There’s so much to see and do in Halifax, one of Nova Scotia’s top destinations. It boasts a picturesque seaside location with lots of opportunities to get out on the water and many top-notch attractions. Visitors can also look forward to delving into a fantastic food and brew scene among a long list of other options. If you’re having trouble deciding, be sure to put some of these things on your list of things to do while you’re there.
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Take a Harbor Cruise (Nearby Hotels)
Truly a must-experience, taking a harbor cruise offers the chance to view Halifax from the water as you approach it from the sea. There are multiple options that range from an evening cruise aboard the Tall Ship Silva to dinner cruises on the Harbour Queen and harbor tours via tugboat Theodore. One of the best ways to capture a postcard-perfect photo of the beautiful city skyline is to take a ride on the Halifax-Dartmouth Transit ferry, the second oldest in the world and the oldest continuous saltwater passenger ferry service in North America.
Art Gallery of Nova Scotia (Nearby Hotels)
The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia opened over a century ago and today it’s the largest art museum in the Atlantic provinces with a permanent collection of more than 17,000 works from the Maritimes and from around the world. It includes contemporary Nova Scotian, national and international paintings, sculptures, drawings and more, with the most popular coming from the province’s famous folk artist, Maude Lewis, which includes the very house she lived, worked in and painted the walls.
Halifax Citadel National Historic Site (Nearby Hotels)
This fortress set atop Citadel Hill provides a fantastic panoramic view of downtown Halifax, the harbor and the Atlantic. It dates back to 1856 when it was built to defend the city from attack, and today it’s a national historic site and museum. Visitors can learn more about the key role it had in the history and future of Halifax through tour guides in historical costume. An excellent example of a 19th-century British fort, visitors can step back in time to experience what it was like here for the 3rd Brigade Royal Artillery, the 78th Highlanders and their families.
Maritime Museum of the Atlantic (Nearby Hotels)
Experience the city’s rich maritime history at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. Even if you have just a passing interest in history or the famous Titanic, you won’t want to miss it. You can enjoy the view over the harbor along with a collection of model ships, smaller watercraft, photographs and other items as well as the popular Titanic disaster exhibit. It documents the city’s role in the disaster with a reminder of the 150 victims that are buried here in Halifax where rescue efforts were focused. It includes an especially poignant deck chair from the ship herself.
Province House (Nearby Hotels)
The Georgian-style Province House dates back to 1819 as the seat of Nova Scotia’s Parliament, Canada’s oldest provincial legislative assembly which has been in existence since 1758. Plan your visit during the week to watch debates from the visitors’ galleries and take a guided tour, which includes the library that was once the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, the parliament chamber and the ‘Red Chamber’ where the Council used to meet with its portraits of King George III and Queen Charlotte. The building itself is made of sandstone and considered one of the finest examples of Palladian architecture in North America.
Halifax Public Gardens (Nearby Hotels)
One of the finest surviving examples of a Victorian garden in North America, the Halifax Public Gardens opened in 1867. It showcases gorgeous formal flower beds that include fountains, statues, semi-tropical and exotic ornamental species, shrubs, trees, ponds with ducks and other waterfowl, and an ornamental bandstand. During the summer on Sunday afternoons, concerts can be enjoyed for free.
Shop the Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market (Nearby Hotels)
The oldest operating farmers’ market on the continent is well-worth a visit and you might just find that perfect gift or souvenir, along with ingredients for a picnic. It offers everything from locally-grown produce and fresh-baked bread to jewelry, flowers and handcrafted along with live music for entertainment.
Tour One of North America's Oldest Commercial Breweries (Nearby Hotels)
Alexander Keith’s Brewery is one of the oldest commercial breweries in North America, opened for nearly 200 years now. Named for a Scottish immigrant who devoted his life to brewing beer, today it still runs on his same values, resulting in especially flavorful ales as well as a relaxed atmosphere for socializing. Brew-enthusiasts can take an hour-long tour of the facility, led by guided donning 19th-century garb. At the end, you’ll be able to sample some of its most popular brews at the Stag’s Head Tavern, or if you prefer, a non-alcoholic beverage.
Stroll the Halifax Waterfront Boardwalk (Nearby Hotels)
Enjoy one of the top walks in Canada by strolling the Halifax Waterfront Boardwalk is one of the best city walks in Canada. This public footpath is dotted with landmarks, attractions and shops, and it’s open 24/7. The southern end begins Halifax Seaport and leads about two miles north to the Casino Nova Scotia. Along the way are popular stops like historic buildings, the Cable Wharf, farmers market and Garrison Brewery with a variety of artisan shops and cafes in between.
Take a Day Trip to Photograph Peggy's Cove Lighthouse (Nearby Hotels)
One of Nova Scotia’s most visited attractions, Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse, isn’t right in Halifax but it’s just a 40-minute drive away via the scenic Lighthouse Route. Well worth the trip, the classic red and white lighthouse that sits in the fishing village of Peggy’s Cove marks the eastern entrance of St. Margaret’s Bay and was first lit in in 1915. It’s one of the most photographed and one of the most famous in the world with its image, set atop a mound of rocks with sea waves crashing against has been a striking sight for over a century now. It’s still in operation, utilized by the Canadian Coast Guard.