Get out there: 50 things to do in Halifax this summer

The Halifax International Busker Festival celebrates its 30th year this summer. Catch it from July 27–August 1.
  1. Tuesday Night Tunes at the Maritime Museum: All summer Take in this summer concert series and enjoy live music on the Halifax waterfront.
  2. I Heart Bikes City Tour: All summer Whether you want to book a guided or self-guided tour, a rental, or a group event, I Heart Bikes can help you get around the city in freewheeling style.
  3. Shakespeare by the Sea: All summer “We can’t wait to bring on summer with three timeless stories, set against the magical backdrop of the Cambridge Battery in Point Pleasant Park,” says co-artistic director Jesse MacLean. “Pinocchio and As You Like It will be great for theatregoers of all ages, full of original music and laughs. And this August, for the first time in the Park, King Lear dramatically rounds out the season.”
  4. Local Tasting Tour: All summer Want to expand your culinary horizons, but not sure where to start? Try a Local Tasting Tour.
  5. Halifax Citadel Ghost Tour: All summer Spend a summer evening learning all about the spookier aspects of the Halifax Citadel’s history. Setting the tone, this 70-minute tour is by candlelight.
  6. Halifax Public Gardens Summer Concert Series: All summer Grab some hand-paddled ice cream at Sugah and spend a summer afternoon at the
  7. Farmers Markets: All summer Whether you’re looking for fresh produce or just want someone else to make your breakfast, there are plenty of markets around to choose from. Try the Halifax Seaport Market, the Halifax Forum Farmers’ Market, the Bedford Farmers’ Market, or the Alderney Landing Market for starters.
  8. Downtown Artwalk: All summer Venture out on a downtown art walk and see Halifax’s galleries in a whole new light.
  9. Play a new game: All summer Into tabletop games? Try Board Room Game Café. If pinball’s more your style, Stillwell Beer Bar’s got what you’re looking for. Both spots are on Barrington Street.
  10. Halifax Scenic Walks with Halifax Outdoor Adventures: All summer Looking for something to do on Thursday nights? Join Halifax Outdoor Adventures and check out the scenery.
  11. AFF Outdoor Film Experience: All summer Grab some friends, a lawn chair, and a snack, and catch an outdoor film projected on a giant inflatable screen on the Halifax waterfront or at Dartmouth Crossing. This year, the theme is Animated City.
  12. In-line skating at the Oval: All summer Don’t wait for the ice to get your skate on. You can work on your skills on the Oval on Halifax Common year-round. Forgot your gear? In-line and roller skates, bikes, scooters, helmets, and protective gear are available to borrow at the site (with government-issued photo ID).
  13. Lawn Summer Nights: July 7, 14, 21, 28 Stylish, sporty, and an excellent excuse to drink wine. It’s time to discover lawn bowling with this 19+ event at St. Mary’s Lawn Bowls Club is your perfect opportunity. (The best-dressed team wins a prize!)
  14. Peggy’s Cove Area Festival of the Arts: July 7–July 17 Over 10 days, you’ll have the chance to take in an arts fair and 39-stop studio tour, as well as a live-painting event. Festival organizer Debbie Smith says they’re building on the success of the last six years. “We’ve got three days of open studios and galleries, and it’s always a very popular event with people from the area and visitors from all over.”
  15. Halifax Jazz Festival: July 12–17 With headliners like Ms. Lauryn Hill, City & Colour, and Metric, this festival can’t miss. Venues include the Main Stage on Lower Water Street, St. Matthew’s Church, 1313 Hollis, Stayner’s Wharf, and the Company House. On July 16 and 17, Halifax Magazine hosts a free matinee concert series in Hydrostone Park.
  16. Queer Acts Theatre Festival: July 13–17 This diverse theatre festival addresses themes that are relevant to the LGBTQ+ community. “Once again, we’re presenting a really great lineup of artists from both the Halifax region and across the country,” says festival director Adam Reid. “We’ve got comedy and drama and something for everyone in the LGBT community and their allies.”
  17. Ann-Marie MacDonald at the Central Library: July 14 Join author, actor, and broadcaster Ann-Marie MacDonald at the Halifax Central Library. Part of the Halifax Pride Speaker Series.
  18. Halifax Pride Festival: July 14–July 24 One of Canada’s largest pride festivals, Halifax Pride happens over 10 days and features (among other things) concerts, the Interfaith Pride Service, a youth BBQ, the Nearly Naked Underwear Party, and the East Coast’s largest pride parade on July 23.
  19. Laughter Yoga Club: July 16 Start practising your belly laugh and head over to Keshen Goodman Public Library for Laughter Yoga with Helen Fong.
  20. Motionball Marathon of Sport Halifax: July 16 Support the Special Olympics Canada Foundation by attending this exciting multi-sport team event at the Oval.
  21. Atlantic Canadian Pet Expo: July 16–17 Cats, dogs, and hedgehogs—oh my! Don’t miss the first Canadian Pet Expo in Atlantic Canada at Halifax Exhibition Centre.
  22. MEC Century Ride: July 17 With three options available, this cycling event is suitable for everyone, whether you’re a beginner or an expert.
  23. Gordie Sampson: July 19 & 20 Head to the Carleton Music Bar & Grill to and catch Cape Breton country music act Gordie Sampson.
  24. Halifax Summer Opera Festival: July 21–August 14 This year’s festival features artists Meagan Adams, Shannon Barry, Blake Beckemeyer, D’Arcy Blunston, and more.
  25. Darryl Lenox: July 21–July 23 An acclaimed New York comic, Lenox draws on his visual impairment for sharp and insightful comedy.
  26. Dance Workshops with Gino Silverfox: July 17 & 24 Want to learn salsa? Sign up for one of two workshops with Gino Silverfox, hosted by local salsa team Bella & Bello at Happy Soul Dance Studios.
  27. 45th Annual Nova Scotia Bluegrass & Oldtime Music Festival: July 21–24 This toe-tappin’ celebration of roots music makes Bible Hill an ideal road-trip destination. This year’s roots music showcase includes Zink & Company and Slocan Ramblers.
  28. Food truck rally: July 21 & August 18 Grilled cheese, pizza, hot dogs, donuts, and so much more: if one food truck just isn’t enough, try a rally. Get your fill of street food at King’s Wharf.
  29. Nova Scotia Designer Craft Council Summer Show: July 22–24 Go to Victoria Park to pick up your next handcrafted work of art from a talented Nova Scotia artisan.
  30. Africa Festival of Arts and Culture: July 22–24 Enjoy visual art and performances by artists from the African Nova Scotia community and from as far away as Burkino Faso, Somalia, and Sierra Leone.
  31. World Tuna Flat Races: July 23 Head to Hubbards for the day and watch as teams of four people race tuna boats through a quarter mile course in Hubbards Cove.
  32. Anchor City Rollers Birthday Bash: July 23 High-speed action with occasional outbursts of violence—there’s no spectacle like a roller derby bout. Check out the Anchor City Rollers Birthday Bash at the Mayflower Curling Club.
  33. Halifax Antique Car Show: July 24 Clean lines, wood panelling aplenty, and engines that purr like tigers—they really don’t make them like that any more. This antique car showcase at the Halifax Exhibition Centre is mandatory for serious gearheads.
  34. Halifax International Busker Festival: July 27–August 1 Dozens of magicians, comedians, acrobats, and street performers from around the world take over the downtown as BuskerFest marks its 30th year. Five waterfront stages host free shows.
  35. Nitro Circus at Scotia Speedworld: July 30 Catch Nitro Circus live in Halifax and see extreme athletes perform crazy stunts—13 metres in the air and over a 15-metre gap.
  36. Halifax/Dartmouth Natal Day Festival:  July 29–August 1 There’s plenty to do on Natal Day, from horseshoe tournaments and free yoga in the daytime to a concert featuring David Myles in the evening. Check the schedule for details and times.
  37. Schooner Race Week: July 31–August 6 Seaside excitement, and a good sit in the sun—enjoy the perfect summer combo as the schooners race through Hubbards Cove.
  38. Myles Morrison: August 4–6 Morrison, who has appeared on CBC’s Laugh Out Loud and Sirius FM’s Next Top Comic, takes the stage at Yuk Yuk’s in August. Don’t miss it.
  39. Halifax Seaport BeerFest: August 5 & 6 Stop in and explore craft beer, imports, and cider from over 110 producers from across the region and around the world. This year the selection includes Ontario and Quebec’s most famous craft offerings, plus 10 Irish and 38 American beers.
  40. Heart & Stroke Big Bike Event: August 8–18 Support the Heart & Stroke Foundation and join a Big Bike team at one of five Halifax events.
  41. Chester Race Week: August 10–13 If you went to Schooner Race Week and still want more, plan a day trip to Chester for Canada’s largest keel boat regatta.
  42. Cape Breton Summertime Revue: August 12 & 13 Enjoy the best of Cape Breton musical talent, right here in Halifax.
  43. Clam Harbour Beach Sandcastle Competition: August 14 Take in the sights at this much-anticipated sandcastle competition. Come for the sand sculptures, stay for the food and live music.
  44. Dartmouth Comic Arts Festival: August 14 Head to Alderney Landing and see what Nova Scotia’s cartoonists and illustrators have to offer.
  45. Beauty and the Beast at Neptune Theatre: August 16–October 9 See the classic Disney musical performed on a local stage by internationally renowned actors.
  46. Rascal Flatts: August 18 If you’re a country music fan, you won’t want to miss the Rascal Flatts concert at the Scotiabank Centre.
  47. Matt Mays at the Shore Club: August 18–20 Alt-rock singer-songwriter Matt Mays performs in the cozy confines of the Hubbards Shore Club.
  48. Freedom of the City of Halifax Parade: August 19 Watch the Halifax Citadel’s 78th Highlanders as they celebrate the freedom of the city of Halifax by marching from the Citadel to Grand Parade.
  49. Keloose: August 19–21 This family event in Windsor Junction includes fireworks, music, and a parade.
  50. Gordon Lightfoot in concert: August 25–27 See “Canada’s greatest songwriter” live in concert at the Rebecca Cohn.  

This story was originally published in Halifax Magazine.

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