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Halifax has some interesting places to shop, whether you prefer mall shopping for major brands or searching out treasures at indie boutiques. Halifax’s best shopping is found in various locations downtown or at the various malls located in other neighbourhoods. You’ll find lots of local handicrafts to buy, many with a seafaring theme that speaks to Nova Scotia’s fishing heritage. Local art is another top find here. Halifax is an artistic town, partially due to the presence of NSCAD (the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design) which is considered one of the best art schools in North America, and the fact that many of those who come to study fall in love with the city and never leave. If you’ve a hankering to take a few live lobsters back home with you, you can pick them up at the airport. Clearwater Fine Foods has a lobster pound where you can select your own lobster. They'll package it up for you to take on the plane. Whatever you’re looking for, you’ll be able to find it in Halifax. Here is a guide to the best shopping in Halifax.
Although there are many empty heritage buildings along this strip, Barrington Street has some of Halifax’s most interesting shops to explore. Check out Freak Lunchbox for a huge selection of international candy, Foreign Affair for designer ladies’ duds, Attica Furnishings for high-end home wares and gifts, and Objects Home Store for cheaper, fun stuff. The Loop Craft Café is a hip yarn store, and avid readers could lose themselves for hours browsing the shelves at J. W. Doull’s used bookstore. Halifax’s amazing adult store, Venus Envy (gay and hetero-friendly), is also on Barrington and is a fun place to check out.
This very pretty block of heritage buildings is home to a variety of interesting places to shop. You can pick up gifts that go beyond fridge magnets and postcards at the brilliant Lady Luck Boutique and several of the other independent stores here. There’s a compelling gallery, Argyle Fine Art, and those with a shoe fetish will love the Mahone Bay Trading Company. When you get hungry, check out the food court in the Historic Properties, and just outside on the waterfront you’ll find Cows Ice Cream (which was voted best ice cream in Canada). The store is worth visiting to check out their line of silly cow-themed T-shirts.
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Whatever it is you are looking for, you’ll find it here. Major brands, such as Lululemon, American Apparel, Roots, etc., can be found either on the main drag or tucked into one of the malls. Halifax’s only high-end department store, Mills, carries designer labels, and you’ll find interesting indie stores up the side streets around Spring Garden. Be sure to check out the brilliant toy and kids’ bookstore, Woozles, on Birmingham Street and Susie’s Shortbreads and Cupcakes on Dresden Row. This is a pleasant street to stroll along, as there are coffee shops and restaurants a plenty to refresh yourself between bouts of spending, and at the end of the street is the lovely Public Gardens, where you can sit an rest a while amongst the flowers.
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This row of independently owned stores is a perfect place to browse for gifts and special things to take home. (A Starbucks just moved in across the street, but everything else in this ’hood is locally owned.) You’ll find fun gifts at the Lady Luck Boutique (which has an art gallery in the back), local art and crafts at the Bogside Gallery, lovely high-end goodies and toys at the Henhouse, and a few other interesting little stores. Be sure to grab a coffee and a pastry at Julien’s bakery, which is very French and delicious.
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This brand-spanking-new shopping destination in Dartmouth, a short drive across the bridge from Halifax, is massive. Here you’ll find all your usual big-box stores, as well as the Shopping Village, an attractive outdoor mall packed full of dozens of clothing, footwear and home stores. There’s nothing indie here really, this is pure mall shopping. You could easily lose yourself here for a couple of hours, and fortunately there are plenty of (chain) restaurants where you can grab a bite to eat.
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