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Top 10 Things to Do in Ottawa

Top 10 Things to Do in Ottawa

Top 10 Things to Do in Ottawa

Are you visiting Canada’s capital city? Then, don’t miss out on the following activities to make the most out of your trip.

Ottawa may not have the same repute as Paris, London, and other capital cities that draw in millions of tourists every year. However, this Canadian capital is definitely one of the destinations that everyone should check out at least once.

It’s a great place to visit whether you’re single or traveling with family as it offers loads of fun no matter the season. There’s also plenty of indoor and outdoor stuff to do during your trip. 

And if you don’t know how to start your trip to make it truly memorable, be sure to check out this list of the top 10 things to do in Ottawa.

1. Spend Time at the Beach

Are you planning on visiting Ottawa in the summer? If that’s the case, then spending a couple of hours on Petrie Island can be a great idea.

In the northeast corner of the island is where you’ll find not one but two beaches on the banks of the Ottawa River. These are city-run beaches with on-duty lifeguards, so they’re safe for everyone to swim in.

Although popular in the summer season, the area is still ideal for getting away from the city for a change of scenery and cooling off. Do note that they’re only open from May through September and you can’t spend the night there.

2. Skate on the Rideau Canal

If you’re interested in a winter Ottawa vacation, you’re in for a treat. 

A large portion of the Rideau Canal freezes during the winter months. which makes skating the canal one of the best things to do in Ottawa during the cold season. 

In fact, this outdoor natural ice rink is known as the longest in the world – you can skate up to 8km of the canal’s length 24/7. It’s a terrific experience if you want to spend some quality family time or enjoy a romantic evening.

3. Hit the Museums

Canada’s capital is the best place to learn about the country’s history, as it has a host of national museums.

To start with, check out the Canadian Museum of History and the Canadian War Museum. Then, look at some amazing works of art at the National Gallery of Canada and discover the local wildlife and fauna at the Canadian Museum of Nature. 

Of course, Ottawa has specialty museums, too. There are those dedicated to science, the country’s currency, and photography, among others.

4. Visit the Fairmont Chateau Laurier

One of the top things to do in Ottawa is to explore the iconic 660,000-square foot castle. 

It’s a stunning structure that has a French gothic architectural style complete with stained-glass windows, a copper roof, and Roman columns. The massive structure boasts a luxurious interior, too, with its Belgian marble floors, an outrageous atrium, and over 429 guestrooms. 

Book a stay or simply take a tour of the chateau to marvel at one of the city’s most impressive buildings.

5. Check Out Parliament Hill

When traveling to Ottawa, you can’t skip a trip to Parliament Hill. It’s one of the most popular Ottawa tourist attractions after all. 

The sizable Gothic revival building towers over Ottawa’s city center. It also overlooks the river and has a gorgeous formal garden you can explore. In addition, you’ll find tours available daily – they can take up to one hour but it will be an hour well spent.

And if you’re lucky, you can even catch a couple of national celebrations and shows, depending on when you make your trip to the city.

6. Do Some Retail Therapy

Westboro Village has become the capital city’s premier shopping neighborhood. It has many flagship stores, local design houses, gift shops, and a variety of fabulous boutiques. 

Can’t imagine Ottawa as a shopping center? You’ll be surprised. 

You can even relax after your shopping spree. You’ll find yoga studios, massage parlors, and a couple of wellness centers in the area.

It’s not a bad place to spend your day or even your evening.

7. Experience the Nightlife

Have you ever wondered what Ottawa nightlife feels like? The good news is, it’s a vibrant scene with pubs, lounges, nightclubs, and plenty of bars.

Whether you’re up for a pub crawl or just want to listen to live music, this city won’t disappoint. Everything comes alive at night as the venues fill up with natives and tourists.

Note that jazz and blues are super popular genres in the city. This is why although you can find spots where you can dance until early in the morning, most of the live events cater to jazz and blues enthusiasts.

8.  Spend Time in Major’s Hill Park

This scenic park, located right across Parliament Hill and over the canal, hosts numerous events throughout the year that are worth checking out.

Aside from that, you can explore Major’s Hill Park, which is one of the best things to do in Ottawa. The park stays open all year long and is a great place to be if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city center.

Apart from relaxation, you can also check out some fantastic views. Major’s Hill Park offers glimpses of Parliament Hill, Notre-Dame Cathedral, Fairmont Chateau Laurier, and the American Embassy.

9. Take a Haunted Tour

You don’t have to visit this city on Halloween if you want some excitement brought about by paranormal activity. After all, one of the unique things to do in Ottawa is to join a haunted tour.

If you’re brave enough, you can discover Ottawa’s darker history on the Haunted Walk of Ottawa. The tour takes you to the Jail Hostel, the chateau, and the Bytown Museum, among other places. The guides dress spookily and share interesting stories about the city’s most infamous spots. 

Best of all, you can go on a haunted tour at any time of the year.

10. See Canada’s Counterpart to the Buckingham Palace

This massive mansion reserved for Canadian royalty has 175 rooms and sits on 88 acres. You can visit most parts of the residence for free if you join a public tour. It remains a huge tourist attraction and has been a National Historic Site since 1867.

But don’t expect the Rideau Hall to be as jaw-dropping as Buckingham Palace. 

A Great City to Visit When Traveling Up North

Ottawa, CA, has a bit of everything you would expect from a tourist hotspot. Its museums, wide range of outdoor activities, and vibrant nightlife make it a popular destination all year round.

Book your visit and relax or go on some adventures. It doesn’t matter if you’re traveling alone, with a partner, friends, or family – Ottawa won’t disappoint.

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