For starters, stop by the visitor center or the front desk of your hotel and ask for a copy of Where Halifax (www.wherehalifax.com), an excellent and comprehensive monthly guide to the city's entertainment and events.
Among the city's premier venues for shows is the downtown Halifax Metro Centre, 1800 Argyle St. (tel. 902/421-8000; www.metrohalifaxcentre.com), which hosts sporting events (wrestling, pro hockey) as well as concerts by a variety of big-name artists. Note that tickets are sold by the Ticket Atlantic Box Office (tel. 902/451-1221).
Shakespeare by the Sea (tel. 902/422-0295) stages a whole line of bardic and non-bardic productions July through Labor Day at several alfresco venues around the city. Most are held at Point Pleasant Park, where the ruins of old forts and buildings are used as the stage settings for delightful performances, with the audience sprawled on the grass, many enjoying picnic dinners with their Taming of the Shrew. Shows are technically free, though the players suggest a donation of C$15. The occasional more elaborate productions at other locations (past shows have included King Lear at the Citadel and Titus Andronicus at the park's Martello tower) have limited seating, with ticket prices that might range up to C$30.
The Neptune Theatre, 1593 Argyle St. (tel. 902/429-7070; www.neptunetheatre.com), benefited from a big, multimillion-dollar renovation and now also runs an intimate 200-seat studio theater. Top-notch dramatic productions are offered throughout the year. (The main season runs September through May, with a summer season filling in the gap with eclectic performances.) Main-stage tickets range generally from around C$15 to C$45.
For a more informal dramatic night out, there's the Grafton Street Dinner Theater, 1741 Grafton St. (tel. 902/425-1961), which typically offers light musicals and mysteries with a three-course dinner (choice of prime rib, salmon, or chicken). Tickets cost C$42 per adult in 2009, half-price for children 12 and under.
The Club & Bar Scene
Halifax's young and restless tend to congregate in pubs, nightclubs, and on street corners along two streets that converge at the public library: Grafton Street and Spring Garden Road. If you're thirsty, wander the neighborhoods around here and you're liable to find a Cheers-type spot to drink the night away elbow-to-elbow with the locals.
One of the coolest places to hang out is Economy Shoe Shop (tel. 902/423-7463), at 1663 Argyle St., not a shop but rather a cafe-bar where many of Halifax's prettiest people wind up sooner or later. Helpfully, they serve some sort of food all the way until 2am, and the wine list is impressive. In the evening (and late afternoons on Sat), you'll also find lively Maritime music and good beer at the Lower Deck Pub (tel. 902/425-1501), one of the more popular restaurants in the Historic Properties complex on the waterfront. There's music nightly, and on Saturday afternoons (out on the patio in summer).
Local rock bars include the Marquee Club at 2037 Gottingen St. (tel. 902/429-3020). And The Maxwell's Plum at 1600 Grafton St. (tel. 902/423-5090) is an English pub where peanut shells litter the floor and patrons quaff from a list of dozens of 150 import and Canadian draft and bottled beers. The nightly happy-hour and pitcher specials can considerably cut your cost.
Also check out The Coast, a free newspaper widely available around Halifax, for good listings of upcoming performances.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.