If you’re a student, you’re most likely broke AF the first week into the school year. Weekends probably seem like you have to hide away in room, throw away your debit card and wait for Monday’s classes. Luckily, you live in a city that has plenty of no-money-down options for having an amazing weekend—hidden gems to be found, adventures to explore and cheap beer and eats to indulge in. We’ve made a list of our favourites as a surefire way to pack up your day with punches of fun. Grab 20 bucks and your bus pass and leave your cards at home.
Let’s start on Saturday morning, when the draining waves of frosh week have subsided. Though detoxing from its thrills while re-watching Stranger Things and cradling freezer burnt Eggos sounds pretty standard, we encourage heading out for breakfast. Nothing soaks up last night’s beer binge quite like bacon, and at The Ardmore (6499 Quinpool Road) there’s a hefty supply. Head there before 11am and scarf down a big breakfast for only $3.99.
If you need a little hair of the dog that bit you to better zap that hangover, we suggest taking the bus down to the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market (1209 Marginal Road). Sample some local wines (for free, so stay classy) in the midst of the market buzz, people watch and listen to the musical buskers. With that relaxing start to your day, you’re now ready for a whirlwind jaunt around town.
In a city often ruled by overcast and rain, take advantage of a nice day and go for multiple hikes, swims or both. Bring your running shoes and bathing suit, hop on the number 22 bus to Long Lake and fulfill two needs with one deed. Blanketed by trees and easy path ways to meander through, Long Lake is the perfect spot for a stomp through the woods and a dip to cool off after.
While the U-pass is a beacon of hope for the travelling broke student, bikes are another functional way to sneak in some exercise while taking in the city’s sights. We suggest bussing or biking down to Point Pleasant Park (5718 Point Pleasant Drive) where spandex-wearing soccer moms, dog lovers and their owners reside. Go for a hike along the many trails and get (not literally) lost in the maze of this lush park. If you’re in the market for a space a touch less daunting, enter Halifax’s own secret garden-esque preserve, The Public Gardens—a park so idyllic you’d swear you teleported into a storybook. Take in the last of summer’s blossoms wandering through, but keep off the grass (there’s a reason it’s so lavish-looking).
Familiarize yourself with the waterfront and take a scenic stroll—sure it’s still ridden with tourists but the gentle breezes of the salty water and pulses of energy are sure to woo you. Beyond nautical knick knacks and folk art, there’s a treasure trove of boats and mini-shops to ogle. While there, get the best view of Halifax and hop on the ferry across to Dartmouth. Across the pond, you can find the Birch Cove Park nestled along Lake Banook—a sweet spot for a swim. Bonus: It’s the only beach in Nova Scotia to receive Blue Flag designation, so you’re guaranteed the freshest and warmest of waters.
Head to the Central Library (5440 Spring Garden Road) to refuel on some coffee while signing up for a membership and taking out a book. It sure is a beaut, so take a tour and check out the best (non-alcoholic) rooftop patio in town. Grab your new read, a blanket and a sneaky cider to Citadel Hill (1960 Brunswick Street). It’s the perfect spot to soak up some sun.
After getting your relaxation on, walk north to the Halifax Common—the meeting grounds where families, cuddling couples, softball teams and yoga enthusiasts gather. While casually people-watching, join in on an ever-present frisbee toss, ball game or yoga class. You’re bound to leave this grassy pasture with a new set of buds. Located within the Common is the Oval, where you can rent roller skates, bikes, skateboards and gear for free. Pretend it’s the 1970s without the latex disco pants and whip it around the track a couple times for an early evening date or friend zone hang.
End your day off cruising through the north end—this characteristically colourful and hip as hell (though we never really like to admit it) epicentre of Halifax has thrifty solutions to your tired closet. Pop into Big Pony (2168 Gottingen Street) and scrounge through its loonie bin (cute lil pieces for a dollar) or Lost and Found (2383 Agricola Street) for some bargain finds.
Take a load off in your new duds and cozy up on The Local’s (2037 Gottingen Street) patio for a pint of Horsepower (AKA the cheap, deliciously hoppy beer)—you’ve hella earned it. Though you packed your Saturday, you should likely still have some coin for laundry or coffee the next day, unless you guzzled one-too-many beer.
As a now-experienced miser, your options are both endless and limited—weather permitting. But there’s plenty more penny-pinching selections for a rad time in Halifax, rain or shine. Just don’t be afraid to step off campus, go beyond the coveted student-swarmed pockets of the city and explore.