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Best Time to Visit Halifax

Halifax is a charming coastal city in Nova Scotia, Canada, that promises to delight visitors all year round. Each of its four distinct seasons brings different experiences. Summer is often considered the best time to visit Halifax as it has the best weather and lots of festivals. Warm temperatures during the summer months are ideal for strolls along the waterfront, days by the beach, and visits to nearby fishing villages, like Peggy's Cove. 

Two men paddle a kayak in city harbour and by Halifax Waterfront and Georges Island National Historic Site

While summer is definitely the most popular season, the best time of year to visit Halifax depends on what you'd like to see and do in the city. Some of the city's top attractions, like the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, the Canadian Museum of Immigration, and the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, can be visited year round. September and October are the best months for fall colours, while April, May and June are the best months for spring flowers.

The travel experts at Canadian Train Vacations help visitors plan their trips to Canada. Many of the itineraries we create with our guests include time in Halifax, Canada. Read on to learn more about the city's festivals, attractions, hotels, and more. 

[ Explore: Montreal to Halifax | Ocean Train ]

Experience Halifax City's Four Seasons

Halifax offers a variety of exciting experiences throughout the year. There is something for everyone in Halifax, from fall foliage and snowy scenery to spring flowers and summer festivals.

Each time of year has a unique charm. Choosing the best time to visit depends on personal preferences and interests.

Summer is the high season, with good weather bringing lots of visitors. Spring and fall are the shoulder seasons. The weather can be variable. Winter is the off-season, but this means that hotels often have more availability. There are plenty of indoor attractions to keep you busy when it is cold outside.

Sun sets as three kayakers pass by event with large attendance outdoors occurring by restaurant in Halifax Waterfront

Summer (June to August)

Summer is considered the best time to visit Halifax Canada. As June rolls around, the weather starts to heat up, with average temperatures in the mid-20s Celsius (high 60s Fahrenheit). Halifax weather in July promises hours of sunshine, clear skies, and balmy days — the city's summer weather is simply unbeatable.

It's the perfect season to enjoy the warm temperatures and all that the city offers. Here are the top five attractions to visit during the summer:

The Halifax Waterfront Boardwalk: The boardwalk stretches for several kilometres along the waterfront, offering ocean views. You can stop at one of the many restaurants and cafes, browse the shops and vendors, or enjoy the scenery. The boardwalk is a great place to take a stroll, and it's the perfect way to end your day of sightseeing.

The Halifax Citadel National Historic Site of Canada: The citadel is a star-shaped fortress built in the 18th century. Today, it's a popular tourist attraction that offers a glimpse into the city's history. As you explore the citadel, you'll learn about the soldiers' and settlers' daily lives. 

Historic Properties: A must-visit destination in Halifax for anyone interested in the city's rich history and unique architecture. The beautifully restored 18th and 19th-century buildings offer visitors an authentic glimpse into the city's past.

Historic Properties is also a popular shopping destination. The area is home to a variety of boutique shops and specialty stores offering a wide range of locally handcrafted goods. You can browse anything from handmade jewellery and artisanal foods to vintage clothing and antiques.

Lawrencetown Beach: Lawrencetown Beach is the perfect place to relax, soak up the sun and enjoy the beautiful scenery. It's a popular spot for swimming, surfing, and sunbathing. With a designated surf area for experienced surfers and a lifeguard on duty during the peak summer months, it's a safe and fun place for all. It is located 30 minutes from Halifax by car.

Peggy's Cove Tour: One of the most popular day trips from Halifax is Peggy's Cove. Guided tours take you on a scenic drive along the Nova Scotia coast. Peggy's Cove is a picturesque rural village and Peggy's Cove lighthouse is one of the most famous lighthouses in North America.

Autumn (September to November)

Autumn in Halifax is a season of change, with the leaves on the trees turning golden and red. It's a great time to visit Halifax, as the weather is perfect for exploring the city and taking in all the sights and sounds of the season.

As September arrives, the temperatures start to cool down, with average temperatures in the low to mid-20s Celsius. Temperatures continue to drop as the months pass, making walking around the city an ideal activity. The fall foliage during this time is stunning, with the trees turning brilliant shades of gold, red, and orange.

Here are the top five attractions you should check out during the autumn season:

Hatfield Farm: This working farm is a great place to visit during autumn. With pumpkin patches, corn mazes, and hayrides, it's a fun and festive way to experience the season. You can also see the farm's animals, take a guided tour, or enjoy a delicious farm-to-table meal at their restaurant. It's a great way to spend a fall day surrounded by the beautiful colours of the changing leaves. 

The Split Crow: This historic pub is a Halifax institution and a must-visit during autumn. For traditional pub fare, you get a wide selection of local beers, ciders and spirits. The atmosphere is cozy and informal, with music nights, making it the perfect spot to unwind after exploring the city. 

Day trip to the Bay of Fundy: Don't miss the natural wonder of the Bay of Fundy during autumn. The world's biggest tide changes offer a breathtaking view. Enjoy whale-watching tours, coastal hikes, and visits to local fishing villages. Fossil records, including dinosaur tracks, can also be found on the bay's shores, making it a paradise for paleontologists and nature lovers. 

Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market: Visit the Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market during the fall to pick up seasonal produce, including apples, beets, broccoli, pumpkin, parsnips, pears, and cranberries. The two-storey market is the oldest continuously operating farmers’ market in North America. It's the perfect place to pick up artisanal goods and local souvenirs, too. 

Fairview Lawn Cemetery: The Fairview Lawn Cemetery is the final resting place of many of the victims of the Titanic disaster. The cemetery offers a peaceful and serene atmosphere.

Exterior of tavern and city view of Argyle Street, Halifax

Winter (December to February)

In Winter, the city transforms into a beautiful snowy wonderland. With temperatures ranging from -5 to -10 degrees Celsius, visitors can enjoy snow-covered landscapes and the crisp, cold air, making it a dream destination for winter enthusiasts.

One of the most popular winter activities in Halifax is skiing and snowboarding. Ski Martock, Ski Wentworth, and Ski Ben Eoin are popular ski resorts in the region, offering a variety of runs for skiers and snowboarders of all levels. For those who prefer a more leisurely pace, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are also popular activities.

There are plenty of indoor attractions in Halifax which are ideal when you want to escape the cold.

Maritime Museum of the Atlantic: This museum is dedicated to the history of the Atlantic region and its relationship with the sea. You will find exhibits on shipwrecks, naval history, and the history of the fishing and shipping industries. The museum also has a collection of small boats and a replica of the Titanic's grand staircase. 

Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21: The museum tells the story of thousands of immigrants. You will learn about the experiences of these immigrants, the challenges they faced, and how they helped shape the country we know today. 

Art Gallery of Nova Scotia: Located in the heart of Halifax, the Art Gallery is a must-see attraction for art lovers. The gallery features a variety of artworks by local and international artists. From contemporary art to historical pieces, the gallery has something for everyone. 

Discovery Centre: This interactive science museum is suitable for visitors of all ages. It offers hands-on exhibits, live demonstrations, and interactive displays. From learning about the human body to exploring the mysteries of space, the Discovery Centre has something to offer everyone. 

Emera Oval: This public outdoor space becomes a large ice skating rink in the winter. Free ice skate rentals are available.

Victorian Garden and National Historic Site, Halifax Public Gardens, in the heart of the city after snow

Spring (March to May)

Spring in Halifax is a season of renewal, as the city comes alive with new energy and the sun's warmth. As winter winds down, temperatures rise, creating a refreshing atmosphere suitable for springtime activities in the area.

Spring brings colour and energy, from outdoor festivals and markets to scenic walks in parks and gardens. It's the perfect time to embrace the beauty of the season.

One of the most popular spring activities in Halifax is hiking. With warmer weather, the trails are less crowded, and the views are beautiful. Point Pleasant Park and Sir Sanford Fleming Park are popular hiking destinations. The parks also offer an excellent opportunity to see spring flowers and wildlife.

Here are the top five attractions to visit during spring:

Halifax Public Gardens: As you enter the gates of the Halifax Public Gardens, you will be surrounded by the beauty of nature. The gardens are a peaceful oasis amid the hustle and bustle of the city, with various flowers, trees, and sculptures to admire. You can stroll through the gardens, picnic on the lawn, or enjoy the tranquillity. 

Alexander Keith's Brewery: Step into a brewery that has been functioning beer for over 200 years. Alexander Keith's is a great place to learn about the history of brewing in the city. You can tour the brewery, learn about the brewing process, and sample some of the brewery's famous beers. The tour is a fun and interactive experience that will give you a taste of Halifax's rich brewing history. 

Halifax Harbour Ferry: Take a ride on the Halifax Harbour Ferry and enjoy the sights and sounds of the city from the water. The ferry offers several routes, including the popular harbour tour, which takes you past the city's famous landmarks. The ferry is a great way to see the city from a different perspective. 

Point Pleasant Park: A beautiful park located on the southern tip of the Halifax peninsula, this place offers a variety of walking trails, playgrounds, and picnic areas. Walking through the park, you'll see beautiful spring flowers and wildlife. The park provides an excellent opportunity to enjoy nature and escape the hustle and bustle of the city. 

St. Paul's Anglican Church: This picturesque church is a must-see attraction all year round. The church has been a part of the community for over 200 years, and it's a great place to learn about the area's religious history. You can tour the church and learn about its architecture and significance to the community.

Halifax waterfront district, Queen's Marque, in the heart of Downtown Halifax with urban boardwalk and old architecture

Events in Halifax

Halifax is a city that truly comes alive with events, festivals, and cultural experiences. During the year, plenty of events keep you entertained and engaged.

Here are some of the most popular events in Halifax:

Scotia Festival of Music: This event celebrates classical music, featuring performances by local and international musicians. It's a great way to experience the power and beauty of live classical music. 

Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo: This event features performances by pipe and drum bands and dancers. It's a unique and exciting way to experience the rich military history of Halifax. 

Halifax Fringe Festival: This event is a celebration of alternative theatre featuring performances by local and international theatre companies. It's a great way to experience the diversity and creativity of the theatre scene in Halifax. 

Halifax Jazz Festival: This is the oldest jazz festival and largest summer festival in Atlantic Canada. There are a variety of amazing musical performances and shows to attend.

Halifax Busker Festival: This summer festival takes place along the Halifax and Dartmouth waterfronts over six days. In 2023, the Halifax waterfront area had three international busker stages, food trucks, and a family fun zone. You can watch performances from local and international entertainers.

People at annual music conference and festival experience, Halifax Pop Explosion, in Halifax celebrating the city's music scene

Where to stay in Halifax

Whether you are looking for a budget-friendly stay or a luxurious experience, the range of hotels in Halifax ensures that you can find just what you are looking for.

Muir Halifax: This luxury boutique hotel in the heart of downtown Halifax offers guests a luxurious experience. The hotel features elegant and spacious rooms, modern amenities, and a beautiful rooftop terrace with views of the city. It also offers a fitness centre, business centre, and a restaurant and bar. 

Sutton Place is situated in the heart of downtown Halifax, at the corner of Robie Street and Spring Garden Road. The hotel is within walking distance of many popular attractions, including the Halifax Public Gardens, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, and the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site. It's also just a short distance from the city's main shopping and dining districts.

The Cambridge Suites Hotel is located in the heart of downtown Halifax, at the corner of Brunswick Street and Cogswell Street. The hotel is within walking distance of many of Halifax's most popular attractions, including the Halifax Waterfront, the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site, and the Discovery Centre science museum. It's also conveniently located near shopping and dining options on Spring Garden Road and Barrington Street.

Hollis Halifax is located in the heart of downtown Halifax, at the corner of Hollis and George Streets. It's just a short walk from popular attractions such as the Halifax Waterfront, the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, and the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site. The hotel is also conveniently located near shopping and dining options on Spring Garden Road and Barrington Street.

The Lord Nelson Hotel & Suites: The hotel features spacious and stylish rooms with various amenities and an indoor pool. 

The Westin Nova Scotian: This hotel offers guests a comfortable and convenient place to stay.

Contemporary room in the five-star Marriott Bonvoy, Muir, luxury hotel in Halifax with white oak walls and plank flooring

Famous Food in Halifax

Halifax is known for its diverse and delicious food scene, offering everything from fresh seafood to international cuisine, making it easy to find some of the best food in Halifax.

Fish and Chips: Fish and Chips is a classic Halifax dish. You can find this at many restaurants throughout the city. Some of Halifax's popular places to try fish and chips include The Fish Counter and The Fish Shack.

Donair: The Halifax-style donair is a variation of the traditional Middle Eastern dish, and it's a must-try food when in Halifax. You can find it at King of Donair, which is known as the inventor of this dish.

Lobster Rolls: Halifax is known for its fresh seafood, the most famous being lobster rolls. You can find them at places like The Lobster Shack and The Wooden Monkey.

Halifax Pizza: Halifax-style pizza is known for its crispy, thin crust and delicious toppings. Some of Halifax's most famous pizza joints include Salvatore's Pizza and Uncle Kenny's Pizza.

Halifax Bagels: The Halifax-style bagel is a must-try food when in Halifax. You can find them at places like The Bagel Lady and The Bagel House.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Halifax worth visiting?

Halifax is worth visiting for its rich history, stunning coastal views, vibrant culture, friendly locals, and delicious seafood.

What is the nicest area of Halifax?

The nicest area of Halifax is the Historic Properties. It's an area known for charming streets and well-preserved Victorian-era architecture, which provides a glimpse into the city's past.

What is Halifax best known for?

Halifax is best known for its rich maritime history, friendly locals, delicious seafood, picturesque coastal views, and vibrant culture.

Does Halifax have nice beaches?

Halifax has several lovely beaches, including Crystal Crescent Beach, Lawrencetown Beach, and Queensland Beach.

How many days do you need in Halifax?

To see the highlights of Halifax, you can comfortably do so in 2-3 days. However, you should plan for an extended stay if you want to explore the surrounding areas and participate in outdoor activities.

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