If you’re looking for things to do in Ottawa, you’ve come to the right place. Our list of the 10 best activities in Canada’s capital should keep you entertained for days.
Ottawa is the capital city of Canada, making it a place filled with life and culture. There’s live music, great food, parliament buildings, educational tours, free admission parks, and all kinds of other fun things to do in the city. You can choose between exploring a national historic site to sampling its delicious food scene, touring a canadian museum or a national war memorial. Start planning your trip today! Here are some of the best places to visit and things to do in Ottawa.
1. Eat Your Heart Out
When it comes to things to do in Ottawa, you don’t want to miss the culinary scene. Ottawa is home to many diverse restaurants, from fine dining to casual fare.
One of the most popular eateries in the city is BeaverTails, a fast-casual pastry restaurant that offers the signature sweet BeaverTails pastries, poutine, smoothies, ice cream, and more.
You also can’t go wrong with grabbing some shawarma, a Caesar (the Canadian version of a bloody mary) from Copper Spirits and Sights, or a famous cookie from Moulin de Provence.
2. Take a Tour of Luxury at the Fairmont Château Laurier
The Fairmont Château Laurier should be a stop on your Canadian trip. This historic hotel is located in the heart of downtown Ottawa, close to all the best shopping, dining, and attractions. The Fairmont Château is a work of art that overlooks the Rideau Canal.
The hotel’s exterior is made of stone, and it features a castle-like design. The hotel’s interior is equally grand, with high ceilings and detailed architecture. This stunning hotel also has a spa and a golf course, perfect for a relaxing day.
3. Wander Through Westboro Village
For residents and visitors alike, Westboro Village has something for everyone. This trendy neighborhood is home to a diverse selection of shops and a lively nightlife scene.
Outdoor enthusiasts can take advantage of the proximity to the Ottawa River, while culture lovers can explore the many art galleries and museums in the area.
Plus, with its convenient location just west of downtown Ottawa, Westboro Village is the perfect place to experience all the city offers. You won’t go hungry while you do your shopping as Westboro Village has some exquisite dining options.
4. Spend the Day at the Beach
Petrie Island is a great spot to check out if you’re looking for things to do in Ottawa. It’s located on the Ottawa River and has many different things to keep you busy.
There are not one but two beach areas where you can sunbathe, swim, or relax in the sand. But, if you’re feeling active, there are also plenty of hiking and biking trails to explore around the island.
No visit to Petrie Island would be complete without taking a stroll through the stunning nature park. The beaches are only open from mid-May until early September, so plan your trip accordingly.
5. Cruise the Canal
The Rideau Canal Cruise tour is an unbeatable activity. The tour takes you through the historic Rideau Canal, which was built in the early 19th century and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The canal is a beautiful spot for a leisurely boat ride, and the tour provides an informative commentary on the history and construction of the canal.
The tour stops at several key landmarks along the way, including Parliament Hill and the Rideau Falls. The Canal Rideau Cruise tour is a great way to learn about Ottawa’s history and culture, and it’s also a lot of fun for the whole family.
6. Taste Your Way Around Town
The unique Behind the Scenes Brewery tour is a great option for beer enthusiasts. This tour takes you and your friends behind the scenes of several of Ottawa’s most popular breweries, giving you a better understanding of the craft and how your favorite draughts are made.
You’ll also get to sample some of the brews on the tour. The tour is a fantastic way to learn about the brewing process, and it’s also a lot of fun. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon, and it’s meet new people to hit local breweries with after the tour ends.
7. Cycle the City
There are plenty of things to do in Ottawa, but if you’re looking for a fun, active way to see the city, then you should consider taking the self-guided cycling the nation’s capital tour. This tour is an amazing way to explore Ottawa’s many scenic and historic sites, and it’s also a great workout.
The tour takes you through some of Ottawa’s most popular landmarks and attractions, including:
- The Rideau Canal
- The Hog’s Back Falls
- The Gatineau Rivers
You’ll learn all about the history of Ottawa as you cycle past some of its most iconic landmarks, and you’ll get to experience the city in a whole new way.
8. Take on the Tulip Festival
The Canadian Tulip Festival is a must-see for anyone visiting Ottawa in the springtime. The festival, held annually, celebrates the city’s strong Dutch heritage with an enormous display of tulips.
Visitors can stroll through the tulip beds, enjoy Dutch food and drink, and even take part in traditional games and activities. There are also plenty of things to do for kids, making it the perfect pastime for families.
Remember to pack your camera because you won’t want to miss snapping some incredible shots of your little ones surrounded by beautiful flowers.
9. Immerse Yourself in the Canadian Culture at Humanics Sanctuary & Sculpture Park
Looking for cultural things to do in Ottawa? Why not check out Humanics Sanctuary & Sculpture Park? The park is home to various sculptures and a comfortable place to relax and enjoy the scenery. Local artists create sculptures that mean to inspire reflection and contemplation.
Humanics Sanctuary is also a great place to take a nature walk, as the park is filled with beautiful trees and plants. In addition, the park is situated on the Rideau Canal, making it the perfect spot to watch the boats go by.
This hidden gem is the ideal place to unwind and find your zen.
If you’re looking to visit other parks, some other great options would be Gatineau Park and Major’s Hill Park.
10. Go to the Gallery
The National Gallery of Canada next to Alexandra Bridge is worth a visit. Located in the city’s heart, the gallery houses an impressive collection of both Canadian art. There are many international pieces too for people who love learning more about visual wonders from around the world.
You can explore the galleries at your own pace or take a guided tour to learn more about the art on display. There’s also a cafe on-site if you need a break from all the walking. Admission is free, so there’s no excuse not to check it out.
This incredible gallery is open every day of the week except for Mondays and Tuesdays. If you’re an academic, they also have a study room on the premises.
Whether you’re looking to explore the great outdoors, take in some art and culture, or enjoy a good meal, you can find it all here. You can’t visit North America without passing through Ottawa. We hope our list of the best things to do in the nation’s capital helps you plan your next visit.
Visit Peace Tower
Pay a visit to the Bytown Museum, Canadian War Museum
Take a tour around the Royal Canadian Mint
Go shopping around the Byward Market area
Watch a show at the National Arts Centre
Stay at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier
Visit Rideau Hall (the official residence of the Canadian monarch)
Head over to Dow Lake