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10 Reasons to go to University in Halifax

From nightlife to the ocean to the friendly people. Check out the top 10 reasons to study in Halifax!

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1. Youthful City

Halifax is the home of Dalhousie University, Saint Mary’s University, Mount Saint Vincent, Kings College, NASCAD, and probably more schools than I even realize. Students run this town! According to Stats Canada, the city has one of the lowest amounts of seniors. The biggest age groups are university students and people their parent’s age. Take a look at the charts if you need more proof (heck I found it interesting!)

Basically, you have a lot of potential suitors in this town; nice ones too (see 6). Start looking ;)

2. Everything is Close-By

Halifax is very pedestrian friendly. Walking and biking are welcomed and there is no need for a car (other than for trips to Costco). As a student, bus passes come with your student ID, but I strongly recommend walking on the nice days. To get an idea of how close-by things are: from Dalhousie’s Studley Campus, downtown is about a 10-15 minute walk and the lovely Harbour is about 20 minutes. That covers the radius of the places you will likely frequent most. Biking around here is great too. I personally invested in an adorable cruiser bike (this one).

3. Shopping

Downtown (around Spring Garden and Barrington) there are really cute boutiques. My favourite boutiques include Sweet Pea and Biscuit General Store. Some of these boutiques sell my favourite brand Free People, which excites me beyond belief. If they ever get a Free People store here I will fangirl and wait in-line for the opening. No joke.

There are two major malls, Halifax Shopping Centre and MicMac Mall, only a bus ride away. Stores at these malls include Victoria Secret, H&M, Forever 21, BCBG, Dynamite, AE, Aldo, Bath & Body Works (candles!), Hollister, and all other stores you can find in a major mall. Envy is another good one; quite fancy and sells FP; I think it’s only in the Maritimes. To Bus: HSC take the 1 and MicMac take the 10.

4. Nightlife

This can be dependent on your nightlife style. So here is my opinion on some of the main bars, in just a couple of words:

Dome: club, dance, popular, attached to Cheers, 2.50 shots on Thursdays (“Dome is Home”)
Cheers: popular, booths, bar, live band, dance, attached to the Dome
Split Crow: Used to be the Commerce bar, sit down, live band, pub, day drinking on the weekend (full of students on Saturday afternoons because of power hour at 4:30 – $2.50 for a beer)
Lower Deck: live band, best known for Sunday nights, upper floor for club scene, lower for pub vibe
Pacifico: LA vibes, dancing, chic, lounge
Toothy Moose: great for country lovers (Friday nights)
Grawood: Dalhousie campus bar, tons of events, students galore

These are the ones that I’m more familiar with, of course there are a lot more to check out. Find “your bar” and have a blast. A great way to discover all the bars/clubs is to take part in one of the many pub-crawls. See 5 for more details.

5. Events

Pub-crawls: Since it’s a university town there are a ton of events throughout the year. Including the nationwide barhops/pub-crawls like The 12 Barz of Christmas and The Bunny Hop. Be sure to keep up to date by checking out their Facebook pages.

PayWhatYouCan (PWYC): The local Neptune Theatre is the best place for all you theatre buffs. They put on many plays throughout the school year. From local productions to well-known names like Sweeney Todd, Legally Blonde, Elf, and Mary Poppins. If you follow them on Facebook you can be updated about their PWYC nights. What this means is, for every show there is a night of previews for the opening, where you wait in line outside the box office an hour or so before the show and get a ticket for only $5! The seats aren’t assigned either; I’ve had front row-center for Sweeney Todd and Legally Blonde. Did I mention that you get to see top-quality/pricey shows for only $5! Take advantage of this folks. Good date night idea ;) – or girls night!

Also check out: Nocturne (Art at Night)Halifax Pop Explosion, and Mooseheads Hockey Games. Trust me, there is a lot going on in this city. Once you are here, do some digging, ask around, and prepare for some fun adventures.

6. General Friendliness

Here are the friendly Canadians the world has been talking about; a breath of fresh air if you are from the stereo-typical Toronto (no offence). Of course there are exceptions, but for the most part you will feel a warm welcome throughout Halifax.

7. Cafes

Whether you are a hipster, addicted to caffeine, an aspiring writer, looking for a place to study/read, or want a quaint place to meet up with someone, you are covered! Halifax is filled with cafes. Coburg Coffee, Starbucks, Just Us, Second Cup, Humani-T, Midpoint, Steve-O-Reno’s, … I will stop now, but you get the gist. And as you probably picked up from #2, they are all within walking distance!

8. Seafood

I don’t know about you but I love seafood. Salmon, mussels, scallops, shrimp, oysters, lobster, etc. If you don’t like in-your-face seafood, there’s always fish and chips or sushi!

Suzuki: Best Sushi. This place is not only unique in it’s layout (traditional Japanese seating options) but it has the most mouth watering sushi. So fresh that it just makes you melt with every bite. There have been many times where I’ve gone on weekly trips to this place. The sushi is extremely affordable. I normally order 3 types of rolls (Spicy Salmon, Sweet Potato Tempura, and Shrimp Tempura) with Miso Soup.

Evan’s Seafood: Best Fish and Chips. Though it’s in Dartmouth, it only takes a 15 minute ferry from downtown Halifax, and then you are immediately in the building. If you happen to be there in the summer, you can sit outside and enjoy the wonderful view of the Halifax harbour. The best part for me is that it’s gluten free! More of a flavourful “breading” than the typical beer battered fish.

Five Fisherman: Best Seafood (but $$$$). If your parents ever visit or you happen to have an excessive trust account, check out this restaurant. I had the meal of my life with my parents when they took me there, so much so that for my birthday they offered to pay for me and a friend to have dinner there. If you order an entree, you get free access to an all-you-can-eat mussel and salad bar. There are multiple sauces for the mussels as well. The best meal was the Five Fish; a plate which includes salmon, halibut, lobster, scallops, and shrimp. To add to the experience, the place is allegedly haunted. Ask them for the book with the ghost story.

9. History

For those of you with an interest in Canadian History, many major events happened here. Halifax helped in the rescue of Titanic victims (there’s a cemetery dedicated to the tragedy), Citadel Hill was the fort used to protect Canada from attacks during events like the American Revolution, and Pier 21 welcomed many people immigrating to North America for years, including during WWII. Make sure to check out these sites. If you are up for the thrill, you can also take part in a ghost tour. I’ve heard my fair share of spooky tales.

10. Ocean

As an Ontario girl, the idea of the ocean just seems magical. Every chance I spot it from the Halifax Harbour or Point Pleasant Park, I’m dazzled. I can’t help but look out into the vast distance imaging the world beyond (can you sense the wanderlust?) Being by the ocean is a great change of scenery for anyone who lives inland. Go whale watching, surfing at Lawrencetown Beach,  deep-sea fishing, or just stare at it for all I care! Take it all in!

Are you convinced?

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