Halifax, Nova Scotia is a beautiful Maritime city with a lot to offer tourists. From stunning coastal views to delicious seafood, there is something for everyone in Halifax.
I have the privilege of being married to a Maritimer, so we make our way to the city of Halifax and the other surrounding area often. The last time we went, we stayed longer than usual and I turned into a total tourist.
10 Best Things to Do in Halifax, Nova Scotia
So, come along with me as I check out the best way to see everything the capital of Nova Scotia has to offer in a day trip. The best part about this list is that you can walk to everything on this list regardless of where you are in downtown Halifax.
1. Halifax Citadel National Historic Site
The Halifax Citadel is a must-see for any tourist visiting Halifax. The fortification offers stunning views of the city and harbor. It is also a great place to learn about the history of Halifax.
The fort has a long and rich history, dating back to the early days of the British colonization of Canada. Today, the Halifax Citadel is a popular tourist destination, with something for everyone. Here are seven things to do when you visit Halifax Citadel National Historic Site.
1. Explore the fortifications.
Halifax Citadel is best known for its fortifications, which were built to protect the city from attack. Visitors can explore the moat, walls, and bastions that made up the fortification system.
2. Learn about the history of the Halifax Citadel.
A visit to Halifax Citadel is not complete without learning about its history. Visitors can take part in one of the many tours offered or watch one of the historical reenactments. Costumed interpreters provide visitors with an immersive experience, bringing the past to life.
3. Visit the Army Museum.
The Army Museum at Halifax Citadel tells the story of the Canadian Army from its early days to the present day. The museum is interactive and informative, making it a great place to learn about Canada’s military history.
4. Climb to the top of the citadel Hilltop Lookout Tower for stunning views of Halifax Harbour.
The citadel Hilltop Lookout Tower offers visitors stunning 360-degree views of Halifax Harbour and beyond. Climbing to the top of the tower (or running down the hill by the old town clock like my kids did) is a must-do when visiting Halifax Citadel National Historic Site.
5. Watch the daily gun-firing ceremony.
The gun is fired daily by the 3rd Brigade Royal Artillery to announce it is 12:00 pm and can be heard across the city. This is a local tradition since 1857 and is one of the oldest in the world.
6. Participate in the scavenger hunt.
This was my kid’s favorite part… and mine too if I’m being honest. The kids get a bag with a blue light, magnifying glass, a compass, and other tools they need to find and solve clues that take them around the entire fort with the people who work there in period costumes.
7. Take a photo with one of the iconic red-coated soldiers.
One of the most popular things to do at Halifax Citadel is to take a photo with one of the iconic red-coated soldiers who are stationed there. Be sure to say hello and ask them about their experiences at Halifax Citadel.
2. Go for a Hike in Point Pleasant Park
Point Pleasant Park is a beautiful urban park located in the south end of Halifax. The park offers over 50 kilometers, or 31 miles, of hiking trails as well as stunning views of the harbor.
Visitors can also see remnants of the city’s fortifications mentioned above, which date back to the 18th century. If you’re a bird watcher, this is a great place for you. The park is home to a variety of birds and other wildlife.
Here are eight things you can do at Point Pleasant Park.
1. Go for a walk or run along the many trails in the park.
2. Have a picnic lunch while enjoying the views of the harbor.
3. Take your dog for a walk and let them enjoy the off-leash dog area.
4. Go swimming at one of the two beaches in the park.
5. Rent a kayak or canoe and explore the harbor.
6. Climb to the top of Prince of Wales Tower for panoramic views of Halifax Harbour.
7. Visit the gravesite of British Vice-Admiral Edward Vernon, who was buried in the park after his death in 1757.
8. Attend one of the many events or concerts that are held in the park throughout the year.
3. Explore the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic
The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic is one of Canada’s largest maritime museums. The museum explores the history of the Atlantic Ocean and its impact on Nova Scotia. Located on the waterfront, it’s in a perfect location to do even more before or after your visit.
Visitors can see exhibits on shipwrecks, pirates, and even Titanic artifacts. The museum also has an extensive collection of model ships.
Here are 10 things to do and see at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic.
1. Learn about Halifax’s role in the Titanic disaster.
2. See over 30,000 artifacts, including model ships and nautical instruments.
3. View exhibitions on the history of Halifax’s port and shipbuilding industry.
4. Take a guided tour of HMCS Sackville, a WWII-era Canadian Navy corvette vessel.
5. Watch demonstrations of maritime trades such as knot-tying and rope-making.
6. Attend one of the many special events held at the museum throughout the year, such as concerts, lectures, and film screenings.
7. Visit the on-site gift shop for unique maritime-themed souvenirs.
8. Enjoy a meal or snack at one of the museum’s two cafes.
9. Take part in a hands-on activity at the museum’s Discovery Centre.
10. Explore the museum’s grounds, which include a beautiful garden and an outdoor sculpture installation.
Halifax is a foodie’s paradise, and there’s no better place to find delicious eats than downtown. From seafood shacks to fine dining, there’s something for everyone in this vibrant Nova Scotian city.
Here are five popular Halifax restaurants.
1. The Five Fishermen at 1740 Argyle Street
If you’re looking for an upscale dining experience, look no further than The Five Fishermen. This historic restaurant has been serving up seafood classics with a modern twist since 1740.
The Five Fishermen is the perfect place to enjoy a special night out with someone special.
2. The Bicycle Thief at 1475 Lower Water Street
The Bicycle Thief is a local favorite for good reason. This cozy Italian spot serves up homemade pasta dishes that will make your mouth water. Be sure to try the carbonara!
The Bicycle Thief also has an extensive wine list, so it’s the perfect place to enjoy a glass of vino with your meal.
3. Shuck Seafood + Raw Bar at 1667 Argyle Street
Seafood lovers will feel right at home at Shuck Seafood + Raw Bar. This casual spot specializes in fresh, locally-sourced seafood. Whether you’re in the mood for oysters, mussels, or lobster, Shuck has you covered.
They also have a great selection of beer and wine if you’re looking to pair your meal with a drink.
4. Gio Rana’s Really Good Food Company at 6061 Young Street
Gio Rana’s is a popular spot for lunch, and it’s not hard to see why. This Italian deli serves up delicious sandwiches piled high with fresh ingredients.
Gio Rana’s is the perfect place to go if you’re looking for a quick and tasty bite to eat downtown.
5. Durty Nelly’s Irish Pub at 1645 Argyle Street
Durty Nelly’s is the perfect place to go if you’re looking for a true pub experience. This Irish spot has all your favorite pub grub like fish and chips as well as traditional Irish dishes like shepherd’s pie.
Durty Nelly’s is also known for its live music, so be sure to check their calendar before you go!
5. Visit The Halifax Public Gardens
The Halifax Public Gardens are a beautiful oasis in the heart of the city. They’re perfect for a leisurely stroll, a picnic lunch, or even just a few moments of peace and quiet.
Here are three things you can do at Halifax Public Gardens.
1. Take a Garden Tour
One of the best ways to appreciate the Halifax Public Gardens is to take a guided tour. Garden tours are offered daily from June until September, and they’re led by knowledgeable guides who can tell you all about the history and horticulture of the gardens. Plus, it’s a great way to get some exercise!
2. Attend a Concert in the Park
During the summer months, the Halifax Public Gardens host a series of free concerts on the bandstand. Bring a blanket and enjoy an evening of music under the stars. Check the events calendar on the Halifax Parks website for upcoming concert dates and times.
3. Go for a Run or Walk
The Halifax Public Gardens are a popular spot for runners and walkers. With scenic paths winding through beautifully landscaped gardens, it’s easy to see why! If you’re looking for a challenge, see if you can make it around the entire perimeter of the gardens. It’s just over 1 kilometer or .6 miles.
5. Jump on the Harbour Hopper
The Halifax Harbour Hopper Tour is a great way to see the city of Halifax and learn about its history. This tour takes you around the harbor and gives you a chance to see some of the most popular attractions in the city.
The Halifax Harbour Hopper tour starts at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. As mentioned above, this museum is located on the waterfront and has exhibits on the Titanic, World War II, and the Halifax Explosion.
After exploring the museum, you will board the harbor hopper for a tour of the harbor. You will see sights such as the Halifax Citadel, Pier 21, and Maritime Centre. The tour also stops at Georges Island, where you can explore Fort Lennox.
6. Halifax Seaport Farmers Market
The Halifax Seaport Farmers Market is open year-round and is located in the historic area of the Halifax waterfront. There are over 250 vendors selling everything from fresh produce and seafood to local arts and crafts.
In addition to being a great place to find local produce and products, the Halifax Seaport Farmers Market is also a great place to eat. There are a number of restaurants and cafes located inside the market, as well as a few food trucks. Whether you’re in the mood for fresh seafood, a hearty stew, or a sweet treat, you’ll be sure to find something to your liking at the Halifax Seaport Farmers Market.
The market is also home to a number of unique shops selling everything from handmade jewelry to locally-produced pottery. If you’re looking for a souvenir to take home with you, or just want to support local businesses, be sure to check out some of the shops at the Halifax Seaport Farmers Market.
7. Halifax Waterfront Boardwalk
The Halifax Waterfront Boardwalk is a beautiful spot to take a stroll, enjoy the fresh ocean air, and take in the sights of Halifax Harbor. The boardwalk stretches for almost 3 kilometers, or 1.8 miles along the waterfront from the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 to sunny Point Pleasant Park.
There’s plenty to see and do along the way! Check out some of the unique shops, stop for a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants or cafes, or explore one of the museums. There are so many fun things to do on the waterfront.
The beautiful waterfront is also a great place to people-watch – you never know who you’ll see! When I was eating at a restaurant with my husband, we heard Sterling K. Brown was shooting a movie in the building next door!
Also, don’t miss Cows for some ice cream, fun clothes, and “udder” stuff.
8. Alexander Keith’s Brewery Tour
The Alexander Keith’s Brewery Tour in Halifax, Nova Scotia is a must-do activity for any beer lover! This tour takes you through the historic brewery where you learn about the brewing process and get to sample some of the delicious beer.
The tour is led by a knowledgeable guide who is passionate about the history of the brewery and the beer. You will also get to see some of the original equipment that was used to brew the beer.
The Alexander Keith’s Brewery was founded in 1820 by Alexander Keith, who emigrated from Scotland. The brewery is located in the heart of downtown Halifax and is within walking distance of many of the city’s attractions – all of the ones mentioned here.
The behind-the-scenes tour is the most popular option and it gives you an up-close look at how the beer is brewed. You will also get to sample some of the beer during the tour. The tasting tour is perfect for those who want to sample a variety of different beers. You will get to try four different types of beer, including the flagship IPA.
The history tour is a great option for those who are interested in learning about the history of the brewery and Halifax.
9. Halifax Central Library
Of course, I’m putting a library on this list. The library opened its doors to the public in 2014 and has been wowing visitors with its unique architecture and state-of-the-art facilities ever since.
The Halifax Central Library was designed by world-renowned architects Herzog & de Meuron, who also designed the Beijing National Stadium (better known as the “Bird’s Nest”) for the 2008 Summer Olympics. The library’s exterior is made up of over 1,000 unique aluminum panels, each of which was laser-cut to create a pattern that resembles tree branches.
The library’s interior is just as impressive as its exterior. The five-story atrium is flooded with natural light thanks to a massive skylight, and it’s surrounded by balconies that offer stunning views of downtown Halifax.
In addition to housing an impressive collection of books, the Halifax Central Library also offers a number of state-of-the-art facilities that are available for use by both library members and non-members. These include meeting rooms, study rooms, an auditorium, a cafe, and a rooftop garden.
10. Fairview Lawn Cemetery
The city is full of historic properties, monuments, and cemeteries. Fairview Lawn Cemetery is one such cemetery. Located in the north end of Halifax, the cemetery covers 24 acres and contains over 12,000 graves.
Many notable Haligonians are buried at Fairview Lawn Cemetery, including Alexander Keith (the founder of Keith’s Brewery), Joseph Howe (a newspaper editor and politician who fought for press freedom), and Charles Tupper (a doctor and politician who served as Prime Minister of Canada).
The cemetery is also home to the graves of victims of the Titanic disaster. 121 people who died in the sinking are buried here, making it the largest Titanic burial ground outside of Europe.
I hope you enjoyed my acting as your tour guide around downtown Halifax. When you visit, let me know what you do on Instagram at @ChristinaAllDay.
If you want to travel further south to Boston, then click here for everything to do in this amazing city.