For most people who visit Halifax spending money is incredibly easy, with the cost of accommodations, the museums, the art galleries, the tours, and the food. It all ends up taking its toll on your wallet. However, visiting Halifax in the summer does not need to break the bank. There are many budget-friendly options available to pick from, and there are also many activities that are completely free.
Listed below you will find 25 free things that you can enjoy this summer in Halifax.
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1. Explore the Waterfront
The Halifax Waterfront is one of the largest boardwalks in the world at 4km long. During the summer months, there is so much to see and do around the waterfront. The scenery on the waterfront changes daily; one day you might see a cruise ship in town, the next day you may see a yacht docked along the boardwalk. You should take some time and explore the waterfront this summer.
2. Relax on the Waterfront Hammocks
While you are exploring the waterfront, why not take some time to relax on one of the waterfront hammocks. All summer long, you will find hammocks along a portion of the boardwalk. They have become popular with both locals and travelers because they have great views of the harbour.
3. Take a Guided Tour
Twice a day, there are free tours offered during the summer months. Halifax Free Tours are around an hour and half long and will take you around downtown. Each tour is different because the tour guides will tell you about the city and their experiences.
4. Stroll through the Public Gardens
ThePublic Gardenshave been the heart of downtown Halifax of over a century. Today, the gardens are 16 acres of flowers, plants, statues, fountains, ponds, and more. This oasis is the perfect place to stop and smell the roses.
5. Have a Picnic at Point Pleasant Park
In Halifax’s South End is Point Pleasant Park, which is home to 35km for walking trails and great places to relax. There are many sections that are off-leash if you are a dog owner. You can enjoy a picnic along with amazing views of the Harbour.
6. Watch a Movie Under the Stars
When the sun goes down, it is time to head to the Public Gardens to enjoy a movie under the stars. FIN Outdoor sets up a 30 foot inflatable screen and shows family-friendly movies during June and July. You should be sure to bring a blanket and some snacks to enjoy when you watch the movie.
7. Try Samples at the Seaport Farmers’ Market
Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Marketis brimming with vendors who are trying to earn your business. Many vendors offer samples for you to try without making a purchase. The best time to visit this market is on Saturday mornings.
8. Hang Out at the Halifax Central Library
The new Halifax Central library has become a popular hangout and it’s not hard to see why. The lovely building has five floors and a rooftop terrace. There are many free classes and workshops offered at the library.
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9. Rollerblade or Roller Skate at The Emera Oval
During the summer, the Emera Oval at the Halifax Commons becomes a roller skating rink. If you do not own a pair of roller skates, you can use a pair from the free Rollerblade rentals. You can also ride a bike or scooter around the Oval.
10. Explore the Discovery Centre for Free on Wednesday Nights
Every Wednesday night, the Discovery Centre is open late and it is the best time to visit because it’s free. You get to learn about science, math, engineering, and technology by taking part in hands-on activities. The centre is fun and educational for all ages.
11. Cook on the Open Oven
The Park Avenue Community Oven is an outdoor community oven and urban garden in the Dartmouth Common. On Thursdays and Saturdays the oven is lit from noon until 3pm, so you can bring food and cook it in the oven. It is a great way of connecting with other people.
12. Tour the Oldest Building in Halifax
The oldest building in Halifax is Saint Paul’s Anglican Church and it is also the oldest Protestant Church in Canada. The church even survived the Halifax Explosion in 1917, which caused one of the windows to have the image of a man burned into the glass. Free guided tours are offered Monday to Friday, or you can take a self-guided tour.
13. Enjoy Live Music at Noon – July 4thto August 17th
On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday each week from July 4thto August 17ththere will be live music at the Grand Parade in Downtown Halifax. The Tunes at Noon Summer Concert Series is in its 11thyear and showcases local musicians for an hour-long concert.
14. Hike Duncan’s Cove
Duncan’s Cove is one of the best places to visit if you love hiking. The 4km hike can be challenging at times due to the rough terrain, so you should plan for the hike to take a few hours. There are two WWII bunkers on the trail.
15. Watch the Halifax Busker Festival – July 31 – August 5
The oldest and biggest Busker festival in Canada, the Halifax International Buskers Festival takes over the waterfront district. International and national performers travel to Halifax from all over the world to showcase their unique talents and skills. The Halifax Busker Festival is open to the public and has something for everyone to enjoy.
16. Halifax Jazz Festival – July 9 – 14, 2019
For over 30 years, The Halifax Jazz Festival has been bringing talented jazz artists to the city. Visitors can enjoy free daytime shows on the waterfront, while the evening jazz shows are held at select bars in downtown Halifax.
17. Get a Lesson about Maritime Military Aviation at the Shearwater Aviation Museum
If you’re an aviation buff or would like to learn more about Maritime Military Aviation history, you should take a couple of hours to visit the Shearwater Aviation Museum. The museum contains a variety of planes and helicopters from World War II to the 1960s, a small restoration area where they repair aircraft, a hallway of plaques, a gift shop and much more for visitors to discover.
18. Splash Around at the Halifax Commons Playground, Pool, and Splash Pad
The Halifax Commons Playground, Pool and Splash Pad is the perfect place to cool off on a hot summer day. The large, simple splash pad is a great option for kids and adults who are looking to cool off quickly. The pool also has free swimming times and lessons available.
19. Go Swimming at Kearney Lake Playground and Beach
This popular playground also has a small sandy beach that you can relax on or take a dip in the water. The Kearney Lake Playground and Beach has lifeguards on duty during the summer. The playground equipment and swings are fun for kids of all ages.
20. See the Heart Shaped Pond and Hike the Ravine
The ‘Heart Shaped Pond’ is a popular spot for couples and is a part of the Hemlock Ravine. The hiking trails are well-groomed and there are three 1km loops that you can pick from. The highest point at the ravine overlooks the Bedford Basin.
21. York RedoubtThis national historic site was a part of the same network of forts as the Citadel and was used in World War II as a Command Centre. Today, York Redoubt is open to the public for free. You will see some stunning views from the top walkway at the command station and the sniper wall or you can head underground for some creepier views.
22. Climb Dingle Tower
In the Sir Sandford Fleming Park there is a tower that is guarded by two bronze lions, which is called the Dingle Tower. It was constructed from 1908 – 1912 and dedicated in 1912 to commemorate 150 years of representative government in Nova Scotia. You can climb the stairs to the top of the tower and have a spectacular view of the Northwest Arm.
23. Relax on Dingle Beach
There is also a lovely supervised beach at the Sir Sandford Fleming Park. There are free swimming lessons offered at the beach. Dingle beach is a great place to spend a summer day relaxing and having a picnic. There is an annual party held at this beach on Natal Day.
24. Take the Virtual Literary Walking Tour of Halifax
You will need a phone with internet access, or you can print out the online resource document, to do this walking tour. The Virtual Literary Walking Tour takes you around downtown Halifax to 15 stops that highlight the city’s rich literary history. Just be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes.
25. Watch Artisans Create Hand Cut Crystal
Take time to visit Nova Scotian Crystal on the Halifax Waterfront to watch the artisans at Canada’s only maker of mouth-blown, hand-cut Crystal create timeless keepsakes. The process is fascinating to watch, so there is almost always a crowd of onlookers watching the Crystal being made and etched.