Getting Here and Around

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Getting Here and Around

Halifax is an intimate city that's large enough to have the trappings of a capital, yet compact enough to be explored with ease. Because most sites are comparatively close, walking is a good way to get around. The caveat is that streets connecting the waterfront to Citadel Hill are steep. If you're not prepared for a nine-block uphill hike, grab a cab. Rates begin at C$3 and increase based on mileage and time. (A crosstown trip should cost C$7 to $8, depending on traffic.) You can usually hail one downtown or pick one up at a hotel stand. Otherwise, call Casino Taxi or Yellow Cab.

July through mid-October, you can save your energy—and money—by hopping FRED, a complimentary shuttle (it stands for "Free Rides Everywhere Downtown") provided by the Downtown Halifax Business Commission. From 10:30 am to 5 pm daily, the bright green bus makes a 40-minute loop traversing the waterfront from Pier 21 to Casino Nova Scotia, and going uphill as far as the Spring Garden Road shopping district.

If you want to combine transportation with narration, Ambassatours Gray Line runs a series of coach tours throughout Halifax (including ones aboard double-decker buses) as well as to outlying communities like Peggy's Cove and Lunenburg. Virtually every local cab company also gives customized driving tours.

Boat tours are popular as well, with the broadest selection being offered from the boardwalk by Murphy's Cable Wharf. It sails various vessels mid-May to late October, among them a 23-meter (75-foot) ketch and a Mississippi-style sternwheeler. Murphy's even has an amphibious Harbour Hopper for those who want to see by land and water. If you're traveling with kids, try a Big Harbour tour aboard Theodore Tugboat. Theodore is a seafaring version of Thomas the Tank Engine, and even children unfamiliar with the Canadian character will get a kick out of the tugboat's broad grin and bright red cap. Costs and durations of these trips vary, but a basic tour of Halifax Harbour ranges from C$15 to $25. An affordable alternative to a Murphy's tour is to take the Metro Transit Commuter Ferry from the boardwalk terminal at Lower Water Street across the harbor to downtown Dartmouth. Inaugurated in 1752, it's North America's oldest saltwater ferry service and, at C$2.25 for a 20-minute ride, a real deal. Dartmouth—once Halifax's "Twin City" and now part of the HRM—is straight across the harbor and accessible from Halifax proper by passenger ferry or by car via the Angus L. Macdonald and A. Murray MacKay Bridges. Motorists can avoid bridge traffic by taking a land route that loops around the Bedford Basin.

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