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25 Best Things to Do in Halifax

From breathtaking coastal views and delicious seafood to its historical sites and vibrant nightlife, Halifax has it all. Are you planning a trip to Halifax, but don't know where to begin? With so much to explore and enjoy, narrowing down the best things to do can be overwhelming. Don't worry—we have you covered with our guide to the top things to do in Halifax. Whether you're travelling with family, friends, or a significant other, you're sure to find something that appeals to you in Halifax.

Aerial view of the Halifax metropolitan area and the ocean

For starters, the Halifax Harbourfront is one of the best things to do in Halifax. It offers coastal views and is home to some of the city's best seafood restaurants. Another top spot on the waterfront, The Halifax Citadel National Historic Site of Canada is a must-see for those interested in history.

The travel experts at Canadian Train Vacations love planning perfect travel itineraries. Whether you plan to stay for a day or a week, you're sure to find something that will make your time in Halifax unforgettable.

1. Stroll Along the Halifax Waterfront

As mentioned above, the Halifax Waterfront is an iconic destination for locals and tourists alike. It offers spectacular views of the harbor and the city, along with plenty of activities and attractions. This includes the Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market, the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, the Boardwalk, and the historic Pier 21 Immigration Museum. The waterfront is open all year and offers its 1.5 million visitors a year the opportunity to shop, dine, and explore. If you're wondering what to do in Halifax tonight, it's easily accessible by public transportation or car.

Pink clouds over the Halifax waterfront area

2. Go on a foodie tour

For a truly immersive experience on the Halifax Waterfront, go on a foodie tour. Try oysters, lobster, and iconic Halifax foods, like the donair (learn more below). 

A food tour is a a great way to experience any city. The expert guides offer insights into the history and culture of the area as you sample local fare. The leisurely pace also makes it accessible to most travellers. 

Ask your travel advisor about adding a HalifaxHarbourfront Foodie Tour. 

Sunset over boardwalk restaurant in Halifax

3. Visit the City's Historic Properties

Halifax has a rich history, apparent by its 19th-century architecture. From Victorian-era homes to centuries-old churches, exploring its historic properties is among the top 5 things to do in Halifax.

Reaching these historic properties is easy. Halifax is well connected by bus, ferry, and air. Halifax Citadel is the most popular of the historical sites, with over one-million visitors yearly.

Public square with colourful seats looking towards Victorian-inspired Halifax City Hall

4. St. Paul’s Church

One of these unique and historic places to visit in Halifax is St. Paul's Church — a must-see. Built in 1750, this Anglican church has a long and fascinating history. For over 250 years, it has been an important part of Halifax's religious and cultural life. 

Be sure to explore the churchyard, which features a memorial to the victims of the Titanic disaster. There is also a monument to the victims of the Halifax Explosion, which occurred in 1917.

St. Paul’s Church is located at 1749 Argyle Street and is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm.

People sitting on a yellow picnic bench in a green space outside a church

5. Government House 

Government House in Halifax is a grand and historic residence that has served as the official residence of the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia since 1811. The house is on a hilltop overlooking the city and is surrounded by beautiful gardens and parklands. The house is known for its elegant furnishings, paintings, and artifacts.

Government House is located at 1451 Barrington Street in downtown Halifax. Visitors are welcome on guided tours, whose times vary according to the season.

Steps leading up to the gardens outside a large historic mansion, Government House in Halifax

6. Halifax Citadel National Historic Site

The Halifax Citadel National Historic Site is a must-see destination for history buffs. Built in the 18th century, the Citadel is a star-shaped fort that has been a key part of Halifax's military defense system for centuries. Today, you can explore its extensive underground tunnel network, breathtaking views of Halifax Harbour, and the iconic Martello Tower. There are also several interactive exhibits and interactive activities that will keep visitors of all ages entertained.

Aerial view of Halifax's star-shaped citadel on a green hill

7. Halifax Public Gardens

The Halifax Public Gardens is one of the city's most popular attractions. Established in 1867, the gardens are situated in the heart of downtown Halifax and offer visitors a tranquil oasis of lush blooms, winding paths, and picturesque scenery. The Halifax Public Gardens is one of the oldest public gardens in North America. It is a National Historic Site and has been open since the late 19th century. This is one of the most relaxing things to do in Halifax

The Halifax Public Gardens opens at 8 am and closes half an hour before sunset. Admission is free.

Victorian-style gazebo, trees and flowers in the Halifax public gardens in summer

8. Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21

The Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, is the only museum in Canada dedicated to immigrants’ stories. It receives more than 200,000 visitors annually. With interactive exhibits, historic artifacts, photographs, and videos, you can learn about the millions of immigrants who have come to Canada over the past century. It is easily accessible from downtown Halifax and is open Monday through Saturday from 9:30 am to 5 pm and Sundays from noon to 5 pm.

Peron reading an information board next to large windows that look out to the ocean
Flat lay shot of fruit boxes, pastries and a tote bag of treats from a farmers market

9. Halifax Seaport Farmers Market

The Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market is an iconic destination in Nova Scotia, open on weekends. Located in the heart of downtown Halifax, the market has been in business since 1750, offering visitors a wide selection of fresh produce, prepared foods, artisanal crafts, and more. Admission is free, and pets are welcome. Easily accessible by public transportation, the market is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike.

10. Try a Halifax Donair

More than 7 million donairs are served each year in Halifax — this beloved meal has been declared the official food of Halifax. It is a must-try — and one of the top things to do in Halifax. Believed to have originated in the city in the 1970s, locals and visitors alike flock to restaurants and food trucks to get their hands on this unique variation of the classic doner kebab. Prices range from $5 to $15 CAD.

11. Alexander Keith’s Brewery

Alexander Keith’s Brewery is an iconic destination for any beer enthusiast visiting Halifax, Nova Scotia. Founded in 1820, it is the oldest operating brewery in North America and offers a unique experience for its visitors. Take a guided tour of the brewery and sample some of its classic beers, including India Pale Ale, Keith’s Red, and Keith’s Dark. The brewery is open daily from 10 am to 6 pm and is easily accessible by public transportation. With over 1.5 million visitors yearly, Alexander Keith’s Brewery is a must-visit for anyone looking for fun things to do in Halifax.

A woman in a brewery pouring a beer sample from a green jug

12. Spring Garden Road

Spring Garden Road in Halifax is a must-visit for tourists and locals alike, and sees more than 5 million visitors each year. The bustling thoroughfare offers a variety of shopping, dining, entertainment, and cultural attractions. Easily accessible via car, bus, or taxi, it is located just off the Halifax Harbour and most shops are open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., with some businesses staying open until 10 p.m.

Two women walking with shopping bags on a sunny day

13. CSS Acadia

A permanent exhibit at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, the CSS Acadia was the first vessel designed to survey Canada's northern waters. It is the only ship still afloat known to have survived the Halifax Explosion in 1917. It is also the only surviving ship to have served the Canadian Navy during both world wars. Moored in the Halifax Harbour, the museum ships invites visitors to learn about life aboard and is one of the fun things to do in Halifax in the winter.

Couple exploring the indoor exhibits at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic

14. Halifax Distilling Company

The Halifax Distilling Company is an award-winning craft distillery. Founded in 2012, it is the first distillery in Halifax since prohibition. The Company produces high-quality, small-batch spirits, including vodka, gin, whiskey, rum, and liqueurs. The company is conveniently located in downtown Halifax, only a 15-minute walk from the waterfront. Tours and tastings are offered on the hour from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., for $10 per person. It is one of the best things to do in Halifax.

15. Nightlife on Argyle Street

Argyle Street is a bustling nightlife and entertainment hub, offering fun things to do in Halifax for adults. This vibrant hotspot is often called the "pub district" of Halifax and is home to some of the city’s most popular bars, pubs, clubs, and restaurants. Easily accessible by car, public transportation, or on foot, Argyle Street is the perfect place for things to do in Halifax at night.

The nightlife scene on Argyle Street is open seven days a week, with most establishments open from 4 pm to 2 am. Most places have no entrance fee, and prices for food and drinks vary from establishment to establishment. The best time to visit is usually in the evening when the bars and restaurants are at their liveliest. Generally, this is a safe city and there are not any places to avoid in Halifax.   

View of pubs and outdoor seating down a street in Halifax

16. Visit Hydrostone Market 

Hydrostone Market is a historic shopping district in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. It is one of the few examples of 1920s suburban development in North America and has been designated a National Historic Site of Canada. The area is filled with quaint boutiques, funky cafes, and various specialty stores and is a great destination if you're looking for what to do in Halifax in one day.

There is a farmers’ market here every Sunday from June to mid-October. It is easy to reach the Hydrostone market by public transit. The market is open every day of the week from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with extended hours during the summer months. The best time to visit Hydrostone Market is in the morning when the stores are just opening and the atmosphere is quiet and peaceful.

A woman walks past colourful art galleries, spas and shops

17. The Art Gallery of Halifax

The Art Gallery of Halifax is an important cultural hub in the heart of the city, a popular thing to see and do in Halifax, attracting over 80,000 visitors each year. This public gallery showcases historical and contemporary art from around the world, but focuses on art from the Canadian Maritimes. The gallery holds a permanent collection of over 5,000 pieces and hosts regular exhibitions and events, one of the romantic things to do in Halifax, Nova Scotia. It is easily accessible by public transport and the gallery is open Tuesday to Sunday. There is no admission fee, and visitors can expect to spend two to three hours here.

A couple and their dog take a photo of a sculpture outside the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia

18. Go to a Free Festival in Halifax

Throughout the year, Halifax hosts several free festivals, just some of the many things to do in downtown Halifax. The Halifax Jazz Festival, the Halifax Busker Festival, and the Halifax International Busker Festival are the most famous of these events. These festivals are usually held on the Halifax Waterfront. They are easily accessible by bus or car. With the range of performances, there should be something to entertain the whole family.

A large crowd sitting outside watching a flame throwing performer

19. Visit McNabs Island 

McNabs Island is an off-the-beaten-path destination and one of the unique things to do in Halifax. This beautiful and historic island is located in Halifax Harbour. It offers visitors a chance to explore nature and learn about the area's rich history. The island is accessible by ferry, private boat, or kayak. Visitors can expect to spend an average of 2–3 hours on the island, and it is recommended to visit during the day when the weather is pleasant. Remember to bring sunscreen and insect repellent.

Two people walk bikes past benches and a 'Welcome to McNabs Island' sign

20. Visit the Iconic Halifax Clock Tower

The iconic Halifax Clock Tower is a must-see destination for anyone visiting the city. The Clock Tower is a significant piece of Halifax's history and offers visitors a chance to admire the city's architecture and learn about its past. The Tower is located in the heart of Halifax's downtown area and is easily accessible by bus or car. Visitors can expect to spend an average of 15–30 minutes admiring the clock tower. It is an interesting thing to do in Halifax, and it is recommended to visit during the day when the weather is pleasant.

Close up of Halifax town clock during sunset

21. Go Hiking around Point Pleasant Park

Going hiking around Point Pleasant Park is a great way to experience the natural beauty of Halifax and get some exercise. The park is on the southern tip of the Halifax Peninsula and offers visitors a chance to explore nature in all seasons and take in the stunning things to do around Halifax. The park is easily accessible by bus or car, is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Visitors can expect to spend an average of 1-2 hours hiking in the park. Due to its popularity, it is always included in the top 10 things to do in Halifax.

Sun shines through the trees as a person and their dog walk along a snowy trail in a park

22. Find the Drunken Lampposts

Finding the "drunken lampposts" in Halifax is one of the fun secret things to do in Halifax. These bendy lamppost sculptures have become an iconic symbol of Halifax and a popular tourist attraction. They can be found throughout the city, with a concentration of them in the downtown area. They are easily accessible by foot or public transportation, and there is no fee to see them. Visitors can expect to spend an average of 15–30 minutes finding and admiring the lampposts. It's recommended to bring a map or use a GPS to find them.

A boardwalk covered in snow, a bright blue lamppost and coloured chairs

23. Check Out Halifax’s Vibrant Street Art

Halifax has a growing street art scene featuring a variety of murals and graffiti by local and international artists. These art pieces can be found throughout the city and showcase the diverse perspectives and styles of the artists involved. These artworks are easily accessible by foot or public transportation, and there is no fee to see them. It's one of the top free things to do in Halifax.

A family standing against a brick building which has a purple art mural of an angel on it

4. Go Skating for Free at the Emera Oval

Skating at the Emera Oval is a great way to experience the winter season in Halifax and have some fun. The Emera Oval is a public skating rink located in Halifax Commons Park. It is open to the public and offers free skating throughout the winter, making it the perfect thing to do in Halifax in December. The rink is easily accessible by bus or car.

People ice skating outside at the Emera Oval as the sun sets

25. Go Canoeing Or Kayaking

Canoeing and kayaking in Halifax is a popular activity for both visitors and locals alike, offering the opportunity to explore the beautiful waterways in and around the city It's one of the top outdoor things to do in Halifax, especially during the summer months. Local outfitters can take you on a guided tour of Halifax Harbour or to a nearby river or lake.

Group of kayakers paddling down a forested waterway

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I not miss about Halifax?

Visitors to Halifax should not miss exploring its vibrant waterfront, iconic landmarks, and unique maritime history.

How many days is enough for Halifax?

Halifax offers plenty of attractions to explore, making 3–4 days the perfect amount of time to see all the city has to offer.

What food is Halifax famous for?

Halifax is renowned for its iconic donair kebabs, its seafood and its world-famous fish and chips.

What is the best month to visit Nova Scotia?

The best month to visit Nova Scotia is June, when the days are long and sunny, and the scenery is stunning.

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