Why not discover Halifax? Halifax is a coastal city rich in Canadian history. We recommend your first excursion be walking the Halifax waterfront boardwalk where you can really get a feel for the place. The boardwalk is 4 kms winding around historic buildings. Stop at local eateries and shops, you may also see street performers and other entertainment near the boardwalk. You can beat the crowds by arriving in the morning. Start at the north end by Casino Nova Scotia or the South end by the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21.
First stop, the boardwalk?
Privateer’s Wharf formally known as Historic Properties
The Privateer’s Wharf played a huge role in Halifax’s early success. The oldest building here was built around the mid-late 1700s by a privateer and initially used as a tool to transport goods against Napoleon’s blockade. A public outcry and petition stopped the building from being demolished in the 1970s, thankfully! The most popular buildings there are the Pontac House, Privateer Warehouse and The Red Store. Also don’t miss the Kings Warehouse (now the Carpenter Shop), and the Wooden Storehouse/Loft. Most of the buildings are now repurposed with shops and restaurants. The Harbourside Market is also located here.
Maritime Museum of the Atlantic
Permanent exhibits include the Titanic, The Halifax Explosion (during World War I), Shipwreck, Age of Steam and Days of Sail. The HMCS Sackville is docked close to the Maritime Museum in the summertime, even though it isn’t owned by the museum.
Visitor Information Centre
I personally love making any visitor information centre my first stop as soon as I get to a new place. Usually, the information people are kind, helpful and enthusiastic about their local area. You can learn about current entertainment events, receive deals, ask about local secrets and get quality tips for your stay.
Alexander Keith’s brewery
Immersive, engaging and pumped with beer! And due to the history, this is a brewery tour you can feel good about. Who can pass up visiting one of the oldest breweries in North America? The Nova Scotia brewery was founded in 1820, about 47 years before Canada was founded.
Canadian Museum Immigration at Pier 21
The Canadian Museum Immigration at Pier 21 acts as the national immigration museum of Canada, housed in former immigration quarters.
Halifax Seaport Famers Market
Visit the Market on the weekend for the full experience. The Seaport Market includes artisan/crafts, fresh fish, food options, a variety of convention venues, and many other items.
Halifax’s History and Museums
Halifax Citadel National Historic Site
Visit the scenic, historical fort. Interact with the dressed-up guides, listen to the bagpipes, and dive into history with a trench tour. There are artifacts, historical reconstructions and an interior courtyard.
Fairview Lawn Cemetery
A sobering experience. This is where many victims of the Titanic rest.
Old burying ground
The old burial grounds contain headstones that date back to 200 years before Canada was founded. There is an on-site tour guide and late-night tours to add to the ambiance. The tours are informative, visit this if you are a history junkie.
St. Paul’s Church
Visit St. Paul’s Church the oldest building in Halifax and the oldest sustained protestant church in Canada. The Anglicans founded this church in 1749 (the same year as Halifax’s’ founding) and first opened its doors in 1750. St. Paul’s is made from mostly wood and is relatively small. The congregation has purposely never repaired a bit of the church that was marked by The Halifax Explosion.
Art Gallery of Nova Scotia
The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, founded in 1908, is currently located in the Dominion Building which was built in 1865 and the Provincial Building. The two buildings are across a courtyard from each other and used for temporary exhibits. The museum teaches history through art with a focus on Nova Scotian art. This includes traditional folk art, classical portraits, and Inuit stone carvings.
St. Mary’s Basilica
Besides being historical and having the tallest granite spire in North America, the St. Mary’s Basilica Church is commonly described as majestic, beautiful and photogenic. The architecture is gothic. The ceiling was built by shipbuilders which is evident because the ceiling resembles an upside-down ship frame.
Old Town Clock
The old town clock is a classic symbol of Halifax. The backdrop is the citadel. The hill which the clock tower rests upon offers great views of the city on a clear day. People can still hear the clock chiming hourly throughout downtown Halifax. Prince Edward constructed the clock 1803 to reduce the garrison’s tardiness.
Spend some time outside.
Halifax Public Gardens
First developed in 1867, the beautiful 16 acres of Victorian-era gardens will wow. You can walk through the extensive flower beds, statues, fountains, ponds and stone bridges! The Halifax Public Gardens are a picture-perfect haven.
Point Pleasant Park
Lots of pathways including some that take you to the oceanfront. Along the paths, you can find statues and monuments.
A local favourite skate rink and summer park. Check out the Emera Oval Park events to view availability and all it has to offer.
Clam Harbour Beach Provincial Park
A nice, sandy, family-friendly beach on the Atlantic Ocean.
An authentic fishing village, Fishermans Cove is located 15 minutes from Halifax. Explore the quaint little village and make sure to eat fish and chips! Recently, there have been more commercial businesses here due to the number of tourists that visit.
Attractions and Entertainment
Dalhousie Arts Centre
Dalhousie is the biggest performing arts centre in Halifax. They have a unique outdoor rooftop theatre, an art gallery, a sculpture garden, and much more!
Halifax central library
A great local activity for families! Visit the library and have your kids participate in children’s sessions. While the kids are busy you can gawk at the architecture, and spend an afternoon drinking coffee on the rooftop.
Besides being the go-to place for live theatrical performances in Halifax, Neptune Theatre is currently the largest professional theatre of its type in Atlantic Canada.
The Discovery Centre is a great family activity because it is an interactive science museum and the staff are friendly, knowledgeable and fun. Their exhibits include: Tension on Suspension, The Bubble Room, Build Your Own Coaster, and the Lindsay Building Centre with Lego! Shakespeare by the Sea
An outdoor live theatre set up in the summer months. If you are visiting Halifax during the season and have the slightest interest in live theatre, this is a must!
RV Campgrounds near here:
To reserve your Halifax campervan hire, use our convenient quote tool. If you would like some help finding the cheapest RV motorhome rental rate, please feel free to call 1-877-778-9569.
For more on what to do while visiting Canada, check out our article: Dream Across Canada RV Road Trip.
Photo credit: Destination Halifax