Downtown Halifax is jam-packed with things to do this summer!
In fact, it's SO jam-packed that we've created this list of 100 Things to Do Downtown this Summer to make it easier for you to plan all your Downtown adventures.
We've divided our list up into 7 categories:
- Memorable Attractions
- Unforgettable Experiences
- Food & Drink Adventures
- Selfie Opportunities
- Can't Miss Events
- Rainy Day / Indoor Fun
- Shop 'til You Drop
Let's get started!
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1. Discover the historic tunnels and admire the scenic views of Georges Island. Ride the ferry from Cable Wharf (1751 Lower Water Street), Saturday and Sunday only until June 25, and Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from June 29 to September 4. Book your tour here.
PRO-TIP: Order a boxed lunch when you book your tickets and enjoy a picnic on the Island.
PRO-TIP: Enjoy FREE admission Thursday nights with BMO Free Access Thursday Night from 5 – 9m.
3. Discover 400 years of immigration history in Canada at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21.
PRO-TIP: Admission for children 5 and under is FREE.
4. Visit the Halifax Brewery Farmers Market (1496 Lower Water Street), located in the historic Alexander Keith’s Brewery building originally built in the 1800s. Open Saturdays, 8 am – 1 pm.
PARK IT AT THE MARKET: Park for FREE Saturdays from 6 am – 3 pm in the Salter Lot (1521 Lower Water Street) while you attend the Market.
5. Step back into time with a visit to the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site (5425 Sackville Street) and immerse yourself in the rich social and military history of Halifax.
PRO-TIP: FREE admission for youth 17 and under.
6. ‘Splash’ into Halifax Harbour with an Ambassatours’ Harbour Hopper Tour (5050 Salter Street). This super popular adventure will show you the best of Halifax by land AND sea! Tours run multiple times a day until early October. Book your tickets here.
7. Learn more about Halifax’s rich maritime heritage at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic (1675 Lower Water Street). Make sure you say “Hello” to Merlin, their Rainbow Macaw, while you are there!
PRO-TIP: Admission for children 5 and under is FREE AND admission is FREE for everyone on Tuesday nights from 5 - 8 pm all year round!
AND don't miss their free Summer Tuesday Night Music Series! From 6:30 - 7:30 pm on Tuesdays throughout the summer - more information here.
8. Experience all the fun exhibits and hands-on science experiences at The Discovery Centre (1215 Lower Water Street).
PRO-TIP: Skip the line and book your tickets online.
PRO-TIP: Be ready to take photos as there is so much to SEA!
10. Explore Queen’s Marque on the Halifax Waterfront at night. Climb to the top of Rise Again – the steps the lead up to the new art installation called ‘Tidal Beacon’. As the tides rise and fall, the lights on Tidal Beacon react, culminating in a beam that shines out over the harbour.
11. Visit The Old Burying Ground (1541 Barrington Street) and find out more about the fascinating history of Halifax, or just enjoy the quiet solitude of this National Historic Site of Canada.
PRO-TIP: FREE tours run in July and August.
12. Step into brewery history with a tour of the historic Alexander Keith’s Brewery (1496 Lower Water Street). Learn about the history of Mr. Keith’s legacy and see the brewing process in one of North America’s oldest working breweries.
PRO-TIP: Tours are FREE for children 10 and under.
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13. Enjoy a night on the town on Argyle Street (between Duke and Blowers Streets), the heart of Halifax’s Entertainment District. Argyle is closed to vehicles in the warmer months, and with all the local restaurants, pubs and clubs that line the street, it is the place to enjoy a night out with your friends.
PRO-TIP: Take a selfie in the glow of the purple lights of the Halifax Convention Centre.
14. Dip your toes in the Halifax Harbour at the Queen’s Marque steps.
16. Grove the night away with The Mellotones, every Friday night from 9 pm – 12:30 am at The Pacifico.
17. Take a guided tour of Downtown Halifax with Segway Nova Scotia, located on the Halifax Waterfront (1521 Lower Water Street). Tours run from June to October.
18. Walk on the cobblestones on Granville Mall (1897 Granville Street) and take a seat in The Blooming Seating, a playful art piece located in this historic outdoor plaza.
19. See the city from a whole new angle with a kayak or sea-doo tour of the harbour with Harbour Watercraft Tours & Adventures on the Halifax Waterfront (1597 Lower Water Street). Available until the end of October.
PRO-TIP: Save some money by pre-booking your tour online.
20. Unleash the kids’ energy at the Submarine Playground (Halifax Waterfront) and/or the Train Station Playground (Peace and Friendship Park, Barrington and South Streets).
PRO-TIP: Playgrounds are always FREE to enjoy!
21. Sail around the Harbour on Halifax’s signature ship, the Tall Ship Silva. Enjoy live music and relax with a cool beverage as you sail past some of the city’s well-known landmarks. Book your tour with Ambassatours (1655 Lower Water Street), June to October.
PRO-TIP: Many of the tours are family-friendly, so kids are welcome too!
22. Enjoy some downtime in one of Downtown Halifax’s many green spaces including Peace and Friendship Park (Barrington and South Streets), the gardens at Province House (1726 Hollis Street), Raymond Taavel Park (1004 Barrington Street), Nathan Green Square (5079 George Street, Halifax Waterfront), and more.
23. Cool down in the water fountain at Bishop’s Landing, Halifax Waterfront.
24. Try your hand at salsa or another type of dance with FREE dancing on the Waterfront at the Tall Ships Quay (1325 Lower Water Street on the Halifax Harbourwalk) every night of the week (Monday to Friday) until September. See our events calendar for more info.
25. Dare to be scared with a guided Ghost Tour of the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site. Explore all the dark shadows of the Citadel by candlelight. Private and public ghost tours are available all year-round.
26. Visit the Split Crow Pub, the oldest pub in Nova Scotia (1855 Granville Street).
27. Make the climb up Citadel Hill and experience the ‘BOOM’ of the noon gun – fires every day, right at noon, except for Christmas Day.
28. Relax in one of the orange Waterfront hammocks (on the Salter Boardwalk, Halifax Waterfront) – if you can snag one!
29. Enjoy the lively atmosphere of the Salt Yard, over 30,000 square feet of public space between Salter and Sackville Streets on the Halifax Waterfront, showcasing a cluster of small shops and restaurants, public seating, public washrooms, and more.
30. Take the self-guided Downtown Art Tour and discover all the public art in Downtown Halifax, all year.
31. Play some beach volleyball at the Sands of Salter, Halifax Waterfront.
PRO-TIP: Remember to bring your own volleyball.
32. Take a break in one of the colourful Adirondack Chairs in Grand Parade (1770 Barrington Street), or along the Halifax Waterfront by the Salt Yard (between Salter and Sackville Streets) and the Halifax Marriott Harbourfront Hotel (1919 Lower Water Street).
PRO-TIP: These colourful chairs make a great photo opportunity!
FOOD & DRINK ADVENTURES
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34. Grab a Donair, Halifax’s official food, at Mezza Lebanese Kitchen.
35. Enjoy a beverage and dine al fresco on one of Downtown Halifax’s many patios – there are over 80 of them in Downtown Halifax!
PRO-TIP: Many patios are now dog-friendly, so you can take your pooch to a patio with you!
36. Dine at one of Downtown Halifax’s award-winning restaurants including Drift (1709 Lower Water Street, Queen’s Marque), ranked 57th in Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants list; the Bicycle Thief (1475 Lower Water Street, Bishop’s Landing), ranked 64th; and Café Lunette (1741 Lower Water Street, Queen’s Marque), ranked 74th.
OR try one of the country’s Best New Restaurants: Café Lunette, ranked 5th; or Peacock Wine Bar (1715 Lower Water Street, Queen’s Marque), ranked 9th.
PRO-TIP: Book your reservations online ahead of time (check the individual websites of each restaurant to do so).
37. Visit Flynn’s Dairy Bar & Convenience (1365 Hollis Street) and try one of their Massive Shakes or spectacular Sundaes (Cookie Dough Sundae, anyone?).
38. Enjoy live music while dining at The Carleton (1685 Argyle Street), Bearly’s House of Blues & Ribs (1269 Barrington Street), The Old Triangle Irish Alehouse (5136 Prince Street), Durty Nelly’s Irish Pub (1645 Argyle Street), and more.
39. Try homemade doughnuts, cookies, or a ‘sweet-za’, an epic dessert pizza topped with fudge sauce, brownies, and ice cream, at The Fog Company (1709 Lower Water Street, Queen’s Marque).
40. Grill your own Korean BBQ at Gangnam KBBQ (1261 Barrington Street).
41. Enjoy Margarita Mondays and Taco Tuesdays at Antojo Tacos + Tequila (1667 Argyle Street).
42. Be a kid again and buy ALL the candy at Freak Lunchbox (1729 Barrington Street), one of Downtown Halifax’s specialty candy shops.
43. Grab some take-out and enjoy lunch at one of the brightly coloured picnic tables around Downtown Halifax including 10 that are wheelchair accessible. Various locations, May to October.
44. Give your pup a special treat with a “Puppy Cup” – homemade ice cream made specially for your furry friends – at Sugah Confectionary & Ice Cream Emporium (1479 Lower Water Street).
46. Enjoy a tiny taste of Paris in the heart of Halifax at Le French Fix (5233 Prince Street).
PRO-TIP: Make sure to try their vanilla and chocolate canelés! They are “très bon!”
48. If you’re a coffee connoisseur, head to Weird Harbour Espresso Bar (1656 Barrington Street) and treat yourself to a latte or an espresso to-go.
49. Taste the tongue-tingling flavours of Jamaican cuisine at Brawta Jamaican Jerk Joint (1567 Grafton Street).
PRO-TIP: Check out Brawta by the Water in the Salt Yard on the Halifax Waterfront!
50. Treat yourself to a traditional lobster dinner at Salty’s (1877 Upper Water Street, Historic Properties), Five Fishermen (1740 Argyle Street), or the Waterfront Warehouse (1549 Lower Water Street).
51. Brunch it up at one of the many restaurants in Downtown Halifax that offers the late morning meal that makes the wait for the weekend that much harder. Check out all the brunch places in Downtown Halifax here.
PRO-TIP: Fan of Eggs Benny? Be sure to check out Elle’s Bistro (1678 Barrington Street) – they serve over 20 styles (!) of Eggs Benedict 7 days of week.
52. Get some artisan soft serve ice cream or handmade chocolates from Rousseau Chocolatier (5151 South Street).
53. Visit the Lower Deck (1887 Upper Water Street) for one of their courtyard parties – live music outside in the historic setting of the Historic Properties.
PRO-TIP: They have both matinee and night shows, so get there early to grab a table.
54. Grab some late-night eats Pizza Corner (Blowers & Grafton Streets) – Halifax’s famous landmark to grab some late-night street food. Options include Sicilian Pizza (5245 Blowers Street), Potikki’s (5246 Blowers Street), Pizza Girls | KATCH Seafood (1560 Grafton Street), Rocky’s Original Filipino BBQ (5237 Blowers Street), and Willy’s Fresh Cut (5239 Blowers Streets).
PRO-TIP: Many of the restaurants at Pizza Corner are open until 4 am!
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55. Take a selfie with the Old Town Clock on Citadel Hill.
57. Take a selfie with the Wave on the Halifax Waterfront, the most visited attraction on the Waterfront.
58. Take a selfie with the Canada sign by the Halifax Marriott Harbourfront Hotel.
59. Take a selfie with some of the amazing public art in Downtown Halifax.
61. Take a selfie in Peace and Friendship Park with a view of the historic The Westin Nova Scotian Hotel (1181 Hollis Street).
62. Take a selfie in on one of the colourful Adirondack chairs lining the Halifax Harbour.
63. Take a selfie with the black & white Holstein Cow at the new COWS Cable Wharf Store.
64. Take a selfie with your pup at the ‘Pupperazzi’ wall at the Halifax Marriott Harbourfront Hotel - and make sure to tag #PupperazziHFX.
CAN'T MISS EVENTS
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65. Don’t miss KANA’TA: Canada Day 2023 on the Halifax Waterfront this year on Saturday, July 1. There will be FREE activities all day including live music shows, an Air Show by the Canadian Forces (CF) Snowbirds, and fireworks.
PRO-TIP: The Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 and the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site will offer FREE admission on Canada Day.
66. The Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo is back at the Scotiabank Centre from June 30 – July 3.
PRO-TIP: Tickets start at $26 and are FREE for kids with the purchase of an adult or senior ticket. Get yours now!
67. The 2023 North American Indigenous Games (NAIG 2023) are coming to Halifax from July 15 – 23. Many of the events are FREE and open to the public to watch.
68. The Halifax Jazz Festival returns to the Salter Lot on the Halifax Waterfront this summer from July 11 – 16. Featured artists include Fleet Foxes, Feist, Shaggy and more.
PRO-TIP: The Jazz Fest offers FREE daytime shows on the Halifax Waterfront that are all-ages and open to the public.
69. The Halifax Busker Festival is back for another year from August 2 – 7 on the Halifax Waterfront. This fun and FREE family-friendly event is a summertime tradition for most locals.
70. The Halifax Mural Festival is taking place July 3 – 9. Come see both emerging and well-established artists bring colour to places in Downtown Halifax.
71. Find some unique vintage finds at the Curio Collective’s Summer Vintage Show on July 8 at the Light House Arts Centre (1800 Argyle Street).
74. “Get fizzy with it” and enjoy the Halifax Seaport Cider & Beerfest, August 10 – 12 at the Halifax Seaport.
RAINY DAY / INDOOR FUN
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78. Play an old favourite board game with your friends or discover a new one at The Board Room Game Cafe (1256 Barrington Street).
83. Have a staycation at one of the hotels in Downtown Halifax. Many of them have pools and are dog-friendly, so the whole family can enjoy a night away.
84. Visit Casino Nova Scotia (1983 Upper Water Street) the largest casino in Atlantic Canada.
PRO-TIP: Enjoy FREE live music every Friday and Saturday night.
85. Pamper yourself with a manicure or pedicure at one of Downtown Halifax’s many spas including Spirit Urban Spa (5151 Salter Street), Interlude Spa (1715 Lower Street, Queen’s Marque), THE TEN SPOT (5165 South Street), Spice Nails & Spa (5201 Duke Street), and more.
PRO-TIP: THE TEN SPOT offers kiddie manicure and pedicures at reduced rates for kids under 12.
87. Visit the Halifax VIA Rail Station (1161 Hollis Street) and check out the Beaux-Arts-style architecture. Dating back to the late 1920s, it was built as a hotel and railway station complex with what is now known as The Westin Nova Scotian Hotel. Learn more about the building here.
SHOP 'TIL YOU DROP
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88. Buy unique and local art at Argyle Fine Art (1559 Barrington Street), the Gallery Shop at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia (1723 Hollis Street), The Prow Gallery (1479 Lower Water Street), Art 1274 Hollis (1274 Hollis Street), and other art galleries around Downtown.
89. Shop fresh and local at the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market (961 Marginal Road) open Saturdays, 8 am – 2 pm, and Sundays, 10 am – 2 pm.
90. Explore the courtyard at Historic Properties (1869 Upper Water Street), browse the shops for local souvenirs (1869 Upper Water Street).
91. Purchase a comic book or 2 (or 10!) at Strange Adventures (5110 Prince Street).
92. Visit the Dockside Shops at Pavilion 22. Filled with local vendors and unique products. Open only on cruise ship days.
93. Browse the shops along Barrington Street. Explore a variety of shops like The Loop Modern Fibre Craft (1557 Barrington Street), FireWorks Gallery (1569 Barrington street), Urban Outfitters (1650 Barrington Street), The Flower Shop (1705 Barrington Street), Venus Envy (1727 Barrington Street), and more.
96. Shop for rare and exotic snacks from all corners of the globe at Undergound Snax (1549 Barrington Street).
99. Visit the award-winning Peace by Chocolate on the Halifax Waterfront (1741 Lower Water Street, Queen’s Marque), and pick up a few of their famous chocolate bars – they make great gifts for family and friends.
DID YOU KNOW: There’s a movie based on the Hadid family’s journey from Syria to Nova Scotia, called Peace by Chocolate?