Here are some quick suggestions for visitors with limited time in the area. Perfect if you have only ONE DAY to visit (like a business trip, when passing through, or when stopping over between flights). The additional days schedule is a recommendation for those who want to see the essence of Halifax in only a couple of days.

You can read ALL SORTS of travel guides, and carry around pounds of paper, or just print off this ONE PAGE and have all the info you ever need! These are the area’s top activities, family activities and attractions, tourist attractions, historical sites, museums, interesting architecture, sightseeing and top shopping/dining areas. Organized into a nice walking or driving itinerary!

Sightseeing Suggestions

Halifax is on the south shore of the Halifax Harbour, and the downtown area is on a peninsula that is surrounded ion three sides by water. There are a number of interesting communities around the harbour connecting Halifax to Dartmouth on the north shore.

One Day Stay

Halifax Waterfront, view from Dartmouth

To capture the essence of this city, here are suggestions for your first day (especially if its your only day) in Halifax. This action-packed tour is focused on downtown

Begin the day atop Citadel Hill, with the expansive view of the city and Halifax Harbour

Halifax Citadel, view of Fortifications from overhead

 

Tour the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site, a magnificent fortress for the early 1800s. It defended the Halifax harbour, first from possible American invasion, and then from German attack over two world wars.

Cupola in the Halifax Public Gardens

If you have time, tour the Halifax Public Garden, designed like European formal gardens. Some trees and structures were damaged by a hurrican a few years back, but its still pretty spectacular.

 

Head down the hill, past The Old Town Clock (closed to public) built in 1803 and the Metro Centre convention hall to Halifax’s oldest area, the waterfront

Halifax Historic Properties, on the waterfront

Take either the streets or the Downtown Link passageways (sometimes underground,sometimes above) and visit the shops and restaurants of the Historic Properties (above)

Head along the Boardwalk  exploring shops, restaurants, continuing south to the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic.

Halifax - Maritime Museum of the Atlantic view of building

Halifax – Maritime Museum of the Atlantic view of building

Take the harbour ferry to Dartmouth and back, to get some great photos of Halifax and Dartmouth’s waterfronts

Halifax - view south along waterfront boardwalk

Halifax – view south along waterfront boardwalk

Continuing south, you pass the Bluenose II dock, a recreation of the famous 1920s race-winning schooner seen on Canadian dimes (a cruise may take more time than you have in a one day quickie tour)

See Province House, the provincial legislature, and Government House, the home of the Lieutenant Governor, the Queen’s representative to the legislature.

A block off the boardwalk is Halifax’s oldest and best-known breweries Alexander Keith’s (you can take a tour!) and one of its oldest pubs, the Brown Hound.

Halifax- Alexander Keith's Brewery inside view

Halifax- Alexander Keith’s Brewery inside view

At the southern end of downtown is Pier 21, and national historic site dedicated to thousands of Canadian immigrants (right beside today’s cruise ship docks). Across the water is Georges Island Historic Site in the middle of the harbour.

Halifax - George's Island and containter port view from Dartmouth ferry

Halifax – George’s Island and containter port view from Dartmouth ferry

Just a little further is the Canadian Museum of Immigration, the CN Rail Station and Halifax’s famous container port

Head up Spring Garden Road to a shopping district and mall for some shopping and dining to wrap up your day. And to the north is Grafton Street with manuy restaurants and bars.

The south end of the peninsula features Point Pleasant Park, littered with monuments, a beach, military batteries, and the Prince of Wales Martello Tower.

Two Day Stay

If you have a second day in Halifax, you should take in the surrounding waterfront communities:

Halifax Canadian naval ships

Head north on Barrington Street (which eventually turns into Highway 2), and you pass the HMCS Scotian and the Royal Canadian Navy dockyards.

Then you pass underneath the two bridges to Dartmouth (you’ll come back on one of these later), you pass Halifax’s miles of docks, pretty Seaview Park before passing the HalTerm Container Port.

Halifax Port AuthorityContinue northwest along the Bedford Highway, with a detour at Kearney Lake Road to Hemlock Ravine Park with its heart-shaped Julie’s Pond

Bedford’s waterfront is home to several yacht clubs. on the east shore is the rugged and forested Admiral Cove Park, which has some great hiking trails and high cliff lookouts over the harbour.

Continue your clockwise tour of the harbour along Windmill Road, with its big box shopping district, and you are now heading along Highway 7 (Windmill Road) along the waterfront southeast toward Dartmouth

Just before the first bridge, stop at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography

Lake Banook rowersContinue along Windmill Road into downtown Dartmouth, to Dartmouth Heritage Museum and Aldernay Waterfront Park, right beside the Dartmouth Shipyards, with an excellent view of downtown Halifax

 

You’ll pass a plaque commemorating the end of the historic Shubenacadie Canal, and can visit the Evergreen Historic House

 

Harbour Ferry

Head inland a bit to see Lake Bannook (shown left) & Lake Micmac, home to many freshwater sporting activities in the region.

 

 

Head east along the Eastern Passage Rd past Halifax’s refineries to CFB Shearwater Aviation Museum
Fort McNab National Historic Site overhead view

You pass McNabs Island, home to Fort McNab National Historic Site, accessible by ferry in the town of Eastern Passage, which also has a historic waterfront, with many quaint shops and restaurants.

Halifax- FIshermans Cove fishing boats docked

Halifax- FIshermans Cove fishing boats docked

You can continue a bit further east and see Fisherman’s Village, known for it quaint shops, a beach, and view to the lighthouse marking themouth of Halifax Harbour

Three Day Stay

If you have a third day in the Halifax area, head south along Highway 333 to Peggy’s Cove fishing village, the most painted waterfront in North America, and continue south along Highway 3 to Mahone Bay and to  Lunenburg, both known for thir  charm, waterfront and historical homes and churches.

Grand Pre- low tide mudflats with view to Boot Island

Grand Pre- low tide mudflats with view to Boot Island

You can also head northwest to Windsor, Hantsport, Wolfville, and Grand Pre on the Bay of Fundy. Here you can observe the impacts of Fundy’s famous 50 foot tides, twice a day and a number of the estuaries her have tidal bores travelling upstream. Check with locals for best locations and time (the tides shift by 55 minutes each day)

Cabot Trail-Cape Breton National Park view north of to Cap Rouge

Cabot Trail-Cape Breton National Park view north of to Cap Rouge

Nova Scotia Road Trips

view of Cape Breton Highlands

More significant detours are to the west to Annapolis Royal and Digby to explore the area’s very early French history. This is a southern loop route, and can take a day.

You can also head north to the Cape Breton Highlands, Baddeck, Fort Louisbourg and Sydney, whhere you can catch a ferry to Newfoundland. This is easily a 1 or 2 day round trip.