25 Fun Things to do in Halifax Nova Scotia

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Initially, I 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!

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1. Things to do in Halifax Nova Scotia – 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! – museum.

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Titanic poster at the Maritime Museum

2. What to do in Halifax – Walk the 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. Great restaurants, sculptures, hammocks, bike and segway hire, lots of shops and lots of photo opportunities!

If you’re planning a trip to lovely Nova Scotia check out my Nova Scotia Itinerary – 6 Days.

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The Waterfront
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Food stalls on the Halifax Nova Scotia Ca waterfront
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The waterfront Halifax Canada

3. Fun Things to do in Halifax – 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.

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Halifax Waterfront

4. What to do in Halifax Nova Scotia – 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.

5. Halifax Things to do – Go to Halifax Seaport Farmers Market

I love 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 travelling to get a real local view of the area you are visiting.

Most Farmers Markets have a requirement that any stall holders must have businesses within a certain number of kilometres of the market itself. This guarantees a genuinely local experience and the fabulous Halifax Farmers Market was no exception.

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Halifax Farmers Market

I enjoyed it so much I wrote an entire post on the Halifax Farmers Market

6. Places to visit in Halifax – Take the Harbour Hopper

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 Halifax Nova Scotia is called the Harbour Hopper and is Atlantic Canada’s number one tour. It is well worth doing and good value for money.

I also wrote an entire post on this as well – Check out the Harbour Hopper Halifax. 

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The Harbour Hopper Tour

7. Top Things to do in Halifax – 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.

Pavia Cafe at the Halifax Library
Pavia Cafe at the Halifax Library

8. Best Things to do in Halifax Canada – Check out the Halifax Public Gardens

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The gorgeous bandstand at the 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.

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The lovely pond in the Halifax Gardens
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Entrance to the Halifax n s Gardens
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Bandstand in the free Halifax Gardens

9. Things to do in NS – 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 7-9pm during the summer.

10. Halifax What to Do – Eat as much seafood as possible

The seafood in Halifax – and Nova Scotia in general – is absolutely outstanding!!! The Five Fishermen and The Bicycle Thief are great Halifax classics for amazing seafood meals. For a classic Nova Scotia lobster dinner head to The Press GangBar Kismet is known for sophisticated cocktails and a seafood-forward menu.

amazing seafood and Tidal Bay at Five Fishermen
amazing seafood and Tidal Bay at Five Fishermen

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 this is one of Halifax’s most recognisable sights.

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Citadel Hill

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 this area. It is a great place to eat and shop and stroll around.

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Coffee and juice at Seven Bays Halifax

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.

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Seven Bay’s breakfast burrito

The North End is, well, literally north of the downtown area! A good street to start with Agricola and walk away from the downtown area.

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Colorful buildings of the North End

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 is bordered by Novalea Drive, Young Street, Isleville street and Duffus Street. Young Street is a great place to start exploring.

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The colorful houses of the North End

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.

I very much enjoyed Julien’s Bakery (who are also at the Halifax Farmers Market), The Ostrich Club has recently opened and for shopping head to the 14 Bells Fine Art Gallery and Lady Luck Boutique.

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. And Dee Dee offers vegan options. Dee Dee’s also has a kiosk at Pegg’s Cove during the summer.

15. Halifax Nova Scotia Things to do – 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!

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Clocktower on the Waterfront – one of the most photographed of Halifax attractions

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 (definitely do the tour if you head to 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.

best places to eat in halifax

I was told during my visit to the Five Fishermen that they 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!

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Hammocks on the Harbour

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 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. And don’t miss The Watch that Ends the Night – brilliant name inspired by the 1958 novel. They offer a range of well-sized tasting/sharing plates.

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.

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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.

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. This is a great way to really experience Nova Scotia – and justify more seafood and Tidal Bay wine!

what to do in halifax

22. Day trip to Lunenburg

This gorgeous little town is only 4 square km or 48 blocks and has only 2,263 permanent residents. 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.

Book a Day Trip from Halifax to Lunenburg Here

 

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The street signs of Lunenberg

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.

Click here to see my full post on Wolfville Wineries.

Click here to see my full post on Wolfville Farmers Market and Fox Hill Farms.

Book a Wolfville day trip that focuses on Sparkling Wine and Cider here.

Book here for a Wolfville Wine Tasting Day Trip from Halifax

 

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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.

Book your day trip from Halifax to Peggys Cove Here

 

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The famous Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse

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. Head out of Halifax on the Half Day Annapolis Valley food tour. Or stay in Halifax with the popular Open Kitchen Food Tour is run by Local Tasting Tours. 

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Colourful houses on the streets of downtown Halifax

Restaurants 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. It is where the bodies from the disaster ended up. Rumour has it that there are ghosts in the bathrooms. Unfortunately, I did not see any! Fortunately, I had an amazing meal here!

bicycle thief halifax

I chose a seafood platter as I am rather Atlantic seafood obsessed and it was amazing! It 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.

Pasta and tidal bay at The Bicycle Thief
Pasta and tidal bay at The Bicycle Thief

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.

Places to Eat in Halifax – 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 restaurant in the North End
Edna – famous for its weekend brunches

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 they have a wine program that guarantees no more than a $15 mark up on bottles!

where to eat in halifax

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 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 is also sensational – a choice of a la carte or a fantastic buffet breakfast menu.

Click here for the Latest Prices and Availability for Delta Halifax.

halifax waterfront restaurants

On my second visit to Halifax, I stayed at the wonderful Price George Hotel. This is not exactly a boutique hotel – more a general high-end hotel. But it 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.

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My lovely room at the Halifax Prince George Hotel

Click here to Check Prices & Availability for the Prince George Hotel.

If you want another option then you will be looking at B and Bs – here are a few that sounded decent:

The Haliburton Hotel is known as one of Halifax’s most romantic places to stay. It also has a lovely restaurant called Stories with seating on a hidden patio.

The Haliburton Boutique Hotel – Prices and Availability

Waverley Inn

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.

Click here for Cheap Flights to Halifax

Or download the Skyscanner App

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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.

Don’t forget to get take out travel insurance before you go – here are some great deals on travel insurance.

Halifax is such a lovely surprise! Great food, loads to do and so instagrammable! From Halifax Farmers Market to the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic to Halifax Waterfront to the Harbour Hopper to great seafood - Here are the 25 most fun things to do in Halifax Nova Scotia #halifax #novascotia

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.

Thanks very much to Visit Nova Scotia for helping me to plan and sponsoring my trip to fabulous Nova Scotia. 

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25 Fun Things to do in Halifax Nova Scotia
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25 Fun Things to do in Halifax Nova Scotia
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Halifax is such a lovely surprise! Great food, loads to do and so instagrammable! Here are the 25 most fun things to do in Halifax Nova Scotia
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The Boutique Adventurer
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19 Comments

  • Love lists like this! They make traveling foolproof! Sometimes it’s just so dang overwhelming trying to figure out what exactly to do when you have no idea about a place!

  • I would have never thought of Halifax as a travel destination either, but it looks like fun! I’ve never been to any part of Canada before, but would have to go in the summer because I hate the cold!

  • I have honestly never heard of this place before, but after reading this I really want to go visit! Looks so fun and so much to do!

  • I would have enjoyed everything. Eating ice cream and enjoying the maritime museum of Atlantic would have been my favorite things to do.

  • To be honest I have never heard of this place but this looks like an amazing travel destination. Hopefully get to visit here someday.

  • I think my two go-to locations would be 1.run 2. Titanic morgue! You provided awesome and detailed information about Nova Scotia

  • I’ve never been to Halifax before but I’d love to go one day. It looks like there’s a lot of amazing things to do there x

  • We spent a day in Halifax and it rained so hard the whole time! I wish the weather had been a little better so we could explore more and see more of these places. We did however go to Peggy’s Cove. So beautiful and I think it is one of the most photographed places.

  • Amazing list of things to do and see! If I am ever lucky enough to visit this part of the world I will definitely have to refer back to your blog post!

  • It’s my first time to hear about Halifax. It’s amazing how many activities people can enjoy there. I felt that I’m traveling while reading your post.

  • I have heard of this place before and I am intrigiued by it. Looks like an amazing travel destination. Hopefully get to visit here someday xx

  • We lived here in the 80’s, as part of a military exchange and loved it – looking forward to visiting it again this year and seeing how it has developed over the years! Still sounds fab.

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