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Things To Do

The Second-Timer's Guide to Halifax

You may already be familiar with our “First-Timer’s Guide to Halifax”, but for those who have visited the region before, this is a guide to digging deeper into the heart of the region.

There are many key Halifax experiences that you may not discover on your first time in the city. These are the experiences that—unlike, say, the waterfront boardwalk, Citadel Hill, and the Public Gardens—aren’t always staring you in the face. You’re less likely to stumble on these gems. You need to seek them out. And travel a bit farther afield. But it’s worth it. And to really feel like a local, you’ll want to make a point of uncovering them.

Find each of the stunning murals on Quinpool Road.

Thanks to the Halifax Mural Festival (held for one week every July), Quinpool Road has a surprising number of outstanding pieces of public art. Over the years, both well-established and emerging artists have brought brilliant colour to this lively street.

Begin where Quinpool meets Robie, near the Halifax Common, and walk west. While enjoying the murals, you can stop to shop, and grab a bite at an Indian, Korean, Greek, or Middle Eastern restaurant on your way.

Play in Sir Sanford Fleming Park

Just across the Northwest Arm—a saltwater inlet that defines the west end of the Halifax peninsula—you’ll find one of the most beautiful and diverse seaside parks in the city. Sir Sanford Fleming Park is a 95-acre park with four natural habitats (woodlands, heath barren, saltwater, and pond), trails, a massive natural playground, and a sandy beach. But the most unmissable feature of the park is the Italianate Dingle Tower—a four-sided stone tower dedicated in 1912 to commemorate 150 years of representative government.

Explore the Hydrostone Market and neighbourhood

Though this is widely considered to be one of the most charming and iconic neighbourhoods in Halifax, its origins are tragic. In 1917, the Halifax Explosion destroyed a massive swath of the North End of Halifax. Architect Thomas Adams designed a new, walkable urban neighbourhood that featured streets with wide, treed boulevards and a quaint, European-style market. Today, it’s as charming a place as ever to explore, the shops and restaurants alone make the area worth a visit.

Take surfing lessons at Lawrencetown Beach

Lawrencetown Beach is a scenic and wild sand-and-cobble beach on the Eastern Shore, not far from central Halifax. It’s a great spot for a short hike, a swim in the ocean, or a picnic on the sand. But what
most Haligonians prize this beach for is its surfing. With ramped boardwalks, change houses, showers, and—most importantly— nearby surf shops that offer lessons, anyone can give surfing a shot. Your lesson includes a wetsuit and board, so get out there and tackle the surf!

Or try surfing at Martinique Beach
Drive a little further along the shore to Martinique Beach in East Petpeswick, where you’ll find a surf school, equipment rentals, and consistent waves on a long sandy beach.

Get yourself onto Georges Island in the Halifax Harbour

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It’s worth repeating that these gems aren’t necessarily “hidden”—this one is sitting smack in the middle of Halifax Harbour, so you can’t really miss it. But you might not have known that you can easily get over to explore it, during the summer months at least. Georges Island was part of the Halifax Defence Complex from the mid-18th century to World War II, and it’s home to a fort, a lighthouse, and other
historic treasures. Exploring it is really like stepping back in time. You can travel to the island via ferry, or rent a kayak or canoe and paddle there yourself.