Halifax is a coastal city rich in Canadian history. We recommend your first excursion be walking the Halifax waterfront boardwalk where you can really get a feel for the place. The boardwalk is 4 km winding around historic buildings, local eateries and shops, and may have street performers and other entertainment. You can beat the crowds by arriving in the morning. Start at the north end by Casino Nova Scotia or the South end by the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21.
What is on the boardwalk?
Privateer’s Wharf formally known as Historic Properties
The Privateer’s Wharf played a huge role in Halifax’s early success. The oldest building here was built around mid-late 1700’s by a privateer and initially used as a tool to transport goods against Napoleon’s blockade. In the 1970’s the buildings were going to be demolished but a public outcry and petition stopped that, thankfully! The most popular buildings here are the Pontac House, Privateer Warehouse, The Red Store, Kings Warehouse (now the Carpenter Shop), and the Wooden Storehouse/Loft. Most of the buildings are now repurposed with shops and restaurants. The Harbourside market is also located here.
Maritime museum of the Atlantic
Permanent exhibits include the Titanic, The Halifax Explosion (during world war 1), Shipwreck, Age of Steam and Days of Sail. The HMCS Sackville is docked close to the museum in the summer time, even though it isn’t owned by the museum. HMCS is a world war 2 artifact ship with tours offered.
Visitor Information Centre
I personally love making a visitor centre my first stop as soon as I get to a new place. Usually the information people are kind, helpful and enthusiastic about their local area. You can learn about current entertainment events, receive deals, ask about local secrets and get quality tips for your stay.
Alexander Keith’s brewery
Immersive, engaging and pumped with beer! And due to the history this is a brewery tour you can feel good about. Who can pass up visiting one of the oldest breweries in North America? The Nova Scotia brewery was founded in 1820, about 47 years before Canada was founded.
Canadian Museum Immigration at Pier 21
The Canadian Museum Immigration at Pier 21acts as the national immigration museum of Canada, housed in former immigration quarters.
Halifax Seaport Famers Market
Recommended to visit on the weekend for the full experience.
History and Museums in Halifax
Halifax Citadel National Historic Site
Visit the scenic, historical fort. Interact with the dressed-up guides, listen to the bagpipes, and dive into history with a trench tour. There are artifacts, historical reconstructions and an interior courtyard.
Fairview Lawn Cemetery
A sobering experience. This is where many victims of the Titanic rest.
Old burying ground
The old burial grounds contain headstones that date back to 200 years before Canada was founded. There is an on-site tour guide and late night tours to add to the ambiance. The tours are informative, visit this if you are a history junkie.
St. Paul’s Church
Visit the oldest building in Halifax and the oldest sustained protestant church in Canada. This church was founded in 1749 (same year as Halifax’s’ founding) and first opened its doors in 1750. St. Paul’s is made from mostly wood, and is relatively small. A bit of the church is marked from The Halifax Explosion and purposely hasn’t been repaired.
Art Gallery of Nova Scotia
The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, founded in 1908, is currently located in the Dominion Building which was built in 1865 and the Provincial Building. The two buildings are connected by a courtyard used for temporary exhibits and by an underground exhibition room. The museum teaches history through art with a focus on Nova Scotian art. This includes traditional folk art, classical portraits, and Inuit stone carvings..
St. Mary’s Basilica
Besides being historical and having the tallest granite spire in North America, the church is commonly described as majestic, beautiful and photogenic. The architecture is gothic and the ceiling was built by shipbuilders which is evident because the ceiling resembles an upside-down ship frame.
Old Town Clock
The old town clock is a classic symbol of Halifax. The backdrop is the citade,l and the hill which the clock tower rests upon offers great views of the city on a clear day. The bells still chime hourly and can be heard throughout downtown Halifax to this day. It was originally constructed in 1803 by Prince Edward, Duke of Kent who wished to reduce the garrison’s tardiness.
Outside in the city:
Halifax public gardens – First developed in 1867, the beautiful 16 acres of Victorian era gardens will wow you with extensive flower beds, statues, fountains, ponds and stone bridges! This haven is picture perfect.
Point Pleasant Park – lots of pathways including some that take you to the ocean front. Along the paths you can find statues and monuments. This park was used during the French Revolutionary War of 1792.
Emera Oval – A local favorited skate rink (ice skating in the winter.)
Clam Harbour Beach Provincial Park – A nice, sandy, family-friendly beach on the Atlantic Ocean
Fisherman’s Cove – An authentic fishing village located 15 minutes from Halifax. Explore the quaint little village and make sure to eat fish and chips! Recently, there has been more commercial businesses here due to the amount of tourists that visit.
Attractions and Entertainment:
Dalhousie Arts Centre is the biggest performing arts center in Halifax. They have a unique outdoor rooftop theatre, an art gallery, a sculpture garden, and much more!
Halifax central library A great local activity for families! Visit the library, have your kids participate in children sessions, gawk at the architecture, and spend an afternoon drinking coffee on the rooftop.
Neptune Theatre – Besides being the go-to place for live theatrical performances in Halifax, Neptune Theatre is currently the largest professional theatre of its type in Atlantic Canada.
The Discovery Centre in Halifax is currently waiting to be moved into a bigger facility as the current one is dated. The move is supposed to happen late 2016 or early 2017 and will be located on the waterfront. Still, the Discovery Centre is a great family activity because it is an interactive science museum and the staff are friendly, knowledgeable and fun. Their exhibits include: Tension on Suspension, The Bubble Room, Build Your Own Coaster, and the Lindsay Building Centre with Lego!
Shakespeare by the Sea – an outdoor live theatre set up in the summer months. If you are visiting Halifax during the season and have the slightest interest in live theatre, this is a must!
RV Campgrounds near here:
Halifax West KOA
Woodhaven Park Campground
Laurie Provincial Park
Shubie Park Campground
To reserve your Halifax campervan hire, use the search tool at the top of this page. If you have any questions or would like some help finding the cheapest RV motorhome rental rate, please feel free to call 1-877-778-9569.
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Photo credit: destinationhalifax.com