Halifax Highlights: Must-See Spots in Canada’s Maritime Gem

Halifax is the capital of the Canadian province of Nova Scotia and the largest Canadian city east of Montreal. It is a young, vibrant city with more than a dozen universities and colleges. It is the location of the longest continuously running farmers market in North America, the greatest manmade explosion before the atomic bomb, and the first Supreme Court in North America. Founded in 1749, the city is packed with history, culture, charm, and some of the friendliest people you will ever meet!

When to go to Halifax

I have been to Halifax in every season and the best time to go is when the weather is nice (late spring, summer, early fall). While there are many things to do indoors, to get the best experience you want to be able to do the outdoor activities as well. Nice weather means that you can really take advantage of all the harbor, waterfront, and city have to offer.

Halifax-Dartmouth Ferry

There are many ways to get to the capital of Nova Scotia. If you’re flying, the closest airport is the Halifax International Airport, which is a 30-minute drive from the city center. You can also reach Halifax by car from New Brunswick on the Trans-Canada Highway.

I recommend taking the ferry from Dartmouth to Halifax. The Halifax-Dartmouth ferry service is the oldest continually operational saltwater ferry service in North America. There is parking at the Dartmouth ferry terminal, and the ferry brings you right to the heart of Halifax in less than 15 minutes. Why drive when you could take a boat? Most of the Halifax attractions are within walking distance of the ferry terminal, so it’s not essential to have a vehicle.

Award Winning Brewery Tour

If you’re looking for a local beer to try, then grab a pint of Alexander Keith’s. Alexander Keith’s brewery in Halifax is one of the oldest breweries in Canada (1820). They give award winning tours that include songs, stories, actors portraying citizens of 1863, and samples of various ales.


This is my favorite area of Halifax!

Take a walk along the waterfront boardwalk for great views of the harbor. Along the boardwalk, you’ll find lots of shops and boutiques, cafes and restaurants, street artist performances, markets, historical buildings, museums, and much more. Halifax has many great festivals happening all year round, many of them on the waterfront. Festivals such as the RBC Multicultural Festival, Halifax International Busker Festival, Atlantic Film Festival’s Outdoor Film Experience, and the TD Halifax Jazz Festival are just a few!

Research what’s going on in the city before you go so that you don’t miss out.

Seaport Farmers Market

Walk along the waterfront, and you’ll find the Halifax Seaport Market, the longest continuously running farmers’ market in North America (1750). It’s almost as old as the city of Halifax! It’s open year-round, every day of the week, so it’s a great place to visit no matter what time of the year you’re visiting. It’s a great place to go for breakfast or lunch.

There are lots of different nationalities represented, selling foods and pastries from all corners of the world. There is also a great variety of local foods and produce, as well as cafes and great views of the harbor!

Pier 21

Pier 21 is a very important location for Canada and for Canadian history. Between 1928 and 1971, over one million people from around the world passed through Pier 21. This was where over a million immigrants came to start their new lives in Canada. This place was also the departure point for over 500,000 Canadian Military personnel during the Second World War. This historic place is now the Canadian Museum of Immigration and the only national museum in Atlantic Canada.

Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21

It’s a great museum, read and hear about the stories of what made people decide to take the long boat trip to immigrate to a new country. The entrance ticket includes a guided tour and you get to see a glimpse of what it would have been like to arrive at Pier 21 as an immigrant after a long trip across the ocean.

Citadel Hill

Citadel Hill is a National Historical Site that was built by the British in 1749 to protect the newly created city. It is open from the beginning of May till the end of October and contains some of the first buildings built in Halifax. There are many things to do and experience at Citadel including: the changing of the guard, marching and band drills, ghost tours, exploring the army museum, and becoming a soldier for the day.

Feeling Hungry

After all this touring, you’re bound to get hungry! If you’re from Canada, then you know how great poutine is. If you’re scratching your head thinking that a Poutine is a Russian president, then let me set you straight. Imagine a mountain of french fries combined with cheese curds and covered in hot gravy. Mmmmm. If you are looking for the best poutine in Halifax, check out Willy’s Fresh Cut Fries & Burgers, Cheese Curds Gourmet Burgers & Poutinerie, or Smoke’s Poutinerie.

Another typical Canadian dish you can enjoy in Halifax is beavertails, which can be found along the waterfront at BeaverTails. No beavers were hurt in the making of your beaver tails. So what are beavertails? It’s a delicious fried pastry that can be topped with whatever your heart desires, from cinnamon, chocolate, bananas, hazelnut, maple, and more!

Halifax is not a huge city, so it’s possible to see a lot of the city on a weekend. There are many beautiful areas close to Halifax that I recommend checking out as well, such as Peggy’s Cove and Lunenburg.

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About the author
Growing up in Detroit, Lindsey is a Michigan State University alumnus. She feels incredibly lucky to live in Detroit, and much more, to spend her days promoting the Detroit area as a travel destination.