Best Things to Do in Halifax (Canada): 12 Must-See Attractions

by Saad Backup
Best Things to Do in Halifax
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Are you thinking about visiting Halifax in Canada this year? Here are some of the most fun and unique things to do in Halifax. These charming sights, activities, and attractions are sure to make for an unforgettable vacation experience.

Nestled in Eastern Canada, Halifax is a city that effortlessly blends old with new, and urban with natural. It’s a place where historic ships rest against modern skylines, beckoning travelers to immerse themselves in all that the city has to offer.

As the heart of Nova Scotia, Halifax is a city that’s rich in history, vibrant in culture, bursting with natural beauty. As such, it’s no wonder that there’s a plethora of things to do in Halifax. Whether you’re exploring the captivating waterfront, delving into its fascinating museums, or enjoying outdoor adventures, there’s no shortage of activities to keep you enchanted during your visit. Flying to and from Halifax for a family vacation is truly a no brainer!

From the spicy allure of the Halifax Donair to the haunting tales of the Halifax Ghost Walk, this maritime city offers an array of experiences for all travelers. Whether you’re a history buff eager to trace your roots at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, an adventurer looking to ride the waves on the Eastern Shore beaches, or a foodie on the hunt for the best lobster roll at Peggy’s Cove, Halifax promises a journey of discovery.

So, if you’re ready to embark on an unforgettable maritime adventure, Halifax awaits. Dive into our list of the best things to do in Halifax, Canada and let the city’s magic wash over you.

The best things to do in Halifax right now
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Best Places to Visit in Halifax

Ready to jump into all the coolest things to do in Halifax? As noted above, there’s something for everyone at this diverse vacation spot. So keep reading to discover all these unique Halifax places to visit.

Are you looking to explore historic sites and vibrant cultural events? Or would you prefer indulging in fresh seafood delights and enjoying outdoor adventures along its captivating waterfront? Whatever you’re planning, these must-sees in Halifax can accommodate your needs. Here are all the best attractions in Halifax that you should know about.

1. Halifax Waterfront Boardwalk

Stretching over 4 kilometers, the Halifax Waterfront Boardwalk is one of the longest downtown boardwalks in the world. You’re greeted with panoramic views of the harbor, historic ships, and lively street performers. It’s a hub of activity, making it one of the top Halifax attractions for visitors and locals alike.

Start your journey at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, a testament to the city’s rich history of welcoming newcomers. From there, make your way to the bustling Historic Properties, where old warehouses have been transformed into trendy shops and eateries. And if you’re in the mood for some maritime adventure, hop on one of the harbor cruises or rent a kayak to explore the waters up close.

If you’re pondering about the best things to do in Halifax on a sunny day? The boardwalk is the answer. With numerous benches and ice cream stalls, it’s the perfect place to relax and soak in the city’s vibrant atmosphere. As the sun sets, the boardwalk comes alive with music, laughter, and the promise of a memorable evening. So, lace up your walking shoes and embark on a waterfront adventure that captures the essence of Halifax.

Stroll Along the Halifax Waterfront Boardwalk and discover the best things to do in Halifax
Stroll Along the Halifax Waterfront Boardwalk and discover the best things to do in Halifax

2. The Discovery Centre

Dive into a world of wonder and excitement at The Discovery Centre in Halifax. This interactive science museum is a treasure trove for curious minds of all ages. With four floors of hands-on exhibits, there’s no shortage of Halifax things to do when you step into this realm of exploration.

From the immersive planetarium to the thrilling flight simulator, every corner of The Discovery Centre promises a new adventure. The Innovation Lab is a hit among tech enthusiasts and young blood. This offers a chance to get hands-on with the latest gadgets and gizmos. For the younger crowd, the Kid’s Explore Zone provides a safe space to learn, play, and let their imaginations run wild.

Places in Halifax that blend education with fun are few and far between, making The Discovery Centre a must-visit. After a day of unraveling the mysteries of science, head to the rooftop patio. Here, you can enjoy panoramic views of the city while reflecting on the day’s discoveries.

So, if you’re looking to spark your curiosity and learn something new, The Discovery Centre is the place to be. It’s not just a museum; it’s a journey into the wonders of science and innovation.

Unveiling the Wonders of Science at The Discovery Centre
Unveiling the Wonders of Science at The Discovery Centre

3. Pier 21

Stepping into Pier 21 is like taking a journey back in time. As one of the coolest activities in Halifax, this national historic site offers a deep dive into Canada’s rich immigration history. From 1928 to 1971, Pier 21 served as the entry point for over one million immigrants. This makes it an integral part of the nation’s fabric.

Visitors can immerse themselves in personal stories, photographs, and artifacts that paint a vivid picture of hope, struggle, and new beginnings. The interactive exhibits allow you to trace the footsteps of those who once walked these halls, searching for a better life in a new land. It’s a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made and the dreams pursued.

Halifax attractions like Pier 21 don’t just showcase history; they make you feel a part of it. As you wander through the exhibits, you might find yourself reflecting on your own family’s journey and the paths they took to reach their dreams.

For anyone keen on understanding the essence of Canada and the diverse tapestry of its people, Pier 21 is one of the best places to go in Halifax. It’s more than a museum; it’s a testament to the human spirit and the quest for a brighter future.

Witness the Historic Pier 21 building and experience the best things to do in Halifax
Witness the Historic Pier 21 building and experience the best things to do in Halifax

4. Halifax Public Gardens

Imagine a place where time seems to stand still, and nature’s beauty surrounds you at every turn. Welcome to the Halifax Public Gardens, a serene escape right in the city’s bustling core. As one of the best places in Halifax for relaxation and leisurely strolls, these Victorian-era gardens are a testament to meticulous design and horticultural excellence.

Spanning 16 acres, the gardens boast a myriad of vibrant flower beds, sparkling fountains, and meandering pathways. The iconic wrought-iron gates welcome visitors into a world of tranquil ponds, statues, and rare tree species. Every corner of the gardens tells a story, from the historic bandstand that hosts summer concerts to the ornate bridges that arch over waterways.

For those contemplating about the best things to do in Halifax on a sunny day, a visit to the Public Gardens is a delightful answer. It’s a place where locals and tourists alike come to unwind, enjoy a picnic, or simply marvel at the ever-changing floral displays.

In a city brimming with history and maritime charm, the Halifax Public Gardens stand out as a peaceful haven. It’s not just a garden; it’s a living piece of Halifax’s heritage, waiting to be explored.

A pathway winding through lush greenery and vibrant flowers in Halifax Public Gardens
A pathway winding through lush greenery and vibrant flowers in Halifax Public Gardens

5. Citadel Hill

Stepping onto Citadel Hill, you’re instantly transported back in time. This star-shaped fort, officially known as Fort George, stands as a sentinel over Halifax. This offers some beautiful panoramic views of the city and harbor. For those seeking a blend of history and scenic beauty, this is one of the must-see Halifax attractions.

The fort’s strategic location made it a key defense point during various wars, and today, it serves as a window into Canada’s military past. As you wander through the fort’s corridors and ramparts, you’ll encounter reenactments by costumed interpreters, bringing the bygone era to life. The daily firing of the noon gun is a tradition not to be missed, echoing through the city since the 19th century.

Beyond its historical significance, Citadel Hill is also a favorite spot for locals and visitors to relax and soak in the vistas. The grassy slopes are perfect for picnics, and the skyline at sunset is truly mesmerizing.

So, if you’re curious where to go in Halifax that offers a mix of history, culture, and natural beauty, Citadel Hill should be high on your list. Dive deep into the tales of yesteryears and enjoy a day filled with exploration and wonder.

Witness the breathtaking panoramic views from atop Citadel Hill, where history and nature blend in perfect harmony
Witness the breathtaking panoramic views from atop Citadel Hill, where history and nature blend in perfect harmony

6. Maritime Museum of the Atlantic

Right in the heart of Halifax, the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic offers a deep dive into the rich maritime heritage of the region. As the oldest and largest maritime museum in Canada, this place is brimming with stories of shipwrecks, naval battles, and the legendary Titanic. If you’re reflecting about the unique things to do in Halifax on a rainy day, this museum is a treasure trove of nautical adventures waiting to be discovered.

The museum’s extensive collection includes small craft, ship models, marine art, and artifacts from the Titanic, as the city played a significant role in the aftermath of its sinking. The exhibits also shed light on the Halifax Explosion of 1917, a tragic event that reshaped the city’s landscape and spirit.

For families, the interactive displays and hands-on exhibits make learning fun and engaging. Kids will especially love the museum’s mascot, Merlin the parrot, who has become a local celebrity of sorts.

In essence, the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic is more than a collection of artifacts; it’s a journey through time that captures the essence of Halifax’s deep-rooted connection to the sea. So, when considering cool destinations in Halifax, make sure this museum is on your list!

An exhibit featuring a diorama of a ship, capturing the essence of nautical legends and sea stories
An exhibit featuring a diorama of a ship, capturing the essence of nautical legends and sea stories

7. Point Pleasant Park

Think of a place where tall trees sway with the breeze, trails wind through dense forests, and the sound of waves crashing against the shore fills the air. Welcome to Point Pleasant Park, one of the best places to go in Halifax for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Located at the southern tip of the Halifax peninsula, this 75-hectare park offers a peaceful escape from the urban hustle.

From picnicking to jogging, and from bird-watching to historical sightseeing, there’s no shortage of things to do in Halifax’s Point Pleasant Park. The park’s extensive network of trails, both paved and unpaved, caters to walkers and joggers of all levels. As you explore, you’ll come across remnants of old fortifications, a testament to the city’s strategic importance in bygone eras.

For those who love the sea, the park’s coastline offers stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and the various ships entering and leaving the harbor. And if you’re lucky, you might even spot some playful seals!

In essence, Point Pleasant Park beautifully captures the harmony between nature and history. This makes it a must-see in Halifax for both residents and visitors.

Unwind and recharge amidst coastal wonders at Point Pleasant Park
Unwind and recharge amidst coastal wonders at Point Pleasant Park

8. Alexander Keith’s Brewery

Step back in time and immerse yourself in the rich brewing heritage of Halifax at the Alexander Keith’s Brewery. Established in 1820, this brewery is one of the oldest in North America and is a testament to the city’s deep-rooted love for finely crafted ales. Best things to do in Halifax on a laid-back afternoon? A tour of this iconic establishment is a delightful answer.

As you wander through the historic building, knowledgeable guides dressed in period costumes share fascinating tales of Alexander Keith, the man behind the legendary brews. You’ll learn about traditional brewing methods, witness the meticulous care that goes into every batch, and of course, sample some of the brewery’s signature ales.

But it’s not just about the beer. The brewery also hosts lively performances, where actors and musicians recreate the vibrant atmosphere of 19th-century Halifax. It’s a sensory experience that combines history, entertainment, and the joy of a cold pint.

In short, a visit to Alexander Keith’s Brewery is more than just a brewery tour; it’s a journey through time and a unique thing to do in Halifax that offers both education and entertainment.

Discover the artistry behind the brew at Alexander Keith's Brewery
Discover the artistry behind the brew at Alexander Keith’s Brewery

9. Halifax Central Library

In the midst of Halifax’s historic charm stands a contemporary architectural wonder: the Halifax Central Library. This isn’t just any library; it’s a vibrant community hub that beckons locals and tourists alike. Where to visit in Halifax for a blend of culture, learning, and relaxation? This library is a top contender.

The building itself is a masterpiece, with its unique, stacked design and vast windows offering panoramic views of the city. Inside, you’ll find a plethora of resources, from vast book collections to state-of-the-art technology. The library also boasts a rooftop terrace, where you can sip on a coffee from the in-house café while soaking in the cityscape.

Regular events, workshops, and exhibitions ensure there’s always something happening. Whether you’re a literature lover, a tech enthusiast, or simply seeking a quiet spot to unwind, the Halifax Central Library caters to all.

In a city brimming with Halifax attractions, this library stands out as a testament to Halifax’s commitment to education, community, and architectural innovation. It’s a must-visit, offering a serene escape amidst the city’s hustle and bustle.

Does this listing meet your expectations? If so, I’ll continue to the next. If any adjustments are needed, please inform me.

More than just books – a hub of culture and community at the Halifax Central Library
More than just books – a hub of culture and community at the Halifax Central Library

10. Fairview Lawn Cemetery

When you think of things to do in Halifax, visiting a cemetery might not be the first thing that comes to mind. Yet, the Fairview Lawn Cemetery holds a deep historical significance that’s intertwined with the tragic tale of the Titanic. It’s here that 121 victims of the infamous shipwreck found their final resting place. This makes it one of the must-see in Halifax for history enthusiasts.

Walking through the neatly arranged rows of headstones, you’ll notice the name “J. Dawson” – a grave that gained notoriety after the release of the film Titanic. While the character Jack Dawson is fictional, the real J. Dawson was a crew member on the ship.

The cemetery serves as a poignant reminder of the lives lost in the disaster and the global impact of the tragedy. It’s a place of reflection, where visitors can pay their respects and learn about the individual stories of those who perished.

For those seeking unique places in Halifax that offer a blend of history and serenity, the Fairview Lawn Cemetery is a destination that shouldn’t be missed. It’s a testament to the city’s deep maritime roots and its connection to one of history’s most talked-about events.

Walking through the past, present, and future at Fairview Lawn Cemetery
Walking through the past, present, and future at Fairview Lawn Cemetery

11. Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market

Halifax places to visit are numerous, but for a truly local experience, the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market is a must. Established in 1750, it’s recognized as the oldest continuously operating farmers’ market in North America. Talk about a deep-rooted tradition!

Every weekend, locals and tourists alike flock to this bustling hub to indulge in the coolest activities in Halifax – shopping for fresh produce, artisanal goods, and unique crafts. From the aroma of freshly baked bread to the vibrant colors of seasonal fruits and vegetables, it’s a sensory delight that’s hard to resist.

Local musicians often grace the market with their tunes, adding to the lively atmosphere. And if you’re thinking about what to do in Halifax for a culinary adventure, this is the place. Sample delicacies from various cultures, sip on Nova Scotian wines, or simply enjoy a cup of locally roasted coffee while soaking in the harbor views.

For those who love to immerse themselves in local culture and flavors, the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market offers an authentic taste of the city’s vibrant community spirit. It’s not just a market; it’s a celebration of Halifax’s rich heritage and diverse culinary landscape.

A panoramic view of the bustling Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market
A panoramic view of the bustling Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market

12. Emera Oval

In the heart of Halifax, the Emera Oval stands as a testament to the city’s love for outdoor activities. If you’re wondering where to visit in Halifax that offers both fun and fitness, this is your spot. Originally established for the 2011 Canada Games, the oval has since become a year-round attraction for locals and visitors alike.

During the winter months, the oval transforms into one of the largest outdoor skating rinks in Eastern Canada. With skates flashing and laughter echoing, it’s a winter wonderland where memories are made. And the best part? Skating is free, and if you don’t have your own skates, you can borrow them at no charge!

When the ice melts, the Emera Oval doesn’t lose its charm. It morphs into a roller-skating and biking paradise, with free rentals available for those too. Around the oval, you’ll find people jogging, playing, and soaking up the sun.

For those who believe that the best places in Halifax are where memories are made, the oval stands out. It’s more than just a place; it’s an experience, a slice of Halifax’s vibrant community spirit.

Close-up of the vibrant grass at Emera Oval
Close-up of the vibrant grass at Emera Oval

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Best Things to Do in Halifax

Looking for more content on the top things to do in Halifax? Here are some popular questions (and answers) I get that will help you plan your trip to Halifax:

What’s the best time to visit Halifax?

Halifax boasts a maritime climate, making summers mild and winters chilly. For pleasant weather and numerous festivals, consider visiting between June and October.

What is Halifax best known for?

Halifax, the capital city of Nova Scotia, is best known for several notable things:

  1. Halifax Explosion: In 1917, two ships collided in Halifax Harbour, causing a massive explosion. It remains one of the world’s largest man-made, non-nuclear explosions. The tragedy deeply affected the city, and its legacy can be found in memorials and museums.
  2. Halifax Waterfront Boardwalk: One of the world’s longest downtown boardwalks. It’s lined with shops, restaurants, and attractions like the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic.
  3. Maritime Museum of the Atlantic: Located on the waterfront, this museum offers a deep dive into the region’s maritime history. This includes exhibits on the Titanic and the Halifax Explosion.
  4. Halifax Citadel National Historic Site: This star-shaped fort offers a glimpse into the city’s military past. It’s complete with reenactments and panoramic views of the city.
  5. Rich Maritime Heritage: Halifax is one of Canada’s primary east coast ports and has a rich history connected to the sea.
  6. Diverse Culinary Scene: From local seafood to international cuisine, Halifax boasts a vibrant food scene. There is a particular emphasis on fresh seafood, especially lobster.
  7. Pier 21 – Canadian Museum of Immigration: Once the entry point for over one million immigrants to Canada, Pier 21 now serves as a museum detailing the immigrant experience.
  8. Proximity to Natural Beauty: Not far from Halifax are scenic spots like Peggy’s Cove. Here, you’ll find iconic lighthouse and the picturesque Cabot Trail.

Is Halifax a walkable city?

Absolutely! Many of the city’s top attractions are located within walking distance of each other, especially around the downtown area. Plus, walking allows you to truly soak in the city’s charm.

What local delicacies should I try in Halifax?

While the Halifax donair often steals the spotlight, don’t miss out on fresh seafood, especially lobster, and indulge in blueberry grunt, a local dessert.

Halifax's waterfront transforms into a mesmerizing canvas of colors as the sun bids adieu
Halifax’s waterfront transforms into a mesmerizing canvas of colors as the sun bids adieu

How many days do I need to explore Halifax?

A weekend can cover the highlights, but spending 3 days allows a deeper dive into all the unique things to do in Halifax. Here’s a suggested itinerary:

Day 1: Downtown and Historic Sites

  • Start your morning with a visit to the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site. Explore the fort and enjoy panoramic views of the city.
  • Stroll down to the Halifax Waterfront Boardwalk. Spend time exploring the boutiques, grabbing a bite, and perhaps visiting the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic.
  • In the evening, dine at one of the city’s great seafood restaurants.

Culture and Parks (Day 2)

  • Begin your day at the Public Gardens, a perfect spot for a morning walk.
  • Head to the Museum of Natural History or the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.
  • In the afternoon, relax at Point Pleasant Park or take a short ferry ride to Dartmouth for a different perspective of the city.
  • Consider checking out a local brewery or pub in the evening.

Day 3: Day Trips or Local Exploration

  • If you’re up for a day trip, consider visiting Peggy’s Cove (about a 45-minute drive) to see its iconic lighthouse and rugged coastal beauty.
  • Alternatively, explore more local neighborhoods, visit the Fairview Lawn Cemetery (where many Titanic victims are buried), or shop at the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market.
  • Finish off your trip with a special meal or attend a live performance if one aligns with your visit.

Is it worth visiting Halifax?

Absolutely! Halifax, Canada, offers a unique blend of maritime history, vibrant culture, and stunning coastal landscapes. This makes it a must-visit destination for travelers seeking both adventure and relaxation. Here’s why Halifax is worth visiting:

  1. Maritime Heritage: Halifax boasts a deep maritime history. The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic offers insights into the city’s seafaring past. This includes exhibits on the Titanic and the 1917 Halifax Explosion.
  2. Historic Sites: The Halifax Citadel National Historic Site, a star-shaped fort, offers panoramic views of the city. It also gives a glimpse into the area’s military past.
  3. Natural Beauty: The city is home to several parks and gardens, including the Public Gardens and Point Pleasant Park. Just a short drive away, you’ll find the stunning coastal landscapes of Peggy’s Cove.
  4. Dining and Cuisine: Halifax’s culinary scene is diverse, with an emphasis on fresh seafood. Enjoying a lobster dinner or tasting donairs (a local specialty) is a must.
  5. Harborfront: The Halifax Waterfront Boardwalk is one of the world’s longest downtown boardwalks. It offers shops, restaurants, and scenic views of the harbor.
  6. Cultural Festivals: The city hosts numerous events and festivals throughout the year. It celebrates everything from music and film to craft beer.

What is Halifax famous for?

Halifax, Canada, is renowned for its rich maritime history, notably the Halifax Explosion and its connection to the Titanic tragedy. Additionally, the city boasts the iconic Citadel Hill, a bustling waterfront, and delicious seafood, particularly its signature dish, the Halifax Donair.

Final Thoughts on Exploring Halifax

Halifax, with its rich maritime history, vibrant culture, and stunning coastal landscapes, is a gem waiting to be explored. Every corner of this city tells a story, from its historic sites to its bustling markets.

Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or someone simply chasing the next great adventure, Halifax promises a journey filled with memories that’ll last a lifetime.

So, pack your bags and set your sights on this Nova Scotian treasure. After all, the best places in Halifax are those you’ve yet to discover.

The best things to do in Halifax for all types of travelers
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