The Best Things to See & Do in Halifax, Nova Scotia

Don't miss the bustle and views on Halifax waterfront
Don't miss the bustle and views on Halifax waterfront | © Tourism Nova Scotia
Photo of Kate Horodyski
18 August 2021

Halifax is the capital of Nova Scotia and has much to offer visitors, including a bustling waterfront, fantastic seafood, beautiful parks and beaches and a thriving pub culture – its most famous brewmaster, Alexander Keith, was also mayor. Read on to discover where to go, what to eat and, of course, what to drink when you’re in the city.

Enjoy food and live music

Bar, Restaurant, Pub Grub, Contemporary, $$$
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© Tourism Nova Scotia

A number of bars in the city offer live music from local talent throughout the week. The Carleton has great shows from well-known artists, and a menu of seafood, burgers and vegetarian options, so you can enjoy a bite to eat while you listen to the live show. For other great live music, check out Stayner’s Warf overlooking the waterfront; Bearly’s House of Blues & Ribs, which offers exactly what its name suggests – live blues music and ribs and burgers; The Old Triangle Irish Alehouse, and Durty Nelly’s Irish Pub.

Walk along the waterfront

Architectural Landmark
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Tourists walking along the Waterfront boardwalk in Halifax , Nova Scotia
© Nick Jene / Alamy Stock Photo

There is always tons going on on the Halifax waterfront, and even just a stroll from end to end is an experience. Grab a famous ice cream from COWS, stop for a drink at the Stubborn Goat Beer Garden, or grab lunch at one of the many restaurants overlooking the water. If people-watching is more your thing, grab a seat in one of the Adirondack chairs, benches and hammocks lining the waterfront, and kick back with a cocktail or two. Also, keep an eye out for events and festivals such as Ribfest, Halifax Oyster Festival, and the Halifax Busker Festival.

Eat lots of seafood

Restaurant, Seafood, $$$
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© Tourism Nova Scotia

Lobster dinner, lobster rolls, scallops, mussels, salmon, shrimp… you name it, Halifax will have it. Enjoy everything from an upscale seafood dinner to a lobster-roll-to-go at Halifax’s many top-notch restaurants and waterfront kiosks.

Explore the city’s north end

Architectural Landmark
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Halifax_North_End_FINAL (1)
© Lora Pope / Tourism Nova Scotia

While visitors generally spend the majority of their visit in the downtown area of the city, it’s well worth it to visit Halifax’s recently gentrified north end. The neighbourhood has changed radically in the last few years, and you’ll find tons of little gems including cafes, bars, restaurants, and boutiques.

Discover Point Pleasant Park

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Gazebo, Point Pleasant Park, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
© All Canada Photos / Alamy Stock Photo

In Halifax’s south end you’ll find Point Pleasant Park, a beautiful seaside park perfect for walking, biking, and picnicking. There are also trails, fort ruins, a historic tower and a swimming beach. If you enjoy theatre, make sure to check out Shakespeare by the Sea, a local theatre company that stages plays at the park throughout the summer months.

Halifax Public Gardens

Botanical Garden
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The Public Gardens, Halifax, Nova Scotia. Image shot 2007. Exact date unknown.
© Robert Bird / Alamy Stock Photo

Located right in the heart of downtown Halifax, the Public Gardens are a beautiful spot to spend a couple of hours relaxing and enjoying the scenery. Grab an ice cream from the onsite café, which is in the house that was originally home to the park’s groundskeeper, and check the schedule for regular garden tours and performances.

Take a brewery tour

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New Scotland Brewing Co
© Tourism Nova Scotia
Beer is practically a part of Halifax culture, and the city has had a recent boom in brewery openings. Alexander Keith’s, Propeller Brewing Company, and Garrison Brewing Company all offer tours, and many other breweries offer sample trays, which allows you to try all of their on-tap beverages.

Head to the markets

Farmers' Market, Market, Canadian
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© Tourism Nova Scotia
On Saturdays, locals and tourists pour into the city’s markets for fresh produce, local coffee, freshly baked treats, and artisanal crafts. If you’re downtown, check out the new Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market, then head down the street to Brewery Square and browse the Historic Farmers’ Market.

Visit the museums and galleries

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© Tourism Nova Scotia
Explore Halifax’s fascinating culture with a visit to one of its many museums and art galleries. The Halifax Citadel National Historic Site and the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 take visitors through the city’s history, and art lovers will appreciate the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, which has a collection of over 17,000 works by native artists.

Take a harbour cruise

Sports Center
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© Destination Canada

There’s nothing quite like sailing on the ocean, and this is an experience not to be missed when visiting Halifax. Head down to the waterfront, and you’ll find numerous tour groups offering everything from whale-watching and booze cruises to pirate-themed sailing tours. If you want a cardio workout while you travel, consider Kayak Halifax’s harbour kayak tours.

These recommendations were updated on August 18, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh. This article is an updated version of a story created by Kate Horodyski

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