Founded in 1749, Halifax is nearing its 300th year. And what better way to celebrate its tricentennial than to go all out and explore everything this Nova Scotian capital has to offer? In this comprehensive post, we cover a lot of bases, from historic and important landmarks, natural parks and open spaces, beautiful places of worship, to modern conveniences that reflect Halifax’s urban life – vibrant, young, constantly changing, and moving forward. Pack your bags, arrange your preferred mode of transportation, and don’t forget your camera– it’s time to go on a fun-filled trip to Halifax. Start out this trip of a lifetime with the following things to do in Halifax, Canada.
1. Visit the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier21
Canada has a rich immigration history, and there is no better place to dive deeper into this heritage than the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier21. If you’re from Nova Scotia, you can even try and trace your roots at the Scotiabank Family History Centre and learn more about your family and ancestors.
Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21
Address: 1055 Marginal Road, Halifax, NS
Opening hours: 9:30am - 5:30pm (daily)
Price: 11 USD
2. Go ice skating at the iconic Emera Oval
Missed the Nova Scotian snow but itching to go out and skate? Head to Emera Oval for some fun in the ice! It’s the largest facility of its kind in Atlantic Canada, so large it doesn’t matter if you’re still quite a novice at ice-skating!
Address: Halifax Commons, 5775 Cogswell Street, Halifax, NS
Website: Emera Oval
Opening hours: 11am - 8pm (daily)
3. Admire art the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Halifax
The Halifax location of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia is home to a portion of the largest collection of art in Atlantic Canada. There are a series of changing exhibits every year, constantly rotating the gallery’s massive collection of 17,000 works, mostly by Nova Scotian artists. If you want the complete experience, be sure to visit the museum in Yarmouth as well.
Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Halifax
Address: 1723 Hollis Street, Halifax, NS
Website: Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Halifax
Opening hours: Sat - Wed: 10am - 5pm; Thu - Fri: 10am - 9pm
Price: 9.10 USD
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4. Tour Alexander Keith's Brewery
Alexander Keith’s is probably Nova Scotia’s most popular brewery, so if you’re a fan of good beer, don’t miss this place. They offer guided tours - so beer lovers like you can learn more about this beloved Nova Scotian tradition, all the while sampling ales, of course!
Alexander Keith's Brewery
Address: 1496 Lower Water Street, Halifax, NS
Website: Alexander Keith’s Brewery
Tour hours: Mon - Sat: 12pm - 7:30pm; Sun: 12pm - 5:30pm
Price: 20.44 USD
5. Wander the halls of the Halifax Central Library
An architectural wonder and a repository of knowledge - that’s the Halifax Central Library. With its floor-to-ceiling windows and high ceilings, it’s both a picture-worthy spot and a great place to learn about Halifax’s history and culture.
Halifax Central Library
Address: 5440 Spring Garden Road, Halifax, NS
Website: Halifax Central Library
Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 9am - 9pm; Fri - Sat: 9am - 6pm; Sun: 12pm - 6pm
6. Visit McNabs Island
Experience a different side of Halifax when you visit McNabs Island, dubbed as Halifax’s best-kept secret. It’s only a short distance from the harbor but you’ll feel like you’re in a different world once you step on to the island. You’re free to go on a self-guided tour or hit up with one of the local experts for a guided tour.
Address: Halifax Regional Municipality, Nova Scotia, Canada
Website: McNabs Island
7. Honor military traditions at the Grand Parade
There are a few places in Halifax as old as the city, and one of those sites is the Grand Parade, a historic square that dates back to 1749. You can go for a casual stroll, watch the changing of the guards, or even participate in a protest as Grand Parade is also a popular venue for civic discourse. After all, the City Hall is just nearby.
The Grand Parade
Address: 1770 Barrington Street, Halifax, NS
8. Pamper your taste buds at the King of Donair
It’s been quite some time since Peter Gamoulakos introduced the Greek gyro to Halifax, but the King of Donair remains supreme! Visit King of Donar’s original branch in Quinpool Road to taste Peter’s authentic donair recipe. Our mouths are watering already!
King of Donair
Address: 6420 Quinpool Road, Halifax, NS
Website: King of Donair
Opening hours: Sun - Thu: 10am - 1am; Fri - Sat: 10am - 3am
9. Shop your heart out at the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market
Itching to sample some local fare and produce? How about some locally made crafts and other products? Then head over to Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market, the oldest of its kind not just in Nova Scotia, but in all of North America. There’s a rich array of things to buy from over 250 featured vendors, so you can definitely do some retail therapy here.
Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market
Address: 1209 Marginal Road, Halifax, NS
Website: Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 10am - 5pm; Sat: 7am - 3pm; Sun: 9am - 3pm
10. Grab a drink and soak up the sun at the Bicycle Thief
Are you craving for delectable Italian cuisine served in an old-world setting? Then head out to the Bicycle Thief, a beautiful Italian restaurant filled to the brim with old-world charm with the bar well stocked with a wide selection of wine and other spirits. Come by while the sun’s still up, order your favorite cocktail (or ask for the bartender’s choice), then enjoy your drink outside as you soak up the Nova Scotian sun.
The Bicycle Thief
Address: 1475 Lower Water Street, Halifax, NS
Website: The Bicycle Thief
Opening hours: 11:30am - 11pm (daily)
11. Go golfing in Metro Halifax
Halifax is a great option for golfing enthusiasts. There are four outstanding golf courses in Metro Halifax. Hammond Plains is home to Glen Arbour, while Dartmouth has the Grandview Golf and Country Club. You can also play a tee time at Uniacke Pines and finally, at the Links at Brunello, right here in Halifax.
Metro Halifax Golf
Website: Metro Halifax Golf
12. Take your kids to Atlantic Splash Adventure
Just a short drive from Halifax (around 20 minutes) and you’ll reach Hammond Plains, where you can find the most happening waterpark in the Metro Halifax region, the Atlantic Splash Adventure. There are six water slides here, all guaranteed to give major splashes and deliver plenty of fun.
Atlantic Splash Adventure
Address: 1200 Lucasville Road, Hammond Plains, NS
Website: Atlantic Splash Adventure
Opening hours: Sun - Thu: 10am - 6pm; Fri - Sat: 10am - 7pm
Price: 2.28 USD
13. Enjoy jazz music at the Henry House
Enjoy cocktails and pub-style food at this British-style watering hole housed in an old stone residence. Halifax locals sure do like to enjoy libations in old-world settings, and the Henry House is no exception. But even though the surroundings are stately, it’s undeniable, the Henry House is one cozy establishment. Make sure to check out their Scotch selection!
The Henry House
Address: 1222 Barrington Street, Halifax, NS
Website: The Henry House
Opening hours: 11:30am - 12:45am (daily)
14. Go hiking at the Crystal Crescent Beach Provincial Park
While you’re in the Halifax area, don’t miss the chance to check out the other attractions near the city. One of the must-visit destinations is the Crystal Crescent Beach Provincial Park out in Sambro Creek. You can go on the hiking trails here, bird-watch at Pennant Point, and eventually wind up in one of the three white-sand beaches in the park. End the trip with a picnic by the beach, maybe even get a tan before you head back to Halifax.
Crystal Crescent Beach Provincial Park
Address: 220 Sambro Creek Road, Sambro Creek, NS
Opening hours: 8am - 11pm (daily)
15. Visit the oldest surviving building in Halifax - St Paul's Church
With the Grand Parade done and listed, let’s make our way to another one of Halifax’s historic buildings: St. Paul’s Church. It’s conveniently located at the southern part of the Grand Parade, with Halifax’s City Hall located at the northern end! St. Paul’s Church is reputed to be the oldest building in the city, not to mention it is Canada’s oldest Protestant church. It was built in 1750, making it only one year younger than Halifax itself. Click the link below for a complete list of the church’s liturgical services.
St. Paul's Church
Address: 1749 Argyle St, Halifax, NS B3J 3K4, Canada
Website: St. Paul’s Church
16. Wonder at the 200-year old Halifax town clock
Located on a hill, the town clock stands at the heart of downtown Halifax. It’s approximately 200 years old, built at the behest of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent (and Queen Victoria’s father), as a goodbye gift to Halifax. The Halifax town clock is easily recognizable not only for its location but for its old-world Palladian architecture. It is the hallmark of the House of Vulliamy, one of London’s most revered clockmakers.
Halifax town clock
Address: Halifax, NS
17. Watch a live concert at the Scotiabank Centre
Scotiabank Centre is Halifax’s premier venue when it comes to big sporting games and large concerts. In fact, it’s the largest space in Atlantic Canada with a seating capacity of a little over 11,000 spectators. You can swing by on a quiet day to check out the facilities, buy a ticket spontaneously, or plan ahead and catch your favorite sports team or artist here. Click the link below to get a glimpse of what’s scheduled at the Scotiabank Centre.
Address: 1800 Argyle Street, Halifax, NS
Website: Scotiabank Centre
18. Catch a show at the iconic Shakespeare by the Sea
Experience a different kind of theater performance with Shakespeare by the Sea, one of the local theater companies in Halifax. They perform out in the open in the middle of Pleasant Point Park making each production eco-friendly and just the right kind of unusual! Shakespeare by the Sea, as their name suggests, regularly performs works by the beloved English playwright. But once in a while, they’ll throw in a couple of wildcard productions like The Wizard of Oz and Pinocchio!
Shakespeare by the Sea
Address: 5480 Point Pleasant Drive, Halifax, NS
Website: Shakespeare by the Sea
Opening hours: Tue - Fri: 6:30pm - 9pm; Sat - Sun: 12:30pm - 9pm (closed on Mon)
19. Admire St. Mary's Basilica
We can all agree that Catholic cathedrals tend to be grand and beautiful. Just look at St. Mary’s Basilica in downtown Halifax. It’s an ornate cathedral, sure to impress even if you’re not religious or spiritual. At present, it’s a National Historic Site and the largest Catholic church in Halifax. Head inside to admire its immaculate interiors and how the stained glass windows bathe the basilica in different colors when the sunlight hits them just right.
St. Mary's Basilica
Address: 5221 Spring Garden Road, Halifax, NS
Website: St. Mary’s Basilica
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 10am - 6pm; Sat: 10am - 5pm; Sun: 7am - 6pm
20. Visit the HMCS Sackville in Canada's Naval Memorial
Visit the HMCS Sackville in Canada’s Naval Memorial. It is the only flower-class corvette left in the world. More than that, you can learn about Canada’s war efforts during the Second World War and the Battle of the Atlantic, which is what the HMCS Sackville symbolizes. Aboard Canada’s oldest warship, you’ll learn more about the conditions of life at sea during such a tumultuous time in history through various exhibits.
HMCS Sackville - Canada's Naval Memorial
Address: Halifax Harbour, Halifax, NS
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 8am - 4pm (closed on Sat & Sun)
Price: 3.79 USD
21. Challenge your luck at the Casino Nova Scotia
For your final activity in Halifax, why not try your luck at the Casino Nova Scotia in Halifax? Spin one of the slot machines, check out the dining spots on-site or watch one of the many entertainment options available at the Casino Nova Scotia. You’re bound to have a good night and who knows, you might even win!
Casino Nova Scotia
Address: 1983 Upper Water Street, Halifax, NS
Website: Casino Nova Scotia
Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 10am - 4am; Fri - Sun: 10am - 12am
Cities transform when the sun goes down, and the same is true with Halifax. In this four-hour tour, you’ll be able to witness downtown Halifax in all its nighttime glory. It even comes with a haunted history walking tour of Citadel Hill and a delicious meal at Murphy’s Restaurant and Patio, which has breathtaking views of the harbor.
Halifax: Night Tour with Peggy's Cove Sunset & Dinner
Duration: 4 hour
23. Visit the Duncans Cove Nature Reserve
Drive 17 kilometers (10.56 miles) south of Halifax to Duncans Cove Nature Reserve for some peace and quiet by the coast. A part of the Pennant Granite Barrens area, Duncans Cove is the perfect place to meditate, contemplate, and just be grateful of how your trip to Halifax has been so mind-blowingly great (so far!) Duncans Cove covers a total of 369 hectares (911 acres). You can explore the entire reserve on land by hiking or hop on a kayak or small boat.
Duncans Cove Nature Reserve
Address: Pennant Granite Barrens natural landscape, Duncans Cove, NS
Website: Duncans Cove Nature Reserve
Are you looking for a fun way to explore Halifax? Well, why not see the city on a renovated amphibious vehicle that dates back to the Vietnam War? This short but fun-filled, hour-long tour will take you on the water and on land to sites like St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Halifax Public Gardens, Citadel Hill, and Halifax Harbour. You’ll even get to learn about Halifax’s naval history during this tour.
Halifax Harbour Hopper Sightseeing Tour by Land and Sea
Duration: 55 minutes
Touring Halifax with a special someone or a significant other? Take him or her out on a special date. Book an evening boat cruise at the Halifax Harbour preceded by some local Nova Scotian wine and cheese as you enjoy the spectacular sunset. It’s bound to be a lovely and romantic night.
Wine & Cheese at Sunset
Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes
Go on a five-hour private tour of coastal Halifax. See the sights at Peggy’s Cove, take pictures of the white lighthouse, and remember the unfortunate events of the Titanic at the Fairview Lawn Cemetery, where some of the victims are buried.
Halifax & Peggys Cove & Coastal
Duration: 5 hours 30 minutes
No visit to Halifax is complete without learning a tiny bit of its local history. You can do just that during this Halifax city tour, which will take you about three hours by coach to complete. You will be taken to all the essential Halifax attractions, such as the Province House, the Halifax Public Gardens, Fairview Lawn Cemetery, and of course, the Halifax Citadel, where your history lesson will culminate. To complete the experience, you’ll be guided by a local kilt-wearing expert.
Halifax City Tour
What better way to learn about Halifax’s maritime history than through an early morning kayak tour! Led by a certified guide, you’ll kayak your way from a jump-off point to Georges Island. Sail close to the warships and sailboats of the Canadian Navy Fleet and the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. Afterward, treat yourself to a hearty breakfast at the Seaport Market. You deserve it after all that paddling!
Small-Group Morning Kayak Tour and Breakfast in Halifax
Your Halifax adventure is only getting started
We know we covered a lot of ground in this guide, but believe us when we say that there’s more to see, many more things to do, beer and wine to drink, shows to watch, people to meet, and restaurants to try, all waiting for you in Halifax. Discover more of this coastal city when you browse our website to find more Halifax city guides, all of which can point you towards your next adventure in Halifax.
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