One of Canada's oldest and most historic cities is also one of its most vibrant. “Today it's an incredible, historic city with a hip vibe, great amenities, fantastic seafood, and delicious beer,” says the Boston Globe. In Halifax, the waterfront will always have a magnetic pull for visitors and locals. The Halifax harbourfront is the centre of activities all year long in Halifax, with the 4.4km Harbourwalk buzzing with energy. The Halifax waterfront boardwalk is a public footpath located on the Halifax Harbour, open to the public 24 hours a day, that stretches along the waterfront for 10 city blocks from Casino Nova Scotia to the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21. On the water, sailboats, ferries, cargo ships and naval vessels are a regular sight, while on land there are unlimited opportunities to experience local culinary and cultural experiences, chill on a bench or a hammock, enjoying that salty maritime breeze. Halifax has a walk score of 70 and is classified as “very walkable” according to Walkscore.com. Getting across the harbour to Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, means taking a ride on the longest-running saltwater ferry service in North America and enjoying unobstructed views of the Halifax waterfront. There is truly nothing else like it in Canada, making it easy to see why the Halifax Waterfront is the number-one most-visited attraction in Nova Scotia.
Take a stroll along Harbourwalk at the Halifax Waterfront and try some of these fun things to do:
Harbour Hoppers - All aboard Atlantic Canada's most popular tour – a fun, fast-paced adventure that introduces you to the best of Halifax by land and sea! You'll have an exclusive view of our vibrant city’s historic sights, before you make your big SPLASH into the Halifax harbour! This fully narrated amphibious tour is one you won’t soon forget!
The Wave & Playground - This large, iconic blue wave sculpture, designed by artist Donna Hiebert is one of the most photographed attractions on the Halifax waterfront. Nearby is a fun two-dimensional octopus wall and interactive submarine playground featuring a sea-themed slide, periscope, and portholes. The first level is also wheelchair accessible.
Tall Ship Silva - A cruise aboard The Tall Ship Silva is the perfect way to fully appreciate a beautiful day on the Halifax Harbour. Your journey beings on the Halifax waterfront as you set off to view some of Halifax’s most notable landmarks and hear stories of the city’s rich history including accounts of the Halifax Explosion. Enjoy a beverage or two from the onboard Murphy’s Pub, and sit back, relax and enjoy a beautiful day out on the water.
Salt Yard - Salt Yard is over 30,000 square feet of public space between Salter and Sackville Streets on the Halifax waterfront showcasing high-quality seasonal small local businesses, arts and entertainment, and is nestled near the Waterfront Warehouse and the Stubborn Goat Beer Garden. The area includes a cluster of 16 small businesses, public seating, space for performances, eight gender-neutral public washrooms, including two accessible washrooms, enhanced lighting, and landscaping.
Halifax-Dartmouth Ferry - The Halifax–Dartmouth Ferry is the oldest saltwater ferry in North America, and the second oldest in the world (after the Mersey Ferry linking Liverpool and Birkenhead). Today the service is operated by Halifax Transit and links Downtown Halifax with two locations, Alderney Landing and Woodside, in Dartmouth, NS. Enjoy unobstructed views of the Halifax waterfront.
Hammocks & Adirondack Chairs - These popular orange hammocks along the Salter boardwalk are perfect for relaxing and enjoying the harbour breezes and original selfies! You’ll also find Adirondack chairs along the boardwalk, including Parks Canada’s red Adirondack chairs looking to our harbour’s national historic site – Georges Island. Connect with nature, unwind, and truly experience the best of Canada.
Historic Properties - The Historic Properties (also known as Privateers' Wharf) are warehouses on the Halifax Boardwalk in Halifax, Nova Scotia that began to be constructed during the Napoleonic Wars by Nova Scotian businessmen. These properties helped make Halifax prosperous in Canada's early days by aiding trade and commerce, but they were also frequently used as vehicles for smuggling and privateering. Folk singer Stan Rogers made the Privateers Wharf famous in his songs "Barrett's Privateers" and "Bluenose".
‘Get Drunk, Fall Down’ - Designed by Chris Hanson and Hendrika Sonnenberg, the humorous sculpture at the Helipad near Bishop’s Landing features a lamppost slumped across the pier, with its concerned friend looking on. This cheeky art installation is probably fitting for a city with one of the highest number of pubs per capita. Nearby is the Fountain lamp post shooting a stream of water into the harbour.
Museums - The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic is a maritime museum located along the boardwalk in downtown Halifax, Nova Scotia. The museum is a member of the Nova Scotia Museum and is the oldest and largest maritime museum in Canada with a collection of over 30,000 artifacts including a steamship: the CSS Acadia. Nearby is HMCS Sackville is Canada’s oldest warship. This Naval Memorial and National Historic Site was a combat veteran of the Second World War where she played a pivotal role in winning the Battle of the Atlantic. She is now a museum ship located in Halifax Harbour.
Pier 21 - The Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 shares the ongoing story of immigration to Canada from coast to coast to coast, past and present. Step into the past and experience what it was like for nearly one million immigrants between 1928 and 1971 in the Pier 21 Story exhibition. Explore 400 years of immigration history and newcomer’s contributions and impressions in the Canadian Immigration Hall.
Queens Marque - Located at the historic site of Queen’s Landing, the Queens Marque district is bordered by Prince, Lower Water, and George Streets and the harbour itself. Queen’s Marque features a hotel, commercial offices, luxury residences, and retail, food and beverage spaces, plus expansive public space, including three public plazas and thoughtfully curated art installations.
Photo: Discover Halifax (photographed before the COVID-19 pandemic)