Halifax is a wonderful example of a place that appreciates its traditions but also welcomes new ideas. In the Downtown area, you will find buildings and cemeteries dating back as far as the 1700s not far from the local favorite record, candy, and book stores. One moment you can find yourself exploring a museum about Canadian immigration and the next you’re in a farmers’ market established in 1750. There is such a range of things to do in Halifax. It’s a wonderful city if you love to learn about history, architecture, beer, and even vegan food; nature lovers will also love the city for its beautiful vast parks and its never-ending views of the Atlantic Ocean.
You can also find some of the best vegan food in Canada in the North End of Halifax, not far from some of the most sought-after seafood restaurants along the Waterfront. Even in a city that thrives off maritime tourism, Halifax didn’t skip a beat and is developing new vegan restaurants, trucks, and concepts year after year.
Both Halifax and Dartmouth are easily accessible via the Halifax Harbour Ferry or bus. Each side is obviously accessible on foot, however keep in mind that Halifax’s hills are much more steep than they look. Bring good walking shoes and make a note of all of your favorite things to do in Halifax and Dartmouth mentioned below so you can pace yourself and preserve your energy.
The Best Things to Do in Halifax and Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
Historical Sites in Halifax
- Get your perfect picture snapshot with the Old Town Clock, explore the exhibits on World War I and II, or take a ghost tour, at the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site, originally built in 1749.
- Saunter along paths to admire fountains, ponds, and Victorian-era gardens at the Halifax Public Gardens, founded in 1836.
- Admire tombstones dating back to the mid-1700s at The Old Burying Ground, founded in 1749.
- Admire the beautiful Saint Mary’s Cathedral Basilica, a Catholic church designed in the neo-Gothic style with what’s possibly the highest free-standing granite spire in North America.
- Support the arts by attending a local theater production at the Neptune Theatre, built in 1915. In its lifetime, it has also served as a vaudeville house, movie theater, and now regional theater venue with two stages.
- While the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market has only been at this location since 2010, the market itself was established in 1750. Now you can shop from small grocers, purchase vegan-friendly take-out, buy jewelry from local craftsmen, stock up on toiletries at Osha Mae Soap, and so much more!
Shopping Small in Halifax and Dartmouth
- Shop used and new vinyls, CDs, and music merchandise at Taz Records or Obsolete Records.
- Sift through used and vintage clothing at Penelope’s Boutique and Lost & Found Art Vintage Kitsch in the North End, or Elsie’s Used Clothing along Vintage Row on Queen Street, one of the most colorful and Instagrammable streets in the city.
- Bring out your spiritual side by shopping at Neighborhood Witch, also along Vintage Row.
- Find your next great read at Trident Booksellers & Cafe or a rare book at Schooner Books.
- Give into your candy cravings and nostalgia at Freak Lunchbox.
- Have a blast by throwing an axe at HaliMac Axe Throwing Halifax or Timber Lounge.
- Head over to Dartmouth to explore Kept, a gift shop featuring local artisans and other fun crafts, or walk into a world of games at Lost World Games, Toys, and Records.
- Blow off some steam by rock climbing and then order a steaming cup of coffee at Seven Bays Bouldering and Seven Bays Cafe.
Museums in Halifax
- Learn about different types of energy sources, flight experiences, and how to be a healthier person at the Discovery Centre.
- Read through all of the wonderful stories from Canadian immigrants and the history of immigration in Canada at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21.
- Admire the stunning collection of artwork mainly by Nova Scotian artists, both historical and contemporary, at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.
- Immerse yourself in maritime heritage in the exhibits on boatbuilding, the Titanic, and more at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic.
- Learn about the settlers of the African Nova Scotia community dating back to 1792 at the Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia.
- Read about local heroes in the many historical displays at the popular Halifax Central Library, considered to be on the world’s most beautiful libraries.
Vegan Restaurants in Halifax
- Enjoy some of the best vegan food in all of Canada at enVie A Vegan Kitchen . Come for an exciting brunch, their beloved cheese board, or one of their shareables made with locally-sourced ingredients.
- Dine at Halifax’s oldest vegetarian restaurant. Heartwood Restaurant , where they bake their own sourdough bread and grow their own sprouts. During the summer, you can also visit Heartwood by the Sea along the Waterfront.
- Come into Springhouse for a light vegan meal that can include wraps, salads, smoothies, or an all-day breakfast plate.
- Grab cleaner versions of some of your favorite indulgences, such as donair wraps, brownies, and fries at Wild Leek Food & Juice Bar .
- For other restaurants with great vegan options, consider The Foggy Goggle for pub fare, Edna Restaurant for vegan-friendly brunch , Real Fake Meats for vegan deli options, The Juice Press Inc. for juice and raw smoothies, Beavertails for the original Canadian favorite treat, and Pür & Simple for vegan-friendly brunch and smoothies .
Places to Drink in Halifax and Dartmouth
- Imbibe at one of Halifax’s worst-kept secrets, The Noble — a speakeasy underneath The Middle Spoon Desserterie & Bar. To get the mandatory password, sign up for their email list.
- Sample local beer at Propeller Brewing Company’s vegan-friendly taproom.
- Take a coffee break at The Old Apothecary where you can sip on espresso in their colorful space filled with vintage furniture or get housemade bread to go.
- Grab a vegan-friendly breakfast or a delicious coffee drink at Lucky Penny Coffee, where you can also admire their chic space decorated with striking floral wallpaper.
- Visit Humani-T Café where you can pick vegan-friendly coffee or tea drinks, as well as gelato, from their vast menu.
- Take a tour or get a beer flight at Alexander Keith’s Brewery, one of the oldest surviving breweries in North America — dating back to nearly 200 years ago.
- Known for their large baked goods, stop by Two If By Sea Cafe for one of their vegan cookies to be had alongside their coffee brewed by Anchored Coffee, who are literally anchored in the building next door.
- For an Irish pub experience with live music, grab a brew at the Celtic Corner Public House.
Outdoor Activities in Halifax and Dartmouth
- Take a walk along the Halifax Waterfront, which just might be the longest continuous boardwalk in the world! Stop to see beautiful views of the water or enjoy a leisurely lunch.
- Walk up the steep paths of the Dartmouth Commons for beautiful views of Downtown Halifax and the Halifax Waterfront.
- Go for a run or bike ride during the warmer months, or enjoy free ice skating during the winter at the Emera Oval.
- Venture outside of the city by exploring one of the many beautiful regional parks: Crystal Crescent Beach Provincial Park, Point Pleasant Park, Long Lake Provincial Park, or the ultimate tourist attraction Peggy’s Cove.
Now that you know that Halifax has vegan-friendly breweries, axe throwing, and adorable vintage boutiques alongside all of the wonderful nature parks, historical sites, and one of the world’s most beautiful libraries, it’s hard not to consider Halifax as a must-see destination in Canada.
Let us know what excites you the most about the things to do in Halifax in the comments below!
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