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McNabs Island | Courtesy of Destination Halifax
McNabs Island | Courtesy of Destination Halifax

20 Must-Visit Attractions in Halifax, Nova Scotia

Picture of Kate Horodyski
Updated: 5 September 2017

There is so much to do in Halifax that it’s hard to know where to start! Kick off your adventures with these 20 must-visit attractions.

Halifax Waterfront

There is always something happening on Halifax’s Waterfront, and a walk along the strip is a must! The waterfront, lined with bars, restaurants, food stalls, souvenir shops, boats, and Adirondack chairs, manages to remain charming despite a large amount of tourist-focused businesses.

Must Visit Attractions in Halifax

Halifax Waterfront | Courtesy of Destination Halifax

Halifax Public Gardens

Like a little oasis in downtown Halifax, the Halifax Public Gardens is a beautiful spot to relax, people-watch, and enjoy a treat from the on-site café, Uncommon Grounds. The gorgeous manicured lawns and gardens are regular backdrops for weddings and photo shoots.

Halifax Public Gardens, 5665 Spring Garden Rd, Halifax, NS, Canada

Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21

Between the years of 1928 and 1971, people from all over the world immigrated to Canada through Pier 21. Guests can visit the museum to learn more about the Pier’s rich history, read first-person accounts of immigrants, play dress-up in historical costumes, and so much more.

Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, 1055 Marginal Rd, Halifax, NS, Canada, +1 902 425 7770

Top 20 Attractions in Halifax, Nova Scotia

Pier 21 | Courtesy of Destination Halifax

McNabs Island

Take a day trip out to McNabs Island, and discover the wildlife, nature, and history of Halifax Harbour’s largest island. The trip there takes about 25 minutes from downtown, and free tours are available through Friends of McNabs Island.

McNabs Island, Halifax, NS, Canada

Top 20 Attractions in Halifax, Nova Scotia

McNabs Island | Courtesy of Destination Halifax

Discovery Centre

Halifax’s interactive science museum is an awesome place to spend a few hours, especially for kids. You can experiment in the Innovation Lab, watch live star shows in the Dome Theatre, and check out their fun exhibits and events.

Discovery Centre, 1215 Lower Water St, Halifax, NS, Canada, +1 902 492 4422

Art Gallery of Nova Scotia

Celebrating emerging and established Canadian artists, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia houses over 17,000 pieces of art and hosts regular exhibits and events. Round out your visit to the gallery with a trip to the on-site café, Pavia.

Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, 1723 Hollis St, Halifax, NS Canada, +1 902 424 5280

Must Visit Attractions in Halifax

Art Gallery of Nova Scotia | Courtesy of Destination Halifax

Emera Oval

Originally built for the Canada Games in 2011, Haligonians were so in love with their new skating rink at the Halifax Commons that they voted to make it permanent. In the winter, you can rent skates (for free) and enjoy the rink, and in the summer, the rink turns into a roller rink.

Emera Oval, 5775 Cogswell St, Halifax, NS, Canada, +1 902 490 2347

Point Pleasant Park

Another lovely park in the city center, Point Pleasant is always buzzing with locals walking their dogs, having picnics, and enjoying the ocean view. Rent a bike and explore the park’s many trails.

Point Pleasant Park, 5718 Point Pleasant Dr, Halifax, NS, Canada, +1 902 490 4700

St. Paul’s Anglican Church

Located in the downtown Parade Square, St. Paul’s, founded in 1749, was the first building in Halifax. While you’re there, check out “The Ghost Window,” a ghost-like silhouette in the window caused by the Halifax Explosion in 1917.

St. Paul’s Anglican Church, 1749 Argyle St, Halifax, NS, Canada, +1 902 429 2240

Halifax Seaport Market

The Seaport Market, which is open seven days a week, is particularly happening on Saturdays when all of the stalls are open, and tourists and locals come out in droves. Stock up on coffee, snacks, locals eats, and souvenirs, and then enjoy a view of the harbor from the market’s rooftop patio.

Halifax Seaport Market, 1209 Marginal Rd, Halifax, NS, Canada, +1 902 492 4043

Neptune Theatre

With a history dating back to 1915, Neptune Theatre is the largest professional theater in Atlantic Canada. The season runs from mid-September to the end of May and often carries well into July. Previous productions include CATS, Beauty and the Beast, Shrek, and Mary Poppins.

Neptune Theatre, 1593 Argyle St, Halifax, NS, Canada, +1 902 429 7070

Halifax Harbour Ferry

Make like a local and hop across the harbor to Dartmouth aboard the Halifax Harbour Ferry. Once in Dartmouth, be sure to head to Two If By Sea for giant croissants and locally roasted coffee. Ferry service runs every half an hour.

The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic

Discover Halifax’s rich maritime history at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. You’ll learn about the Halifax Explosion, Halifax’s role in the aftermath of the sinking of the Titanic, its shipbuilding past, and so much more.

The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, 1675 Lower Water St, Halifax, NS, Canada, +1 902 424 7490

Halifax Citadel National Historic Site

The fortress on Citadel Hill was created to defend the city from attack, but today, it is a lively national site and museum. Tour guides dressed in historical costumes will take you on a fascinating journey through this crucial site in Halifax’s history.

Halifax Citadel National Historic Site, 5425 Sackville St, Halifax, NS, Canada, +1 902 426 1990

Must See Attractions in Halifax

Citadel Hill | Courtesy of Destination Halifax

Seven Bays Bouldering

The newly opened Seven Bays is part bouldering gym, part hip café. Get in a fun workout at the gym, and then enjoy a cold drink on their patio.

Seven Bays Bouldering, 2019 Gottingen St, Halifax, NS, Canada, +1 902 407 9656

Halifax Central Library

A new library may seem like a bit of an odd attraction, but if you take one look at the building, you’ll know why it made this list. The beautiful five-level glass library, located downtown, has two cafés, a rooftop terrace, and regular free events.

Halifax Central Library, 5440 Spring Garden Road, Halifax, NS, Canada, +1 902 490 5700

Halifax Tours

Walk, Segway, ride, kayak, or sail around Halifax with one of the many tour companies. Particularly popular tours include the Harbour Hopper, an amphibious tour bus that drives you around downtown and then into the harbor; Taste Halifax Tours, which lets you sample some of the best food in the city; and the ghost tours, which take you to the city’s most haunted spots!

Peggy’s Cove

If you don’t go to Peggy’s Cove, can you even consider yourself a Halifax tourist? A short drive from Halifax, Peggy’s Cove is practically a must. You can walk along the rocks, enjoy stunning ocean views, and take your mandatory photo with the lighthouse.

Peggy’s Cove, 185 Peggys Point Rd, Peggys Cove, NS, Canada, +1 289 828 3458

The Old Burying Ground

Halifax’s first burial ground, founded in 1749, was beautifully restored in the 1980s. You’ll find notable headstones and find yourself transported to Halifax’s early history.

The Old Burying Ground, 1541 Barrington St, Halifax, NS, Canada

Alexander Keith’s Brewery

No one loves beer like a Nova Scotian, and Alexander Keith’s is particularly celebrated. Take a tour of one of the oldest working breweries in North America and learn about the history of the brewery. Don’t forget to enjoy lots of samples.

Alexander Keith’s Brewery, 1496 Lower Water St, Halifax, NS, Canada, +1 902 455 1474