🦠 Note for 2020: Some Halifax attractions and things to do listed in this travel guide may be temporarily closed or restricted based on the global situation affecting travel this year. Follow local guidance and check directly with the establishments regarding closures and reopening dates. For the latest on the situation and info for travellers to Halifax, see the updates on NovaScotia.com.
The wide assortment of great things to do in Halifax helps to make Nova Scotia’s capital such a fun travel destination to visit in Canada! The friendly waterfront city has so much to offer visitors. Personally, Halifax remains one of our favorite destinations in the country.
So what makes Halifax so much fun?
⚓ its unique maritime culture,
🇨🇦 the friendly Haligonians who live here,
🎉 the weekly festivals,
☀️ amazing summer weather,
🏞️ the abundant park space,
🍺 a booming craft beer scene,
🦞 delicious local seafood,
🏙️ the vibrant Waterfront,
🚗 adventurous day trips to pursue, and
➕ so much more!
This maritime city is awesome and there are so many fun things to do in Halifax, Nova Scotia! We’re here to reveal in this travel guide we’ve found to be the best things to do in Halifax.
As this site always likes to point out excellent value, we’ve gone on to provide all of our signature budget travel tips for Halifax too! With so many things to do in Halifax, don’t worry that a modest travel budget will be prohibitive to fully experience everything this lively city has to offer.
We’ve completed loads of on-the-ground travel research while spending the summer in Nova Scotia’s capital to uncover how to experience all the best things to do in Halifax, while on a budget. Ultimately we were delighted to discover that Halifax is actually a particularly budget-friendly place to travel to.
We almost couldn’t believe just how many free things to do in Halifax there are! Meanwhile, we also found that hotels in Halifax are way less expensive here in comparison to other popular Canadian destinations. Even flights to Halifax are cheap right now too!
Add to that many Halifax restaurant deals to take advantage of the region’s renowned seafood. And you can wash it all down with delicious pints of locally brewed craft beer, thanks in part to all the happy hours around town. Halifax may just be one of the most budget-friendly destinations in Canada!
Yet if you’re not careful, travel costs can easily accumulate. When searching for things to do in Halifax, you’ll find pricey harbor cruises for $100+. Traditional Halifax lobster suppers are similarly expensive. But in this Halifax travel guide, we reveal alternate ways to ply the Halifax harbor for just a few dollars and even all-you-can-eat lobster suppers for under $10!
In Halifax, you can further enjoy free canoe rentals, $2 beers, and even centrally located places to stay for less than $50 per night! Even most of Halifax’s best day trips are free if you have the means to get there. This detailed Halifax travel guide reveals all these money-saving tips (and more) to help you enjoy all the best things to do in Halifax on any budget!
So save your loonies and toonies while experiencing all the best things that Halifax, Nova Scotia, has to offer!
20 Best Things to Do in Halifax
Here’s a handy Halifax map that pinpoints all of our recommendations for the things to do in Halifax that are further detailed throughout this article. So feel free to come back to this map to get your bearings and connect the dots!
Without further ado, below are the 20 best things to do in Halifax, with money-saving tips on how to do them all on a budget!
1) Stroll the Halifax Waterfront Boardwalk
Arguably the best thing to do in Halifax is simply roaming around the Halifax waterfront. It’s a must-do in Halifax!
This working port on the Halifax Harbour boasts one of the longest downtown boardwalks in the world! You could easily spend an entire afternoon aimlessly strolling amongst the timber-frame and stone warehouses lining the scenic seaside.
Found all along the waterfront are other attractions covered throughout the remainder of this travel guide of things to do in Halifax. Ambling on this picturesque thoroughfare, you’ll inevitably stumble across Halifax’s Farmers Market, the historic Alexander Keith’s Brewery, and the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic (which are further detailed in this Halifax travel guide).
But don’t go to the Halifax waterfront just for its attractions. Soak in the atmosphere. You’ll hear the chatter of seagulls, the lapping of the water, the soft creaking of boats against the docks, and the laughter of children running by. The waterfront is such an alluring place that truly defines the city of Halifax.
If you were going to only do one thing in Halifax, let it be a visit to the Waterfront. It’s a must-do activity in Halifax and it’s free!
2) Climb Citadel Hill for History and Views
For sweeping views of Halifax and the harbour, be sure to head over to the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site.
You’ll find much more atop this military fort than views. The Citadel also packs in loads of Halifax history. At the Halifax Citadel, you can explore the fort walls, learn about history at the onsite museum, and check out the fort’s many cannons.
💡Tip: Try to be at Citadel Hill at Noon for the daily demonstration when those cannons are fired!
Another regular occurrence to catch at the Citadel is the changing of the guards.
It happens every hour. Don’t miss it!
3) Shop at the Oldest Continuously Operated Farmers’ Market in North America
Halifax boasts two notable farmers’ markets that are worthy of exploring.
The original is known as the Historic Farmers’ Market. This farmers’ market was founded way back in 1750, which makes it the oldest continuously operating farmers’ market in North America.
But you’ll have to be in Halifax on a Saturday morning to catch this historic farmers’ market in action because it’s only open once each week.
That centuries-old Halifax market has grown over the years. As such, many of the farmers’ market vendors have more recently relocated to the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market. This one is open every day of the week, although it’s particularly happening on weekends.
At these markets, you can find everything from locally farmed produce and meats to locally made crafts and fresh flowers. Personally, we enjoy shopping here for Canadian staples like local honey, maple syrup, and even local spirits! There are also some affordable lunch options to consider at the Seaport Farmers Market if you arrive hungry.
Whether you’re coming here to shop, eat, or simply browse, both of these farmers’ markets are a long-standing local tradition that makes for a fun thing to do in Halifax.
4) Go Canoeing in Halifax
Canoeing is a national pastime in Canada and Halifax makes for a great place to get out onto the water for a paddle. The Halifax Harbour can make for a great place to do so. It gives canoers and kayakers a great vantage point of the waterfront and the city itself.
There are a few different opportunities to canoe or kayak along Halifax’s popular waterfront, and they’re priced accordingly. Expect to find kayak rentals along the waterfront for about C$40 or so.
💡 But here’s a little Halifax budget tip to rent canoes for free! If you venture to the peninsula to a skinny harbour known as the Northwest Arm, you’ll come to St. Mary’s Boat Club, which provides free canoe rentals during weekends!
It’s a pleasant paddle through the sailboat-filled harbour, along the rugged coastline, and residential areas. You can even paddle across the Northwest Arm to Sir Sanford Fleming Park and briefly dock your canoe. Then you can have a stroll along the park’s waterfront trails or climb to the top of Dingle Tower, which further offers free admission.
These free canoe rentals at St. Mary’s Boat Club are only available on Saturdays and Sundays, so be sure to plan this excursion for a weekend. Although this seemed to be enjoyed mostly by locals, you don’t need to be a Boat Club member or even a Halifax resident to use the canoes. All you need is some form of identification to snag a canoe for free and get out on the water!
💡 Tip: It’s wise to arrive early because this is a very popular thing to in Halifax on nice summer days. Canoes do get rented-out completely and you may come to St Mary’s Boat Club to find a long queue of Haligonians waiting to paddle.
Clear days make for enjoyable conditions. But more important than sunny days, we recommend using canoes when the winds are calm. On windy days, people have been known to flip right into the harbor! You can check the wind forecast for Halifax here on WindGuru.com. Ideally, winds under 10 knots make for nice paddling conditions in Halifax.
5) Visit the Halifax Maritime Museum
Halifax’s Maritime Museum of the Atlantic is the city’s most popular museum. It contains over 30,000 artifacts!
Perhaps most notable is the Titanic exhibit, which tells the story of Halifax’s grim role in the Titantic’s recovery efforts. You can see artifacts from the tragic sinking, from the alluring, like a wooden deck chair, to the morbid, such as a body bag.
Yet there is so much maritime curiosity to explore here, which goes far beyond that famously unsinkable ship. Those who are really interested in history could easily spend several hours perusing through what is Canada’s largest maritime museum.
How To Visit the Maritime Museum for Free
💡 Budget tip to get in for free: It’s normally a C$10 adult ticket to get into Halifax Maritime Museum during the summer months. But for those who come Tuesday, after 5:00 pm, entry is free! On Tuesday evenings the museum has extended hours until 8:00 pm and offers free admission each week during this three-hour period. Plan accordingly to visit then and save!
More Museums to Visit in Halifax
💡 Tip: Visit museums on a rainy day. The Maritime Museum and Halifax’s other museums are good ideas for things to do in Halifax on a rainy day.
So here are a few other Halifax museum suggestions and some more ways to save!
6) Tour the Halifax Harbour by Boat
Halifax Harbour cruises are popular pursuits for visitors to the city. These harbour tours are a quintessential experience for visitors to Halifax to gain perspective of the port city while cruising in the storied Harbour.
Dinner cruises around the Halifax Harbour can be an indulgent splurge to consider and typically costs around C$100. On the lower end, Halifax Harbour tours tend to cost around C$30. And you can find plenty of options along the waterfront in between those ranges too.
But there’s also a way for travelers on a budget to tour the Halifax Harbour on the cheap!
💡 Budget Tip: How To Create Your Own Halifax Harbour Cruise for C$2.50
For a more economical way to get out into the Halifax Harbour, simply take the public ferry from Halifax to Dartmouth. The fare is only C$2.50 each way and ferries depart about every 15 minutes. You can even ask for a free transfer to continue on, by bus, to other locations across the Harbour.
There are two ferry routes: the Halifax-Alderney Ferry and the Halifax Woodside Ferry. We’d suggest the Alderney Ferry, which brings passengers to the cross-harbour municipality of Dartmouth. It’s a quick and fun ferry trip across the harbor, that takes about 12 minutes each way. While crossing the harbour, you’ll have some of the best views of the Halifax Waterfront.
💡 Tip: Upon boarding the ferry, grab a seat on the back of the top deck. Many people will pile into the front seats. But it’s the back seats that will offer fleeting views of Halifax city skyline.
Once the ferry makes it across the harbour, you can take the opportunity to explore Dartmouth. There’s a small waterfront here, a park, and a whole ‘nother town to discover with restaurants, cafes, bars, and more.
And that free transfer we mentioned earlier can be used for buses too. So consider catching the #60 bus onward to Fisherman’s Cove. (We’ll explain why next.)
Or take that same bus down to Woodside Regional Park, where you can catch a different ferry back to Halifax. Doing so creates a loop around the Halifax Harbour to give a slightly different vantage point upon the return from Woodside.
Whether by ferry (on the cheap) or a proper Harbour cruise, taking a boat trip into the Halifax Harbour is another “must” for things to do in Halifax.
💡 Also consider a Harbour Hopper Tour: For a proper tour of the Halifax Harbour that’s still economical, we can suggest the very popular and affordable Harbour Hopper tour. It’s a fun 1-hour Halifax tour on an amphibious vehicle that travels along Halifax’s streets and plunks right down into the Harbour that visits many of the city’s most famous sites along the way. This informative and comical narrated tour provides for a much more complete experience into the Harbour and Halifax itself, with budget-friendly prices. Check prices and availability here.
7) Wander Around a Nova Scotian Fishing Village: Fisherman’s Cove
Halifax has a maritime history built around fishing. So visiting a historic fishing village makes for a fun thing to do in Halifax. Nova Scotia’s fishing villages can be intriguing enclaves to explore with lots of photo opportunities abounding.
When visiting Halifax, the most popular day trip to see a fishing village is to Peggy’s Cove, where visitors will find the famed Peggy’s Cove lighthouse alongside a recreated fishing village. Yet it should be noted that a visit to Peggy’s Cove will either require an hours’ drive with your own transportation or you’ll need to join a day tour, which typically runs between $50-$100.
For a closer and more budget-friendly alternative to Peggy’s Cove, we can recommend venturing across the Halifax Harbour by ferry and then taking the bus to see “Fisherman’s Cove.”
There is no lighthouse here. But you will get to see a restored 200-year-old fishing village full of seafood shacks, artsy boutiques, and fishing boats lining the canal.
There’s also a free Heritage Centre to pop into and, of course, the fishing village itself is free. So Fisherman’s Cove makes for yet another one of the many great things to do in Halifax, on any budget.
8) Visit McNabs Island to Explore Halifax Off-the-Beaten-Path:
If you’re planning a visit to Fisherman’s Cove, don’t stop there. This is the perfect opportunity to visit McNabs Island. We find McNabs Island to be one of the most underrated things to do in Halifax. This half-day excursion is highly recommended to anyone who wants to get off the beaten path and inject a little adventure into their Halifax itinerary.
McNabs Island has a sordid history, as it’s been used as a military fort, an amusement park, and it even had its own soda factory operating there at one point. You can still find some of those bottles scattered throughout the island today.
McNabs Island has a well-maintained network of trails that zigzag across what is the largest island in the Halifax Harbour. Those trails will take you to old crumbling forts, scenic cliffs, secluded beaches, and the modern-day ruins of former homes that remain on the island today.
McNabs Island is a great place to explore that seemingly few people make the effort to venture out to. It’s easy to spend at least a few hours exploring the trails across this interesting island.
Getting to McNabs Island directly from Halifax can be a very pricey proposition since you’re required to charter a boat with a minimum group size. Instead, simply make your way to Fisherman’s Cove where Captain Mike Tilley will give you a lift in his skiff. It’s C$20 round-trip from Fisherman’s Cove to McNabs Island and back, which takes about 5 minutes each way.
“Captain Red Beard,” as he’s also known, is full of local knowledge about the island and even has some personal ties that he’ll share with you. Be sure to ask questions and get him to tell you some tales.
9) Pay Your Respects to the Victims of the Titanic
This is one of the more somber things to do in Halifax. The Fairview Lawn Cemetery is notable because it has the grim distinction of being the final resting place of the most Titanic victims.
Survivors rescued from the infamous maritime tragedy were brought to New York City. But the White Star Line had an office in Halifax, which commissioned 3 ships with the task of recovering the victims from the icy waters.
Some were never found, while others were buried at sea. But a total of 209 bodies from the Titanic were hauled back to Halifax. The White Star Line paid for simple gravestones, many of which remain unnamed because the victims couldn’t be identified.
Today the Titanic section of the Fairview Lawn Cemetery shows a somber yet interesting reality to Halifax’s young history. Do note that it’s still an active cemetery that’s open to the public. So your respects is the only thing you’ll pay to visit.
A visit to the Fairview Lawn Cemetery is among one of the sadder things to do in Halifax, but it’s an interesting sight to experience Halifax’s role in this tragic event.
10) Go Hiking around Point Pleasant Park
Although Halifax is Nova Scotia’s largest city, it still maintains some enormous park space that’s only a short stroll from downtown.
Point Pleasant Park boasts 25 miles of hiking trails along with awesome views of the Halifax Harbour. Point Pleasant is a great place to come get some fresh air, do some light trekking, or have a picnic by the sea on a sunny summer day.
One aspect that makes Point Pleasant Park unique is that Halifax doesn’t actually own it. Instead, the city rents this land from the British for 1 shilling (about 10 cents) each year, with a 999-year lease. What a deal!
While roaming around Point Pleasant Park, be sure to find the Prince of Wales Tower, which is the oldest Martello Tower in North America (1796) and one of Halifax’s National Historic Sites.
Many National Historic Sites in Canada have an entrance charge, yet this one is free. Neither the tower nor Point Pleasant Park has an entrance fee. Perhaps we can thank the British and their cheap lease agreement!
Hiking or biking around Point Pleasant Park is a fun thing to do in Halifax for those who are looking to get active within the city!
11) Go to a Free Festival in Halifax
Halifax has festivals all throughout the year and these events really come to a pinnacle over the summer. It seems that there’s some major event happening in Halifax every single weekend over the summer. Perhaps best of all, for those traveling to Halifax on a budget, most of the festivals are free! Or they at least have a free component.
Perhaps one of the biggest festivals of the year is the Halifax Jazz Festival. It does have modest entrance fees for some of the more notable performances. Yet it still maintains many free concerts throughout the four-day annual event. But Sunday is the day to go because that’s the free day for the Jazz Festival. On Sunday, even the main stage remains complimentary to watch a jam session.
Halifax’s most popular free annual summer events include:
- Halifax Canada Day (July)
- Halifax Jazz Festival (July)
- Halifax Pride Festival (July)
- Halifax International Busker Festival (August)
- Halifax Natal Day Festival (August)
Destination Halifax Events Page Listings: Official Website
12) Take a Stroll Through the Victorian Gardens
The Halifax Public Gardens are one of the finest surviving examples of a Victorian Garden in all of North America.
Be sure to wander through the blooming flowers and over the quaint bridges. While strolling past charming ponds and ornate fountains, visitors can even find a replica of the Titanic. Perhaps consider pausing for reflection. Or indulge in an ice cream cone from the vendor in the garden’s pavilion.
The Halifax Public Gardens are a popular attraction in the summer. Yet it’s a fairly big space in the middle of the city, so you may end up seeing more traffic in the form of ducks rather than people.
While many notable gardens around the world charge hefty entrance fees, Halifax’s Public Gardens are open to the public for free! So while walking around this city on a nice summer day, be sure to amble through these gardens. It makes a great free thing to do in Halifax.
13) Go Skating for Free at the Emera Oval
A fun and free activity in Halifax is to go skating at the Emera Oval. Rollerblades are popular here. But you can opt to go retro and borrow a pair of roller skates instead! Bikes, scooters, and even plastic toy cars are also available over the summer.
And all of these equipment rentals are entirely F-R-E-E! It’s all such good, clean fun. Slap on a pair of skates and go!
In the winter, the Emera Oval becomes ice and hence free ice-skating commences for a popular wintertime activity in Halifax. Whatever season you visit the Emera Oval in, just be sure to bring an ID, which is required for any of the free rentals.
Taking a few spins around the Emera Oval is one of the fun things to do in Halifax for families. Kids love it! (But so do we.)
14) Catch an Outdoor Movie or Play for Free
FIN Outdoor Film Experience
Every summer in Halifax there are two regular local outdoor events to entertain you. For movie buffs, you can catch the FIN Outdoor Film Experience in the Public Gardens monthly. Favorite Canadian flicks are projected onto a giant inflatable movie screen.
Each summer they do a different theme. In 2019 it was the “Summer of Sing-Alongs,” featuring musicals each week. In a previous summer, we adored mixing with Haligonians to laugh along during the summer of Canadian comedies.
Shakespeare by the Sea
Meanwhile, if you prefer to watch acting live on stage rather than a screen, you can attend Shakespeare by the Sea.
Shakespearean classics along with other popular theater occurs daily (except Mondays) in Point Pleasant Park. It’s all completely free but charitable donations are encouraged. For example of what to expect, the 2019 season brought to life classics the Wizard of Oz and Henry V, among others. For an up-to-date schedule, check the Shakespeare by the Sea Calendar.
15) Go Aboard Canada’s Oldest Warship: HMCS Sackville
While strolling along the Halifax Waterfront, you can climb aboard Canada’s oldest warship. It’s the HMCS Sackville, which is the last surviving of 123 corvettes. The Sackville was actually used during WWII and it played a crucial role in winning the Battle of the Atlantic.
Today it is now a museum ship that is a worthwhile detour off the boardwalk. You can explore all throughout the WWII ship, from the bow and down into the engine room to learn about the wartime conditions.
The modest C$5 adult admission makes it a great budget-friendly attraction in Halifax too!
16) Check Out Halifax’s Vibrant Street Art
Halifax has a thriving street art scene, so keep your eyes peeled while roaming around town. We appreciate how some of the artists keep true to the city’s maritime theme.
One of the best (and easily accessible) murals can be found sprawling along the backside of Freak Lunchbox, which is a fun candy store located in downtown Halifax.
To get you started on your street art pursuits, you can find this mural located here on Google Maps. But be sure to wander around Halifax on your own and keep a lookout for more street art and the new creations that sometimes sprout up overnight. Halifax’s North End neighborhood is also a good area to find a burgeoning street art scene.
17) Why Visit the Library during a Trip to Halifax
The modern glass structure of the Halifax Central Library is a recent addition to the cityscape, opening in 2014. It’s a good place to visit for any architectural buffs. Inside, you’ll find an Escher-like series of stairs taking you to the top floor. And it’s well worth ascending, whether you’re into architecture or not.
Arguably the best reason to venture over to the Halifax Public Library is for the panoramic views you can find on its top floor. There’s also a café up there. So grab a cup of coffee and gaze out over Halifax’s downtown at those harbor views.
The library makes an interesting thing to do in Halifax for its unique architecture. So come to see that, but stay for the free wifi or simply to take a break from a busy day of sightseeing in Halifax.
18) Find the Drunken Lampposts
If these street lamps look a little tipsy, it’s not just your imagination. They were actually placed on the Halifax waterfront in 2013 as a temporary art installation. But the drunken lampposts were beloved so much that the city decided to keep them as permanent fixtures.
The drunken lampposts have since become a funny little Halifax attraction for travelers to seek out. They are said to represent “the nakedly honest portraits of unseemly behavours that are often playing out on our own streets after dark.” We think it’s hilarious. These drunk lampposts really show off Halifax’s quirky side and its sense of humor.
Where are the drunken lampposts in Halifax? You can find the drunken lampposts while strolling along the waterfront. They are located on the pier in front of the Bicycle Thief restaurant. Here’s the exact location on Google Maps.
💡 Tip: To get the best shots of this funny site, go early on a weekday morning. During weekend afternoons in the summer, this attraction will be flooded with many other Instagrammers and photographers trying to snap a picture.
19) Visit Historic St Paul’s Church for a Halifax Oddity
St. Paul’s church is the oldest building in Halifax which dates all the way back to 1750. So it’s worth a stop simply for that fact alone. St. Paul’s is also the oldest Protestant church in Canada.
Yet what makes it particularly interesting is a face that remains forever etched into one of the church’s windows. Reminders of the tragic 1917 explosion, which claimed about 2,000 lives, can be found throughout Halifax. Yet perhaps none are as attention-grabbing as the lingering silhouette that is etched into this historic church’s window.
Lore tells of a deacon that happened to be standing perfectly aligned with the window at the time of the explosion. This legend continues that an intense heat left his profile burnt into the glass. The deacon’s portrait remains in St. Paul’s window today. Hence, St. Paul’s church makes for a fascinating offbeat sight to see during a trip to Halifax.
20) Visit the Iconic Halifax Clock Tower
If you’re walking to or from the Halifax Citadel, you must take a moment to check out what has become an iconic landmark in the city: The Halifax Clock Tower. It’s a three-story clock tower that dates back to the early 1800s and sits at the base of the Citadel.
There’s really not much to it. It’s pretty. It’s a clock tower. It’s iconic. And it’s free to visit, making it a great way to conclude this Top 20 list of things to do in Halifax on a budget.
So go snap of pic of this famous Halifax landmark as you make your way to the waterfront for some drinks. Because that’s what we’re talking about in one of the next sections of this Halifax travel guide – drinks!
💡 Bonus Thing to Do in Halifax: Take the Free Walking Tour
Cost: Free (donations welcomed)
The city of Halifax boasts a free walking tour that provides a wonderful overview of the city. It’s a great thing to do in Halifax on your first day to help get your bearings, while also learning more about Halifax’s history and culture. This free walking tour stops at a good handful of the Halifax attractions mentioned above.
Best Nova Scotia Day Trips from Halifax
In addition to all the awesome things to do in Halifax itself, there are also a variety of day trips located within an hour or two away from Nova Scotia’s capital. There are famous lighthouses to see, record-breaking tides, and UNESCO-listed village World Heritage Sites.
Meanwhile, adventure seekers can pursue an adrenaline-packed day of Tidal Bore Rafting or taking a hike along the precipitous coastal cliff of Cape Split. After such hair-raising adventures, sipping some local tidal bay wine in the nearby wineries can make for a perfect way to wind down.
There are a few tours from Halifax to pursue such day trips. Yet those with their own transportation will find the most economical way to reach these sites.
If visiting Halifax without a car, consider renting one, even if just for a day or two. We found the best rental car rates in Halifax by searching on Priceline. 💡 Tip: Book your rental car as early as possible, because rental cars become sold out during the summer high season. Search rental cars for your travel dates.
21) Visit the Scenic Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse
Peggy’s Cove is the quintessential day trip from Halifax. At Peggy’s Cove you’ll find a beautiful lighthouse on a rocky point, surrounded by a recreated fishing village.
Know that Peggy’s Cove is a very popular attraction near Halifax. So it often gets packed with visitors during the mid-day and can feel a bit overly touristic. But there’s no denying that this famed lighthouse is a beautiful sight.
💡 Tip: Go early in the morning, just after sunrise, to avoid any crowds.
For those with their own wheels, it’s free to visit Peggy’s Cove, as there is no entrance fee. It’s just a 45-60 minute drive from Halifax.
22) Visit the UNESCO town of Lunenburg
Lunenburg is one of Nova Scotia’s three UNESCO World Heritage Sites, designated as such for being the best surviving example of a planned British colonial settlement in North America. This colorful fishing village dates all the way back to 1753. Read more about Old Town Lunenburg’s UNESCO designation.
With dwindling fish stocks of recent years, it’s tourism that now seems to be the main industry Lunenburg. Ice cream shops and sunny patios have taken over former fishing docks.
Yet the town has otherwise managed to maintain its original architecture over the course of more than two & a half centuries.
Old Town Lunenburg sure makes for a charming place to detour off the Lighthouse Trail for a few scoops or a pint. But the main reason to venture to this historic area is to explore this vibrant old town that’s been preserved all these years.
Lunenburg is located a bit more than an hour’s drive away from Halifax. And a day trip including both Lunenburg and Peggy’s Cove can make a good combo, driving from Halifax on the same day. Exploring Old Town Lunenburg is another free thing to do from Halifax.
23) Experience the Record-Breaking Bay of Fundy Tide
On the other side of Nova Scotia from Halifax is the Bay of Fundy, which is home to the most extreme tides in the world!
With just a 90 minute drive from Halifax, visitors can witness the tidal change at Halls Harbour, one of the best places along the Bay to witness this extreme act of nature. At Halls Harbour the tide swings a staggering 40 feet (~12 meters)! For perspective, imagine the tide rising and falling the height of a 4-story building!
Just a look a the pictures below, first at high tide, then low tide.
It’s an amazing natural phenomenon to experience this in person. Walking along the ocean floor and seeing boats resting on the bottom of a harbor is mind-boggling. And yes, you can walk down there, which really helps put things into perspective.
A visit to Halls Harbour to experience the tides is another nice thing for the budget-conscious. This activity is entirely free!
Be sure to check the tides before you go and plan a visit for low tide. Halls Harbour is also known as Baxters Harbour and you can find the tide forecast here.
💡 Tip: If you’re waiting around for the tides to change, don’t hesitate to pop into the adjacent Lobster Pound restaurant to try one of their local specialties like the lobster poutine!
24) Extreme Adventure: Tidal Bore Rafting!
Don’t just watch those extreme tides. Experience them! A popular adventure pursuit in the Bay of Fundy is something known as Tidal Bore Rafting.
While the Bay of Fundy tides steadily fills the bay, the tidal flow is not-so-gradual when it reaches rivers. There are about 60 known places in the world where the phenomena of a tidal bore occurs. Nova Scotia’s Shubenacadie River is one of them.
Rivers in this region flow into the bay, just as most rivers in the world flow outward into the sea. But here in the Bay of Fundy, that all changes soon after low tide. The extreme tides rise in the Bay of Fundy and eventually begin to flow into the river. As the approaching water reaches the river, the rising tide is squeezed into an increasingly narrow space in the river. When the tide moves inward, it momentarily changes the course of the river to flow upstream.
During this process, waves and rapids are temporarily formed atop the sandbars. This is the tidal bore! And it’s now possible to go whitewater rafting upstream, during these changing tides. It’s such a crazy experience and is such a thrill! Check out the video below to get a glimpse at what it’s like.
For complete directions from Halifax, tips to know, who to book with, ways to save, and much more information all about this Halifax day trip, be sure to check out all the details in our complete post that reviews: Tidal Bore Rafting on the Most Extreme Tides in the World!
25) Cape Split: One of Nova Scotia’s Best Hikes
Also in the Bay of Fundy area is what we’ve found to be one of Nova Scotia’s most scenic hikes. It’s the Cape Split hike!
These jagged cliffs dramatically jut out for 7 kilometers right into the Bay of Fundy, where the extreme tides do their thing.
The only way to get here is the hike down to the cape. It’s a 6-kilometer trek each way that winds through a forest, before ultimately opening up to the barren cliffs that drop off into the bay.
For those who are active, hiking Cape Split is a perfect recreational pursuit you can to do as a day trip from Halifax! It’s also another free activity. Just park your car at the trailhead and set off. The Cape Split trailhead is about a 90-minute drive from Halifax, located here.
26) Drink Tidal Bay Wine at Vineyards near Halifax
While in Nova Scotia’s tidal area, it’s only appropriate to drink the signature wine variety of the region: Tidal Bay.
There’s a burgeoning scene of wineries throughout the rolling hills of the coastal farmland. Just a short hop away from Halifax, visitors can find these vineyards that produce the area’s signature white wine.
Tidal Bay is Nova Scotia’s first wine appellation and winemakers must maintain strict standards, such as 100% Nova Scotia grapes, in order to have the Tidal Bay designation. It’s a crisp & refreshing white wine, with green fruit notes and a distinct minerality. Appropriately for the region, it pairs exceptionally well with seafood.
It’s about an hour drive from Halifax to get to the wine region featuring Tidal Bay wineries. In particularly, Luckett Vineyards is one of the more popular wineries in the region. It’s also a budget-friendly choice, as Luckett has a scenic tasting room with a flight of three wines starting at only C$5. While there, be sure to wander through the grape vines to find the red phone booth that makes for some great photo ops.
Also, if you enjoy a good drink, there’s much more to drink within the city of Halifax itself. And that’s a perfect segway into our next section of this Halifax travel guide!
Drinking Things to Do in Halifax
Halifax is said to have the most bars per capita of any city in Canada. With such an accolade, drinking IS one of the best things to do in Halifax!
But beverage prices in Halifax are not cheap overall. So drinking your way across the city can be a budget buster.
Yet with so much fun to be had on a night out in Halifax, don’t put down the glass just yet. Use the money you saved with all the free and cheap things to do in Halifax, to wind down the evening with a few pints of local brews on the waterfront. And if you take advantage of Halifax’s happy hours and drink specials, this can really help to extend your beer fund. There’s loads of great local craft beer to try in Halifax, so beer lovers should be prepared to tip back a few.
Here are some suggestions not only for cheap drinks in Halifax, but also some notable drinking experiences to partake in while in the city.
27) Tour Alexander Keith’s Historic Brewery
This Halifax mainstay is one of the oldest breweries in North America, dating back to 1820. Sure, the operation is now owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev, but Keith’s has maintained the historic brewing facility that goes back nearly two centuries in Halifax’s history.
It’s a fun brew tour that’s one part history, one part brewing, and one part Nova Scotian tradition. It’s an equation that adds up to a great time, with many opportunities to drink Keith’s beer while being toured through the old hallways!
Visitors will learn just as much about the namesake Scottish brewer that became Halifax’s beloved mayor, as you will the brewing process.
The tour include four glasses of different styles of beer, adding to the value of this fun brewhouse tour!
💡 Tip: Be sure to save your ticket! You can use it to redeem yet another drink at the onsite Red Stag Tavern.
28) Partake in the Halifax Tradition of a “Ceilidh”
One Nova Scotia drinking tradition is attending a cèilidh (pronounced kay-lee), which is a party of Gaelic folk music and dancing. Nova Scotia is Latin for “New Scotland,” after all. And it’s during a cèilidh that Halifax’s Scottish roots shine brightest.
Arguably one of the best places to catch a cèilidh is at Durty Nelly’s on Thursday nights at 8:30. (Check their event calendar to confirm up-to-date times.)
Kitchen Ceilidh, as it’s known here, is a free weekly event, so it’s a great thing to do in Halifax on a budget. Just pony up to the bar for a pint while enjoying the live Gaelic music. Drinks are priced fairly here too. Beers start at C$5.25.
29) Patio Drinking is a Quintessential Thing to Do in Halifax
During the summer months, Halgonians and visitors alike love drinking on a sunny patio. There’s nearly a sport to patio drinking in Halifax and it’s become a hardened summertime tradition in this city.
The Stubborn Goat is a perennial favorite on the waterfront. We love it too for the local beers and the open-air wooden seating on the Waterfront. But our wallet sometimes disagrees with our favorable opinion while lingering to kick back a few cocktails, with drinks running about C$10+ and beers are about C$8.
Instead, our favorite patio in Halifax to drink on the cheap is: Stone’s Throw. This patio bar is in a prime location, directly on the Halifax waterfront. But perhaps best of all, every day of the week, they offer local Nova Scotia craft beer for C$5 (including tax) for a generous 16 oz. pour.
And while neighboring patio bars get very crowded on sunny days, Stone’s Throw always seems to have a seat available overlooking the harbor even during this fantastic happy hour deal.
The patio bar is hidden in plain sight, as it’s part of the Marriott Harbourfront Hotel. We highly recommend Stone’s Throw for inexpensive pre-dinner craft beer on the waterfront.
30) Drink Halifax’s Fantastic Local Breweries
Halifax has a fantastic local beer scene! There are loads of breweries, brew pubs, and cideries to check out all throughout the city. Brewing runs deep in Halifax and is currently having a major resurgence producing delicious results!
Those beer lovers visiting Halifax, make sure to join the (free) Good Cheer Trail Passport Program! This passport can be used to discover local breweries, wineries, cideries, and distilleries all throughout the province of Nova Scotia.
You can pick-up your passport at any of the participating drinkeries or use their online app. Once you collect a stamp from 15 different places, you can redeem your Good Cheer Trail Passport for a free t-shirt to commemorate your drinking accomplishment!
And while the passport can be used throughout the entire province, you can easily collect 15 stamps right in Halifax. We can tell you from personal experience that this is a fun pursuit. Yes, drink costs may add up. But be strategic and spread out your drinking over your entire trip to Halifax. Doing so will be a good move for both your wallet and your liver.
Our favorite breweries in Halifax? Oh, that’s really tough because all Halifax breweries have lots of appeal and new brewpubs are sprouting up all the time. But if you pressed us hard, we’d say Good Robot, Two Crows, and Gahan House rounds out our Top 3. But try ‘em yourself and tell us which of Halifax’s local breweries you like best!
You can find the Good Cheer Passport at participating breweries and at the Halifax Tourism Office.
Official Website: Good Cheer Trail Passport
💡 Budget Tip: Where To Find C$2 Craft Beer
Halifax has a great craft beer scene. But pints of the golden nectar tend to average about C$8 or so. Instead, here’s a brewery you can visit and sip on C$2 tasters.
Go to Garrisons Brewery, near the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market, where they’re pouring a variety of brews from their dozen taps.
Okay, so these C$2 beers are only 4 ounces each. But at that price, grab a few at a time. Many of Garrison’s beers pack a high ABV too. We recommend the 8% Juicy Double IPA for those who like a hoppy beer, if they have this specialty brew on tap.
💡 Budget Tip: Where To Find the Cheapest Pitcher of Beer in Halifax:
By local law, the least expensive price that establishments are allowed to sell pitchers of beer in Halifax is C$10. And we’ve found two places that do just that, all day, every day.
The Oasis Pub pours one of the cheapest pitchers of beer in town. This sports pub offers C$10 pitchers of Bud, all day, every day. It’s also the oldest tavern in Halifax. So if not for cheap pitchers, you can give yourself the excuse of going for “historical purposes.”
The bar’s dark basement location isn’t the most atmospheric during a beautiful summer day. …but C$10 pitchers! For added value, go to Oasis Pub on Wednesdays for wing night when wings are C$0.45.
A newcomer with cheap beer in Halifax that more recently opened is Orso Pub & Grill. They have a generous promotion of $10 pitchers of Keith’s.
This bear themed pub boasts a nice outdoor patio with great views of Citadel Hill and the Old Town Clock. Orso may just be the most scenic non-waterfront location in Halifax to drink cheap beer!
💡 Budget Tip: Join the Students for Power Hour
The Split Crow attracts many university students by luring them in with C$2.50 Molsons on Thursday nights 9-10 and Saturday afternoons 4:30-5:30. Come join Halifax’s youth for power hour during this Halgonian tradition.
💡 Budget Tip: Happy Hour in Halifax
Speaking of happy hours, there are many happy hours occurring at the bars and pubs all throughout Halifax. Stone’s Throw is our favorite. But there are many more happy hours to discover throughout the town.
Eating is a Thing to Do in Halifax!
There are some interesting things to eat in Halifax that are unique to the city and to Nova Scotia. So these final five things to do in Halifax offer up some suggestions for these interesting foodie finds throughout the city.
Halifax has a designated official food that you may find surprising. It’s a must-try, reviewed below.
Yet it’s Nova Scotia’s seafood that simply can’t be ignored. Whether oysters, scallops, lobster suppers, or local haddock (fish), there is lots of seafood to try throughout Nova Scotia’s capital. And while seafood can tend to be expensive, of course, you know that we’re offering up our signature budget tips to help you enjoy the best of Halifax’s dining scene without spending a fortune.
31) Try the Official Food of Halifax: The Donair
The Halifax Donair has been proclaimed the official food of Halifax. And lucky for budget-conscious visitors to the city, the Halifax Donair makes for an inexpensive meal to try while in town.
It may look like a typical Turkish doner kebab. Yet here in Halifax, donairs have taken on their own identity.
What is a Halifax donair? A large pita is stuffed with shaved spiced beef, rather than lamb or other doner meat. But what really makes it a “Halifax donair” is the “donair sauce.”
A concoction of condensed milk, sugar, garlic, and vinegar is what gives a Halifax Donair its distinction. As the story goes, it was 1973 when a Greek immigrant adjusted his recipe to local tastes by using beef and developing the signature sauce.
Nearly 50 years later, there are now donair shops all over Halifax. But his “King of Donair” shop is still in Halifax too. So go there to try this deliciously messy meal. Just grab some extra napkins!
Official Website: King of Donair
32) Eat Local Maritime Oysters in Halifax
Nova Scotia, along with the surrounding maritime provinces, is known for its fresh oysters. So be sure to try some freshly-shucked raw oysters on the half-shell while you’re in Halifax.
Local oysters are a culinary delight to try in Halifax. Being so close to the source helps to ensure freshness. The shuckers really take their oysters pretty seriously around here. The quality and freshness is unparalleled.
💡 Budget Tip: Oyster Happy Hours
Fresh oysters can be a pricey proposition in Halifax. But thankfully, there are happy hours for oysters too!
Our favorite oyster deal is the daily oyster happy hour at one of Halifax’s most highly regarded seafood restaurants, Five Fishermen. Go to the restaurant’s outdoor patio and oyster bar, known as the Little Fish.
From 3:00-6:00, the oyster happy hour now does oyster of the day for C$1 per oyster. Usually their oysters are around C$3/oyster. So by going during happy hour, you’ll save C$24 off a dozen oysters! In the past, Little Fish has been known to have co-occurring drink happy hours too, but this changes.
The only downside to this Halifax oyster deal is that after the first serving, you may want to stay for several more rounds! The latest info can be found on their website: here.
33) Try the “Best Fish & Chips in Canada!”
Halifax and many coastal communities throughout Nova Scotia have been based around fishing throughout the local waters. So a great way to try the local catch is with fish & chips!
Fish & chips are fairly commonplace on menus throughout Nova Scotia, a nod to the province’s British roots. You can find fish & chips shops across Halifax, which make for a casual and budget-friendly place to try the local fish.
The fish used around Halifax is local haddock, a type of cod, found locally in the cool & clean Atlantic waters offshore. The mild white fish makes for some particularly awesome fish & chips!
Across the Halifax Harbour in Dartmouth, you can find what Canadian Living deemed as the “best fish & chips in Canada.” It’s at a little unassuming place called John’s Lunch. This Halifax institution coats their haddock with a homemade batter, mixed fresh every morning, then fries the battered haddock to a crisp golden perfection. We must concur with Canadian Living, as it’s definitely the best fish & chips we’ve had during our summer in Canada!
Prices vary by the number of pieces: 1-piece (C$8.50), 2-piece (C$12.75), 3-piece ($15,75) meal. 💡 Budget tip: the 3-piece meal is plenty for couples to share, adding value to this delicious meal!
Official Website: John’s Lunch
34) Try Some Canadian Snacks at the Waterfront:
There are some tasty treats and local snacks to try while wandering around the Halifax waterfront. Most of them are easy on the budget too! Here are some quintessential local snacks we suggest trying while visiting Halifax:
Ice Cream: Cows Creamery & Moon Mist
Cows Creamery is known to have the best ice cream in Canada and is often listed as having the best ice cream in the world. It’s a staple in the neighboring province of PEI, but two of Cows Creamery’s 12 locations are actually located directly on Halifax’s waterfront. Scoops for this primo ice cream start at C$4. We think it’s totally worth it and lives up to the hype!
And for a uniquely Nova Scotian treat, keep an eye out for “Moon Mist” ice cream at any of the ice cream joints along the waterfront. This colorful mix of grape, banana, and bubble gum ice cream is a Nova Scotia tradition that can only be found around these parts.
Eat a BeaverTail on the Halifax Waterfront
BeaverTails are a beloved Canadian snack food that originated in Ottawa and quickly spread across all of Canada. So you can now find this flattened fried dough at a kiosk along the Halifax boardwalk. They’re shaped like (you guessed it) beaver tails and covered with cinnamon & sugar. If that’s not sweet enough, you can choose to have it loaded up with an assortment of other sugary toppings, from a maple spread to Nutella. BeaverTails start at about C$5.
Enjoy Canada’s National Dish in Halifax – Poutine
If you’re visiting Halifax from outside the country, you must try Canada’s national dish – poutine. It’s an economical snack/meal/gut bomb. For the uninitiated, poutine is a delicious concoction of french fries covered in squeaky cheese curds and brown gravy.
Perhaps one of the most convenient places for poutine on the Waterfront is Smoke’s Poutinerie. It’s a poutine franchise that has a kiosk in a central location on the Halifax waterfront.
Yet locals in Halifax point to Willy’s Fresh Cut as the best poutine in town. We visited, devoured, and concur. Prices range from C$6.00 for a small to C$9.50 for a large. Willy’s is located at Pizza Corner, which is another eating thing to do in Halifax that’s further explained next.
35) Stumble onto “Pizza Corner” for a Halifax Late-Night Tradition
The notable cross street, locally known as “Pizza Corner,” has gained landmark status in Halifax as an institution for a midnight snack. At the intersection of Blowers and Grafton Street is where you can find a wide assortment of pizza slices, donairs, and poutine among other artery-clogging cheap meals. Pizza Corner was the original location of the King of Donair, credited with creating what is now the official food of Halifax.
But really Pizza Corner is a place to stumble onto after a night of drinking in Halifax. It’s a fun scene in the late hours as the Halifax’s bars begin to empty out. Going to Pizza Corner a Halifax tradition to come for a slice after a long night at the pubs. Although most popular in the late-night hours, Pizza Corner can also make for some economical eating options at any time of the day.
💡 More Budget Tips While Eating in Halifax
Halifax has some world-class restaurants that also come with world-class prices. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still eat well in Halifax!
There are plenty of cheap eats to enjoy in Halifax! And you can even still patronize some of the finer places in Halifax too. Weekly restaurant specials and promotions provide for some very affordable options to sample Halifax’s local seafood. The following suggestions reviews a few of our favorite bargain spots in Halifax to chow down on the local fare.
Where to Have a Lobster Supper in Halifax for C$10
Yes, this really exists! For the past few years each summer, Casino Nova Scotia in downtown Halifax has offered an all-you-can-eat lobster and prime rib dinner for a mere C$10.
This meal deal goes on every Friday and Saturday from 5:00-10:00 pm. We were skeptical and went there to investigate “what’s the catch?”
Turns out, there isn’t too much of a catch at all. You must sign up for the casino’s “Player’s Club,” which is free and only takes about one minute to complete the paperwork. No gambling is required.
The only other catch is that with such a crazy promotion, there is quite a long wait to get a table. When we got there around 5:00 pm, wait times were already nearly two hours! You’re given a pager though, so you don’t have to queue up. Instead of waiting amongst the buzzing slot machines, we recommend using that time to take a stroll along the waterfront and perhaps having a pre-dinner drink along the harbor. Stone’s Throw happy hour is, well, just a stone’s throw away.
So if you have the patience for this deal, we found it to be worth the wait. Also, be aware they aren’t locally caught lobster. But, hey, at C$10 for all-you-can-eat lobster, who cares! They tasted great to us and the prime rib was good too.
Note: The casino’s dining promotions are always changing. Check the casino’s promotions page to ensure this promotion is still going on.
Where to Get $3 Steak Dinners, $3 Mussels, and More!
For an inexpensive dinner out, Maxwell’s Plum is our go-to. Every night of the week, they have a different dinner special.
But without question, the best specials are
(1) the Tuesday night special – C$3.99 tavern steak dinner with fries
(2) every night – C$3.99 for 1 lb. of island blue mussels
The only catch here is these deals require a drink purchase. No problem! Beers start at C$4.99 for a 12 oz. mug of Dos Equis.
So for C$9, you can have steak, fries, and a frosty mug of cerveza. And Maxwell’s Plum does have drink specials too. We highly recommend the local Boxing Rock Vicar’s Cross Double IPA to pair with your mussels on Sunday when the price for mugs drops to C$5.99.
Official Website: Maxwells Plum
More Dinner Specials in Halifax
We thought Maxwell’s Plum had the best dinner specials in all of Halifax. But there are many more out there for the taking, with dinner deals on different nights of the week.
We find this regularly updated list of Halifax dinner specials to have a great pulse on meal deals around town. Check it out and save!
Where to Stay in Halifax for All Budgets:
Accommodation in Halifax can get pricey. But this city still has some of the cheapest room rates among popular destinations in Canada. For perspective, take a look at average hotel rates for the top 15 most popular Canadian destinations and see how Halifax stacks up.
Halifax is among the lowest on the chart, with an average hotel rate of $184 for 2016.
To get the best rate on accommodation in Halifax, it’s very important to book as early as possible. During the popular summer season, hotels regularly sell out even months in advance. So book as soon as you can. Meanwhile, prices are often slashed in the off-season when hotels have an excess inventory of rooms. That’s when you can get the best hotel deals in Halifax.
But let’s focus on summer hotel rates since that’s when most people travel to Halifax. Below, we’ve listed our top Halifax hotel picks for each budget range!
To help you secure the best rates, we’ve included affiliate links to HotelsCombined, which automatically searches and compares the rates of all the major booking sites (Expedia, Hotels.com, Priceline, Booking, etc).
Go Back to School to Stay in Halifax for Cheap!
During the summer throughout the Maritimes, many of the universities here operate the empty dorm rooms as hotels. It makes for an interesting budget-option to consider. We stayed on a few different campuses while road tripping across Nova Scotia and had great experiences. It’s fun for short stays and it’s a good way to save your travel funds for more important things, like beer and lobster! Private rooms at Dalhousie University start at C$68 per night, which includes access to campus perks such as the swimming pool, kitchen, laundry facilities, and more.
The Cheapest Hotel in Halifax?
The Commons Inn: If you’d prefer to stay in a hotel and have a private bathroom, the Commons Inn regularly has summertime rates under C$100 per night including breakfast. Don’t expect the Ritz when it comes to quality. This isn’t the nicest room in Halifax, but it’s often among the cheapest. And we think it’s perfectly adequate for a good night’s sleep.
Budget-Friendly Midrange Options
🏨 Garden South Park Inn: For a bit more comfort and an even more central location, near the Public Gardens, try the lovely rooms at the Garden South Park Inn.
🏨 Chebucto Inn: This traditional roadside motel is a good economical option only for those with their own vehicle, as it’s a bit far to walk to most of Halifax’s attractions from the North End location.
4-Star Hotels with Excellent Value!
If you desire a bit more luxury in Halifax, most 4-star hotels can easily run upwards of C$500 during peak summer months. But we found two 4-star hotels with summer rates regularly dipping below C$200!
🏨 The Atlantica Hotel is known for its large rooms and friendly staff. It’s located a bit of a walk (20 minutes) to the waterfront. Yet it’s a very pleasant stroll through downtown and is only steps from the Citadel and the Emera Oval.
🏨 The Lord Nelson Hotel & Suites has stylish rooms and a very central location that’s close to nearly all of Halifax’s main attractions.
Or Stay Local with Airbnb
Another option to consider for low-cost accommodation in Halifax is using Airbnb. You can rent out entire houses and apartments all to yourself. Or you can stay in someone’s spare room.
We particularly recommend Airbnb for lengthier stays in Halifax, as many hosts offer discounted rates when you stay 7-days or longer and even deeper discounts for 28+ day stays. That’s what we did, and we scored a fantastic basement apartment for what amounted to about US$42 per night! (Note: this exact apartment is no longer listed on Airbnb, but there are plenty of other great pads in the city.)
If you’ve never used Airbnb before, you can get $40-off your first stay by simply using this referral link!
More Halifax Travel Tips
Here are a few more travel tips to help you explore Halifax!
⚠️ Not from Canada, eh? You need travel insurance!
While Halifax is a very safe travel destination, accidents can occur. If you’re visiting Canada from the US, be sure you have medical coverage while within the country.
If not, you won’t be covered by Canada’s health care system. Medical costs will be outrageous should an unforeseen accident occur. That medical coverage is an absolute must, but travel insurance will also cover other mishaps like trip cancelation and lost luggage, which can also be assuring to have. For Americans visiting Canada, we recommend RoamRight travel insurance which contains the medical coverage you need to have while traveling in Canada. Get a quick quote for your travel dates.
✈️ Cheap Flights to Halifax
Halifax is well connected by flights into the Halifax Stanfield International Airport. Air Canada and WestJet have numerous flights throughout Canada which make for convenient connections elsewhere. We’ve seen flights around $300 and less for roundtrip from US locations such as New York, Boston, Chicago, Atlanta, Miami, and Orlando. Search around.
We found some of the best fares into Halifax by using Skyscanner, which has some very flexible filters and search functionalities to play with. So get creative with your flight searches and be sure to book at least 3 weeks out (or more) to secure a low fare.
🚐 The Inexpensive Way to Get from the Airport to Downtown Halifax
The Halifax Airport is located 35 kilometers (22 miles) away from downtown, so it takes over a half hour to get into town. There’s no Uber or Lyft in Halifax, and a taxi will cost you a flat rate of C$63. Don’t do that!
Use the bus: Instead, there are direct buses that leave every 30-60 minutes and will drop you off in Scotia Square, right in the heart of downtown Halifax. The cost is only C$3.50, so it’s quite the savings over taking a taxi! It’s the #350 MetroX and you can find all the timetable and route info: Regional Express 320.
Cheap door-to-door car service: If your flight gets in late or you simply prefer direct door-to-door service, you can have a car waiting for you at about half the price of a taxi! Driver Dave’s will pick you up from the Halifax airport and drop you off downtown for $20-$35 per person, pending the number of people. After public transport, there is no cheaper way to get from the airport to Halifax. We personally used Driver Dave’s and our airport pick-up went off without a hitch. Rates and more info: Driver Dave’s.
🚶 Getting Around Halifax on a Budget
There is no Uber or Lyft in Halifax, so don’t come here expecting to rely on a rideshare app to get around. But thankfully, Halifax is a very walkable city. Most all the attractions, restaurants, and bars that we’ve mentioned throughout this guide can be walked to. Be sure to pack a pair of comfortable shoes!
If your feet get tired while walking around downtown, consider taking Hali the Road Train. It’s a free (donation-based) trolley that makes a short loop around the Waterfront area, only during summer months. More: here.
Using Halifax’s buses is yet another inexpensive way to get around town. They’re frequent and easy-to-use. Yet we usually found the buses unnecessary simply because walking in the summer weather seemed to almost always make for a more pleasant alternative to sitting on a bus.
Public Transport website: Halifax Transit bus routes and maps
🚗 Use Cheap Rental Cars for Day Trips from Halifax
There’s no need to rent a car to get around Halifax itself. In fact, it may even be a burden to find parking. Yet Halifax makes a great central base to explore much of Nova Scotia.
We’ve found rental cars to be surprisingly inexpensive in Halifax, with rates as low as C$40 per day for an economy car. Most of the major car rental agencies have locations in downtown Halifax (Hertz, Avis, Budget, Alamo, etc.). Often rental car prices were cheaper from those downtown locations compared to picking up a rental car at the airport.
We scoured through all the main booking sites and even got quotes from agencies directly. In doing so, we noticed the best rental car rates in Halifax by searching on Priceline. Book your rental car as early as possible, because these also become sold out during popular summer days. Search rental cars for your travel dates.
Best Things To Do in Halifax: Conclusion
We hope that this post has helped show that it is very possible to enjoy many things to do in Halifax, whatever the travel budget. Halifax is a wonderful city that has proven to be one of our favorite lengthy stays while traveling all over the world.
We absolutely fell in love with Halifax while roaming around the city over the summer.
If this travel guide has helped you plan your things to do in Halifax, please let us know in the comments below. Or if you have been to this fun Canadian city and have your own travel tips or suggestions for things to do in Halifax – let us know too!
Wait, don’t leave yet! Let’s stay connected. For a daily dose of travel tips and travel inspiration from wherever in the world we’re currently roaming around, be sure to follow our Facebook Page for all the latest.
Happy travels to beautiful Halifax, Nova Scotia! 🇨🇦
Publishing note: This article about the Best Things to Do in Halifax on a Budget was originally published in November 2017. It was most recently updated June 11, 2020, in an effort to reflect current pricing and up-to-date info.