A good place to start is the Seaport Farmers' Market (1209 Marginal Road, halifaxfarmersmarket.com), open Tuesday to Sunday from 8am (actually 7am on Saturdays, for you keeners).
The new building is home to the longest running market in North America, selling both fresh, Nova Scotia produce, Atlantic seafood and other homemade treats, you'll find plenty of crafts and the work of Nova Scotia artists and artisans. Don't forget to head up to the rooftop deck for a look at the cruise ships and Georges Island.
Walk up the boardwalk and you'll find a lot of food options, including Bishop's Landing (1475 Lower Water Street) restos such as Hamachi Steakhouse and The Bicycle Thief, as well as excellent local designer boutique Turbine.
For a sweet treat, try candy and ice cream spot Sugah!. Just across Lower Water Street from Bishop's Landing is the Alexander Keith's Brewery (1496 Lower Water Street). Beer fans can take a tour, and on Saturday mornings it has its own market.
Keep heading north and you'll find yourself at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic (1675 Lower Water Street, 424-7490), a storehouse of artifacts and information on Nova Scotia's nautical history.
Just north of there on the summer boardwalk are a host of stalls offering fish and chips (The Battered Fish) and sweet fried treats (BeaverTails). And if you're looking for the finest in Maritime gifts, try NovaScotian Crystal (5080 George Street) or Amos Pewter (1751 Upper Water Street).
There are a lot of options for getting off the dock and out onto the water. Give New Dawn Charters (users.eastlink.ca/~newdawncharters) a try for fishing, cruises and tours of all sorts. Tall Ship Silva (tallshipsilva.com), docked at the foot of Prince Street, offers a regular harbour tour in season with an onboard bar.
Murphy's The Cable Wharf (1751 Lower Water Street, mtcw.ca) is a restaurant and tour boat operator, with its s
ailing vessel The Mar and sternwheeler The Harbour Queen available for whale watching, harbour tours and much more.
And if you have kids, they may enjoy a ride on Theodore Tugboat---also operated from Murphy's---a replica of the boat from the sadly cancelled TV series (though his giant, smiling face haunts our dreams).
If you have time to get out of town, There are a selection of fine beaches and lakes within a short drive of downtown. The Coast's website has a guide to swimming in local lakes (tinyurl.com/Swimmin-Holes)--- including Long and Chocolate lakes in Halifax and Banook in Dartmouth---and where to lounge at area beaches (tinyurl.com/BeachesBeCrazy), including Crystal Crescent, Lawrencetown and Rainbow Haven.
And for those who'd like to go for a paddle, head across town on a bus, getting off at Jubilee Road and walk down to the St. Mary's Boat Club (1641 Fairfield Road, halifax.ca/smbc/index.html). There you can rent canoes, kayaks and sailing boats for a day on the Northwest Arm, the calmer and narrower portion of the harbour.
From there you could paddle across the Arm to Sir Sanford Fleming Park, easily found by aiming for its 10-storey tower with the peculiar name, The Dingle. The tower is climbable and open to the public during the day.