People refer to "Halifax" are often referring to the former City of Halifax, not the larger recently-created municipal entity. The Mainland is the part that is west of the Northwest Arm. The real advantages to living in Halifax. Is convenience, with commuting to the downtown core taking only minutes. You will, however, get a smaller and older home here for the same price compared to Bedford, Dartmouth, Hammonds Plains, or Sackville.
Schools are less overcrowded than outside of Halifax. The city is home to two universities and four colleges, though these are all a short commute from the Mainland.
Halifax-Mainland has great shopping, and with several malls just west of Connaught Ave, several other malls spread around the area, and the "big box' stores clustered at Bayers Lake.
Halifax-Mainland has tons of recreational opportunities, with lots of large parks (both municipal and provincial), and number of yacht clubs along the Northwest Arm, and a number of recreational facilities both indoor and out. Atlantic Exhibition Park is also located in this community.
Halifax-Mainland is described in several different areas in terms of real estate. There is the northern neighbourhoods of Fairview, Clayton Park and Rockingham, and the southern communities of Cowie Hill, Melville Cove and Spryfield, as well as the waterfront neighbourhoods of Purcells Cove and Herring Cove south of Sir Sanford Fleming Park.
Each area offers something different.
Fairview and Clayton Park are located on the western edge of Halifax. The area has mostly older medium-priced housing, cheaper than the West End but higher than the north end.
Rockingham are located on the outer fringe of Halifax between Halifax and the former Town of Bedford. This area is a much newer, and houses ranging in age from brand new to 50 years old. The newer housing here is pretty close to the city.
Cowie Hill and Melville Cove are relatively new areas of Halifax, situated between Long Lake Provincial Park and the various parks along the Northest Arm, and therefore popular with recreational enthusiasts. The community has a beach on Chocolate Lake, and is close to a number of shopping malls.
Spryfield is a newer suburb to the south, along Herring Cove Road south of Long Lake.The community is home to two provincial parks, and the South Centre Mall.
Purcells Cove and Herring Cove are located along Purcells Cove Rd, south of Sir Sanford Fleming Park, and provide attractive waterfront (or near waterfront) rural acreages. While remote to shopping malls and schools, there are several recreational features and the York Redoubt historical site in the community.