I wasn’t expecting to find loads of fun things to do in Halifax. Initially, I actually had quite low expectations of Halifax in Canada. No idea why – figured it would be a gritty more industrial town. What a surprise.
halifax ns is vibrant, it is foodie, it is Instagram friendly and there are loads and loads of fun things to do in Halifax Nova Scotia.
25 Fun Things to do in Halifax
Table of Contents
- 1 25 Fun Things to do in Halifax
- 1.1 1. Learn about the Titanic and the Halifax Explosion
- 1.2 2. Walk the Halifax waterfront
- 1.3 3. Hire a Segway or Bike to explore the waterfront and more
- 1.4 4. Get on a Kayak
- 1.5 5. Halifax Seaport Farmers Market
- 1.6 6. Take the Harbour Hopper Tour
- 1.7 7. Go to the Library
- 1.8 8. Halifax Public Gardens
- 1.9 9. Drink some Tidal Bay
- 1.10 10. Eat as much seafood as possible
- 1.11 11. Head up Citadel National Historic Hill
- 1.12 12. Hang out in the North End
- 1.13 13. Visit Hydrostone Market
- 1.14 14. Have ice cream and a burrito at Dee Dee’s
- 1.15 15. Drink some Rum
- 1.16 16. Visit what was the Titanic morgue
- 1.17 17. Lie in a Hammock
- 1.18 18. Visit Dartmouth
- 1.19 19. Take advantage of the Instagram opportunity on the Halifax Waterfront.
- 1.20 20. Buy some Pewter Earrings
- 1.21 21. Cycle the Rum Runners Trail
- 1.22 22. Day trip to Lunenburg
- 1.23 23. Day trip to Wolfville
- 1.24 24. Day trip to Peggys Cove
- 1.25 25. Take a Taste tour
- 2 Places to Eat in Halifax
- 3 Halifax Boutique Hotels
- 4 How to get to Halifax and how to get around
- 5 Who Paid for what in this Post
1. Learn about the Titanic and the Halifax Explosion
The Maritime Museum of The Atlantic was the most interesting thing I did during my time in Halifax. I am not normally a big museum person but this one was fascinating. The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic’s Titanic exhibition is fantastic and includes things like a deck chair.
I had never heard of the Halifax Explosion before visiting Canada Halifax. It is a rather shocking story but so interesting. I highly recommend spending some time at this fascinating – and quite photogenic – Halifax museum.
2. Walk the Halifax waterfront
The Halifax waterfront runs for 10 blocks from pier 21 at Halifax seaport to casino nova scotia. There are loads of things to do and see along the waterfront in Halifax.
Great restaurants, sculptures, hammocks, bike and segway hire, lots of shops and lots of photo opportunities. The waterfront is one of the top things to see in Halifax [separator type=”thick”]
⇒ If you’re planning a trip to lovely Nova Scotia check out my Nova Scotia Itinerary – 6 Days
3. Hire a Segway or Bike to explore the waterfront and more
As the Halifax boardwalk is one of the longest downtown boardwalks in the world I think you could both walk AND take another form of transport to explore its full distance, Take a tour of Halifax City on a Segway or explore Halifax on a Segway at your own pace.
Check out I Heart Bicycles on the Waterfront for bike hire.
4. Get on a Kayak
Another great way to see Halifax from the water is to hire a kayak. Kayak Halifax offers Halifax Harbour trips and trips to the nearby islands.
For something really special, Kayak Halifax offers a Glamping and Culinary adventure on Georges Island which includes a private tour, gourmet meal, local wine and a sunset bonfire with a great view. One of the top things to do Halifax has on offer.
5. Halifax Seaport Farmers Market
I loved visiting Farmers Markets. There are usually opportunities to try lots of delicious and interesting things and they do tend to be very photogenic. Importantly, they are brilliant when traveling to get a real local view of the area you are visiting.
Most Farmers Markets have a requirement that any stallholders must have businesses within a certain number of kilometers of the market itself. This guarantees a genuinely local experience and the fabulous Halifax Farmers Market was no exception.
⇒ I enjoyed it so much I wrote an entire post on the Halifax Farmers Market [separator type=”thick”]
6. Take the Harbour Hopper Tour
I am a big fan of a partially submerged tour! Particularly those duck-related ones where they ask everyone to quack. Everyone needs a good quack every now and then!
The amphibious tour in Nova Scotia is called the Harbour Hopper Halifax and is Atlantic Canada’s number one tour. It is well worth doing and good value for money. [separator type=”thick”]
⇒ I also wrote an entire post on this as well – Check out the Harbour Hopper Halifax [separator type=”thick”]
7. Go to the Library
The Halifax Central Library has received many accolades since opening in 2014. The building is high tech and sustainable and it is a fantastic space. I found the Halifax Central Library great for photographs and exploring.
Also, one of the best coffees I had in Halifax was at the Pavia cafe on the top floor of the library. There are some nice views from up there as well.
8. Halifax Public Gardens
Somewhat surprisingly the number one activity in Halifax on Trip Advisor is the Halifax Public Gardens. These lovely gardens are easily accessible in the downtown area. Halifax Public Gardens have been open to the public since 1875.
9. Drink some Tidal Bay
Tidal Bay is the first wine appellation for Nova Scotia. This white wine must be made from 100% Nova Scotia grapes. Tidal Bay is a fresh and crisp white wine. Wineries are left to develop their own blends within guidelines.
This means there are some interesting variations across the appellation and increases the chances of finding a Tidal Bay that works for you. I found this a very drinkable white wine.
A great way to enjoy Tidal bay is at Wines on the Water Wednesdays. This cruise has a 5-course sampling menu with local wines as you sail the Halifax harbour aboard the Tall Ship Silva. The Wines on the Water cruises run on Wednesdays from 7-9 pm during the summer.
10. Eat as much seafood as possible
The seafood in Halifax – and Nova Scotia in general – is absolutely outstanding. When you’re thinking about what to do in Halifax Canada add eating as much seafood as possible to the top of the list.
11. Head up Citadel National Historic Hill
The Halifax Citadel is one of the most visited national historic sites in Canada North America. The fort is easily explored on your own and good for photos.
And don’t miss the Old Town Clock on the way – any Halifax travel guide will tell you that the Old Town Clock is one of Halifax’s most recognisable sights.
12. Hang out in the North End
The North End is the “trendy” (I do hate that word) area of Halifax. This is where you will find cool coffee shops, small brands, and cute boutiques.
There are also some very cute and colourful houses in the North End of Halifax. It is a great place to eat and shop and stroll around.
Further down this post, I have a full list of some great restaurants in the North End. For shopping, I made some purchases at Zekara and Sattva.
The North End of Halifax is, well, literally north of the downtown area. A good street to start with Agricola and walk away from the downtown area.
13. Visit Hydrostone Market
Completed in 1929, Hydrostone Market rose from the ashes of the Halifax Explosion and is an English-style garden suburb. It is a small area filled with cute boutiques and great places to eat.
The Hydrostone Market area in Halifax is bordered by Novalea Drive, Young Street, Isleville street and Duffus Street. Young Street is a great place to start exploring.
Just to clarify, this isn’t an actual market or marketplace (which I assumed huge traveller that I am) it is the name for a series of streets. It is definitely one to add to your things to see in Halifax Nova Scotia list.
14. Have ice cream and a burrito at Dee Dee’s
It is an unusual combination but it works. I just went with the ice cream when I visited and it was fantastic – creamy and so delicious with a wide array of flavours.
15. Drink some Rum
Rum is a big deal in Nova Scotia. At first, that seemed strange to me as it is a drink I associate with warmer climates. But then of course rum is also associated with sailors so it makes a lot of sense that it is a big deal in Nova Scotia.
The Halifax Distilling Company is on the waterfront and offers tours, rum tastings, has a restaurant – really it has it all happening for rum! The other place for rum is Ironworks Distillery.
They are based in Lunenburg (the Ironworks tour is one of the best things to do in Lunenburg) but operate at Halifax Farmers Market on Saturdays complete with tastings.
16. Visit what was the Titanic morgue
The bodies of the victims of the Titanic were brought to Halifax. The wealthier victims went to Jon Snow’s funeral home on Argyll Street. This building is now the home of the fantastic Five Fishermen restaurant.
It is said that this building is haunted by the dead who have passed through it and that ghosts are often heard or seen.
I was told during my visit to the Five Fishermen that the ghosts were most common in the bathrooms but alas I just had some amazing seafood and local wine and no ghost sitings.
17. Lie in a Hammock
These orange hammocks are on the Halifax Waterfront. They are a nice place to rest but best of all they are very photogenic.
18. Visit Dartmouth
Just a 15-minute ferry ride from Halifax Harbour is Dartmouth Nova Scotia. It has a small walkable downtown with local cafes, restaurants, bars, galleries, and a lovely boardwalk.
The main street of Dartmouth is called Portland Street and there are lots of local businesses on it. Dartmouth Nova Scotia has lots of interesting places to eat – The Canteen, Battery Park, Il Trullo, the Wooden Monkey. Evan’s Fresh Seafood and U Pick Fish Seafood Shack for fish and chips.
19. Take advantage of the Instagram opportunity on the Halifax Waterfront.
The waterfront itself is very Instagram friendly, particularly in the right light. The Drunken Lampposts demand to be photographed. These are three bent light posts that were installed as a pop-up but were so popular they became a permanent fixture.
The red bicycle sculpture outside The Bicycle Thief restaurant is another good photo opportunity, as are the hammocks I mentioned above. When it comes to what to see in Halifax Nova Scotia, the waterfront contains many of them.
20. Buy some Pewter Earrings
Amos Pewter employs Artisans to make a range of Pewter products that are just lovely. I bought some pewter earrings at Amos Pewter when I visited and have worn them loads.
They have a big store on the waterfront, one at Peggy’s Cove and if I remember correctly some stuff at Halifax airport. [separator type=”thick”]
21. Cycle the Rum Runners Trail
The Rum Runners Trail from Halifax to Lunenburg is a 119 km multi-use path and includes lovely Mahone Bay. Cycle part or all of it – there are many access points.
The Rum Runners Trail is a great way to really experience Nova Scotia – and justify more seafood and Tidal Bay wine.
22. Day trip to Lunenburg
This gorgeous little town is only 4 square km or 48 blocks and has only 2,263 permanent residents. The Old Town of Lunenburg was named a UNESCO site in 1995.
It is Instagram heaven with colorful houses lining the streets, a picturesque harbour, great food, and super cute street signs. [separator type=”thin”]
⇒ Book a Day Trip to Lunenburg from Halifax
⇒ Read my post on 16 Things to do in Lunenburg and around Lunenburg [separator type=”thin”]
23. Day trip to Wolfville
One of the centres of the Canadian wine industry is the lovely Annapolis Valley and the town of Wolfville Nova Scotia. This beautiful area contains wineries, cider houses, breweries, dairies and all sorts of delicious producers. [separator type=”thick”]
⇒ Book a Wolfville day trip that focuses on Sparkling Wine and Cider here.
24. Day trip to Peggys Cove
Peggy’s Cove is the home of Peggy’s Point Lighthouse – often referred to as the most famous lighthouse in all of Canada – and Canada has a lot of lighthouses! Peggy’s Point Lighthouse has been sending out its beacon since 1868. It is obviously a very popular tourist spot.
What surprised me was that given how popular it is the town of Peggy’s Cove and the lighthouse itself are still extremely beautiful – and not in a Venice style grown-up story book way. [separator type=”thin”]
⇒ Book your Day Trip to Peggy’s Cove from Halifax [separator type=”thin”]
25. Take a Taste tour
As you may have picked up by now Halifax is a great foodie city. To get a broad feel of that scene check out Taste Halifax Food Tour. They offer an eating tour with 6-7 stops and a Happy Hour tour.
⇒ Don’t miss Canada’s capital Ottawa. Read my posts on the 17 most fun things to do in Ottawa, the Ottawa restaurants Byward Market, best Ottawa Tours, 16 Most Beautiful Cities in Canada and 11 Beautiful Canada Landmarks.
Places to Eat in Halifax
1. Downtown Halifax
I enjoyed amazing meals at two Halifax classics. First up was Five Fishermen. The building in which this restaurant lives was used as a mortuary during the time of the Titanic.
What is now Fiver Fishermen Halifax was the morgue at the time of the Titanic disaster. So this was where the bodies from the disaster ended up.
Rumour has it that there are ghosts in the bathrooms of the Fiver Fishermen. Unfortunately, I did not see any. Fortunately, I had an amazing meal.
I chose a seafood platter as I am rather Atlantic seafood obsessed and it was amazing. The Fiver Fishermen is a lovely, atmospheric restaurant with a nice bar.
The service was friendly and fantastic. The dessert was great. Really everything was fantastic about the Five Fishermen.
The Bicycle Thief is on the waterfront and another local classic. I enjoyed a fantastic seafood pasta here. It is a little more old fashioned of an interior compared to the Five Fishermen but it does have outdoor dining. And fabulous food.
For Spanish tapas/pintxos check out The Highwayman on Barrington Street. No reservations and a moody atmosphere make it perfect for pre-dinner drinks or a whole dinner of tapas.
For a classic Nova Scotia lobster dinner head to The Press Gang. If you’re after Mexican look no farther than Antojo Tacos and Tequilas. If you’re after some red meat, head to the Barrington Steakhouse and Bar.
2. The North End
One of Halifax’s top restaurants, The Kitchen Table is also the only place in Halifax offering a daily eight-course tasting menu. Bar Kismet is known for sophisticated cocktails and a seafood-forward menu.
For Japanese head to Kitsune Food Co – it only has 4 seats so you may need to make it takeaway but locals swear by its takeaway.
EDNA (Eat Drink Nourish Always) has received rave reviews since opening in 2013. Delicious food and a no-reservations policy means it is important to arrive early to avoid a major queue.
Little Oak Bar is a sleek wine bar with a chalkboard menu with tasty small plates. The Brooklyn Warehouse brought hipster dining to Halifax ten years ago and continues to offer a fantastic local focussed menu that changes with the seasons.
Best of all The Brooklyn Warehouse has a wine program that guarantees no more than a $15 mark up on bottles.
For amazing food as well as stunning interior design head to Agricola Street Brasserie. As much as done in house as possible including the bread. The current focus is on hand-made pasta and of course Atlantic seafood. For classic fish and chips try Willman’s.
Halifax Boutique Hotels
Halifax is a little light on the ground when it comes to the full-on boutique hotel movement. But that’s ok as my gosh it is a town with a lot to offer in terms of food, wine, views and things to do. And there are quite a few very nice hotels with good thread counts available.
I stayed at the Delta Halifax (thanks for sponsoring my stay guys) on my first trip to Halifax. I had a lovely stay. The staff are super friendly and the location is great.
And the food! I must confess I was a little snobby going in when it came to the food at the Delta Halifax and boy did I get it wrong. I had a fantastic seafood dinner there (and thanks to George for the introduction to Digby scallops) and they have a great local wine list.
The breakfast at the Delta Halifax is also sensational – a choice of a la carte or a fantastic buffet breakfast menu.
On my second visit to Halifax, I stayed at the wonderful Prince George Hotel. This is not exactly a boutique hotel – more a general high-end hotel.
But the Prince George Hotel Halifax is very stylish and the rooms were fantastic. It also has a lovely big lounge area that I hung out in and got some work done.
Other Places to Stay in Halifax:
If you’re looking for somewhere romantic to stay in Halifax check out historic boutique Hotel the Halliburton
Or go 3-star boutique hotel with the Waverley Inn
Or enjoy a nautical theme at your boutique hotel at the Seawatch B&B
How to get to Halifax and how to get around
Halifax is an international airport and the main airport for Atlantic Canada. It contains pre-clearance for US customs which is super helpful.
You won’t need a car within Halifax itself as most of the key things to do are within walking distance. However, if you want to go beyond Halifax (which you totally should as there are loads of fab day trips) either look at a tour (see below) or hire a car.[separator type=”thick”]
READ NEXT: NOVA SCOTIA 6 DAY ITINERARY[separator type=”thick”]
Don’t forget to get take out travel insurance before you go – here are some great deals on travel insurance.
Who Paid for what in this Post
Thanks very much to Visit Nova Scotia for helping me to plan and sponsoring my trip to fabulous Nova Scotia. They covered the cost of my car hire and most of my meals and accommodation.
I paid for my flights and then my night at the Prince George Hotel on a second trip. If you click through on some of the links in this post and make a purchase I will receive a small commission. Just wanted to make sure you knew.
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