Tamar Kenigsberg Bentov
Part of the experience in getting to know a new city is finding the local scene.
But this can take weeks, months – even years.
Halifax is perfectly designed for students in many ways. While you’re here, you’ll learn about many of the interesting features this city has to offer. To trim the fat and bypass the months it would normally take to learn some of the better features of it – whether you want to be an insider tourist or get in good with the locals – here are some tricks for you to follow and cool spots to check out.
Check out Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Reddit and even Google Explore to find events in the city.
Look at the tagged locations on Instagram. A few hashtags to follow to find cool places to see are: #DiscoverHalifax #haligonia #halifaxlocal #explorenovascotia
There are big Twitter and Reddit communities in Halifax. Start following people on Twitter and commenting on Reddit threads to get a feel for the city.
There are even apps like Eventbrite and Meetup perfect for someone looking to make some friends while doing fun activities. There’s the Halifax Newcomers Club that meets every Tuesday. Also check out City Socializer. It’s also a great way to discover places you won’t find in the guidebooks.
The Coast publishes a list of events going on every month all over the HRM.
Local businesses are everything. The Local, Dee Dee’s Ice Cream, Plan B, Glitter Bean Cafe, 7 Bays… There are a lot of them.
Know this: Downtown Halifax and Quinpool road aren’t everything.
There’s more to Halifax. So much more.
Halifax is known for its vibrant neighbourhoods, parks and waterfronts. And the food isn’t bad either. The North End especially is filled with interesting shops, restaurants and bars; most of them are small, local businesses.
Dating apps. They work for friendships too. They’re a great tool for tourists, backpackers and newcomers alike. Ask a local to take you to their favourite hidden gem.
Take the ferry across to Dartmouth. Head to the Valley, take a day trip to Cape Breton or check out the hiking and camping in Shubie. Buy a day-pass for the Waeg.
Make an effort with your classmates. Start grabbing lunch with them, hang out at the library or on the quad together as much as possible. You’ll get closer over time and start being invited to stuff outside of class or the Killam.
But then, don’t forget to maintain those budding friendships. Going to coffee with someone ~once~ is probably not going to cement a lifelong friendship. If you’re looking for something real, commit!
Look into the intramural leagues at Dal and around Halifax. Halifax has dozens of adult leagues to sign up for and meet like-minded people. Hitting the Dalplex or a yoga studio downtown and you’re guaranteed to become a regular.
If team sports aren’t your thing, think about joining one of the societies on campus. Of course, it depends on your hobbies, and there’s a society for almost any hobby out there.
Go to cultural events. It’s usually affordable and sometimes even FREE.
Concerts in the park, art exhibits at the Dalhousie Art Gallery, free Tuesday’s at the Maritime Mueseum of the Atlantic. There are two theatre societies on campus and the Neptune Theatre always has something going on. This is just the beginning.
Bonus: you’ll automatically have things to talk about with the people in attendance.
The Local has monthly 4 dollar shows called Rockin4Dollars. So many bars have weekly music nights. Halifax is full of restaurants and bars and live music. If that’s your thing, you’re set.
Open up! Vulnerability plays a huge part in emotional bonds with friends. Especially early on in the game, open up about yourself when meeting new people. If you keep things surface value, a friendship isn’t likely to grow out of it.
Do your best to say “YES!” Most of us enjoy Netflix on the couch. But we know both you’re not going to meet anyone new from sitting in your apartment.
Accept the invites you receive and get out there. Be the one to extend the invite. Plan bi-monthly brunch hangouts, or wine Wednesday get-togethers the first of every month. Maybe even start binge-watching Good Girls on Netflix together once a week.
Volunteer somewhere you’re passionate about. Pet shelters, hospitals, the YWCA – look at Volunteer Halifax and find where you can donate your writing, coding, business or whatever skillset you have.
Making friends while making the world a better place? Win, win.
Halifax has the same as any other small city – it really depends on what you like to do and making a point to seek it out.