Historic Halifax bursts with unexpected fun for the whole family

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Halifax, the capital of Nova Scotia, is a vibrant port city known for its maritime history and natural beauty. Visitors of all ages and interests can find something to do in the biggest city in Atlantic Canada, from historical tours to walks fit for nature lovers.

Aerial view of a coastal city featuring a waterfront, modern buildings, and a historical fort surrounded by green spaces—discover the top things to do in Halifax.
Halifax overhead. Photo credit: Depositphotos.

In 48 hours, one can explore the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site, a star-shaped fort offering a glimpse into the city’s military past. Grab a fancy ice cream sundae in the newly revamped boardwalk, while avoiding the anxiously-awaiting pigeons. You can also find tranquility within the Halifax Public Gardens, a Victorian-era oasis of manicured lawns and themed gardens.

For those interested in cultural experiences, the city boasts a rich tapestry of heritage and modern attractions that represent Atlantic Canada. The bustling waterfront beckons with its boardwalk, museums and culinary delights, showcasing the very best of coastal living. Whether you are interested in food, the local art scene or setting sail on a harbor cruise, Halifax does not disappoint.

“Halifax is one of my favorite Canadian cities, and the best way to discover all it has to offer is by scooter! Simply download the app then hop on one of the many scooters left around the city and zoom around on your very own electric scooter! This is a big plus when you consider the alternative of walking up the giant hill from the waterfront to the Halifax Public Gardens!”

Jenn Allen, All The Best Spots

Historical landmarks

A large stone fort with tall walls, multiple archways, and a spacious gravel courtyard under a cloudy sky.
Citadel. Photo credit: At the Immigrant’s Table.

Halifax boasts a number of historical landmarks that offer visitors a glimpse into the city’s rich past, from iconic fortresses to sites commemorating important national history. Explore Citadel Hill’s star-shaped fortress and reenactments, which provide insights into the city’s military significance. The Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 honors the nation’s diverse heritage through personal immigrant stories, and Fairview Lawn Cemetery is a maritime history site containing graves of Titanic victims.

Citadel Hill

Perched atop Halifax, Citadel Hill dominates the skyline with its historic significance as a military fortification. Visitors can explore the star-shaped fortress, originally built in 1749 and gain insights into the military history that has shaped the city. The site is a living history museum featuring reenactments and historical interpreters that bring the past to life.

Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21

The Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 stands as a national monument to Canada’s diverse heritage. This museum was once the entry point for over one million immigrants and now tells the personal and powerful stories of newcomers to Canada, highlighting the country’s multicultural cities.

Fairview Lawn Cemetery

For those interested in maritime history, Fairview Lawn Cemetery is a significant site, serving as the final resting place for many victims of the Titanic tragedy. The cemetery’s neatly lined gravestones, located just steps away from the Citadel, each tell their own silent story, offering a sobering reminder of the past maritime disasters.

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Outdoor adventures

Empty circular picnic table with three benches on a spacious wooden deck, modern buildings and blue sky with clouds in the background.
Halifax harbor waterfront. Photo credit: At the Immigrant’s Table.

Halifax offers a variety of natural settings that present unique outdoor experiences, from serene gardens to historic islands. There are many parks that offer playgrounds and outdoor activities for children, as well.

Point Pleasant Park

Point Pleasant Park sits at the southern tip of the Halifax peninsula, offering an extensive network of trails amidst a blend of forested and coastal environments. It’s ideal for visitors who indulge in jogging, walking or simply enjoying picnics under the canopy of trees. The park provides a tranquil escape with bird-watching opportunities and vistas of the Atlantic Ocean.

Halifax Public Gardens

Recognized as a National Historic Site, the Halifax Public Gardens are a Victorian-era garden in the heart of Halifax. Immaculately preserved, the gardens showcase fountains, statues and flower beds laid in a visually appealing symmetrical pattern. They provide a peaceful retreat with meandering paths and colorful displays of native and exotic plant species, making it perfect for leisurely strolls and photography.

McNabs Island

Accessible by a short boat ride, McNabs Island offers an escape into Halifax’s maritime history and natural beauty. The island is festooned with historical forts and provides hiking trails that lead to abandoned buildings, coastal views and forested areas. Its rich history, coupled with the chance to explore secluded beaches, makes McNabs Island a must-visit for outdoor enthusiasts seeking adventure.

Cultural experiences

Halifax offers a vibrant cultural scene with institutions celebrating the visual arts, live performances and historic events. Each venue provides a unique glimpse into the city’s diverse heritage and artistic expression.

Art Gallery of Nova Scotia

The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia stands as a premier cultural destination, housing both historical and contemporary works. Visitors can explore collections that highlight local artists as well as international figures. Featured exhibitions often focus on themes relevant to Nova Scotia’s cultural landscape.

Neptune Theatre

At the Neptune Theatre, theatergoers are treated to a dynamic range of plays and musicals. As Atlantic Canada’s largest professional theatre, it stages a variety of productions from Canadian and international playwrights, offering a rich array of storytelling that appeals to a broad audience.

The Halifax Explosion Memorial Bell Tower

The Halifax Explosion Memorial Bell Tower serves as a poignant tribute to the victims of the 1917 Halifax Explosion. It’s not only a solemn place of reflection but also an educational site where visitors can learn about this significant event in Halifax’s history through on-site plaques and compelling narratives.

Dining and nightlife

A wooden board with an assortment of sliced meats, shrimp, pickles, and vegetables, accompanied by a rectangular plate with a charred lemon, orange spread, and dipping sauce.
Black sheep seafood appetizer platter. Photo credit: At the Immigrant’s Table.

Halifax offers a diverse array of dining experiences and a vibrant nightlife. Visitors can indulge in fresh local seafood, explore various craft breweries and enjoy live performances.

Local seafood

At The Bicycle Thief, diners can enjoy North American food with an Italian soul. The restaurant is especially renowned for its hearty seafood dishes. Its prime location along the Harbour’s Boardwalk pairs delicious meals with scenic views. For a true taste of Nova Scotia, sample their classic seafood chowder. Steps away is Black Sheep Restaurant, known for its appetizer platter and luxe-casual vibes.

Craft brewery tours

Halifax prides itself on its craft beer scene. Good Robot Brewing Co. has become a local favorite, where visitors can delve into the intricacies of craft brewing and taste unique beers with distinct flavors. Learn about beer-tasting notes from passionate brewers on your visit.

Live music venues

Live music thrives in Halifax, and venues like Yuk Yuk’s Halifax Comedy Club offer a combination of Maritime humor and entertainment. Visitors can enjoy a 90-minute show at Yuk Yuk’s. For a memorable night out, choose to have dinner during the show.

Ksenia Prints is a food writer, blogger, photographer and recipe developer from Montreal, Canada. She blogs over At the Immigrant’s Table, a food blog showcasing healthy, beautiful international recipes for adventurous home cooks. She loves to highlight ethnic cuisines and immigrant cultures by working with chefs from relevant countries and adapting those recipes to gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, sugar-free and other dietary restrictions.

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