The 75-bed Halifax Heritage House Hostel (tel. 902-422-3863) is located at 1253 Barrington St., within walking distance of downtown attractions. You'll usually share rooms with other travelers (several private and family rooms are available); there are lockers in each room, shared bathrooms, and a shared, fully equipped kitchen. Rates are C $19 (U.S. $15) and up per person in dormitories, C $50 (C $40) for a double bed in a private room.
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A short way from downtown but convenient to bus lines are university dorm rooms open to travelers during the summer, when school isn't in session. Dalhousie University (tel. 902-494-8840) has one-, two-, and three-bedroom units furnished with plain single beds, many with private bathrooms and kitchenettes (you rent the dishes for a small fee). Single rooms begin at C $39 (U.S. $31), double rooms at C $61 (U.S. $49).
Coffee emporia have cropped up throughout Halifax in the last couple of years, as they have in urban areas everywhere. Many also stock sandwiches, pastries and light snacks in addition to the java. A few of the best downtown options are Caffé Ristretto (tel. 902-425-3087) at 1475 Lower Water St. (Bishop Landing) with its nice harbor views; Timothy's World Coffee, which has locations at Spring Garden Road, Barrington Street, and Upper Water Street; Cabin Coffee (tel. 902-422-8130) at 1554 Hollis St. with its Bohemian feel and good espresso and cappuccino; and Amadeus Café (tel. 902-423-0032) and the dependable chain Second Cup (tel. 902-429-0883) on Spring Garden Road.
For chain fast-food meals (if you must), again stick to Spring Garden Road. For a quick snack on the same street, the plastic patio furniture outside belies the good snacks, pastries, coffees, teas, and light meals inside Annie's Place (tel. 902-420-0098) at 1513 Birmingham St. (corner of Spring Garden); outstanding bargain lunch specials include changing offerings such as a slab of grilled meatloaf on focaccia. For more upscale fare, explore downtown, or some of the tiny side streets that cross Spring Garden.
The Brewery complex, on the uphill side of Lower Water Street just above the docks, is perhaps the city's most interesting one-stop shopping and dining experience. Originally the site of the Alexander Keith brewery, North America's oldest, the space was eventually redesigned and renovated to enclose some courtyards from the weather, link up the various structures of the brewery, and create a kind of interior market of shops and restaurants. Today the complex houses the city's finest Italian restaurant, as well as a range of other drinking, dining, and shopping options. While navigating its labyrinthine courtyards to find a particular establishment can be a bit confusing, it's also great fun to see what pops up around the next corner.
The Saturday morning farmer's market held within the Brewery's walls is a weekly highlight for local Haligonians, rain or shine. It's Canada's oldest — and possibly its most interesting — such market. The market runs between 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. each Saturday, but come early in the day for the widest selection of donuts, fruits, vegetables, coffee, baked goods, smoked meats, crafts, Greek pastries, wine and chocolate samples, and dynamite crepes — among many other items.
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