Best Time to Visit Halifax

Credit: Discover Nova Scotia/Photographer: Acorn & Art Photography

When you are deciding on the best time to visit Halifax, you need to take into account the kind of activities which best suit you and your family.
If you plan to just take in a few of the main tourist attractions, Halifax is great to visit all year round. However, it does get really cold in winter which can make outdoor activities less comfortable.
Most locals will tell you that the weather is at its best between May and October, but this is also the main tourist season and attractions may be crowded. It is also the most expensive time to visit. Let us have a look at your best options.

1. Summer

If you are tied to school holidays and have to visit between July and August you can bank on really pleasant weather (temperatures are around 73 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit) that is great for sightseeing and also for many outdoor activities including hiking, paddling, sailing and boat excursions.

Picnic on McNabs Island

Credit: Tourism Nova Scotia / Photographer: Scott Munn

Some attractions, like Peggy!s Cove are inundated by tour buses in summer and you will need to carefully time your visit (early morning or late afternoon) if you want to avoid the crowds.
Summer is also when most festivals are held, so party-animals need to bear this in mind. Hotels are at their most expensive and book up quickly, which means you need to book well in advance.
Some of the best summer festivals include:
  • Harborside Ribfest (end of June) –rib-masters compete to provide the best ribs you will ever eat.
  • Canada Day Celebrations at the Citadel – see hundreds of Highlanders in action and enjoy free entry to the Citadel – 1st July
  • Halifax Jazz Festival – 2nd and 3rd week of July
  • Halifax Pride Week = 3rd week of July
  • Natal Day Festival – end of July
  • Busker Festival – beginning of August
  • Freedom of the City Parade at the Citadel – late August
  • Halifax Urban Folk Festival – last week of August

2018 Halifax Jazz Festival

Credit: MatisyahuCC BY-SA 2.0, via Flickr

2. Winter

This can be a magical time of year to visit, particularly for visitors from warmer climates who are not used to snowy winter conditions. Christmas activities are in full swing and you can try snowshoeing, sledding, ice skating and ice fishing as well as snow-man building and snow-ball fights.

Halifax Town Clock in Winter

Credit: Discover Halifax / Photographer: Acorn Art Photography

Prices can be steep around Christmas and New Year but there are bargains to be had outside those times. However, it is cold and temperatures vary from 3 degrees to minus 9 Fahrenheit. Bring all your thermal layers and join the locals as they celebrate the holidays.

3. Spring and Autumn

These two seasons are undoubtedly the best months to visit for pleasant weather (average daily temps vary from 66 to 56 degrees Fahrenheit) and fewer crowds. Many hotels and restaurants offer good deals in April/May and September/October. Fall foliage is also magnificent in autumn. The Atlantic Film Festival takes place in September and in October you can enjoy Nocturne – Art at Night Festival.

Luminous Cloud by Passage Studio exhibited at Nocturne 2019 inside the Halifax Public Gardens

Credit: Nocturne: Art at Night, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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