Halifax’s downtown is the business capital of Atlantic Canada, a place of bank towers and bustle. But savvy visitors can find boutique experiences here too, the sort of shops, services and tastes that make Halifax unique.

A Local Treasure
Having recently celebrated its eighth birthday, Inkwell Modern Handmade is recognized as a fixture of downtown. Inkwell makes gifting a meaningful piece of home easy and personal. The shop is known for filling in our blanks with poetic text and quirky designs to celebrate any occasion. Tug at your significant other's heart strings or call on your wedding party in a memorable way—you'll find the right words among Inkwell's 200-plus handmade artists.

Inkwell's expanding selection of Canadian-made goods includes local food and pottery items, from tea and gourmet chocolates to fun containers for your farm-fresh finds like berries and eggs. You'll also recognize your favourite Nova Scotian artists in the mix, including local treasure Emma FitzGerald.

If you've been waiting for your chance to take a spin on Inkwell's century-old letterpress, Saturday, July 20 is your chance! In celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo Lunar Landing, you can print your own complimentary moon-themed souvenir for yourself or your lunar-loving pal.
Inkwell Modern Handmade,  2011 Brunswick Street

Freshen Up Your Eyecare Routine
Wearing frames is about more than achieving that refined look, but it doesn't hurt to look a little stylish while prioritizing your eyecare.

Ocean Optometry has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to cutting-edge frames, and with its investments in eyecare technology like Digital Retinal Photographs and Optical Coherence Tomography Imaging, you can know they're doing the same with your vision health.

Just like your personal style, your eyes are one-of-a-kind and deserve excellent assessments. Ocean Optometry's tailored approach to identifying your individual needs transcends a couple of "box checks" on a list. Its in-depth Q&As allows the shop to get to know you, all while providing you with premium updates that can help you stay on top of your eyecare.

Their frictionless experience in a relaxed atmosphere, combined with the luxury of booking online and enjoying complimentary parking downtown, makes for a great reason to freshen up your routine and take a dip in the ocean.
Ocean Optometry, 5240 Blowers Street

A Dessert to Remember
Are you waffle lovers ready to think outside the box and let your taste buds burst with a new dessert experience at Cafe Taiyaki 52?

This isn't a typo for teriyaki—taiyaki is a traditional Japanese dessert found right in downtown Halifax. This hybrid version of a Western waffle or pancake is baked golden brown, fluffed with carefully chosen ingredients and packed with sweet flavourful fillings.

You can indulge in the adorable cafe's spin on the signature sweet eats, like their bite-size Mini Gangs, or cool off with the Jaw Dropper, soft-serve mango or matcha ice cream swirled into a fish-shaped cone.

This bright, positive and uniquely lovely cafe is ready to show Halifax a dessert like no other. Give in to the temptation and stop by Taiyaki 52 for a Java Blend coffee and dessert, or take the fishy fun home to your family for an after-supper treat. There's nothing like dessert to foster sweet memorable moments together.
Cafe Taiyaki 52, 2009 Brunswick Street

Live Music at Your Fingertips
Grab your foodie friends and "sip and share" a bottle of rosé paired with a dozen oysters this patio season at The Carleton. Its happy hour offers enough mix 'n' match small plates to satisfy everyone's post-work summer cravings.

Newly renovated, The Carleton radiates historic charm in the heart of the city. Widely known as one of Atlantic Canada's premiere live music venues, you can almost always expect to hear tunes when you walk through their doors. The Dinner at The Carleton series marries the two things we all love most—delicious food and great tunes (local, national and international).

The Carleton's fresh, locally inspired, and elevated comfort food is brought to life by chef Michael Dolente, silver medallist in Canada's Culinary Championship 2018 for Nova Scotia. His friendly chef-brewmaster Craft Draught Showdown, which happens every two months, is just one example of why The Carleton is one of the most intriguing and popular downtown destinations.
The Carleton, 1685 Argyle Street

Pour Me a Glass of History
Explore the past with Compass Distillers and its new off-the-beaten-path partnership with the Halifax Citadel.

Compass is an award-winning grain-to-glass distillery, which means everything is made from scratch, on site and from agricultural products sourced from Nova Scotia. With this recent launch, Compass Distillers' spirits are even more exclusive and help to tell the story of our region through food and drink.

The different levels of experiences range from a stand-out tasting of the three drinks, to the upper tiers that are crafted for you history and spirit buffs alike. Take a tour of the Citadel with one of the highlanders and sneak a peek behind the scenes at the barreling room. Along with the specialty spirits—Noon Gun Gin, Fort George Genever and Daily Ration Run—the highest tier lets you pull a sample from the barrel-aged whiskey before everyone else.

What better way to heighten your knowledge of the area than drinking up a glass of history?
Book tours 48 hours in advance at

Bet on Flavourful Food
You can taste the tradition behind family-owned and operated May Garden. The restaurant specializes in Canadian Chinese food but also crafts authentic Chinese for Cantonese-style dish lovers. With 40 years of experience, May has learned a thing or two about which HRM food cravings need to be satisfied.

May Garden has added four other locations to the original in Lower Sackville, including its newest, conveniently located inside Casino Nova Scotia. After you've tested your luck and are ready to spend your earnings (or indulge your losses), May Garden will be waiting.

The Casino location combines a modern and bright vibe with a bar and a patio overlooking the harbour. Along with its eclectic regular menu and weekend dim sum special, you can bring your freshly caught lobster and cook it traditional Cantonese style. (If you don't want to leave the house, the menu is available on UberEats.)

With these portions and flavourful dishes, you always win big at May Garden.
May Garden, 1983 Upper Water Street

Enveloped in Naan
Take in the authentic Indian food that has been passed from generation to generation at Shivani's Kitchen.

Shivani's recipes are inspired by her mother's and grandmother's dishes and transformed to be made completely her own.

Traditionally when you want to enjoy Indian food, you need to do so in a time-consuming fashion. At Shivani's, you only have to wait five minutes before you're indulging in a portable sample platter of butter chicken or curry dishes, without compromising the taste you know and love.

Shivani's traditional oven bakes the freshest naan bread in the HRM, which is used to wrap her unique stuffed naan rolls—they can be filled with anything from bacon and egg to marinated Tandoor chicken.

Shivani reinvents the meaning of "to-go food," so the next time you're walking around downtown and have a sudden craving for Indian food, you can take it all with you on your summer stroll by the sea.
Shivani's Kitchen, 1209 Marginal Road

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