Cheap thrills every night of the week

Broke but looking for something to do? There are plenty of musical, artistic and exciting events happening all over the city that won't put you (further) in debt.

click to enlarge Lots to learn at the Discovery Centre! - IAN SELIG
IAN SELIG
Lots to learn at the Discovery Centre!

No matter if you’re new in town or just trying to venture beyond the campus bubble, seeing the sights on a student’s budget can be a strain. Luckily for you (and your pocketbook), free and cheap activities abound in Halifax and the costs are particularly excellent on weeknights.

Below are some of the best ways to turn up on a Tuesday, wild out on a Wednesday and, well, you get the point. Just remember us when you’re able to splurge on that avocado toast after all.


WHEN YOU’RE FEELING MUSICAL

Karaoke with Laurie The Guy
Laurie the Guy is Halifax’s undisputed karaoke king, having hosted over 5,000 shows since 1991. He’s known for helping nervous Adele wannabes crush their stage fright while offering over 27,000 tracks for your choosing.
Mondays, 8pm-1am, Staggers Pub
(26 Portland Street, Dartmouth)
Tuesdays, 8:30pm-12:30am, Montes Bar & Grill (245 Waverly Road, Dartmouth)
Wednesdays, 6:30-9:30pm, Hugo’s (451 Windmill Road, Dartmouth)
Fridays, 10pm-2am, Lion’s Head Tavern (3081 Robie Street)

Morgan Davis at Bearly’s House of Blues & Ribs
Bearly’s leans into its house of blues title every Monday night, with the legendary Morgan Davis schooling his audience on the history of the genre with his vintage cigar-box guitar. One man band Davis has played with icons like Howlin’ Wolf and has a mental songbook stretching back to the earliest point of Mississippi Delta sound.
Mondays, 8pm-9pm & 9pm-10pm, free, Bearly’s House of Blues & Ribs
(1269 Barrington Street)


$Rockin 4 Dollar$
If your late-class schedule has every night feeling like it has Saturday night potential, get thee to the Marquee Ballroom for the absolute institution that is $Rockin’ 4 Dollar$. Here’s how it works: Bands play sets to participate in a lottery pool that’ll be drawn after the last mini-gig wraps. You pay $4 (get it?) and get to see a host of cool bands at all levels playing all genres. Cost of calling the next big thing? Priceless.
Mondays, 10:30pm, $4, The Marquee Ballroom (2037 Gottingen Street)

Pineo & Loeb
Pacifico Nightclub is, as its Twitter bio claims, “a large dance club which sprawls beneath the Maritime Centre on the corner of Barrington and Salter Streets in downtown Halifax,” and it’s also the home base of this EDM duo who’ve headlined festivals, had their remixes featured on shows like Claws and just generally work a turntable like few others can.
Saturdays, 11pm-2am, 45, Pacifico (Maritime Centre, 1505 Barrington Street)

WHEN YOU FEEL LIKE NERDING OUT
The Museum of Natural History
Exhibits on Nova Scotia’s forests and about the moon are worthy of stopping by the mammoth, midtown museum in their own rights, but the true star here is Gus, the 96-year-old gopher tortoise (the oldest in the world!) who’s been a Halifax icon for over 75 years. Plus, he’s adorable.
Tue-Sun 9am-5pm, Wed 9am-8pm, $5.25 student admission, Museum of Natural History, 1747 Summer Street

Tuesday nights at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic
So long, small town Ontario—you live by the ocean now. Learn about the history of these wild waters and don’t forget to say hello to Merlin the macaw, AKA Gus’ #mcm.
Tuesdays, 5-8pm, free, Maritime Museum of the Atlantic (1675 Lower Water Street)

Wednesday Nights at the Discovery Centre
The swanky and sizeable waterfront spot has exhibits that blend learning and fun, tackling topics like music, house pets and video games. While the occasional adult-only nights are worth the $15 investment, the centre staying open later—and offering free entry—on Wednesdays will tide you over until that student loan money rolls in.
Wednesdays, 5-8pm, free, The Discovery Centre (1215 Lower Water Street)

Free Access Thursdays at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia
Get a primer in east coast art foundations with a tour of folky offerings and lots of regional retrospectives that is crowned with a viewing of Maud Lewis’ painted house. The gallery’s large permanent collection feels like it’s ever-growing, too, meaning there’s always at least one exhibit on more modern or international works worth peeping.
Thursdays, 5-9pm, free, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia (1723 Hollis Street)


WHEN YOU FEEL LIKE PAINTING THE TOWN
Get Your Drag On

Monday nights get made up at this open-to-amateurs drag night that sees queens, kings and non-binary babes give it their all. Witness the glamour and hilarity hosted by Matthew McImagay and Richard Rockhard, or maybe even take part in the RuPaul-esque fun yourself.
Mondays, 9pm, $3, Menz and Mollyz Bar (2182 Gottingen Street)

Fist City Cinema
Fist City Cinema is all about exploring the best-worst action flick cheese of the VHS era, screening things like Mortal Kombat, Predator and any of the middle Rocky movies at good ol’ Gus’ Pub.
Second and fourth Tuesdays of the month, 8:30pm, free, Gus’ Pub & Grill (2605 Agricola Street)

About The Author

Morgan Mullin

Morgan is the Arts & Entertainment Editor at The Coast, where she writes about everything from what to see and do around Halifax to profiles of the city’s creative class to larger cultural pieces. She’s been with The Coast since 2016.

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