Ottawa is a cycling enthusiast’s dream destination, with over 300 kilometres (187 miles) of recreational pathways; the longest of any city in North America.
Day 1 - Pedaling Through Ottawa
The Capital Pathway network extends from downtown to the east and west on both sides of the Ottawa River, as well as along the Rideau Canal. Journey along this 7.5km itinerary to experience Ottawa’s natural areas, parks, gardens, and national sites one bike pedal at a time.
TOTAL BIKING TIME: Approximately 1 hour non-stop or 5 hours if stopping at some of the museums
Start - Arrive at RentABike and get outfitted for your bicycle. RentABike receives a new fleet of bicycles every year, ensuring only the best equipment.
Head south along the Rideau Canal, Ontario’s only designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. Cross the Somerset bridge and turn right to make your way back along the stunning Canal.
2km (1mi.) - Arrive at the Rideau Canal locks, secure your bikes, and visit the Bytown Museum. This museum places Ottawa into perspective (for the rest of your trip!). Hook into the Museum’s excellent multilingual audio-guides to learn about Ottawa from the fur trade and lumber years, the building of the Rideau Canal, and up to the present day.
After visiting the Bytown Museum, cycle west along the beautiful Ottawa River.
4km (2.8mi) - Cross the Portage Bridge (next to the Canadian War Museum) into Gatineau, Quebec, and cycle along the tree-covered pathway leading to the Canadian Museum of History.
5.5km (3.7mi) - Arrive at the Canadian Museum of History (formerly known as the Canadian Museum of Civilization). Enjoy lunch at the Museum at either Bistro Boréal or Voyageur Cafeteria, which offers incredible views of the Ottawa River and the downtown Ottawa skyline.
A visit to Canada isn’t complete without experiencing the one-of-a-kind Canadian Museum of History, Canada’s most visited museum. Explore 1000 years of human history and marvel at the world’s largest indoor collection of totem poles.
After exploring the Museum, turn right and cycle over the Alexandra Bridge back into Ottawa. Stop half way across for a breathtaking photo of Parliament Hill, the Ottawa River, and the Canadian Museum of History.
7km (4.6mi) - Once over the bridge you have 2 options; Take a guided tour of the National Gallery of Canada. The National Gallery is a visual arts museum of international stature and features the largest collection of Canadian art. It lists exhibitions and collections of art from the Middle Ages to contemporary pieces.
Or, take a guided tour of the Royal Canadian Mint and see how money is made. Be sure to visit the boutique to view their variety of unique Canadian collector coins.
Once you have cycled through Major’s Hill Park, walk your bike along the Fairmont Château Laurier courtyard and follow the signs to RentABike.
Congratulations, you have completed 7.5km (5mi.) of Ottawa’s scenic bike paths!
Treat yourself to a dinner in the bustling ByWard Market neighbourhood.
Ottawa Cycling Maps can be found at www.capitalcyclingmap.ca
Day 2 - Walking & Sightseeing in the Capital
There are numerous tours and sightseeing options in the capital, from bird’s eye view see-the-whole-city type of tours, to niche companies that give you an in-depth understanding of a particular aspect of Ottawa. Ottawa is so accessible that you can see many of our capital attractions by foot!
Start your morning with a tour of Parliament Hill. The centrepiece of Ottawa’s downtown landscape, Parliament Hill is the political and cultural heart of the city. Enjoy the Changing of the Guard Ceremony every morning at 10 a.m., from the end of June until the end of August.
After the ceremony, choose from the following tour companies to help you plan your next capital walking tour!
- Ottawa Walking Tours
- C'est Bon Cooking
- Haunted Walks
- Indigenous Walks
- Lady Dive Amphibus
- Ottawa Tasting Tours