Halifax Travel Guide

Canada  #13 in Best Family Vacations in Canada
Credit

Courtesy of Veronica Bogaerts/Getty Images

Free Things To Do in Halifax

If you have extra time, Halifax Public Gardens is worthwhile.
  • #1
    Historic Properties Wharf
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    #1 in Halifax
    Shopping, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Shopping, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    To sample historic Halifax, spend a few hours perusing the Historic Properties. Overlooking the harbor from its city-center locale, this neighborhood retains much of its original fin-de-siècle architecture. The historic buildings that once acted as shipping warehouses and privateers' headquarters now house the lively Harbourside Market, numerous boutiques, souvenir shops and several rowdy brewpubs.

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  • #2
    Citadel National Historic Site
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    #2 in Halifax
    Monuments and Memorials, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Monuments and Memorials, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Towering over downtown Halifax, the Citadel is a testament to the city's military past. Four forts have occupied this hilltop since 1749, when British Colonel Edward Cornwallis 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' 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 re-enactors of the Royal Artillery fire the traditional noon gun.

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  • #3
    Halifax Public Gardens
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    #3 in Halifax
    Parks and Gardens, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Parks and Gardens, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    The Public Gardens are a living testament to the Victorian era. And visitors welcome the respite from the urban atmosphere. Established in 1867, this two-acre public space -- marked by an ornate metal entryway -- houses manicured flower beds, quiet walkways, a picturesque gazebo and plenty of perfect picnic spots. As one TripAdvisor user describes them: "The Public Gardens is simply gorgeous, colorful, peaceful and beautiful … Oddly when you enter, it is peaceful and blocks all the noise from outside."

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  • #4
    Dartmouth
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    #4 in Halifax
    Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Sitting across the harbor from Halifax is Dartmouth, a small town that has been around since 1750. There are two primary reasons to visit this Nova Scotia town (aside from the scenic ferry ride across the harbor): First, to enjoy its natural landscape; and second, to take in its history. Known as "The City of Lakes," Dartmouth is peppered with 23 individual ponds, many of which are surrounded by public parkland and ideal for a picnic. Another scenic stomping ground is the Shubenacadie Canal, which was created in the early 1800s to connect Halifax Harbor to Shubenacadie Grand Lake and ultimately the Bay of Fundy near Nova Scotia's interior.

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  • #6
    St. Paul's Church
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    #6 in Halifax
    Churches/Religious Sites, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Churches/Religious Sites, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Founded in 1749 by Britain's King George II, St. Paul's is Canada's oldest Protestant church. The building may look simple at first, but architecture buffs and historians alike will appreciate its construction. The church was modeled after London's St. Peter's Church (designed in 1722), and the heavy wooden beams were brought north from Boston when Massachusetts was still a British colony. However, according to one TripAdvisor user, "The most interesting parts were a piece of metal embedded in the wall … and the spooky broken window in the shape of a silhouette -- both remnants of the famous Halifax explosion."

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  • #9
    Province House
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    #9 in Halifax
    Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    This three-story Palladian building in the heart of Halifax has provided a meeting ground for the Nova Scotia House of Assembly since 1819, making it the oldest house of government in Canada and a National Historic Site. Although it still functions as a legislative building, visitors are welcome to take a guided tour. One TripAdvisor user strongly recommends this because "It's free and doesn't take long, they do a good job explaining the customs and history of the government in the region." You can also obtain a visitors pass, which will allow you to sit in on assembly gatherings (when they're in session).

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