April 15, 2021
If you’re planning a visit to Nova Scotia aboard Fundy Rose, mv Confederation or mv Holiday Island this summer, a day spent in Halifax is an absolute must! The largest city in the Maritimes, Halifax, Nova Scotia is a hotbed of East Coast culture. Here, pubs line pedestrian streets, beckoning visitors with the sounds of fiddles, guitars, and laughter, while history is waiting to be discovered in the city’s many museums and heritage sites. Whether you’re visiting for an evening, a weekend, or longer, here are a few suggestions for spending a day in Halifax.
With the sun rising in the east, Halifax, Nova Scotia is the perfect place to catch an amazing sunrise. And in our opinion, there’s no better spot to watch the sun come up than by downtown Halifax’s Old Clock Tower. Perched on Citadel Hill, the Old Clock Tower overlooks Halifax’s bustling downtown core, as well as the Halifax Harbour. When you arrive at the Old Clock Tower, look out on the harbour and to the right, then relax and watch the show. On any given day, the odds are good that you’ll be treated to a spectacular sunrise that will set the tone for the rest of your day in this fantastic city.
Since you’re already downtown in the early morning, your next stop should be the Seaport Farmers’ Market. We’ve written about farmers’ markets in the Maritimes in the past, and the Seaport Farmers’ Market is definitely among our favourites. The Halifax Farmers’ Market has been running since 1750, making it the longest continually running farmers’ market in North America. Since 2021, the market has called Pavillion 22 at 1031 Marginal Road home, where it hosts a wide variety of vendors every weekend. These diverse vendors sell everything from fresh local produce to handcrafted jewellery and leatherwork. You’re sure to find something here that catches your eye, even if it’s just a fresh cup of coffee to enjoy the next part of your day.
It sounds simple enough, but Halifax is a wonderfully walkable city, and we encourage you to take advantage of it! There are plenty of places to explore by foot in the city, but two of our favourites are along Halifax’s iconic boardwalk and in the public gardens.
The Halifax Harbour is beautiful, and the best way to see it is along the boardwalk. This part of the city is often abuzz with locals and tourists alike, enjoying the view, the entertainment, or a meal at one of the many harbour-side restaurants. While you’re here, don’t forget to snap a photo by “The Wave,” the boardwalk’s famous statue that is a popular site for folks of all ages!
A stroll through the Halifax Public Gardens on the other hand, is kind of like taking a stroll through history. After all, these gardens are over 150 years old, and are well known as one of North America’s finest surviving examples of a classic Victorian garden. Here, you’ll find colorful carpet beds, tropical beds, statues, memorials, and more — all behind the ornate wrought iron gates that welcome visitors inside. In the heart of the gardens, stop by the bandstand to see the annuals and maybe even enjoy some live entertainment!
Not far from the waterfront, you’ll find several museums, where you can learn more about science, art, Maritime history, and more! Art buffs visiting the Maritimes will want to pay a visit to the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, affectionately known as “The AGNS (pronounced Agnes).” As the most prominent art gallery in the Maritimes, The AGNS houses over 17,000 works of art, including their famed Maude Lewis collection. Not only can you browse this artist’s unique folk art at The AGNS, you can see the tiny home where she spent her days painting.
Not far from The AGNS, you’ll find The Halifax Discovery Centre, a science museum offering a fun look at the world around us that is perfect for the young and young at heart. The Discovery Centre is home to a permanent exhibit dedicated to many fascinating topics, such as the human body, the science of flight, and energy. In addition to these exhibits, The Discovery Centre is proud to host a diverse assortment of touring exhibitions, which showcase a broad range of topics — from the science of music and video games to teaching visitors about the bond shared between humans and their pets.
Still looking for more? Visit the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic to learn about Nova Scotia’s special connection to the sea. Or, learn about our country’s history as a beacon of hope for the world at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21. Is natural history more your thing? Spend some time at the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History. No matter your interest, you’ll find plenty to satisfy your curiosity in Halifax.
On a sunny summer day in Halifax, sometimes there’s nothing better than a cold drink at the Stillwell Beer Garden. A favorite spot for locals, the Beer Garden is always filled with friendly locals eager to share a drink and a story at the garden’s communal tables. While you’re here, be sure to grab a bite to eat or an ice cream at the Dairy Bar and spend your afternoon entirely relaxed amongst friends. And don’t worry, the Beer Garden also offers non-alcoholic beverages if you would prefer.
Stillwell doesn’t offer the only beer garden game in town, however. There’s also the Stubborn Goat Beer Garden on the waterfront. They say everything tastes better by the water, and when you spend the day enjoying company and cold drinks by the ocean, you can put that theory to the test. With plenty of seating and lots on the menu, you’ll find there’s no better way to spend a lovely day!
No visit to Halifax is complete without taking a trip out of town to visit the quaint fishing village of Peggy’s Cove and its iconic Peggy’s Point Lighthouse. Easily the most famous of the lighthouses in the Maritimes (as seen in everything from cola commercials to Carly Rae Jepsen music videos), the Peggy’s Point Lighthouse is a fantastic spot to capture an unforgettable snapshot of your Nova Scotia experience. While you’re here, be sure to stop in at the Sou’Wester for a bite to eat and a souvenir from the gift shop.
When the sun sets, there’s still plenty of fun to be had in Halifax! Take a walk down to Argyle Street, where, under the captivating lights of the city’s new convention center, you’ll find a vibrant nightlife. Whether you’re interested in live music, grabbing a bite to eat, or simply sitting on a patio and passing the time people watching, there’s an establishment here that’s perfect for you. Raise a toast to an amazing day spent in Halifax — one capped off with an awesome night on the town!
As your 24 hours in Halifax come to a close, cap your visit off by exploring Point Pleasant Park. Here, along 39 kilometers of winding wooded trails, you’ll discover the ruins of early British fortifications, a wealth of wildlife, and several beautiful look-offs — which are perfect if you’re interested in catching another early morning sunrise. Bring your bike, bring your dog, or just a good pair of walking shoes and prepare for a wilderness journey without leaving the city.
Are you ready to spend 24 (or more!) thrilling hours in Halifax, Nova Scotia? Start planning your visit today and book your passage aboard Fundy Rose, mv Confederation, or mv Holiday Island. We’re looking forward to hearing about all the fun you have in Nova Scotia’s capital city!