Protect Your Trip »

Protect Your Trip » Search, compare and buy the best travel insurance for the lowest price

Credit

Courtesy of Veronica Bogaerts/Getty Images

Why Go To Halifax

The capital of Nova Scotia is any historian's dream: This harbor town has been a British stronghold and a pirate haven. The city was also the starting point for more than a million immigrants' new lives and the final resting place for hundreds who died at sea after the "unsinkable" Titanic went down in the icy Atlantic. And with so many of Halifax's top attractions devoted to the preservation of its rich history, you might think that this city is stuck in the past. But you'd be wrong.

Halifax has emerged as the commercial capital of Canada's Maritime Provinces thanks to its natural harbor. This status has helped Halifax come into its own as a cultural hub as well. For visitors, that means an abundance of festivals, art galleries and live performances. This is also a great place to kick off an outdoorsy getaway – Halifax is home to several notable public parks and is an easy drive from some small ski areas. And did we mention the seafood? Salmon and lobster are staple ingredients in Nova Scotian cuisine and can be savored alongside stunning views of the harbor at many downtown restaurants. So, whether you're looking to sample the past or the present, Halifax provides an ideal backdrop.

READ MORE 

Find Flight and Hotel Deals

FLIGHTS
HOTELS

Navigate forward to interact with the calendar and select a date. Press the question mark key to get the keyboard shortcuts for changing dates.

Navigate backward to interact with the calendar and select a date. Press the question mark key to get the keyboard shortcuts for changing dates.

Protect Your Trip:  Search, compare and buy the best travel insurance for the lowest price. Get a Quote.

Rankings

The U.S. News & World Report travel rankings are based on analysis of expert and user opinions. Read more about how we rank vacation destinations.

Best of Halifax

Protect Your Trip:  Search, compare and buy the best travel insurance for the lowest price. Get a Quote.

Halifax Travel Tips

Best Months to Visit

The best time to visit Halifax is May through October. Summer and fall experience pleasant weather and usher in numerous festivals. However, these months also attract lots of tourists, so be prepared for steep hotel rates. If you're looking to avoid the crowds and the high prices, visit between November and February. Sure, you'll encounter icy winds (easily braved with warm layers), but you'll be granted access to Nova Scotia's ski slopes. March and April also see fewer visitors and lower prices, but the springtime rain can make sightseeing a muddy pursuit.

Weather in Halifax

Switch to Celsius/MM
Average Temperature (°F)
29.8
12.7
30
13.6
37.4
21.6
47.1
31.1
59
40.1
68.5
49.3
74.5
56.3
73.9
56.3
65.8
48.7
54.9
38.8
44.4
30.7
34.5
19.2
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Average Precipitation (in)
5.87
4.5
5.3
4.66
4.32
3.87
4.02
3.65
4.08
5.07
5.75
6.09
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
See details for When to Visit Halifax

Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center

What You Need to Know

  • Weather is fickle Prepare yourself for the unpredictable climate by wearing layers and carrying an umbrella.
  • Prepare for winter closures Although many of Halifax's businesses stay open year-round, some of the smaller hotels and restaurants in the area close for the slow season. It's a good idea to call ahead.
  • Seafood is a staple Because of its seaside location, Halifax is prime seafood territory. No trip is complete without some lobster tail or Atlantic salmon.

How to Save Money in Halifax

  • Brave the winter Chilly sea breezes drive away tourists, so you can expect to see room rates dip from November to February. Plus, you can spend your savings on lift tickets at one of Nova Scotia's ski areas.
  • Rent your wheels downtown If you're planning to rent a car, wait until you get into town. Rental fees at the airport are significantly higher than those found in Halifax proper. Hop on the Maritime bus to get downtown instead.
  • Take a free tour Halifax Free Tours offers tip-what-you-want tours in the summer (and by arrangement other seasons). Head to the Citadel at 10 a.m. or 3 p.m. for the 1 1/2-hour tour.

Culture & Customs

Though many aspects of Canadian culture may seem familiar to Americans, two key differences are the country's use of the Canadian dollar and the international metric system. One U.S. dollar equals about CA$1.40, but the exchange rate often fluctuates, so be sure to check it before your trip. For temperatures and weights, remember that metric units (Celsius and grams) are used. You'll also want to familiarize yourself with kilometers and liters if you plan on renting a car, since distance is measured in kilometers (1 kilometer equals around 0.6 miles) and gas is sold by the liter (1 liter equals about 0.3 gallons).

READ MORE 

What to Eat

Seafood, seafood, seafood. If you love the bounty of the sea, Halifax is heaven. Lobster, salmon, scallops and other fish can be found on menus everywhere, prepared in every way imaginable, from traditional seafood chowder to lobster tacos. The donair, a pita stuffed with shaved-and-spiced beef, topped with a sweet sauce made from condensed milk, is a local favorite. A popular spot to sample local fare is at the Seaport Farmers Market, one of the oldest farmers markets in North America. And if you want your meal with a side of great views, head to the waterfront for tons of cafe, bar and restaurant options. 

READ MORE 
Explore restaurants

Getting Around Halifax

The best ways to get around Halifax are on foot or by bus. Despite its hilly terrain, central Halifax is extremely compact and walkable, but you'll need stamina and sturdy walking shoes. You can also rely on Metro Transit, which operates buses throughout the city and ferries to nearby Dartmouth. However, if you're planning on venturing outside Halifax, you will need a car. You'll find major rental agencies both in town and at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport (YHZ), located about 20 miles north of downtown.

Entry & Exit Requirements

A passport is required for citizens of the United States to travel to Canada and enter the country. You must produce a passport, passport card or NEXUS card (which allows expedited border crossings for travelers through Canadian and U.S. border controls). For more information, visit the U.S. State Department website.

Photos

1 of 37
2 of 37

Halifax acts as a port of call for many cruise lines.

Courtesy of Nova Scotia Tourism

Explore More of Halifax

If you make a purchase from our site, we may earn a commission. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.

Recommended