Towards the end May of 2022 I went on holiday to Halfiax, NS with a good friend. This was my first time to Halifax and Atlantic Canada, and it did not disappoint. Halifax is largest city in the area and is situated on the southern shores of the province, right on Halifax Harbour, one of the world’s deepest natural harbours. The visit was 6 days / 5 nights, packed with plenty of sightseeing, beer drinking, and overall fun. Here are some of the things you can see and do in this lovely Maritime city based on my own time there.
Canadian Immigration Museum at Pier 21
The location of the Canadian Immigration Museum is where almost one million immigrants landed in Canada from 1928 through 1971 by way of ship. It was where they first stepped foot in this country, going through immigration clearance and onto the next chapter of their lives. Much of the museum offers artifacts and stories of individuals and families, piecing together some of the tales that make up the mosaic of Canada. Guided tours are included in the entry fee along with wandering and perusing the exhibits. Another feature they have is a genealogy department. You can step in and ask about relatives that may have passed through the immigration port or see related family history. Although my family did not pass through Halifax I did learn a bit about one of my great grandfathers. Very interesting indeed.
Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market
Along with the nearby Immigration Museaum, the Halifax Seaport Farmer’s Market was a perfect place to meander about on our one and only rainy day. Filled with various edibles and wares, it was a pleasant time to peruse and try some local products. I may or may not have purchased too many tasty souvenirs.
Without a doubt, Halifax has one of the best harbourfronts that I have visited. A day could easily be spent wandering along the boardwalk that runs 4 km / 2.48 mi through many shops, cafes, museums, restaurants, tours, and even a ferry ride to nearby Dartmouth. We indulged in sweet rum cake at Rum Runners; decided to have a beer and snack at the Salt Yard; admired the homage to artist Maude Lewis and other artwork; jealously wished we could relax in the hammocks that were in full use; visited the delectable chocolate shop Peace by Chocolate and learnt of their incredible story; missed out on a Segue Way Tour (next time!); dined at the acclaimed and worth-the-hype restaurant The Bicycle Thief; and ended the day with an evening ferry ride to Dartmouth for some of their local craft beer. It was a great day!
Halifax Public Gardens
A lovely green space nestled in the city, it was a wonderful place to unwind while admiring the large variety of plants, shrubs, trees, and flowers. You can admire the restored bandstand, wander along the pond, and watch the cute ducks also visiting the park. The Public Gardens have a bit of history going back to the 1800s where 2 parcels of land were joined together by those who had a passion for horticulture. In 2003, after its destruction by Hurricane Juan, restoration to the gardens began with fund raising and public interest. It really is a lovely garden to visit and be revived by the flora surrounding you.
Halifax has no shortage of craft beer! I love tasting and supporting local breweries, especially after a day of sightseeing and wandering. On this trip we visited five breweries and attempted to visit the long-standing Alexander Keith’s Brewery however, they were closed one day and tours were not operating yet on the other day we tried to visit. We did however enjoy some libations at the breweries listed below.
- Garrison Brewing
- 2 Crows Brewing Co.
- Tusket Falls Beer Project (my favourite)
- Propeller Brewing (Halifax’s oldest craft brewery)
- Brightwood Brewery (Dartmouth)
We had contemplated whether or not to rent a car for a day or book a day tour to see some of the areas outside of Halifax. In the end we opted for a tour so that we could just be picked up and dropped off and not worry about directions, planning, or anything else. We selected Alternative Routes and were very happy with them. Booking online on their website was simple. Everything went smoothly and had plenty to see. Below are the spots we visited during our full day outing.
- Peggy’s Cove
- Photo stops in Hubbard, Chester, and Mahone Bay
- Lunch, wandering, and shopping in historic Lunenberg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Driving across the Annapolis Valley to see a small portion of the enormous Bay of Fundy
- A stop in Wolfville and visit to Lightfoot & Wolfville Vineyards for some lovely local wines
If you like history, especially military history, then the Halifax Citadel is for you. The citadel standing in Halifax was completed in 1856, the fourth one built on the hill to act as fortification for the city. Today it gives a glimpse into the military history of the area along with an sweeping view of the city.
We crammed a lot into this trip – an easy thing to do in the Halifax area. I would definately recommend this east coast city on its own or part of a large Atlantic Canada trip. Do note that during the summer tourist season (June onwards) that more places are open or open longer. We ran into a few scenarios where restaurants or places of interest were not open earlier in the week or not open at all until June. Aside from that, we had a great time.
All photos taken and owned by Eeva Valiharju / Wanders the World
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