The draw of the sea, beautiful coastline, dramatic views, rich marine heritage, an eclectic art scene, friendly folks and free things and stuff to do, Halifax is a port worth calling on.
Travelodge Suites Dartmouth, TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence Winner.
Best Western Plus Chocolate Lake Hotel, TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence Winner.
Comfort Inn Halifax, TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence Winner.
More ideas: Cheap Hotels & Places to Stay in Halifax
Fans of the movie Titanic will want to pay a visit to Fairview Cemetery. In 1912 the Titanic sunk 375 miles southeast of St. John’s, Newfoundland. Of the over 1,500 people who lost their lives, 121 of the victims are buried in the Fairview Cemetery, more than in any other cemetery in the world. If you want to take your Titanic experience one step further, visit the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. Admission isn’t free but it’s pretty close—under five bucks per person, just $11 for a family—but if you are fascinated by the story of the Titanic it’s worth loosening the purse strings. The museum features all kinds of interesting stuff like 50 artifacts from the Titanic tragedy, including clothing, cutlery and china, luggage, jewellery, a deck chair, historic photos and much, much more.
One of the best free things to do in Halifax is to go for a walk. Smack dab in the middle of the city you’ll find The Halifax Public Gardens. Victorian in nature,this 16-acre park is home to an impressive wrought iron entrance, ornate fountains, statues, a bandstand and over 100 different types of trees. A few kilometers south of the city is Point Pleasant Park. Here you can do all kinds of stuff including walk forested trails, take in the Atlantic Ocean, watch container ships, cruise ships, and sailboats go by, and step back in time checking out the many remnants of this former artillery battery.
Breathe in the fresh sea air with a stroll along the Halifax Waterfront Boardwalk. Along the way you’ll pass by unforgettable landmarks such as the Pier 21 immigration museum, naval ships, historic buildings, shops, restaurants, pubs and great scenic vistas that make for awesome photo ops. For some of the best views in the city, trek to Sir Sandford Fleming Park. This land was donated to the city by Sir Sandford Fleming, the man who created universal standard time. There are 95 acres to explore here, but be sure to climb up the Dingle Tower where the views from the top of the surrounding seascape will leave you mesmerized.
Touch Halifax from the past by checking out these historic free things to do, like St. Paul’s Anglican Church. Built in 1750, it’s the oldest Anglican church in all of Canada. It also happens to be the oldest building in Nova Scotia. The church’s crypt holds the remains of British Colonials dating back to 1760, and if you take a closer look at one of the walls of the church you’ll find a piece of wooden window frame embedded there, a dramatic remnant of the great Halifax Explosion of 1917.
Point Pleasant Park features a number of historic military sites within it. Use the free online interactive map or the QR codes found on the tour markers in the park to learn more about Fort Ogilvie, the various Batteries, and the Prince of Wales Tower (you can take a free self-guided tour) all of which were built to prevent enemy ships from getting in the Halifax Harbour. If you’re down by the City’s waterfront be sure to see the HMCS Sackville, Canada’s oldest fighting warship. It dates back to World War II. For a nominal fee you can go aboard. Discover more about the history of the Canadian Navy at the Maritime Command Museum. Admission is complimentary. Here you’ll find more than 30 rooms of exhibits–lots of cool stuff here–including many artifacts from HMCS Niobe, the first flag ship of the Royal Canadian Navy. On the grounds of the museum are a variety of weapons and equipment from the Canadian Navy. And take advantage of the free guided tour at Province House. This national historic site is the oldest seat of government in Canada—the Nova Scotia legislature has met here since 1819.
If you want to get out on the water, the Halifax Ferry is just the plan. This almost-free, round-trip ride will set you back by only $2.25—what a bargoon–the views of downtown Halifax and Dartmouth are great.
If you look and don’t buy, shopping can be a free thing to do. If fashion is your thing, head to Spring Garden Road. This area of Halifax boasts over 200 retail shops, and is considered one of the trendiest spots in the City. If fresh fare is more of what you’re looking for, the Halifax Seaport Farmers Market will fit the bill. Known as North America’s oldest farmers market, it’s open year round and seven days a week through the summer months.
If you’re visiting Halifax in August don’t miss the Halifax International Busker Festival. The streets come alive with stuff like music, performers and daring entertainers and it’s all free. Halifax loves their music and they share it during the summer with free concerts at the Grande Parade. Check online for who’s playing. The Tall Ships Nova Scotia event is a celebration of the area’s tall ship heritage and east coast culture. You’ll get to see the impressive tall ships and there are a number of complimentary events as well, including free music performances. If you love jazz, you’ll want to check out the TD Halifax Jazz Festival, which includes some free concert dates. And if it’s Friday night and you feel like kicking back and watching a movie, head to the Halifax Waterfront for the alFresco filmFesto, where you can watch a flick under the stars for free.
The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia is the largest art museum in Atlantic, Canada. Here you will find over 15,000 works—everything from visual arts to historicaland contemporary pieces. Best of all on Thursday evenings admission is free from 5:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M. There are a number of public galleries in Halifax that are free to visit anytime of the week. The Harry E. Black Gallery features textile, wood, metal, glass and pottery works. If you’re a shutterbug, a trip to the Viewpoint Gallery will be inspiring. It’s a photographer-run co-operative and has free photography exhibits going on year round. If admiring historic and contemporary art is on your agenda the Anna Leonowens Gallery, Dalhousie Art Gallery or Eye Level Gallery all make wonderful choices and they’re all free to explore.
Want to swim in the ocean? If you’ve got a car or can afford to rent one, take a day trip to one of the many awesome beaches nearby. Most are within an hour’sdrive or less and are free to enjoy. Thrill seekers like to head to Lawrencetown Beach where favourite pastimes include surfing, kiteboarding, windsurfing and even extreme castle building. Martinique Beach has the longest white sand beach in the province, and there’s a bird sanctuary too. If you prefer the water to be a little warmer than a coastal beach, head to Queensland Beach, it’s located in St. Margaret’s Bay so the water temp is a little warmer. If you want to combine hiking and/or biking with your day at the beach, Crystal Crescent Beach will fit the bill. This spot features three beaches, the third one being a nude beach if you have a desire to work on your full body tan. And if you want to learn more about the ocean pay a complimentary visit to the Bedford Institute of Oceanography. Includes a Titanic exhibit and there are touch tanks where you can feel starfish, crabs, sea cucumbers, lobsters and more!
A great way to enjoy almost-free things to do in Halifax is to peruse Groupon, the money-saving website that features local discounts in 150 cities. Visit theHalifax Groupon page and you’ll find savings of anywhere from 40-90% on attractions, tours, boat cruises, theatre tickets, dinner spots and accommodations. The Groupon Halifax page is a smart place to check out when you’re first planning your trip and even when you’re in the middle of your Halifax visit because new deals get added weekly and even daily many times.
Be thrifty and practical! This information was accurate when published, but can change without notice. We recommend you confirm all details with the provider in question before planning your excursion.
Photo Credits: Russ2009, cliff1066™, InAweofGod’sCreation, archer10 (Dennis), cphoffman42, Warren Long, archer10 (Dennis), nichameleon, Patch Heart Photography, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and archer10 (Dennis).