There are so many things to do in Halifax, the capital of Nova Scotia. It’s an ideal place to vacation during the summers because it has a wide array of things to do that keep you occupied and happy. Halifax is one of the best locations to travel in Canada because it doesn’t matter if you are a local or a tourist, something is always brewing in this city!
16 Things To Do In Halifax
Try the Official Food of Halifax
The official food of Halifax is the Donair. It’s an inexpensive meal and available almost everywhere!
Stroll the Halifax Waterfront Boardwalk
Sometimes the simple things are the most beautiful. So, the best thing to do in Halifax is to simply roam around the Halifax waterfront amongst the timber-frame and stone warehouses lining the scenic seaside.
Popular for being a functioning real port on the Halifax Harbour, the Waterfront boasts one of the longest downtown boardwalks in the world! It’s no wonder that the walk you go on will be dotted with patio restaurants, former naval ships-turned-museums, eclectic galleries, colorful seafood shacks, and inviting outdoor beer gardens!
Found all along the waterfront are other attractions covered throughout the remainder of this travel guide of things to do in Halifax. Ambling on this scenic thoroughfare, you’ll inevitably stumble across Halifax’s Farmers Market, the historic Alexander Keith’s Brewery, and the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic.
But don’t go to the waterfront just for its attractions. Soak in the atmosphere and be one with the waterfront. It’s a must-do activity in Halifax and it’s free!
Climb Citadel Hill for History and Views
The Halifax Citadel National Historic Site has some of the best views! So it’s a guarantee that one of the best things to do in Halifax is to hike up here, dig into the view and enjoy a sandwich. It has a very different charm to the urban and technology oriented look of something like the Toronto Skyline.
Interestingly, you’ll find much more atop this military fort than views. At the Halifax Citadel, you can explore the fort walls, learn about Halifax history at the onsite museum, and check out the fort’s many cannons which are fired daily at noon.
Ride the Harbour Hopper
Go from driving around the city to exploring the harbour on the Harbour Hopper. This is one of the most popular ways of seeing the city, and is worth the ride even if you have lived in Halifax your whole life.
Go Roller Skating at the Emera Oval
Known for being a popular location during the winter for ice skating, Emera Oval is equally known for transforming in the summer where it becomes a roller rink. If you don’t own a set of rollerblades, you can always rent a pair at the Oval.
Shop at the Oldest Continuously Operated Farmers’ Market in North America.
Halifax boasts two notable farmers’ markets that are worthy of exploring. The original is known as the Historic Farmers’ Market. This farmers’ market was founded during 1750, making it the oldest continuously operating farmers’ market in North America. Be sure to get to Halifax on a Saturday morning to catch this historic farmers’ market in action because it’s only open once each week.
That centuries-old Halifax market has kept itself up to date with the times. Many of the farmers’ market vendors have more recently relocated to the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market. This one is open every day of the week, although it’s particularly happening on weekends.
At these markets, you can find everything from locally farmed produce and meats to locally made crafts and fresh flowers. We enjoy shopping here for Canadian staples like local honey, maple syrup, and even local spirits!
Whether you’re coming here to shop, eat, or simply browse, both of these farmers’ markets are a long-standing local tradition that makes for a fun thing to do in Halifax.
Relax in the Public Gardens
The Halifax Public Gardens is a favorite place to unwind as experienced by both the locals and travelers. This 16-acre green haven is in the heart of downtown and houses over 140 different species of plants.
Kayak in the Harbour
Get a different perspective of Halifax as you kayak. Bring your loved ones and kayak in the harbour to get near the water and learn how to kayak as a family! (Of course, there will be guided tours to teach you the same)
Test your mini-golf skills at The Putting Edge
Play a round of mini-golf under the black lights at The Putting Edge. Then you can try the interactive arcade which is especially fun for families to play all summer long with a summer pass!
Visit the Halifax Maritime Museum
Halifax’s Maritime Museum of the Atlantic is the city’s most popular museum. It contains over 30,000 artifacts! Perhaps most notable is the Titanic exhibit that tells the story of Halifax’s grim role in the recovery efforts. It can take hours to fully explore the exhibits in Canada’s largest maritime museum as there are plenty of artifacts from the tragic sinking.
Halifax harbour cruises are popular touring pursuits for visitors to the city. But they can become expensive as the things to do here range from about C$30 to well over C$100 for a luxurious dinner cruise where you can take your date or spouse around the Halifax Harbour.
Camp on McNabs Island
Heading to McNabs Island is amazing if you love to explore. If you start in the afternoon, you can spend up to sunset here exploring the trains of this interesting island. This is truly an interesting place to hang out because it has its roots deep in Canadian history. The island has been used as a military fort, an amusement park, and it even had its own soda factory company there at one point. You can still find some of those bottles scattered throughout the island today.
McNabs Island has a well-maintained network of trails that zigzag across what is the largest island in the Halifax Harbour. Those trails will take you to old crumbling forts, scenic cliffs, secluded beaches, and the modern-day ruins of former homes that remain on the island today.
Getting to McNabs Island directly from Halifax can be a very a bit expensive because you’re required to charter a boat with a minimum group size. Instead, simply make your way to Fisherman’s Cove where Captain Mike Tilley will give you a lift in his skiff. It’s a C$20 round-trip from Fisherman’s Cove to McNabs Island and back, which takes about 5 minutes each way. “Captain Red Beard,” as he’s also known, is full of local knowledge about the island and even has some personal ties that he’ll share with you. Be sure to ask questions and get him to tell you some tales.
Most people that come here find McNabs Island to be one of the most underrated things to do in Halifax. This half-day excursion is highly recommended if you want to travel the beaten path!
Visit Atlantic Slash Adventure
Bring back all the happy memories of your childhood by going to Atlantic Splash Adventure. Not only do you cool off here during the summer, you can have more fun with the six new slides this year. At the same location, you can race your friends or family at go-karting or test your gaming skills and a great vacation to just cool off!
Go Canoeing in the Northwest Arm with St Mary’s Boat Club
How fun is it to canoe in the middle of a lake in Canada. Well, Halifax makes a particularly ideal area to get canoeing! With a few different opportunities to canoe or kayak along Halifax’s popular waterfront, and they’re priced accordingly. You can get a kayak rental along the waters for around C$40 or so.
But here’s a little Halifax budget tip to rent canoes for free! If you venture across the peninsula to a skinny harbour known as the Northwest Arm, you’ll come to St. Mary’s Boat Club, which provides free canoe rentals during weekends!
It’s a pleasant paddle through the sailboat-filled harbour, along the rugged coastline, and residential areas. Then you can head across the Northwest Arm to Sir Sanford Fleming Park. After that you can take a stroll along the park’s waterfront trails or climb to the top of Dingle Tower, which is free for all visitors!
The Discovery Centre
The Discovery Centre is fun for all ages, and a great place to visit all summer long. You can explore the feature exhibit. Here, the Dome Theatre is a must see due to the fact that there are live star shows and fulldome films on the domes. This allows you to become one with the vastness of space, explore the ancient remnants of a star or have the best seats in town to watch an amazing meteor shower!
Watch a Shakespeare By The Sea Show
And last but not least, Halifax provides a new and exciting way to experience the world of Shakespeare and other fantastic authors through Point Pleasant Park. This is something you can do as a family so don’t miss out on this.