Top 10 things to do in Halifax by bike

Halifax is well regarded for many things, from the friendly locals to the amazing maritime cuisine. Any Haligonian would be sure to tell you that wherever you are, you’re close to a beautiful view or breathtaking experience. We strongly believe that biking is the best way to see the magic of Halifax, so we’ve compiled a list of some of our favourite things to do, specifically designed to be enjoyed via bike!

1) Pack a Picnic and head to Point Pleasant Park

Point Pleasant Park is a local favourite, especially among the canine citizens of the city. This massive green space is home to Black Rock Beach (urban swimming), trails for hiking and cycling, as well as many nods to the historic past of the city. Despite the hurricane that devastated the park in 2003, the area remains a year-round outdoor attraction.

Tip: Pack a picnic or bring a book.

2) Take an Old Rail Bed Trail to the Beach

We are lucky to have not one, but two accessible trails from Downtown Halifax. While some on-street riding is required, once you are on there, it is car-free. It is also a prime location for taking in some of the ecological biodiversity and beauty that Halifax offers.

Tip: Select the Lawrencetown Beach by Rail Bed or Head of St. Margaret’s Bay Itinerary and pack a picnic.

2) Take an Old Rail Bed Trail to the Beach

We are lucky to have not one, but two accessible trails from Downtown Halifax. While some on-street riding is required, once you are on there, it is car-free. It is also a prime location for taking in some of the ecological biodiversity and beauty that Halifax offers.

Tip: Select the Lawrencetown Beach by Rail Bed or Head of St. Margaret’s Bay Itinerary and pack a picnic.

3) Hang out in the North End and grab lunch or coffee at one of our many cafes or restaurants.

Explore the North End to experience a cultural hub within the city. This area is a fan favourite when it comes to food & drink as it provides a wide range of options and locally sourced experiences. Next head to the Hydrostone, a nearby cultural area with boutique shops and even more options for lunch or coffee.

Tip: Check out our Staff Picks, featured by Neighbourhood, for our favourite cafes and restaurants.

4) Take in the Views on Citadel Hill and smell the Flowers in the Public Gardens

Atop Citadel Hill you can experience a 360-degree view of the entirety of Peninsular Halifax, learn about the history of the city, and enjoy a protected view of the harbour. Just beneath the Hill, you can find the Halifax Public Gardens, home to a variety of plants and flowers to walk among, and a commonplace to see Haligonians enjoying the sights and sounds of the city. Please note the Public Gardens do not permit bikes, please lock them up out front. They are very particular about this fine Victorian Garden.

Tip: Join our daily 2.5 Hr Ebike Tour or select the Downtown Halifax or Historic & Cultural Tracer itinerary.

5) Visit the New Public Library

This award-winning library was the work of a local firm joined with a renowned firm from Denmark. The building’s contemporary design was modeled to resemble a stack of askew books, and inside the staircases are reminiscent of those from Hogwarts, the academy featured in the Harry Potter series. The rooftop patio on the library creates another fantastic viewpoint to see the center of the city. In 2014, this building was named as one of the top 20 buildings worldwide by CNN.

Tip: Park your bike and head to the top floor!

6) Explore Architecture within the City - both Modern and Historical

Want to see the unique architecture that the city of Halifax has to offer? Take a trip through the history of local development; see everything from Halifax’s very own castle to the iconic Schmidtville – the first suburb built outside the confines of the Citadel – tucked into the center of the city, all while cycling our tree-lined streets. You’ll see both modern and classical styles while getting a feel for the landscape of Halifax.

Tip: Follow the Architectural & Neighbourhood Tour available for free our website.

7) Take the Ferry and Bike along the Dartmouth Waterfront

The Ferry is a must for any mainlander visiting Halifax – it provides a beautiful view of the harbour no matter what time of day you hop on (although we love the sunset). When off the Ferry and in Dartmouth you have the chance to bike along the waterfront, catching even more amazing views of the ocean and the skyline of Halifax across the water. This ride is especially breathtaking in the spring and fall when the trees are blooming or changing colors.

Tip: Grab a coffee or bite to eat in Downtown Dartmouth & bike along the Dartmouth Waterfront & Trails at Lake Banook.

8) Go surfing at Lawrencetown Beach

A local surf hotspot, this beach is well known for its waves and popularity with Haligonians. This ride will take you straight to the beach where there are surf schools waiting to help you hone in on your skills.

Tip: Make sure to pack a lunch and some sunscreen! Need directions? Download the Lawrencetown Beach by Railbed Itinerary.

9) See the Harbour View from atop the MacDonald Bridge

If you miss the MacDonald Bridge while in town you’ll surely regret it. This bridge connects the city to the other side of the harbour and is the perfect spot to see the entire view of the harbour and city views of both Halifax and Dartmouth.

Tip: Make a day trip out of it by visiting Downtown Dartmouth and riding the Waterfront Trail.

10) Discover the History of Halifax

Halifax once looked a lot different than it does today. The history of the city ties back to the original founding by the British, when they fought against the Acadian French settlers and Indigenous Mi’kmaq to take claim to the land. Since then the city has seen significant cultural and economic shifts, the Halifax Explosion, and even has its own ties to the Titanic. Within every corner of the city you’ll be sure to find a nod to the past.

Tip: If history is your hobby, hop on our  Tour or download our Historic & Cultural Tracer self-guided tour.

This article was written by Madeleine Stinson, a Business Management & Sustainability student at Dalhousie University working this season to manage I Heart Bikes’ social media. Last updated May 2019.