Looking for ways to experience Halifax in the before the summer rolls around? From family favorites to evening outings, we’ve pulled together a list of top recommended indoor and outdoor ideas and adventures to get you out exploring Halifax in the winter and springtime.
Spend the day on the Halifax Waterfront
The Halifax Waterfront is a bustling hotspot of the city. Visitors and locals alike flock here during all months of the year to enjoy a leisurely walk along nearly 2.5 miles of boardwalk, browse the shops, indulge in a sweet treat at Sugah!, and dine at a variety of restaurants. From the Halifax Seaport Farmer’s Market to Historic Properties and all points in between, you can easily spend an entire day exploring the Halifax Waterfront.
Breakfast at the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market
The Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market is the longest continuously operating farmers’ market in North America. Each weekend, you’ll find a huge variety of vendors offering up everything from Nova Scotia-produced wines to authentic African cuisine, hand-crafted jewelry, fresh seafood, soaps, hot sauce, and everything in between. Warm up with a steaming cup of coffee accompanied by a hearty breakfast, a decadent pastry or fresh fruit from one of the many local vendors.
The waterfront and harbor are keepers of many stories, accessible year-round. Perhaps some of the most dynamic and diverse are told at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 and the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. Gain an understanding and appreciation for how Pier 21 was a gateway to Canada for nearly a million immigrants and how it has helped shaped the country as we know it today. Interactive exhibits show what the journey was like for these immigrants. Exploring archival photos and other personal treasures or experiencing the tight quarters of a replica ship’s cabin will give you just a small glimpse into the difficult passage taken by so many.
Then there’s the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, Canada’s oldest and largest maritime museum. There you’ll find thousands of artifacts, including those relating to the Titanic disaster and the Halifax Explosion, the largest man-made explosion prior to the atomic bomb.
Strolling the boardwalk
After leaving Pier 21, bundle up and make your way towards the entrance of the boardwalk. This leisurely waterfront stroll will lead you past shops and restaurants at Bishop’s Landing, docked boats, and a scenic and bustling Halifax Harbour. If the spring sun is shining, make a pit stop for a rest in one of the hammocks that are affixed along the boardwalk near the Sands at Salter. For a fun photo op, check out the drunken lamp posts during your stroll.
There are several unique places to shop along the waterfront. Stop at NovaScotian Crystal and see first-hand how these gorgeous pieces are carefully handcrafted by artisans. Amos Pewter, another shop located a bit further up the boardwalk, offers pewter ornaments, jewelry, home décor, and more, all crafted in nearby Mahone Bay.
Art Gallery of Nova Scotia (AGNS)
The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia (AGNS) displays historic and contemporary Nova Scotian, national, and international paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, photographs, ceramics, and other works from temporary exhibitions as well as the Gallery’s permanent collection. The AGNS is home to the Maud Lewis House and also boasts an acclaimed collection of Maud Lewis’ folk art.
Family fun finds
Along with the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 and the Maritime Museum of Atlantic, four more kid-approved spots to add to your list include:
- The Discovery Centre, a state-of-the-art, 40,000-square-foot facility, features four floors of interactive learning experiences, including an Immersive Dome Theatre, Innovation Lab, Ocean Gallery, Children’s Gallery, and featured exhibit space that hosts top-notch traveling exhibits from around the world, three or four times a year.
- Explore the wonders of Nova Scotia’s land and sea at the Museum of Natural History. You’ll see ancient fossils, glittering gold, Mi’kmaq artifacts, sea creatures in an ocean tide pool, information on the Sable Island ponies on the Sable Island National Park Reserve, whale skeletons, and more.
- The Halifax Central Library is an award-winning, architecturally-stunning building that welcomes the community to use the many traditional and innovative aspects housed within it. Visitors can jam in the media studio, research their ancestry in the local history room, and attend a lunchtime symphony concert in the auditorium. The library is a vibrant and central hub in downtown Halifax.
- Located within the Scotiabank Centre, The Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame celebrates 150 years of Nova Scotia’s sport heritage and heroes. The Hall of Fame features audio-visual presentations, a multi-sport simulator, and a large variety of exhibits, including a popular collection of Halifax’s own National Hockey League star Sidney Crosby!
Take a tour
Tired of looking down at a map on your phone? Want to let someone else take over while you relax and enjoy the scenery and stories? Several tour options are available on the waterfront starting in May, including a city tour on both land and sea aboard the Harbour Hopper, a tall ship cocktail cruise, a pirate cruise, or a sail aboard beloved Theodore Tugboat. If you’re more of a landlubber, enjoy a bicycle tour or Segway tour as you explore the city.
The Halifax Waterfront is teeming with dining options. Enjoy a craft beer and burger or a refined Italian dining experience with waterfront views at The Bicycle Thief. Seafood is very easy to find on the waterfront thanks to restaurants like Salty’s, Murphy’s, Stayner’s, McKelvie’s, and Waterfront Warehouse.
Photos on the ferry
One of the most unique and fun ways to capture a photo is from the top deck of a Halifax Harbour ferry. For $2.50 one way, you can cross the harbor from Halifax to Dartmouth and snap the perfect pic of the Halifax skyline along the way. The ferries run all day and into the evening, making this the perfect way to capture a beautiful sunrise or sunset over the city.