Things to do in Ottawa

Ottawa is the capital city of Canada. It is located on the south bank of the Ottawa River and across the Ottawa river Gatineau and Quebec are located. It is considered as the sixth-largest city of Canada and the second largest of Ontario province. Ottawa City has a population of 934,243 people and the metropolitan population of 1,323,783 people as of 2016 census report. The Ottawa city was found in 1826 as a small town but it has evolved into a political city. Ottawa has the most educated population among all Canadian. Ottawa has the highest standard of living in the nation and low unemployment rate. It ranked 2nd nationally and 24th worldwide in the quality of life index and is consistently rated the best place to live in Canada. Locals of Ottawa are mostly English-speaking; while 15% of the community have French as their mother tongue which makes the Ottawa Canada’s largest Francophone city outside of Quebec province. The city is also called as the Silicon Valley North because of the rapidly growing high-tech industry, economic sectors, and tourism. Ottawa has remained a green city even after much development and is located at the confluence of three rivers (Ottawa, Rideau, and Gatineau) and of the Rideau Canal. It is home to many beautiful parks, trails, museums, galleries and government buildings. Let’s Check out the best Things to do in Ottawa.

#1 of 28 Things to do in Ottawa – Try Skating at the world’s largest outdoor skating rink

In the winter months, a large portion of the Rideau Canal is turned into a skating rink. It remains open for public for 24 hours. The outdoor rink is considered as the longest in the world, approximately eight kilometers long. It is also a great place to spend a romantic evening.

Try Beaver Tail sweets here at the Byward Market area these are special here.

skating, Things to do in Ottawa

#2 of 28 Things to do in Ottawa – Visit the Rideau Canal

The Rideau Canal is a historical and significant waterfront in the Ottawa capital city. This canal runs through the whole city and connects the city to major nearby water reserves including the Lake Ontario and Ottawa River. Local people and tourist people walk, bike, and ride on these walkways and do boating in the canal in the summer season. In winter the whole canal freezes over and provides the location for skating.

This canal was used as a military defense system dates back to 1832 but today the canal serves as the recreational attraction of Ottawa.

rideau canal, Things to do in Ottawa

#3 of 28 Things to do in Ottawa – Check out the Parliament Hill

The parliament building in Ottawa has magnificent Gothic revival architecture. It is situated amidst the city center area overlooking the Ottawa River.This is a Parliament of Canada and a well-known tourist attraction. These are total 3 buildings and a garden. The grounds here are used for official purposes of government.

Parliament Ottawa Canada, Things to do in Ottawa

#4 of 28 Things to do in Ottawa – Go to the Byward Market

This market is one of the oldest markets in Canada. This Byward market is located in Ottawa’s city center. It is one building but it is surrounded by shops, any open-air stall.  The market is not a hi-fi place for shopping but it has the cultural historic significance with grocery shops, boutiques, cafes, flowers, vegetables, and fruits stall are fresh here.

Byward market, Things to do in Ottawa

Credit: Michel Rathwell

#5 of 28 Things to do in Ottawa – Visit the National Gallery of Canada

Being the capital city, there is no surprise that Ottawa is home to many national museums. This National Gallery is considered as one of the premier art galleries in Canada.  It is located in downtown Ottawa. The building itself is a piece of art. the glass and granite were used to construct this building. Now it contributes to Ottawa’s spectacular skyline. It was rated as one of the top building out of 500 Canadian buildings in the last 1000 years In 2000 by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada. The gallery has one of the most notable collections of Canadian paintings, Sculptures, and Photographs from the classics and contemporary eras. A substantial amount of European and American works is also displayed here.

National Gallery of Canada, Things to do in Ottawa

Credit: Sam valadi

#6 of 28 Things to do in Ottawa – Visit the Canada Aviation and Space Museum

This is a large interesting facility located at the Ottawa Rockcliffe Airport. The national aviation history museum of Canada is home to a vast collection of military and civilian aircraft.  The museum reveals the Canadian aviation history, some World Wars history and modern day pioneer era. The major highlights of this place include Vintage bush planes from 1920, the 30s, and 40s, some aircraft used in Both World Wars and Cold War, and the Avro Arrow interceptor’s remaining pieces, from 1950s.

This museum also has the Space Shuttle Endeavor’s Canadarm that is the Canadian built robotic arm and was once installed on the International Space Station.

#7 of 28 Things to do in Ottawa – Visit the Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa

The museum provides insight into a variety of topics regarding the natural history of Ottawa. Permanent displays include a detailed study of skeletons on dinosaurs in the Talisman Energy Fossil Gallery. A mammal gallery exhibits the stands of several well-known mammal creatures based in Canada, including grizzly bears, cougars, moose, caribou, and others. On the other hand, the Vale Earth Gallery depicts geological forces of nature, minerals and the rocks that shape the planet, and the changes they endured over time. Other highlights are the marine life, live insects, aviary species, and more.

 Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa, Things to do in Ottawa

Credit: Jeremy

#8 of 28 Things to do in Ottawa – Visit the Laurier House National Historic Site

This National Historic Site is situated in the district of Ottawa at the Sandy Hill. It was the private residence of two past Canadian Prime Ministers once. The home is filled with historical décor and many artifacts connect to the two leaders and their families. The United Kingdom’s King George VI and Sir Winston Churchill, and the United States’ President Franklin Roosevelt were also entertained at this home. Now, the home serves as a museum, open to the public for guided tours.

Laurier House National Historic Site, Things to do in Ottawa

Credit: Wikipedia

#9 of 28 Things to do in Ottawa – Visit the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum

It is located outside of downtown Ottawa on an actual working farm. The modern structure of this museum is designed to establish how modern developments in agriculture science and technological advances have changed the sequence of Canadian history and consequently wedged the lives of the Canadian population.

The museum has great interactive exhibits. It also hosts the educational and community-based programs.

#10 of 28 Things to do in Ottawa – Visit the Bytown Museum, Ottawa, Canada

You can visit the Bytown Museum at the Parliament Hill as it is just below the Ottawa’s Parliament Hill. The small Bytown Museum is located on the banks of Rideau canal. The historic museum has old artifacts of Ottawa. It was founded in 1917 by the Women’s Canadian Historical Society of Ottawa. Before that, it was a stone house of British military used as the treasury or storehouse.

Bytown Museum, Ottawa, Canada, Things to do in Ottawa

Credit: Wikipedia

#11 of 28 Things to do in Ottawa – Visit the Ottawa Art Gallery

This Art Gallery is located in the downtown Ottawa.  It was opened in 1980 to urge talented people for arts. The gallery is still operational since then.The Gallery has a permanent collection of different artworks. Other temporary exhibitions are also held here.

#12 of 28 Things to do in Ottawa – Visit the Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica, Ottawa, Canada

The Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica is a National Historic Site of Canada. It is located in the Lower Town neighborhood of Ottawa. It was founded in 1832 in a different building but was replaced into this Neo-Classical designed Building. It is considered as the largest and the oldest church in Ottawa. It is open for the public to visit.

Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica, Ottawa, Canada, Things to do in Ottawa

Credit: Wikipedia

#13 of 28 Things to do in Ottawa – Feel Fresh at the Hog’s Back Falls

The Hog’s Back Falls is one of the best waterfalls in Ottawa to feel fresh.  The previous name of Hog’s fall was Prince of Wales Falls. This waterfall is basically a series of waterfalls naturally located along the Rideau River outside of downtown Ottawa. These waterfalls serve as an urban green space along with the associated park. The park is also located in historical locations and offers hiking trails, walking trails, picnic benches and snack shops.

#14 of 28 Things to do in Ottawa – Walk Around the Peace Tower

The Peace Tower is located near the Ottawa’s Parliamentary Hill. It was previously known as the Tower of Victory and Peace.  The Peace Tower extends over 300 feet high and is a unique part of the Ottawa’s skyline. This tower serves as a significant icon of the country and it is featured on Canada’s twenty-dollar bill. The Peace Tower contains a central bell and a clock too.

Historically, the Peace Tower was replaced with Victoria Tower, which was burned down in 1916 and was rebuilt in the ornate Victorian Gothic style to complement the lasting Parliamentary complex buildings in the surroundings. It also serves as the memorial to the Canadian soldiers who died during the First World War.

peace tower, Things to do in Ottawa

#15 of 28 Things to do in Ottawa – Try the Haunted Tours of Ottawa

Ottawa was not always the colorful and happy city as it also has a dark history. The infamous dark history of Ottawa features the Ottawa Jail Hostel, the Fairmont Chateau Laurier, and the Bytown Museum.  You will learn about the dark past of Ottawa in guided tour mostly at the Halloween. People also take the lanterns and dressed in a black cloaked dress on the Haunted Walk of Ottawa.

#16 of 28 Things to do in Ottawa – Enjoy the Different Cuisines in Ottawa

Ottawa is also a home to many cultures. This culture is carried away in cuisines too as you can have many varieties of food in Ottawa along with some Canadian cultural dishes. One of the specialties is Beavertails that comes in different flavors of chocolate hazelnut spread, cinnamon sugar, maple syrup, and peanut butter. Poutine is another must-try dish here, It is a French Canadian dish of chips, cheese, and gravy.

beavertail, Things to do in Ottawa

Credit: Wikipedia

Other cuisines from different cultures are also found in many different restaurants of Ottawa.

#17 of 28 Things to do in Ottawa – Wander Around the Historical Fairmont Château Laurier

The historical Chateau has been changed into the luxury hotel of Fairmont Château Laurier. It was used to be a French castle spread on a 660,000-square-foot land area at the intersection of Rideau Street and Sussex Drive directing towards the Rideau Canal of Ottawa. Its French gothic architecture has a resemblance to the Fairmont Empress in Greater Victoria in British Columbia Province of Canada. The Whole building has a stunning look. It features Tiffany stained-glass windows, Belgian marble floors in the lobby, Roman columns, a copper roof, glowing chandeliers, and awesome atriums in the lounge. No doubt this place is royal from every side.

This hotel was founded around 1912 and it had only 350 rooms then and only half of these rooms had a private bathroom. Later it was expanded and today, there are 429 guest rooms in this château Laurier. This hotel can be a memorable place to have a romantic dinner date or for an afternoon tea.  Other than that, you can’t visit this iconic royal chateau.

Château Laurier, Things to do in Ottawa

Credit: Michel Rathwell

#18 of 28 Things to do in Ottawa –Visit the Major’s Hill Park

Above the Rideau Canal, there lies the Major’s Hill Park. It is located just across the canal from Parliament Hill in Ottawa. It is known as one of the city’s oldest green spaces and is open for public all year round. It is a nice place to relax when you are all tired of visiting the city. Numerous official celebrations are held here. This park features the great views of nearby buildings.

#19 of 28 Things to do in Ottawa – Spend Some Time at the Beach

Since many people don’t know this, let make it clear that Canadian Capital Ottawa has a beach.  This beach is located on Petrie Island, which is beautifully placed in the Ottawa River. There are actually two beaches on this island and both of these sit on the northeast corner of the Petrie Island.

These beaches run through the Ottawa city and have the lifeguards on duty 7 days a week for the safety of its visitors. These beaches offer a great place for a picnic outside the central city of Ottawa. You can swim here or just relax on a holiday.

#20 of 28 Things to do in Ottawa – Watch a Sports Match

Canadian people love sports and every city has an almost major team is different sports. Ottawa also has a number of professional sports teams. The Ottawa Senators are the most famous here and this is a National Hockey League team. The team plays at the Canadian Tire Centre. Canadian Tire Center is also a home to the Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame just like many other Canadian cities has.

There are also many stadiums for different sports. Grab a ticket and enjoy a match in Ottawa.

canadian tier center, Things to do in Ottawa

Credit: Wikipedia

#21 of 28 Things to do in Ottawa – Visit the Rideau Hall

The official residence of the Canadian monarch is the Rideau Hall. It is considered as Canada’s equivalent of Buckingham Palace in the United Kingdom and dated back to 1867. This is basically a large mansion and it features stunning 175 room that is spread on 88 acres of land. The whole mansion is ornamented with historic and contemporary authentic artifacts.  This Rideau Hall is also considered as the National Historic Site of Canada.

Unlike the Fairmont Chateau Laurier, this mansion is open for the public to visit in a limited time. 45 minutes tour is offered to the visitors for the briefed information of this place.

rideau hall, Things to do in Ottawa

Credit: Wikipedia

#22 of 28 Things to do in Ottawa – Catch the Glimpse of Supreme Court of Canada

The building of Supreme Court of Canada has a beautiful state of the art architecture which is a must-see sight.  It was constructed in 1939 when Queen Elizabeth herself lay the first cornerstone here. It features a magnificent marble Grand Entrance Hall, two flagstaffs in front of the whole building, and several statues of great Canadian leaders. This place is open for visitation round the year.

supreme court, Things to do in Ottawa

Credit: shankar s.

#23 of 28 Things to do in Ottawa – Enjoy a Festival in Ottawa

Although Ottawa does not host as many festivals as the Edmonton in Alberta but being a capital city of Canada means that Ottawa has its fair share of annual festivals in the country.  All of the festivals are fun for any local and tourist person. On the plus side, these festivals happen throughout the entire year so you can enjoy while your visit to Ottawa.

The biggest festival of Ottawa happens in the winter season, known as the Winterlude festival. It runs over the three weekends of each February. Highlighted features of this winter festival include public skating, an international ice sculpting competition, and many other activities.

Another festival is the Canadian Tulip Festival which happens in the summer season, particularly in May. Bluesfest is also a renowned summer festival in Ottawa. People from all over Canada come to see these festivals and these are considered a good reason to visit Ottawa in summers.

#24 of 28 Things to do in Ottawa – Stroll through the Westboro Village

This neighborhood of Ottawa has known as the shopping center. The Westboro village is home to several outdoor shops and international brands stores. It also features the local designer’s boutiques, shops, home stores, and many spots for dining. You can finish your shopping and get freshly brewed coffee or beer in the nearby cafes or bars.

Westboro Village’s most notable highlights include many fitness centers, massage parlor, spa and yoga schools and parlors. There are also a few art galleries located in the surroundings.

#25 of 28 Things to do in Ottawa – Visit the Little Ray’s Reptile Zoo

Little Ray’s Reptile Zoo is a zoo and an animal rescue center as well. It provides the diverse and substantial animal education outreach program in Canada. This Little Ray’s Reptile Zoo has been the largest reptile and amphibian rescuer in Canada. This zoo provides the extensive and exclusive information regarding each individuals living in this facility.  Over 150 animals including dangerous reptiles and amphibians live here and are on display. These animals include alligators, tarantulas, birds of prey, cobras, pythons, rattlesnakes, and more.

Little Ray's Reptile Zoo, Things to do in Ottawa

#26 of 28 Things to do in Ottawa – Visit the Wild Bird Care Centre

Just like the Little Ray’s Reptile Zoo, this Wild Bird Care Centre is a home to hundreds of birds that have been sick, injured, or orphaned due to any reason. This bird sanctuary of Wild Bird Care Centre delivers treatment and rehabilitation services to these birds with the intention of releasing them back into the open wild.

Children would be delighted to learn the care lessons like avian injury prevention, and safe bird handling techniques provided by their guides.

birds, Things to do in Ottawa

#27 of 28 Things to do in Ottawa – Relax at the Maplelawn Garden

This Maplelawn Garden is surrounded by a two-story 19th century home. This is known as the historic site of Canada. It is located in the popular residential and commercial neighborhood of Ottawa. The homes in this area are expensive and every house features its own small lawn.  This garden has been prized as an impressive site in Ottawa for its unique architecture, heritage contribution, and preservation qualities.  Visitors can enjoy the calming vibe and relax in here.

maplelawn garden, Things to do in Ottawa

Credit: Anonymous

#28 of 28 Things to do in Ottawa –Enjoy the nightlife of Ottawa

Being the capital of a country, Ottawa does have a lively nightlife scene mostly in the Byward Market. The place has many pubs, bars, lounges and nightclubs where music is played all night. All the new songs are chosen here for the dance moves. Ottawa’s favorites are jazz and blues as locals here prefer to be trendy. You can experience live music in almost every bar or restaurant. Musicals concerts are also happening around the city most of the time.

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