Halifax Citadel National Historic Site

#1 in Best Things To Do in Halifax
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Courtesy of Nova Scotia Tourism

Key Info

5425 Sackville St.

Price & Hours



Free, Monuments and Memorials, Sightseeing Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend


  • 5.0Value
  • 3.0Facilities
  • 4.5Atmosphere

Towering over downtown Halifax, the Citadel is a testament to the city's military past. Four forts have occupied this hilltop since 1749, when Edward Cornwallis, a career British military officer, governed the region; the fort that stands today dates back to 1856. Visitors can wander the Citadel's corridors and learn about Halifax's involvement in major wars, such as the American Revolution, the American Civil War and both World Wars. The on-site Army Museum offers a closer look at the fortress's history. And to truly feel what it was like to be on the hill back in its heyday, make sure to come at lunchtime, when reenactors of the Royal Artillery fire the traditional noon gun.

You can also interact with members of the 78th Highland Regiment. From May through October, these kilted reenactors offer free guided tours of the fort and provide insight on what it was like to be a soldier there. You can even learn to shoot a 19th-century rifle from one of these reenactors (for an extra fee and age restrictions apply).  

Recent visitors say the Citadel is a must-see stop for history buffs and add that the views are outstanding. If you want a relatively quiet experience, past travelers recommend visiting in the fall or early winter to avoid the most crowds.

The Citadel National Historic Site is about a 15-minute walk west of the waterfront. It is open year-round, though hours vary depending on the season. Fees to enter the site also vary by season. Adult admission ranges from CA$7.90 to CA$11.90 (about $5.50 to $8), while it is always free for children 17 and younger. Parking is available on-site and costs CA$3.15 (about $2). For more information, check out the Citadel's website.

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Time to Spend
#2 Halifax Public Gardens

The Public Gardens are a living testament to the Victorian era. And visitors welcome the respite from the urban atmosphere. Opened in 1867, this 16-acre public space – marked by an ornate metal entryway – houses manicured flower beds, quiet walkways, a picturesque gazebo and plenty of perfect picnic spots. Locals and visitors alike praise the beauty of the park and love the peace and quiet it affords in the center of the city. The Friends of the Public Gardens runs tours of the grounds during the summer. You can request a tour and check out the latest tour schedule on the organization's website.

The Halifax Public Gardens are open every day from 7 a.m. to one hour before sunset. Admission is free. The gardens are located kitty-corner to the Citadel. You can learn more about the Public Gardens by perusing the park's website.

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