifax classic, and it’s perfect if you want to have a longer date and still have something to do together. The process is simple: you pick out an object (they range from mugs to large garden statues) that you want to paint, you pick your paints and grab any pencils you might want for designing, and then you sit down and paint your creation. The staff are helpful and happy to provide suggestions and direction, but the look of your piece is ultimately up to you. You can paint something for each other, objects for the home you share, or just enjoy painting together. You can even plan for a second date a few days later when you come and pick up your kiln-baked pieces.
Ah, escape rooms, the fastest way to figure out who still remembers how to do mental math, who remembers how to ask the right questions, and who’s got the best observation skills. There are escape rooms of multiple themes in Halifax, and it’s easy to find one that’s interesting. This is another good one to do a double- or triple-date, or have a platonic Valentine’s outing. Just remember to keep your eyes open, your temper mild, and your mind ready for any puzzle the room can throw at it!
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If you don’t think is a romantic idea, then do not do this—if you do think it’s a romantic idea, you should absolutely do it! Inviting yourselves into the paranormalon a holiday night that isn’t Halloween might be odd, but it’s also really fun. There are ghost stories all over Halifax, so you can make up your own tour. Inside or out, tragic or charming, follow your supernatural-loving heart all around this old town!
Go to a Museum
Museums are a good date destination for a few reasons. For one thing, it allows you to share your passions with each other—you can take turns playing guide as you walk around. For another, it’s indoors and they generally have gift shops, so you can plan to get your Valentine’s gift there! Finally, there’s something special about learning together in a space that feels both public and private. Halifax has several museums to explore, so pick one you both want to see and have at it!
Go to a Spa
This is a classic Valentine’s activity…spend a day when you’re both getting treated and pampered, drinking water with so many cucumbers in it, all while having both solo and together time? It’s a great option for lovers of all genders, and it’s a way to treat some of the built-up winter tension.
The spas in Halifax have a great variety of services, so no one has to do anything they don’t want to do (I personally don’t enjoy getting mani-pedis), and you’ll find lots of things to do together. Valentine’s falls on the Sunday of the holiday weekend this year, so celebrate that extra day of relaxation with an extra layer of relaxation at the spa.
Hemlock Ravine is a nice park to explore all year round. The looped trails are short and flat, you can take the bus almost exactly there, and there’s lots of places for pictures! There is something special about Hemlock Ravine park though, something no other park within city limits has. Within the park’s grounds, you’ll find a lake…a lake in the shape of a heart!
Ice Skating at the Oval
If you know how to skate even a little bit, you will have a fun time at the Oval. Set up faithfully every year since 2011, a decade of experience has transformed the Oval into the ideal outdoor skating destination. You can rent all the gear you need for the low price of surrendering a piece of ID for the duration of your skate time, and you can skate until well past dark. The best part is that you don’t have to go anywhere else to get food: there’s a Beavertails truck set up just past the benches, so you can get hot dogs, hot chocolate, poutine, and (of course) a Beavertail!
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Ah, Peggy’s Cove, one of the most beautiful places in the HRM, and one of the most popular for proposals (I’m just saying, if you’ve got a ring, this is a pretty nice place to pop the question).
Enjoy the gorgeous ocean view, see the small fishing village, and eat a hearty Nova Scotian dinner at the restaurant beside the lighthouse. Bring your cameras, don’t walk on the wet rocks, and enjoy a beautiful day by the beach, even in the middle of winter.
Another romantic spot (very popular for wedding photos come spring and summer if you’re planning such an occasion), the Public Gardens is now open for business during the winter. The park is hushed in the winter, snow or not, with only a few birds hanging around. You can walk the paths, take pictures by the gazebo, and learn about the history of the park from the panels scattered about (it’s also a decent place for a winter picnic). Located on the corner of South Park Street and Spring Garden Road, you can stretch your legs at the park before you head for a meal or shopping only minutes away.
This one is a bit more weather dependent than the rest of this list. While I’m a big believer in the fun of winter winds and weather if it’s pouring rain on Valentine’s you might want to try something else on this list. If it isn’t raining, on the other hand, this is a great place to walk.
You’ll find buildings old and new, restaurants scattered strategically to offer shelter and refreshments, and if you’re lucky, you might see some wildlife in the water. It’s an adventurous outside activity for Valentine’s Day, and adventures can be very romantic.
Window shopping might be the best kind of shopping, because you don’t actually have to buy anything, and you don’t have to feel weird about going inside a store without buying something!
There are several streets of Halifax that are great for window shopping—Spring Garden, Agricola, and Barrington come to mind, but there are several more across the city. And if the weather is frightful, head to the Halifax Shopping Centre, Micmac Mall in Dartmouth, or Park Lane mall to do some indoor window shopping.
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By: Adrienne Colborne
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