If you know Halifax, you know there are hundreds of reasons to visit, but if you’re looking for an excuse to plan a trip, we’ve made it easy with a list of 10 fantastic reasons to experience Halifax this year.
1. Dine Around
Halifax is home to a rich culinary scene, specializing in fresh seafood and locally sourced ingredients. Dining options range from casual lobster shacks to upscale culinary destinations, and local breweries and cideries add to the city’s vibrant food culture.
February is for foodies in Halifax. Every year, throughout the month of February, local restaurants participate in Dine Around, a month-long foodie festival, offering specially curated menus at unbeatable prices.
2. North American Indigenous Games (NAIG)
Cheer on Indigenous athletes from across Turtle Island as they compete in the 10th North American Indigenous Games.
NAIG 2023 will bring together more than 5,000 athletes, coaches and team staff from 756+ Indigenous Nations celebrating, sharing and reconnecting through sport and culture. The Games will host competitions in 16 sports at 21 venues across Kjipuktuk (Halifax), Dartmouth, and Millbrook First Nation.
Be part of this historic celebration of sport and culture in Mi’kma’ki, traditional home of the Mi’kmaq Nation.
3. East Coast Music Awards (ECMAs)
Get your live music fix at the 35th anniversary of the East Coast Music Awards this spring in Halifax.
The ECMAs is a five-day musical celebration, showcasing the best of East Coast artists and music. This year, Halifax will host 35th anniversary of the festival, lighting up stages across the city from May 3-7, 2023.
Discover new and emerging artists, and experience showcases from your favourite East Coast musicians. With hundreds of musicians playing at venues and events across the city over five days in May, the ECMAs is the perfect opportunity to take in as much live music as possible in Halifax.
4. Relaxing rural retreats
Slow down and breathe in that fresh ocean air. Explore the region beyond the downtown core, and enjoy a little R&R.
Whether you spend a day kayaking along the white sand beaches on the Eastern Shore, or stop for a seafood lunch at a local café as you cruise along the Lighthouse Route, you’ll find there are plenty of ways to enjoy a relaxing getaway in Halifax’s rural communities.
5. The Great Outdoors Comedy Festival
6. Clam Harbour Beach Sandcastle Competition
Be part of a Nova Scotian summer tradition at the 43rd annual Clam Harbour Beach Sandcastle Competition. This annual event attracts more than 10,000 people every year to Nova Scotia’s beautiful Eastern Shore, with cash prizes for various categories, including Adult, Youth, and Children’s categories, as well as a Fan Choice award!
7. CFL Touchdown Atlantic
The east coast’s biggest celebration of football – Touchdown Atlantic – will return to the region on Saturday, July 29 at 4 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. AT as the Saskatchewan Roughriders take on the Toronto Argonauts. The 2023 edition of the game will be held in Halifax, where Saint Mary’s University’s Huskies Stadium will be expanded to welcome over 10,000 fans! This marks the second consecutive year that a Touchdown Atlantic game will be played in the region, after a tremendously successful showing in Wolfville, N.S. in 2022. In the lead-up to the main event, there will be fun-filled football festivities, pre-game tailgate prior to the game and much more.
Tickets for this popular event won’t last long! Get early access when they go on sale by signing up for the CFL Newsletter!
8. Halifax's performing arts scene
One of the best things about Halifax is that no matter the time of year, there’s always live entertainment happening somewhere in the city.
As the largest city in Atlantic Canada, Halifax is the go-to destination for big name shows at venues like the Scotiabank Centre. In the first half of 2023 alone the Scotiabank Centre is set to welcome the likes of Kevin Hart, Jimmy Carr, and Shania Twain.
It’s not just the major shows that draw audiences to Halifax. Smaller stages like the Lighthouse Arts Centre, or the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium offer an intimacy that can be felt in venues across the city, large or small. And if you’ve ever wondered what makes Halifax’s live music scene so exceptional, just head to The Carleton, The Marquee, Seahorse Tavern, or The Lower Deck to find out.
Halifax is a place where you can experience world-class theatre on a local stage at venues like Neptune Theatre, Bus Stop Theatre, or Eastern Front Theatre. Experiences like the summertime open-air Shakespeare by the Sea series in Point Pleasant Park are part of what make the performing arts scene in this city so special.
Can’t-miss annual arts events include Halifax Jazz Festival (July), Prismatic Arts Festival, Halifax Fringe Festival (September), FIN Atlantic International Film Festival (September), Halifax Comedy Fest (April), and many more. Whatever you’re looking for, this city is ready to put on a show.
9. Halifax's cider scene
Nova Scotia is home to a growing cider scene, with local cideries producing a range of traditional and innovative cider styles. Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley is one of Canada’s five main apple-growing regions, and may in fact be one of the oldest in North America.
Nova Scotian apples are nurtured by the world’s most powerful tides from the Bay of Fundy, and the cooling effects of the nearby ocean, paired with plenty of sunshine create a long growing season, maintaining the crisp acidity our ciders are known for.
Excellent apples make for high-quality ciders. Nova Scotia grows dozens of apple varieties which offer a diverse collection of flavours and uses, and, consequently, a myriad of cider styles. Our talented cider makers create everything from classic dry ciders to seasonal releases using local strawberries, raspberries, and many more local ingredients. These creative brewers have even paired up with local distillers and winemakers to create new and innovative blends.
Once you’ve sampled the ciders of the Halifax region, go beyond and discover the Nova Scotia Cider Route.
10. New waterfront dining experiences
Discover the latest additions to the waterfront culinary scene.
Since opening at the end of 2021, the Queen’s Marque District on the Halifax waterfront has become home to some incredible culinary hot spots, featuring dining experiences from around the world. More than half a dozen new restaurants have opened in the area, with several more expected to open in 2023.
Whether you’re in the mood for a Parisian coffee with a waterfront view, an Italian street food lunch, or cocktails in a lively Latin bar, this is the perfect time to explore Halifax’s vibrant new culinary hot spot.
Bar Sofia showcases the vibrancy of Latin cooking with a diverse menu of authentic Argentine and Peruvian dishes.
Café by day, bistro by night, Café Lunette is a Parisian-inspired eatery with a range of classic and inventive dishes.
Daryâ is a refined yet earthy Eastern Mediterranean-inspired restaurant offering a fresh take on the region’s flavours, ingredients, and techniques.
A culinary love letter to Nova Scotia’s land, people and history, Drift features modern, elevated takes on classic Atlantic Canadian dishes.
An intimate and cozy hideaway, Peacock is a new breed of wine bar that is both confident and cheeky.
Salt + Ash
The entire menu is cooked over a wood fire – from traditional Nova Scotian seafood to pizzas and more.
Sapori Italian Street Food
Offering Italian street-food with dine-in and grab-and-go options, Sapori serves up traditional dishes in an easy, casual setting.
Sink your teeth into an old school classic burger – simply prepared and gloriously satisfying.
From Vietnam to Japan to Malaysia, Toridori is a love affair with Asia’s expansive repertoire of noodle creations.