Ottawa is full of hidden gems, but you have to know where to go with a biking date in Ottawa. We know our city like our back pocket and share some secrets with you. Here are five great tips to take a date. In our previous biking date blog, we explained how you can explore the top date spots in Ottawa. Today, we are instead writing about the top hidden gem date spots.
2021 Update: Looking for a quiet social distance biking date idea in Ottawa? These hidden gems are perfect for staycation dates. If you need a bike, we are still open for bike rentals and bike tours this summer – taking the necessary Covid-19 precautions of course.
OK, so you have a date in Ottawa. Dinner and drinks are a bit too conventional nowadays and now you are looking for a new special exciting date activity. How about doing something unconventional; take your date on a casual afternoon bike ride with some cool spots to eat and drink along the way.
Let’s face it: sitting in a traffic jam on Sussex Drive is not really romantic. But a bike ride, or better, a tandem bike ride, actually is quite a cool thing to do with your date in Ottawa. Here is your not to be missed list for a trip to five great Valentine spots:
You don’t want to miss the Rockeries, Ottawa’s #1 Valentine’s day spot. Start from our store downtown and make your way to the Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Turn left (you are going north) at the canal towards the 8 locks which you will soon see on your right hand. This marvelous piece of 19th century engineering bedazzles many people. Take a picture of the locks which are still manually operated since they opened in 1831. Linger on the grass with your date in Ottawa and enjoy the world going by. It is all highly Instagrammable here.
Then cross the locks and climb the hill in the lowest gear and stop in Major’s Hill Park. Admire the wonderful views of the Parliament buildings, the river vistas and the world class architecture of the Canadian Museum of History, right next to the former 120 year old train bridge. Try to find the ruins of the building where Major Hill once lived.
Make your way to the Byward Market area and stop at the Patisserie Moulin de Provence at the north end of the Byward Market building for freshly-baked French pastries, artisan bread, coffee, and bistro fare. This is a great place to watch the world go by in Ottawa’s bustling Byward Market. Need an Instagram memory? Bike to York Street and take a pic with the large ‘Ottawa’ sign with Parliament Hill in the background.
Then it is off to Rideau Hall, the home of the Governor General of Canada. The extensive gardens are publicly accessible. Try to spend some time in the rose gardens and do explore the many trees that were planted by dignitaries from all over the world. (Pssst…it might be time to hold hands by now).
More or less across from Rideau Hall along Sussex Drive is the Rockcliffe Park pavilion with its ‘olde worlde charme’ lookout with large verandahs, overlooking the Ottawa and Gatineau River. No need to go to Paris to enjoy a romantic scenery: you’ll have great views of the Rideau River here with sunsets if you can wait that long. A bit further down the road on your right are the ‘Rockeries’, a very popular spot for a date.
Time to head back along Sussex Drive. After the roundabout, you‘ll see the Prime Minister’s home on your right and immediately after that the French Embassy. Next stop are the Rideau Falls, where the Rideau River empties into the Ottawa River by means of a ‘curtain of water’. (Rideau means ‘curtain’ in French).
End your day with a local coffee or a local beer at the Tavern on the Falls in Rideau Falls Park. Stick around for lovely sunsets over the Gatineau hills in neighbouring Quebec Province. Cheers, here’s to a long lasting love!
Now, you wonder, how do I actually get a tandem bike? Escape Bicycle Tours and Rentals has some cool tandems to rent. If you prefer a single bike, we have a large selection of bikes, from comfort upright and hybrid bikes to e-bikes and e-scooters (Note, for now, you can only use e-scooters at certain pathways). Just book online or give us a call at 613 608 6407.
We also created several self-guided tours if you are uncomfortable cycling on your own through Ottawa. If you rather go for a guided or even a private guided tour, we are there for you too. You can Book a tour here. You can’t date our tour guides though as handsome and smart they all are :-).