Orientation

Halifax is the largest municipality of the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. As of July 2020, Statistics Canada estimated the population of 448,544. The regional municipality consists of four former municipalities that were amalgamated in 1996: Halifax, Dartmouth, Bedford, and Halifax County.

Halifax is a major economic centre in Atlantic Canada, with a large concentration of government services and private sector companies. Major employers and economic generators include the Department of National Defence, Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia Health Authority, Saint Mary’s University, the Halifax Shipyard, various levels of government, and the Port of Halifax. Agriculture, fishing, mining, forestry, and natural gas extraction are major resource industries found in the rural areas of the municipality.

Activities

Halifax is a major economic centre in Atlantic Canada, with a large concentration of government services and private sector companies. Major employers and economic generators include the Department of National Defence, Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia Health Authority, Saint Mary’s University, the Halifax Shipyard, various levels of government, and the Port of Halifax. Agriculture, fishing, mining, forestry, and natural gas extraction are major resource industries found in the rural areas of the municipality.

Downtown Halifax has hotels, annual festivals and events, an array of attractions, and many restaurants.

Museums

There are several museums and art galleries in downtown Halifax. Pier 21, an immigrant entry point prominent throughout the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, was opened to the public as a National Historic Site of Canada in 1999.

The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic is a maritime museum containing extensive galleries including a large exhibit on the famous Titanic, over 70 small craft and a 200-foot (61 m) steamship CSS Acadia. In summertime the preserved World War II corvette HMCS Sackville operates as a museum ship and Canada’s naval memorial. The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia is housed in a 150-year-old building containing over 9,000 works of art.

Waterfront

downtown Halifax

The waterfront in Downtown Halifax is the site of the Halifax Harbourwalk, a 3 km (2 mi) boardwalk popular amongst tourists and locals alike. Many mid-sized ships dock here at one of the many wharves. The harbourwalk is home to a Halifax Transit ferry terminal, hundreds of stores, Historic Properties, several office buildings, the Casino Nova Scotia, and several public squares where buskers perform, most prominently at the annual Halifax International Busker Festival in early August.

Shopping

Downtown Halifax, being home to many small shops and vendors, is a major shopping area in the HRM. It is also home to several small malls, including Scotia Square, Barrington Place Shops, and Maritime Mall.

Restaurants and Nightlife

Bars on Argyle Street. Downtown Halifax is home to approximately 200 restaurants and bars.

The area is home to approximately 200 restaurants and bars, providing an interesting array of world cuisine.[10] There are also over 60 sidewalk cafes that open in the summer months.

The nightlife is made up of bars and small music venues as well as Casino Nova Scotia, a large facility built partially over the water. Pizza Corner, located at the intersection of Blowers Street and Grafton Street, is a popular location for pizzerias serving Halifax-style donairs and other street food for the neighbouring bars and pubs.

Theatre

Neptune Theatre, a 43-year-old establishment located on Argyle Street, is Halifax’s largest theatre. It performs an assortment of professionally produced plays year-round. The Shakespeare by the Sea theatre company performs at nearby Point Pleasant Park. Eastern Front Theatre performs at Alderney Landing in Downtown Dartmouth which can easily be accessed from the area via the Halifax Transit ferry service.

Events The Scotiabank Centre is one of the largest buildings in Downtown Halifax, as well as the largest arena in Atlantic Canada. It is the home of the popular Halifax Mooseheads hockey team, and it also plays host to most of the major sporting events and concerts that visit Halifax.

The Nova Scotia International Tattoo is held here every year. It is connected to the Downtown Halifax Link, and directly to the World Trade and Convention Centre. The Atlantic Film Festival, Atlantic Jazz Festival and the Halifax Pop Explosion also take place in some downtown venues.The Halifax Convention Centre offers more than 120,000 square feet (11,000 m2) of space for meetings and events.

Trips From Halifax

While there’s enough going on in Halifax to fill a full vacation on its own, don’t forget to explore the rest of this amazing province! Keep reading to discover the best day trips to take from the city.WolfvilleLocated in the Annapolis Valley, this picturesque town is perfect as a hub for activities in the valley as well as being a worthwhile destination on its own. Stroll down Main Street, visit Acadia University’s campus, or one of the nearby wineries.Lunenburg and Mahone BayLocated just 10 minutes apart by car, Lunenburg and Mahone Bay are two picture-perfect towns located on the South Shore. Pop into cute boutiques, enjoy fresh seafood dishes, and stroll along the harbour fronts. A visit here will guarantee that you’ll fall in love with the Maritimes.ShelburneThis is the furthest in our recommended list at two-and-a-half hours from the city, but we promise it’s worth the drive! Culture fans will love exploring the Black Loyalist Heritage Centre, Buchanan Gallery, Osprey Art Centre, and Historic Dock Street.Glen Arbor Golf CourseYou don’t have to go far from the city to enjoy a great round of golf. Glen Arbour is located just outside the city and offers one of the best courses in the province. You can find all of our picks for the best golf courses in Nova Scotia here.Lawrencetown BeachWhile gorgeous beaches are located all around the province, there are a number of great spots right outside the city including famous Lawrencetown Beach. The great surf conditions draw visitors from around the world and the stunning scenery doesn’t hurt either. Grab your board or take a lesson with one of the on-site surf schools!

Truro

An hour inland from Halifax, you’ll find the small town of Truro. One of its top attractions is the 400-acre Victoria Park, which features waterfalls, hike and biking trails, a spray park, and an outdoor pool. Visitors also love the historic downtown, Masstown Market, and Shubenacadie Wildlife Park.

Cape Split Provincial Park Reserve

Grab your sneakers and hit the trails. Cape Split offers one of the most stunning views in the province and is well worth the 6 km hike through the woods. You’ll emerge right on the Bay of Fundy to sweeping views of the cliffs and ocean. This four to five-hour hike is the perfect way to enjoy Nova Scotia’s great outdoors.

Eastern Passage

Located just outside of Halifax, this sweet spot is bursting with culture and a strong sense of community. Stroll along Fisherman’s Wharf, go on a whale watching tour, and enjoy a seafood restaurant on the waterfront.

peggy's covePeggy’s Cove

While Peggy’s Cove is filled with tourists and locals, it remains a must-see day trip from the city. Marvel at the oceanfront landscape, take photos with the iconic lighthouse, and enjoy a delicious meal at one of the nearby restaurants.

Tatamagouche

If you love beaches, food, and beverages (and let’s be honest, who doesn’t?), you’ll love Tatamagouche. Located along the Northumberland shore, this small oceanside town is well worth the one hour and 45-minute drive from Halifax. 

For other ideas on trips from Halifax, visit the Tourism Nova Scotia website.