Halifax is one of Canada’s most beautiful cities. From the incredible maritime coastline to the rich historical landmarks, this east coast city has no shortage of fun things to see and do – plus, it’s the ultimate city for history buffs. Here are some of our favorite free activities.
1. Halifax Waterfront
At 2.5 miles, the Halifax Waterfront is the longest boardwalk in the world. Spend a day visiting some of Halifax’s best restaurants, stopping by the museums, and relaxing in hammock swings. The waterfront also plays host to events and festivals year-round.
2. HMCS Sackville
The HMCS Sackville is the last surviving Flower-class corvette of the Royal Canadian Navy, and is now a museum ship situated on the Halifax Waterfront. You can learn all about how the sailors lived and worked on the ship during WWII. Entrance is free, but donations are welcomed.
3. Halifax Oval
Looking to get a little exercise while you’re in the city? The Halifax Oval offers roller skating in the summer and ice skating in the winter. Originally built for the 2011 Canada Games, the skating surface is the size of 3 NHL hockey rinks. Skate and helmet rentals are free with a government-issued photo ID.
4. Seaport Farmers’ Market
The Seaport Farmers’ Market is the oldest continuously operating farmers’ market in North America. Sample a few craft wines and beers, grab some locally made jams and sauces or just spend some time people-watching and soaking up the hustle and bustle of a thriving marketplace.
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5. Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame
If you’re a sports fan, you’ll want to stop by the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame. The museum includes more than 7,000 artifacts and photos, including the famous clothes dryer Sidney Crosby practiced shooting in as a kid.
6. Art Gallery of Nova Scotia
The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia is the largest art museum in Atlantic Canada, and admission is free on Thursday evenings. There are more than 17,000 works of art from the Atlantic provinces and across Canada.
7. Citadel Hill
While the Citadel itself has an admission fee, you can walk around outside and see the historic Halifax Town Clock, more than 200 years old. It was a gift from Prince Edward, Queen Victoria’s father, who apparently had an obsession with being punctual. The clock was reconstructed in the 1960’s, but the original clockworks are still being used today.
8. Royal Canadian Navy museum
Take a look at weapons, artifacts and documents of the Royal Canadian Navy at the Naval Museum of Halifax. It’s located in Admiralty House, a 200-year-old building once home to British Admirals. It became a museum in the 1970’s, and still features a lot of the original interior decor.
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9. Nova Scotia House of Assembly
The Nova Scotia House of Assembly has met at Province House every year since 1819, making it the longest-serving legislative building in Canada. You can watch a sitting of the House of Assembly, take a free tour around the site or wander through the legislative library.
10. Halifax Public Gardens
Take a step back into the Victorian era at the Halifax Public Gardens. Established in 1867, the year of Canadian Confederation, it’s the oldest Victorian garden in North America. It offers free horticulture and history tours, and you might even catch a free concert in the summer.
11. St. Paul’s Anglican Church
Built in 1750, St. Paul’s Anglican Church is the oldest existing Anglican church in Canada and the oldest building in Nova Scotia. The windows were blown out during the 1917 Halifax Explosion, and there is a piece of a window frame on display in memory of it.
12. Point Pleasant Park
Explore the forested trails and military monuments at Point Pleasant Park, located at the south end of Halifax. There, you can see old artillery batteries such as the Prince of Wales Tower, the oldest tower in North America. The park’s roots can be traced back as early as the 17th century, and the city of Halifax actually rents the site from the British Government for 1 shilling a year.
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13. Halifax Central Library
If you’ve seen enough historic buildings, stop by the more modern Halifax Central Library. The architecture both inside and out is phenomenal, and with its rectangular shape and glass windows, it contrasts the older buildings in Halifax. Grab a coffee at the outdoor rooftop café during the summer and enjoy the sun.
14. Sir Sandford Fleming Park
Sir Sandford Fleming Park was founded by its namesake, architect of the Canadian Pacific Railway and the founder of time zones. It’s a great spot for a stroll or a picnic, with a fantastic view of Halifax’s Northwest Arm. Walk up the Dingle tower for even more beautiful views. Visit in autumn to see the leaves colored in different shades.
15. Fairview Lawn Cemetery
The Fairview Lawn Cemetery is the final resting place of 121 victims of the Titanic, some of which were never identified. There’s a J. Dawson buried here, but his name was actually Joseph – according to filmmaker James Cameron, it’s a coincidence his fictional character of Jack Dawson shares the same initial.