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Things to do in Halifax

Things to do in  Halifax

Welcome to Halifax

The harborside city of Halifax—capital of Nova Scotia—sits on Canada’s southeastern tip, facing out into the wide expanse of the north Atlantic Ocean. With fresh sea breezes, a vibrant food scene, welcoming bars and restaurants, and pretty parks hiding among the historic buildings, Halifax has something to offer visitors of all ages and interests. There’s a rich maritime heritage here, too, with coastal Halifax having played a key role in Canada’s colonial past. Within the city itself, bus trips whisk travelers to top attractions such as the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site, Province House, and St. Paul’s Church; while Harbour Hopper tours take to the waves for panoramic views over the waterfront. With Halifax as a base, historic fishing villages including Peggy’s Cove and UNESCO World Heritage–listed Lunenburg are within easy reach; as are the rolling hills of the Annapolis Valley, where fertile orchards and lush vineyards thrive. If time is on your side, multi-day tours to far-flung destinations such as Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Island, Newfoundland, New Brunswick, and picturesque Prince Edward Island (of “Anne of Green Gables” fame) offer the chance to experience the rugged beauty of Canada’s Maritime Provinces—home to diverse species of wildlife, including humpback whales and puffins.

Top 10 attractions in Halifax

#1
Old Town Clock

Old Town Clock

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As one of the most recognizable landmarks in Halifax’s historic core, the Old Town Clock gets its fair share of visitors. Ordered by Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and then commander-in-chief of all military forces in British North America, the tower was built as a way to potentially resolve the unpunctuality of the local garrison. Completed in 1803, the three-tiered tower is built in the utmost classic Palladian style, with an irregular octagon tower built atop a one storey white clapboard building.The clock –which, in true Roman fashion, shows the 4 as IIII and not IV for aesthetic symmetry- was constructed by House of Vulliamy, a respected Royal Clockmakers based in London. Although ancient, the clock is in excellent shape, having undergone several renovation works throughout the years, and is still in use to this day. In fact, it could be said that the Old Town Clock has been keeping the people of Halifax on time for the last two centuries! Because of its historical associations, the Halifax Town Clock is a Classified Federal Heritage Building.More
#2
Alexander Keith's Brewery

Alexander Keith's Brewery

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Ask anyone from Nova Scotia what the province’s favorite beer is, and they’re bound to say Alexander Keith’s. You can’t make a trip to Halifax without visiting the famous brewery, founded in 1820. Nowadays, Alexander Keith’s still makes up for every 1 in 3 beers sold within the province.The brewery is one of the oldest breweries in Canada, built in 1820 and made of ironstone and granite. It’s located on the waterfront of Halifax, and for a small fee you’re able to tour the facilities with some very entertaining guides. Animators in period costume will guide you through Halifax life in 1863, complete with songs and even a few pub games from that time.You’ll have plenty of opportunity for beer tasting as well, with at least five regular beers on tap and seasonal brews available when possible.Alexander Keith himself is a legend. He was one of those rare, beloved politicians revered by the locals, and he was elected as mayor of Halifax three times. He died in 1873, but every year on his birthday, people visit his grave at Camp Hill Cemetery and pay tribute by leaving behind beer bottles or caps.More
#3
Halifax Citadel National Historic Site

Halifax Citadel National Historic Site

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Overlooking Downtown Halifax, this strategically set hilltop fortification has presided over the capital of Nova Scotia since 1856, with earlier versions of the fort having stood here since 1749. Today, the former British citadel remembers the military history of Halifax, with exhibits focusing on life within the 19th-century fort.More
#4
Fairview Lawn Cemetery

Fairview Lawn Cemetery

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Fairview Lawn Cemetery is a fascinating place to encounter some of the tragedies that have befallen Halifax, Nova Scotia. Most notably, Fairview is the final resting place of more than 100 people who were lost in the sinking of theTitanic, as well as many others who died in the 1917 Halifax Explosion that devastated the provincial capital.More
#5
Halifax Public Gardens

Halifax Public Gardens

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Open to the public since 1867—the year Canada achieved confederation—the Halifax Public Gardens is one of the oldest Victorian gardens in North America. This National Historic Site of Canada was built on two formerly adjacent gardens, and today the idyllic urban green space is home to a variety of trees, flowers, and even tropical plants.More
#6
Peggy’s Cove

Peggy’s Cove

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Appearance-wise, little has changed in this picturesque Nova Scotia fishing village over the past century. Colorful, salt-weathered fishermen’s houses and the town’s iconic red-and-white lighthouse stand strong along the sea-splashed shore of St. Margaret’s Bay, and lobster traps, jetties, and fishing boats are still all over the place.More
#7
Halifax City Hall

Halifax City Hall

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Halifax City Hall stands at the north end of the city’s historical Grand Parade, which dates back to when Halifax was founded in 1749. The building itself was constructed between 1887 and 1890, and it’s now one of the oldest public buildings in Nova Scotia. It’s also a National Historic Site of Canada.Using a combination of sandstone and granite, the building’s architecture stands out from other nearby buildings. The defining feature, a seven-story clock tower, adds another connection to local history. While the south facing is set to the current time, the north-facing clock rests on 9:04 to commemorate the devastating 1917 Halifax Explosion. On December 6, 1917, the French cargo ship SS Mont-Blanc was loaded with wartime explosives when it collided with a Norwegian vessel in Halifax Harbour. When fire ignited the explosive cargo, it created what was then the largest man-made explosion in history and completely destroyed the Richmond District of the city.More
#8
Government House

Government House

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Welcome to the Queen’s official residence in Halifax – and also that of her Lieutenant Governor in Nova Scotia. As one of the few official residences to be located in an urban setting, Government House definitely stands out from other similar properties elsewhere in the country.Built in 1800, it has welcomed hundreds of foreign dignitaries and royal families from around the world since its opening, and has recently become a National Historic Site of Canada. Its sophisticated Adamesque Georgian style was imagined by Scottish architect George Richardson and ordered by Sir John Wentworth, who intensely rebuffed at the foul conditions and lack of luxury of what was then the Government House. He felt that the basic materials and poor upkeep of the building did not match the sophistication of the guests it was supposed to host, like royal families and worldly entrepreneurs. The governor insisted that the new building be erected by Nova Scotians and for Nova Scotians using locally sourced materials only. Because the building’s mission has only very slightly changed since its construction, Nova Scotia's Government House is presently the oldest vice-regal residence in North America.More
#9
Province House

Province House

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Officially known as the Nova Scotia House of Assembly, Province House is yet another one of the many National Historic Sites of Canada in the capital city. This is where the Nova Scotia Legislature has met every year since 1819, making it Province House the longest serving legislative building in Canada. It was also the first form of responsible government in the British Empire outside the United Kingdom, and it therefore played a significant role in the development of responsible government, parliamentary democracy and freedom of the press in Canada.An imposing three-story building, Province House is often regarded as being the finest example of Georgian-Palladian architecture on this side of the pond – famed writer Charles Dickens even called Province House “a gem of Georgian architecture” upon his visit in 1842. Province House consists of the Nova Scotia Legislative Assembly room, home to the Nova Scotia's elected legislature, the Library, which is the former Supreme Court, the Red Chamber, formerly the meeting place of the Nova Scotia Council and later the Legislative Council, and of course, the court yard.More
#10
Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21

Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21

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Now the Canadian Museum of Immigration, Pier 21 in Halifax, Nova Scotia served as the first glimpse of Canada for many people who came to make this country their home. Interactive exhibits offer visitors the chance to learn what these new residents faced as they left where they came from in hopes of finding something better.More

Trip ideas

How to Spend 1 Day in Halifax

How to Spend 1 Day in Halifax

Wine Lover's Guide to Halifax

Wine Lover's Guide to Halifax

How to Spend 3 Days in Halifax

How to Spend 3 Days in Halifax

Recent reviews from experiences in Halifax

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Great trip, good price, worth it!
Lam_N, Oct 2020
Best of Halifax Tour with Peggy's Cove
Super friendly tourguide Adrian, he was showing me all the places to Visit on the way.
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Lovely day
Ann U, Oct 2019
Nova Scotia Day Tour - Visit Peggy's Cove, Lunenburg, and the Annapolis Valley.
Comfortable, individual, took you to a greater range of attractions than most Halifax options.
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Awesome
Julie_K, Sep 2019
Halifax Harbour Hopper Tour
Great info and way to see Halifax, Adena was a great tour guide and Capt Bill was a great navigator!
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See the Highlights of Halifax
Exploration483505, Sep 2019
Halifax Segway City Tour
State of the art segways, excellent orientation and a great way to see beautiful Halifax .
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The Habour Hopper is a fun way to...
Matthew_M, Sep 2017
Halifax Harbour Hopper Tour
The Habour Hopper is a fun way to see the sights of Halifax.
star-5
Excellent!!!
Tammy_G, Jun 2019
Halifax Segway City Tour
It was a great way to see Halifax and learn it’s history!
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So fun to be able to see the...
Kimberly R, Jun 2017
Halifax Harbour Hopper Tour
So fun to be able to see the perspective of Halifax from the water and from land.
star-4
Over all tour was good. It was a...
Wayne Y, Jun 2017
Halifax Harbour Hopper Tour
but it was worth the tour to get to see |Halifax in a sit down tour.
star-5
Harbour Hopper is a great way to see...
Kathleen N, Aug 2016
Halifax Harbour Hopper Tour
Harbour Hopper is a great way to see Halifax and a lot of fun for kids and adults.
star-4
Great!
Elaine_L, Aug 2019
Halifax Harbour Hopper Tour
it's kind of pricey but a good way to see the city.
star-4
I really enjoyed the tour and the...
Paula H, Aug 2017
Halifax Harbour Hopper Tour
I really enjoyed the tour and the experience, however the only thing I would like to see is the possibility of a longer time in the harbour with the tour going out around George's Island.
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