Halifax has a long history and tons of activities for visitors year-round. The "City of Trees" is a busy port city with several harbors, and the central shipping and fishing docks even share a boardwalk, wharf, shipyard, and marinas. When you visit Nova Scotia's capital city, make sure to take a stroll along the promenade or hop on a ferry for a quick cruise around the Halifax Harbor. If you're looking for a break from the outdoors, be sure to discover the city's history and unique food culture.
The 2.5-mile boardwalk is lined with dozens of small shops, eateries, activities, and history. One stop, Pier 21 is home to the Canadian Museum of Immigration and the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. For a unique treat, head to the wharves behind the Maritime Museum and go aboard the CSS Arcadia and explore the more than 100-year old ship's bridge, chart room, and the officers quarters. Before leaving, have a seat at one of several seafood restaurants and enjoy the day's fresh catch while gazing out at the open waters.
Not far from the boardwalk is the Halifax Ferry Terminal. Two public ferry services carry residents and visitors to and from the capital city to nearby Dartmouth. The short, 15-minute ride offers you several more activities such as the Shubenacadie Canal, Shubie Park, and the Dartmouth Waterfront. If you want to stay in the harbor, there are a few private services that provide different excursions that take visitors by the various piers and George's Island.
Since 1820, Alexander Keith's Brewery has been making some of the best craft beer in North America. During the off-season between June and October, the historic beer manufacturer offers tours and special events that are open to the public. The tours are an hour each and guided by actors wearing 19th-century costumes. At the end of the tour, anyone 19-years and older can sample one of the craft brews in the Stag's Head Tavern.
At some point in your travels through Halifax, you're going to get hungry. And yes, the lobster is terrific but donair holds a special place in the city's culinary heart. Whether you're out partying late, or need a quick pick me up, the sweet, tangy taste of donair sauce and lamb is a surefire way to enliven your taste buds. Donair is so popular in Halifax that in 2015, the city council voted to make it it's official food.
Peggy's Cove, in Nova Scotia's Bluenose Coast, is a must-see destination. Of the more than 160 historic buildings that look out into the sea, Peggy's Point Lighthouse is one of the most famous in the area. Built in 1915, it's about an hour outside of the city. Nearby points of interest include the Coastal Heritage Trail where travelers can take a self-guided tour of the coastal region through several sites including S.S. Atlantic Heritage Park, Pioneer Cemetery, Bay LookOut Park, Cleveland Beach Provincial Park, and Blandford Whaling Station.
A trip to Halifax isn't complete without a fresh lobster dinner. One of the most popular restaurants for seafood dining is the Shore Club. Sitting on the South Shore, diners can experience the top spot for lobster since opening its doors in 1946, along with unlimited mussels, a salad bar, and fresh bread rolls. There's no reason to leave for entertainment; the Shore Club features live music nightly. Make sure to make reservations, this top dining location with large, 2lb lobsters is only open from May through October.
A favorite stop along the Boardwalk for locals and tourists is the Seaport Farmer's Market. Located next to the Discovery Center, across from Georges Island, the indoor, seaside market is the oldest fresh grocers in Halifax. Founded in 1750, it moved to the current location in 2010. Depending on the time of year, you'll find a variety of items from seasonal fruits and vegetables to baked goods, wines, craft beers, homemade soaps, and jewelry.
Open from May to October; the Crystal Crescent Beach is located in the provincial park in Sambro Creek. Here visitors can enjoy a peaceful walk along the boardwalks to the set of three, white sandy beaches that make up the Crystal Crescent Beach area. The first two beaches are family friendly and connect to a few scenic hiking trails that wind around the beautiful coastline. Along these routes, be sure to watch for the local wildlife with a variety of bird species. The third beach is secluded by rocks and includes a nudist section.
The Halifax Citadel is a series of forts that sit on a hill overlooking the Halifax Harbor. These forts were the primary defense system for the port city from 1749 to 1906. Visitors of all ages will love exploring Nova Scotia's colonial history. During all operating hours, the historic site offers an hourly sentry change at the front gate. At noon, they fire the cannon daily. There are a few special activities for visitors. Spend a few hours living the life of a 19th-century soldier with an authentic uniform and learn to drill, fire a rifle, or drum for guests under 16. Another popular activity is the ghost tours that run in the evenings from July until late October.
During the spring and summer months, visit the Halifax Public Gardens. The expansive, 16-acre city garden has more than 140 species of trees and numerous types of flowers and other plants. Located in the middle of downtown, this popular warm weather destination is one of the few remaining Victorian gardens in the country. Guided tours are available in English, Dutch, French, German, and Chinese. The public garden is also a National Historic Site.