Things To Do On A Short Stay In Halifax Nova Scotia

Short Stay In Halifax Nova Scotia.jpg

Keep Busy On A Short Stay In Halifax Nova Scotia

We found a lot to see and do in a short stay in Halifax.  The waterfront offered so many options for the whole family.  We found historical sites and maritime tradition as we explored the city.  And we took several day trips from Halifax and explored more of Nova Scotia.   

Halifax was a great stop on our road trip around Atlantic Canada.

We Started In Sydney, Nova Scotia

When we finished our visit to New Brunswick, we drove straight to Sydney on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia.  The weather was grey and unlike most travel days, we did not meander along the way.  We arrived at our waterfront hotel and settled in for two days. 

The first night was cloudy but dry so we wandered out and enjoyed a great patio dinner at the Governors Pub.  A local band entertained us through the seafood meal.

Cape Breton Nova Scotia Governors Pub.jpg
Cape Breton Nova Scotia Governors Pub.jpg

We wandered along the waterfront and enjoyed the variety of outdoor art we found.  The Merchant Mariners Memorial was a tribute to the sailors on merchant ships that brought equipment and supplies to the Allied forces in Europe during WWII.  The Big Fiddle at the Cruise Ship Terminal was a tribute to the folk music and traditions of the province’s Celtic community.  

Cape Breton Nova Scotia Art.jpg
Cape Breton Nova Scotia Art Merchant Navy Memorial.jpg
Cape Breton Nova Scotia Art Big Fiddle.jpg

On our second day, we abandoned our plans to drive around the Cabot Trail.  Early in the day fog covered the coast and later in the day the rain pounded down.  We hoped to do the Cabot Trail drive later on our trip around Eastern Canada.  

Our ferry to Newfoundland left and arrived back at North Sydney.  When we came back from our stay in Newfoundland, we were off the ferry early in the morning.  We planned to drive the coastal route into Halifax.  But felt we had time to drive along the Cabot Trail from Cape Breton.  Unfortunately the weather was rainy and we sadly passed again on this iconic drive in Nova Scotia.

Coastal Route Into Halifax

Even with the rain we did not abandon our plans to do the coastal route to Halifax.  A short stop in Antigonish at the Tall and Small Cafe warmed us up with coffee and a snack.

Antigonish Tall and Small Cafe.jpg

As we drove along the shore, we wished for the idyllic views out to sea.  But mostly we saw fog.  We finally found a covered picnic table at Moses River and we stopped for a quick lunch in the rain.

Moses River Picnic.jpg

Our route took us into Dartmouth.  We crossed the Angus L MacDonald Bridge and got our first view of Halifax across the inlet.  Later on our visit we saw a ferry that crossed between the two cities.  We planned to return to Dartmouth to explore more.  But we ran out of time on this stay in Halifax.

Dartmouth Angus L MacDonald Bridge.jpg
Dartmouth Ferry - Short Stay In Halifax Nova Scotia.jpg

We saw out hotel right on the waterfront as we crossed.  We were excited when we checked in to explore Halifax for several days.

A Great Harbourfront Stay In Halifax

We were booked into the Halifax Marriott Harbourfront.  Our elite status with Marriott got us an upgraded room on a higher floor.  We again booked a travel package and made good use of the gas card that came with the package.  

Marriott Harbourfront Room - Short Stay In Halifax Nova Scotia.jpg

The elite breakfast at the hotel offered a great menu with lots of choices.  The hotel restaurant provided great good options for all meals and an outdoor patio too.  We were always well fuelled up during our stay in Halifax.

Marriott Harbourfront Food.jpg
Marriott Harbourfront Food - Short Stay In Halifax Nova Scotia.jpg

Wander Along The Halifax Waterfront

From out hotel we strolled out along the boardwalk on the waterfront.  We stopped at the colourful signs that showed us where we were.  Along the boardwalk we found patios and seating areas set up for a view of the water.

Waterfront Sign at Marriott Waterfront - Short Stay In Halifax Nova Scotia.jpg
Waterfront View.jpg
Waterfront View - Short Stay In Halifax Nova Scotia.jpg

We loved all the activities to keep families entertained.  And a wide variety of ways to tour the city and the water.  If we got hungry, there were always spots along the waterfront to stop.  We got our first taste of Cows Ice Cream.  But found so much more of this great brand when we visited Prince Edward Island (PEI).

Waterfront Family Fun.jpg
Waterfront Family Fun - Short Stay In Halifax Nova Scotia.jpg
Waterfront Food Cows Ice Cream.jpg

When we toured new cities, we were always on the lookout for colourful outdoor art.  In many places along the waterfront and in town we were not disappointed.

Waterfront Street Art - Short Stay In Halifax Nova Scotia.jpg
Street Art.jpg
Street Art.jpg
Waterfront Street Art.jpg

We loved wandering along the waterfront on our short stay in Halifax.

Learn About The History Of Halifax

As a port town, Halifax played significant roles throughout the history of Canada.  We got our first view of the Citadel on the hill on our walk along the waterfront.  On another day we drove up and got a closer view.  

Fort George Citadel.jpg
Fort George Citadel.jpg

This National Historic Site was founded by the English in 1749 and was originally called Fort George.  Four fortifications protected the city and the harbour.  Today the 78th Highlanders guard the Citadel’s entrance and conduct marching and band drills on the parade grounds.  The firing of the noon gun has been a local tradition since 1857.

When we walked along the waterfront we saw the Georges Island Memorial.  This memorial was installed in 2005 on the 250th anniversary of the Deportation of the Acadians (or the Great Upheaval).  The monument was a tribute to the  thousands of Acadians that were imprisoned on Georges Island following the British Order of Deportation of 1755.  Out in the harbour we saw Georges Island.

George's Island Memorial - Short Stay In Halifax Nova Scotia.jpg

The history of Nova Scotia included many other interesting points.  On our walk on the waterfront we saw the memorial to the submarine lines across the Atlantic Ocean between America and Europe.  It was a reminder of the role that Canada played in telecommunications.

Submarine Telegraph History.jpg

As a major Canadian city, there was a lot of history to explore on a stay in Halifax.  

Explore Nova Scotia’s Maritime History

On our harbour walk we saw the Halifax Maritime Museum of the Atlantic.  This large museum covered the broad contribution of Nova Scotia to maritime history.  Outside we saw some of the bigger displays.  As a former naval lieutenant David was always interested in maritime museums.   But we ran out of time on this visit. Luckily we did not miss the large sailor statue as we walked.  

Maritime Museum of the Atlantic - Short Stay In Halifax Nova Scotia.jpg
Maritime Museum of the Atlantic.jpg
Sailor Statue.jpg

One of the big draws in the harbour was the interesting collection of large ships.  We admired the Tall Ship Silva at the Cable Wharf.

Cable Wharf - Short Stay In Halifax Nova Scotia.jpg
Tall Ship Silva.jpg

The white hull of the CSS Acadia brought back another era in maritime history.  It was launched in 1913 and was the first vessel specifically designed and built to survey Canada’s northern waters.  Acadia was also the only surviving ship that served the Royal Canadian Navy during both world wars. 

CSS Acadia.jpg

The HMCS SACKVILLE drew most of the crowds.  This was the last Flower-class corvette that served in the Royal Canadian Navy.  It later served as a civilian research vessel.  Today this Naval Memorial and National Historic Site served as a floating museum.  

HMCS Sackville - Short Stay In Halifax Nova Scotia.jpg

Halifax is the eastern home port of the Royal Canadian Navy.  So it was no surprise that the the Maritime history and tradition of Nova Scotia was on display during our stay in Halifax.

Find A Local Market

When we travelled we loved to explore the local markets.  On our walk along the waterfront on the Saturday we searched out the Halifax Brewery Market.  Local farmers and artisans brought their goods into the city.  We were not surprised that the Halifax Brewery Market had an area for Alexander Keith’s brewery.  Although we did not stop for a sample.

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Brewery Market Alexander Keith Brewery - Short Stay In Halifax Nova Scotia.jpg

We were a bit late in the day and much of the fresh produce was picked through.  But we sure found some tasty treats. The wide variety of local products drew us in.  It was always fun to see the creativity. And have the chance to purchase more local fare.

Brewery Market.jpg
Brewery Market.jpg

We were happy our stay in Halifax was over a weekend and we got the chance to explore the market.

Visit The Iconic Sites In Nova Scotia

There were many great day trips from Halifax for the iconic sites around Nova Scotia.  No trip to Nova Scotia was really complete without enjoying the fishing village of Peggy’s Cove and the lighthouse on the rock.

Peggys Cove.jpg
Peggys Cove Lighthouse - Short Stay In Halifax Nova Scotia.jpg

The high tide fluctuations in the Bay of Fundy are truly a sight to see.  Vast expanses of red mud and ships sitting out of the water on their hulls amazed us.

Bay of Fundy Grande Pre.jpg
Bay of Fundy Halls Harbour - Short Stay In Halifax Nova Scotia.jpg

On day trips from Halifax, we enjoyed all the great coastal towns we visited. Mahone Bay was a charming spot.  And the harbour in Lunenburg drew us back many times.  

Lunenburg Horse and Carriage tour.jpg
Lunenburg Harbour Seymour Fogg.jpg

With so much coastline, it was not hard to find great water views in Nova Scotia.  We were delighted when we visited the Ovens Natural Park and found a stunning coast with caves.  

Ovens Natural Park.jpg
The Ovens Natural Park Caves - Short Stay In Halifax Nova Scotia.jpg

While there was much to do on a stay in Halifax, we found so many interesting spots to visit on day trips out of the city.  

So Many Things To Do On A Short Stay In Halifax Nova Scotia

It was a busy short stay in Halifax in Nova Scotia on our road trip in Eastern Canada.  We found lots to see and do as we explored the city.  And discovered even more great spots on our day trips from Halifax.  

From Halifax we headed for a longer stay in Charlottetown on the charming island of Prince Edward Island.  

What did you find to do on a stay in Halifax?  Is there something we must see on a return visit?

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  1. I have heard of Nova Scotia before. I know, it sounded familiar. It seems like you have had an amazing trip roaming around the island and Halifax. I am totally impressed. I bet the local cow ice cream was delicious.

  2. This looks like a great trip! We went to Nova Scotia many years ago, and I would love to return sometime. We didn’t have much time to explore Halifax, and I would really like the opportunity to check it out some more.

  3. I love everything that has to do with ships. So Halifax waterfront with all its maritime history and maritime monuments and museums looks so interesting. I would make sure to plan a visit to the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. The rooms of the Halifax Marriott Harbourfront look modern and comfy – great to relax after a day of exploring and sightseeing!

  4. I will have to plan a trip there at some point at least for the seafood. Those photos were making me hungry. I like those cool murals and random sculptures. I just love how all over the world peoplw are displaying more and more are in public.

  5. I adore Nova Scotia, partly because we still have family in Antigonish, and partly because it is just so idyllic. In fact, we just got back from a trip that we had to cut short because of weather. Fortunately, I’ve been several times to appreciate the lighthouse at Peggy’s Cove, The Cabot Trail on Cape Breton, and the delicious seafood dishes. Reading your article makes me want to plan a spring trip. We haven’t explored Halifax nearly enough!

  6. Reading your post on Halifax was like walking to a new holiday destination for me, an interesting halt on the road trip around Atlantic Canada. Very attractive outdoor art in Sydney on Cape Breton Island, a great photo opportunity. I like the sculpture themed Bicycle thief. Those caves are worth exploring I am sure. Your pictures made my trip.

  7. I’m so glad you enjoyed your stay there and your visit to the East Coast. I live on Prince Edward Island and my husband and I absolutely love our trips to Halifax! We love the market and the waterfront. So much to see and do there!

  8. I’ve always wondered what there was to do in Nova Scotia! So many pretty sights! Especially the murals. Good to know there is a Marriot we could stay at too! We love our Marriott Bonvoy program : ) Great photos!

  9. I have never been to Canada, but now I am putting Halifax Nova Scotia high up on my travel list!!! This looks so amazing, and I love all of the seafood 🙂

  10. First of all I must compliment you since you some of the few people whose pix of food doesn’t look gross. No offence to anyone else, but it’s very hard to take a good pictures of food. Now to Halifax that’s just blowing me away with all this fantastic street art. Statues, murals – it just doesn’t stop. Apart from its very post summer-ish resort appearance, it seems to have a lot in store….especially for people like me.

    • Thank you for your comments on our food pics. Sometimes I get annoyed at how long it takes us to get our food pics before we eat. But almost always worth it since food is a great treat when we travel. We too were surprised at how interesting it was in Halifax when we wandered around. Yet another spot for your long growing Canada list!

  11. This post is making me so excited for when we move th the maritimes. I know it’s ages away but I’m so excited. I can’t wait to visit the vibrant coastline of nova scotia especially peggy’s cove and enjoy the local caught seafood. Would you say this would be the best base fo NS for a few nights. We’ll be living in NB and able to visit for odd day trips too but I feel having a few dedicated days here would be amazing

    • We found Halifax to be a great base to explore and find things to do around you. If you are living in NB, it is an easy day trip to some spots or a longer stay in Halifax. I am sure you are going to love living in NB.

  12. Your visit to Halifax, Nova Scotia looks a wonderful one with loads of sight seeing. The outdoor art at the board walk, the merchant mariner s memorial and the Big Fiddle at the terminal are so appealing.The Halifax waterfront has a colorful seating area with fun activities for kids. Also your stay at Marriott Harbor front is an exotic one with scrumptious meals. I would love to visit Halifax Nova Scotia with a stop over to George Island memorial, Citadel on Hill and its rich maritime history with collection of ships.

  13. So much to do here! Looks like you captured all the cool things to check out! I saved your post to refer for when I am able to plan my trip!

  14. You covered a lot of ground during your road trip. I too, look out for colorful street art and love exploring the local markets. The waterfront views look enchanting as well. I’m definitely interested in visiting!

  15. Halifax surely seems like a pretty city. Such colourful pictures. Beautiful Installation art around! Would definitely like to visit Ovens Natural Park and try the Cinnamon rolls!

  16. Another great post and love the photos. So colorful! I am really trying to get this region into our summer plans for next year, late summer. Your posts have been so helpful as I consider our options. I know we would especially enjoy the seafood, the maritime history and the scenery. Thanks as always for a great post.

  17. I’m so glad to see you got sunshine in Halifax. I think I’m kind of obsessive about wanting some blue sky in my photos, but of course you can’t always get that. I’m in love with the beautiful sights you got to take in — lighthouse, marina, rows of colorful Adirondack chairs, etc. And I would enjoy learning about the maritime history, too.

  18. This looks a great spot & a very busy trip! Love all the street art & always enjoy your food photos. One to add to the list for when I visit Canada next time. Thanks for all the info!

  19. I did not know that Halifax, Nova Scotia, has so many exciting attractions. And I had no idea that Sydney is also in Canada. But I would like to visit this place due to the food. The meals look delicious. Halifax Waterfront seems to be the perfect place for a walk. Also Maritime History, all the lighthouses, statues, and murals are amazing.

  20. Wow, I have been hoping to visit Halifax with my husband because his family is from there, but I never realized just how incredibly beautiful and interesting it is! Thanks for sharing your trip, there is lots to do there!

  21. That Merchant Mariners Memorial is almost mesmerizingly cool and the lobster graffiti has a nice vibe.

    The food at the Marriott does indeed look rather delicious. Despite being over 100 years old, the majestic CSS Acadia still seems in sterling shape.

  22. The food at the Governors Pub looks so delicious! I’d also love to take the ferry – they’re so fun to ride. It looks like you had a great stay at Halifax Marriott Harbourfront Hotel. It’s great that you had points for an upgrade!

  23. You managed to see a lot during your short stay in Halifax. The waterfront is so pretty especially with all the colorful deckchairs lined up. I don’t know much about the history here, or of Nova Scotia so it was interesting to visit through your post. As always, your hotel looked comfortable and your meals looked good too!

  24. Lots of beautiful places to see in your Nova Scotia adventure and the Ovens Park sure looks to be a must visit destination. But the thing that I loved the most in your travels are the street art. The murals are vibrant and brings good visual attraction.

  25. Your post got me thinking that I have never explored waterfronts or ships in such a comprehensive manner. The caves with water flowing through are stunning. I would love to take a boat ride and eat the Cow Ice Cream. The region is so clean and blue.

  26. The Halifax waterfront with those chairs is so vibrant. There seems to be a lot of street art everywhere – I particularly found the Halifax tribute ones interesting. The history of the place with its deportation is something that I was not aware of. I sure would love visiting the Bay of Fundy – it seems so picturesque and am sure it looks as amazing at different times of the day.

  27. The city sounds thrilling and vibrant! I would absolutely love to visit 🙂. The colorful chairs lined up along the waterfront make for a particularly picturesque sight.

  28. I will be visiting Halifax and I’m planning a road trip around Nova Scotia in September, so this post got me really excited for what is about to come. Flights are booked and now I’m just waiting for the time to come. I will definitely not want to skip Peggy’s Cove and Fundy Bay, which I know are some of the most popular places to see in this area of Atlantic Canada. I also can’t wait for all those seafood lunches and dinners. Halifax looks very interesting as well, at he moment I am planning two full days to explore the city.

  29. With various vibrant colors visible everywhere, Halifax looks to be an upbeat city. The radiant outdoor art has me in awe and has really grabbed my attention. I’m interested in trying out the activities at Halifax Waterfront given that they seem like a blast. Because there is so much to see and do in this city, even for a brief visit, I’ll add Halifax to my list of places to make trips to. Those cinnamon rolls look delicious, though!

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