A Games Guide to Halifax

When I was a kid, one of my favourite memories from family vacations was getting to visit the arcade. My cousin and I would spend every evening of our ten-day annual family vacation rationing our quarters among pinball games, Street Fighter II, and air hockey at the campground arcade.

As an adult, games are still part of my vacation routine. Many nights on the road, Drew and I prepare a local picnic in our hotel room and go head to head in heated games of Carcassonne.

Now that fall is just around the corner, games are even more on our minds, anticipation of cool fall and winter days gathered with friends in friendly competition. So when Ford invited us to play tourist in our own city in a racecar-red Ford Focus, we set our focus on games. From board game cafes and vintage arcades, to fun shops to stock up on games, comics, and snacks, our games-themed itinerary will give you an overview of places to play in Halifax.

Ford Focus Nova Scotia

1. Free XBox & Recording Suites at the Public Library – I can’t say enough good things about the new Halifax Central Library. It’s become a point of pride, and one of the first places I take visitors. But in addition to its awesome architecture, it’s a hub for games. The library has two XBox consoles that you can play for free on-site if you’re 17 years old or younger. If your idea of play is more about creating than controlling, the new library also has space to professionally record music, podcasts, and video, and edit them on-site.

Address: Halifax Central Library, Spring Garden Rd, Halifax, NS

2. The Board Room Game Cafe – The Board Room Game Cafe is my new favourite place in the city. $5 all you can play cover, more than 1000 games, local craft beer and cider, and a menu perfectly suited to marathon gaming. Menu items start at just $3 and range from bowls of candy and popcorn, to veggie platters, to drool-worthy sandwiches. They also host some pretty cool events, like a monthly gathering of local game board creators and trivia nights. Go. Now!

Address: 1256 Barrington St, Halifax, NS

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

2015-08-28 12.49.14

Board Room Cafe

3. The Vintage Arcade – If vintage pinball and NBA Jam are more your style, head over to the Daily Sweets, a little corner store on Oxford Street. It looks like your typical convenience shop, but hidden in the back you turn the corner into a throwback to the packed video arcades of the 1980s. We spent about an hour here, and could have spent much longer. Game plays start at just $0.25. It’s a total homage to misspent youth, a must-visit gem in Halifax.

Address: Daily Sweets, 2860 Oxford St, Halifax, NS

2015-08-28 17.54.33

The Vintage Arcade Halifax Nova Scotia Pinball

Vintage Arcade Halifax

4. Stillwell Pinball – Vintage Arcade also supply a few local bars and shops with games. Our pick for our day of games was Stillwell. This is the  place in the city for great craft beer. They support a ton of local and Maritimes breweries, while bringing in top picks from other national and international brewers. Head downstairs with your beer and bar snacks. Dimly lit with vintage subway chairs for seating, it’s the perfect place for a rousing game of pinball.

Address: 1672 Barrington St, Halifax, NS

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Bar Stillwell Halifax Nova Scotia

5. The Great Escape – No boards, no dice, no consoles. Just you and nine friends locked in a room with one hour to solve a mystery. The Great Escape is the first in what’s intended to be a series of “real live adventure games”. Players solve the puzzle and escape from the room by interacting with the room, solving puzzles, deciphering riddles, and figuring out codes. It costs $20 per person, and if you don’t have a group, you can join others.

Address: 5693 North Street, Halifax, NS

Essential Shopping:

In between arcade and board games, we zipped around the city, checking out places to pick up all the essentials for a home games night. We challenged each other to car games between stops, and (for once) I had no challenge parallel parking in downtown Halifax.

Driver Assist Ford Focus Halifax

6. Strange Adventures – Perhaps the best known of Halifax’s collectibles shops, Strange Adventures is located at Lower Water and Prince, with a second location on Portland Street in Dartmouth. They have a big box expansion of Carcassonne we’ve been coveting for a few months now.

Address: 5110 Prince St, Halifax, NS

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Strange Adventures Nova Scotia Comic Shops

7. Cape and Cowl – Located on Sackville Drive, Cape and Cowl goes way beyond providing access to fun games and comics to the Sackville area in being a strong community member. They also run a graphic novel-based literacy program and offer an LGBT* safe-space.

Address: 536 Sackville Dr, Lower Sackville, NS

Cape and Cowl Nova Scotia Comic Book and Games Store

8. Monster Comic Lounge – Monster Comics has one of the more varied collections of games around, especially for those interested in RPGs. If you’re looking to test the RPG waters, they host the local Pathfinders Society the first and third Sunday afternoons of every month, open to all.

Address: 2091 Gottingen St, Halifax, NS

9. Sweet Snacks and Pairings – Whether you’re playing board games, video games, or pinball, games night isn’t complete without snacks. Sweet. Salty. Chocolate-y. For our games itinerary, we hit up Sweet Jane’s, a little spot of happiness in downtown Halifax. Jane’s recently moved from their original shop on Doyle Street to a new, bigger, brighter location at Morris and Queen. We stocked up on everything from truffles to big feet to sparklers to cupcakes. Sweet Jane’s also sells a range of kids’ games and puzzles if you’re shopping for the younger gamer in your life.

Address: 1300 Queen Street, Halifax, NS

Sweet Janes Halifax 2015-08-28 19.24.37

Sweet Janes Candy Store Halifax Nova Scotia

We had a jam packed, super fun day, my first time since I was a kid spending the WHOLE DAY playing games. Thanks to Ford for helping us Focus on the game stops in our city by covering the cost of some of our local adventures. The Focus was a great ride for getting around town, with plenty of room for the four of us and plenty of trunk space to store the many games and pounds of candy we picked up along the way. But what I really loved was that the fuel gauge literally didn’t budge even after a full day of driving around the city.

Ford Focus on my City Program

Did we miss your favourite place to get your games fix in Halifax? Let us know about it in the comments, or tweet your tips to @GillianWesleyNS.

Please ask permission before using my images, they are subject to copyright. If you’d like to purchase copyright to an image on this site, email [email protected]

Subscribe to me on YouTube

Follow our adventures live:



About the author

The Local Traveler

Two travellers' tales of finding adventure on the East Coast. This blog is dedicated to the best parts of travel, and to discovering, celebrating and promoting things to do in our corner of the world, and sometimes beyond. We especially love craft beer, day trips, romantic escapes, local food & hidden gems. Join our community on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and share tips and photos of your favourite East Coast adventures.

Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube