Reasons to visit Ottawa, Canada

Reasons to visit Ottawa, Canada at least once in your lifetime

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100 Reasons to Visit Ottawa, Canada: Discover the Beauty and Rich Culture of the Great White North

Welcome to Ottawa, the captivating capital of Canada. A city steeped in history, culture, and natural beauty, Ottawa offers an unforgettable experience for travelers from all walks of life. From its iconic landmarks and museums to its vibrant festivals and outdoor adventures, this is a destination that will leave you in awe.

Whether you’re a history buff, an art enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply seeking a fun-filled getaway, Ottawa has something for everyone. So pack your bags and get ready to embark on an incredible journey through our captivating capital.

Key Takeaways:

  • Unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty
  • Iconic landmarks and world-class museums
  • Vibrant festivals celebrating art, music, and diversity
  • Abundance of outdoor activities for nature enthusiasts
  • A diverse and welcoming city with friendly locals

1. Step Back in Time at Parliament Hill

Begin your journey through Ottawa by immersing yourself in the historic grandeur of Parliament Hill. Marvel at the breathtaking Gothic-style architecture of the Parliament Buildings, where important decisions shaping Canada’s history are made. Take a guided tour to learn about the country’s political system and visit the iconic Peace Tower, offering panoramic views of the city.

2. Dive into History at the Canadian Museum of History

Explore the fascinating stories of Canada’s past at the Canadian Museum of History. Discover the rich Indigenous heritage, admire world-renowned collections of cultural artifacts, and trace the country’s journey from its earliest days to the present. The museum’s stunning architecture itself is a sight to behold, overlooking the scenic backdrop of the Ottawa River.

3. Wander Through Time at the ByWard Market

Indulge your senses in the vibrant atmosphere of the historic ByWard Market. Dating back to 1826, this bustling market is a feast for the eyes, ears, and taste buds. Stroll through the charming cobblestone streets lined with unique boutiques, art galleries, and local vendors. Feast on diverse culinary delights at the market’s restaurants, bistros, and street stalls, offering everything from fresh produce to international cuisine.

4. Marvel at Nature’s Splendor in Gatineau Park

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and immerse yourself in the tranquility of Gatineau Park. Just a short drive from downtown Ottawa, this 361-square-kilometer natural playground boasts picturesque hiking trails, serene lakes, and breathtaking viewpoints. From peaceful picnics to thrilling outdoor adventures like cycling, cross-country skiing, and rock climbing, Gatineau Park offers a haven for nature enthusiasts.

5. Celebrate Canada’s Cultural Mosaic at the Canadian Museum of Immigration

Step into the shoes of immigrants who have shaped Canada’s cultural landscape at the Canadian Museum of Immigration. Located in the historic Pier 21 building, this museum tells the stories of millions of newcomers who arrived in Canada from around the world. Explore interactive exhibits, listen to personal anecdotes, and gain a deeper understanding of the diverse fabric that makes up the Canadian identity.

Immerse yourself in a world of artistic masterpieces at the National Gallery of Canada. Housing over 40,000 works of art, including iconic pieces by Canadian and international artists, this gallery is a haven for art aficionados. Marvel at the renowned Group of Seven collection, admire contemporary installations, and experience the ever-changing exhibitions that showcase the diversity and depth of Canadian and global art.

7. Unleash Your Inner Child at the Canadian Museum of Science and Technology

Journey through the wonders of science and technology at the Canadian Museum of Science and Technology. From space exploration and locomotives to interactive exhibits on robotics and innovation, this museum offers a captivating experience for curious minds of all ages. Be sure to catch the MindWorks exhibition, where you can challenge your perception and explore the complexities of the human brain.

8. Devour Ottawa’s Culinary Delights on a Food Tour

Tantalize your taste buds with a culinary adventure through the streets of Ottawa. Embark on a guided food tour and savor the city’s diverse flavors, from poutine and Beavertails (a local sweet treat) to farm-to-table delicacies. Learn about the city’s culinary history, meet local chefs, and gain insight into Ottawa’s emerging food scene. Make sure to try local specialties such as maple syrup and Ottawa’s famous Shawarma.

9. Step into the Wilderness at Mer Bleue Conservation Area

Escape to a pristine natural oasis at Mer Bleue Conservation Area. This unique peatland is home to a vast array of plant and animal species, offering a serene escape from the city. Traverse the boardwalks that wind through the marsh, soak in the beauty of the surrounding wetlands, and witness the diverse birdlife that calls this area home. Don’t forget your camera to capture the stunning vistas and wildlife encounters.

10. Embark on an Epic Ride along the Rideau Canal

Get your adrenaline pumping with an unforgettable adventure along the Rideau Canal. Whether you choose to cycle, walk, or even skate during the winter months, this UNESCO World Heritage Site offers breathtaking views and recreational opportunities galore. Discover hidden gems along the canal, stop for a picnic at one of the many parks, or simply soak in the serene ambiance as you enjoy this iconic Canadian landmark.

11. Be Enchanted by the Changing of the Guard Ceremony

Witness a time-honored tradition at the Changing of the Guard ceremony on Parliament Hill. From late June to late August, this iconic event showcases the precision and pageantry of the Canadian Forces Ceremonial Guard. Marvel at the immaculate uniforms, the rhythmic marching, and the stirring music as the guards change shifts in a display of national pride and military excellence.

12. Explore the Rich History of Canada’s War Museum

Gain insight into Canada’s military past at the Canadian War Museum. Trace the country’s war history from early conflicts to modern-day peacekeeping missions through interactive exhibits, powerful artifacts, and personal stories of heroism. Explore displays dedicated to the First and Second World Wars, the Korean War, and the conflicts that have shaped Canada’s role on the world stage.

13. Indulge in Retail Therapy at the Rideau Centre

Shop ’til you drop at the Rideau Centre, Ottawa’s premier shopping destination. With over 180 stores, including international brands and local boutiques, this expansive shopping mall offers something for every style and budget. Take a break from retail therapy and enjoy a meal at one of the diverse restaurants or catch a movie at the state-of-the-art cinema.

14. Discover the Beauty of Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica

Step into a world of stunning architectural beauty at Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica. Adorned with intricate stained glass windows, hand-carved wooden accents, and majestic pipe organs, this national historic site is a must-visit for lovers of art and history. Attend a mass service to experience the ethereal ambiance and immerse yourself in centuries of spiritual tradition.

15. Immerse Yourself in Nature at the Central Experimental Farm

Escape to the countryside within the city limits at the Central Experimental Farm. This lush oasis offers a perfect blend of beautiful gardens, agricultural research, and an opportunity to interact with farm animals. Take a leisurely stroll through the ornamental gardens, explore the working farm buildings, and marvel at the colorful tulip displays during the spring season.

16. Experience Winter Wonderland at Winterlude

Embrace the magic of winter at Winterlude, Ottawa’s premier winter festival. Held annually in February, this enchanting event celebrates all things snow and ice. Marvel at the spectacular ice sculptures, strap on your skates and glide along the frozen Rideau Canal, and warm up with a cup of hot chocolate as you immerse yourself in the festivities of this true Canadian winter experience.

17. Get Lost in Fantasy at the Diefenbunker

Take a journey into the secretive world of Cold War history at the Diefenbunker. This massive underground bunker, designed to shelter Canada’s government in case of a nuclear attack, has been transformed into a museum. Explore the labyrinthine corridors, learn about the nuclear threat during the Cold War era, and experience what life would have been like in this hidden world beneath the ground.

18. Cruise the Ottawa River on a Riverboat

Embark on a scenic riverboat cruise along the picturesque Ottawa River. Marvel at the panoramic views of the city skyline and landmarks as you leisurely glide on the gentle waters. Opt for a dinner cruise to enjoy a savory meal while taking in the breathtaking sights, or choose a sightseeing cruise to learn about the history and culture of Ottawa from knowledgeable guides.

19. Explore the Mysteries of the Canada Aviation and Space Museum

Take flight into the realm of aviation and space exploration at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum. Discover Canada’s rich aerospace heritage through interactive exhibits, rare aircraft, and captivating stories of pioneering pilots. Marvel at iconic planes, step inside a space shuttle cockpit, and experience what it’s like to be a pilot through exhilarating flight simulators.

20. Unwind in Natural Serenity at the Fletcher Wildlife Garden

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and immerse yourself in the tranquility of the Fletcher Wildlife Garden. This hidden gem offers a peaceful sanctuary for nature lovers, complete with scenic walking trails, lush gardens, and diverse wildlife habitats. Discover the beauty of native plants, observe birds in their natural habitats, and unleash your inner calm as you connect with nature.

21. Feed Your Curiosity at the Canada Science and Technology Museum

Ignite your passion for science and innovation at the Canada Science and Technology Museum. With hands-on exhibits, interactive displays, and engaging demonstrations, this museum is a playground for inquisitive minds of all ages. Explore the evolution of communication, marvel at transportation breakthroughs, and unravel the mysteries of the universe through exciting scientific discoveries.

22. Revel in the Splendor of the National Arts Centre

Immerse yourself in the world of performing arts at the National Arts Centre. From mesmerizing theater productions and captivating ballet performances to world-class musical concerts, this iconic venue showcases the best of Canadian and international talent. Choose from an array of cultural performances and treat yourself to a night of artistic excellence.

23. Get Your Adrenaline Pumping at Calypso Water Park

Beat the summer heat and make a splash at Calypso Water Park, Canada’s largest themed water park. With over 35 waterslides, wave pools, and thrilling attractions, this tropical paradise promises a day filled with fun and excitement for the whole family. Whether you’re seeking heart-pounding adventures or leisurely relaxation, Calypso has it all.

24. Embrace the Festive Spirit at the Canadian Tulip Festival

Witness Ottawa’s transformation into a stunning sea of tulips during the Canadian Tulip Festival. This annual event celebrates the friendship between Canada and the Netherlands and showcases over one million tulips in full bloom. Stroll through the colorful displays, enjoy live performances, and immerse yourself in the cultural festivities that commemorate the gift of tulips from the Dutch royal family.

25. Climb to New Heights at Camp Fortune Aerial Park

Challenge your limits and conquer your fears at Camp Fortune Aerial Park. Nestled in the scenic Gatineau Hills, this thrilling adventure park offers a range of aerial obstacles and zip lines for all skill levels. Soar through the treetops, navigate suspended bridges, and unleash your inner adventurer as you revel in the beauty of nature from a unique vantage point.

26. Experience Shakespearean Magic at the St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival

Immerse yourself in the world of William Shakespeare at the St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival. Set against the breathtaking backdrop of the St. Lawrence River, this annual event brings the Bard’s timeless works to life in an open-air amphitheater. Prepare to be captivated by stellar performances, enchanting costumes, and the sheer magic of experiencing Shakespeare under the stars.

27. Dive into Canadian History at the Bank of Canada Museum

Discover the fascinating world of money and finance at the Bank of Canada Museum. Engage with interactive exhibits that illuminate the history, function, and importance of Canada’s monetary system. Get a behind-the-scenes look at the bank’s operations, learn about the country’s economic milestones, and marvel at the intricate artistry of currency design.

28. Indulge in Chocolate Delights at Cacao 70

Satisfy your sweet tooth and embark on a chocolate lover’s paradise at Cacao 70. This renowned chocolaterie offers a delectable array of sweet treats, from rich hot chocolate concoctions to sinfully delicious desserts. Indulge in artisanal chocolates, sample exotic flavor combinations, and experience chocolate in all its mouthwatering glory.

29. Explore Ottawa’s Street Art Scene

Embark on a self-guided tour of Ottawa’s vibrant street art scene. From murals and graffiti to thought-provoking installations, the city’s urban landscape is a canvas for local and international artists. Discover hidden gems in neighborhoods such as Hintonburg, Centretown, and Chinatown, and let the colorful and thought-provoking artworks enhance your exploration of the city.

30. Immerse Yourself in History at the Rideau Hall

Step into the official residence of the Governor General of Canada at the historic Rideau Hall. Explore the stunning landscaped grounds, stroll through the picturesque gardens, and learn about the rich history associated with this iconic site. Discover the role of Canada’s Governor General, delve into the regal interiors, and marvel at the exquisite artworks on display.

31. Encourage Your Green Thumb at the Central Park Community Gardens

Escape the urban landscape and embrace the serenity of the Central Park Community Gardens. Located in the heart of downtown Ottawa, these lush gardens offer a tranquil oasis for plant enthusiasts and aspiring gardeners. Take a leisurely stroll through the beautifully landscaped grounds, admire the vibrant blooms, and perhaps even get your hands dirty as you learn about urban gardening.

32. Take a Step into the Past at the Cumberland Heritage Village Museum

Transport yourself to the 1920s at the Cumberland Heritage Village Museum. This living history museum showcases the life and times of a bustling village from days gone by. Explore the fully furnished historic buildings, interact with costumed interpreters, and experience what it was like to live in a rural community during a bygone era. Don’t forget to stop by the on-site farm and say hello to the friendly farm animals.

33. Unleash Your Inner Artist at the Ottawa School of Art

Nurture your creative side and learn from talented artists at the Ottawa School of Art. Unleash your inner Picasso through a variety of workshops and classes, ranging from painting and drawing to sculpture and printmaking. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced artist, the school offers an inclusive and supportive environment to explore your artistic potential.

34. Cheer on the Ottawa Redblacks at TD Place

Join the spirited atmosphere at TD Place Stadium and cheer on the Ottawa Redblacks, the city’s Canadian Football League team. Don your team colors, immerse yourself in the electrifying energy of the game, and experience the unique Canadian passion for this beloved sport. Make sure to engage in the fun-filled traditions, from pre-game tailgating to the infamous touchdown dance.

35. Discover Haunting Legends on an Ottawa Ghost Tour

Unearth Ottawa’s spooky side on a ghost tour that will send shivers down your spine. Explore the city’s haunted sites, hear chilling tales of paranormal activity, and learn about the intriguing history and legends associated with each location. Join a knowledgeable guide and prepare for an immersive experience that combines history, mystery, and a dash of spine-tingling suspense.

36. Step into the Spotlight at the National Arts Centre Fourth Stage

Immerse yourself in an intimate performance at the National Arts Centre Fourth Stage. This smaller-scale venue showcases emerging artists, local talents, and experimental works, creating an up-close and personal artistic experience. From live music and theater to spoken word performances, the Fourth Stage offers a platform for emerging voices to shine in the heart of Ottawa.

37. Embark on a Beer Tasting Adventure at Local Breweries

Quench your thirst and explore Ottawa’s burgeoning craft beer scene on a beer tasting adventure. With a growing number of breweries and brewpubs, the city is a haven for beer enthusiasts. Embark on a guided tour to sample a variety of unique brews, learn about the brewing process, and gain insight into the diverse beer culture that thrives in the capital.

38. Step into Film Magic at the Mayfair Theatre

Experience the nostalgia and charm of a classic movie theater at the Mayfair Theatre. This iconic venue has been a cornerstone of Ottawa’s cultural scene since 1932. Catch a screening of independent films, cult classics, or the latest releases in this historic cinema that exudes old-world charm. Popcorn in hand, immerse yourself in the magic of the silver screen.

39. Get a Taste of Ottawa’s Local Produce at Farmers’ Markets

Indulge your culinary desires and support local farmers and artisans at Ottawa’s vibrant farmers’ markets. From fresh fruits and vegetables to handmade crafts and gourmet treats, these markets offer a treasure trove of local delights. Wander through the stalls, engage with the producers, and savor the flavors of the region as you stock up on delectable goodies.

40. Discover the Lure of Glamping at Gatineau Park

Experience the best of nature without sacrificing comfort with a glamping adventure in Gatineau Park. Stay in luxurious tents or rustic cabins nestled in the heart of the park’s stunning landscapes. Immerse yourself in the beauty of the great outdoors, go hiking, fishing, or stargazing, and end your day with a cozy campfire under the starlit sky.

41. Witness the Grandeur of the National War Memorial

Pay tribute to fallen heroes and witness the grandeur of the National War Memorial. Located in the heart of downtown Ottawa, this iconic monument serves as a solemn reminder of the sacrifices made by Canadians in times of war. Take a moment to reflect, observe the ceremonial events, and honor the men and women who have served and continue to serve in the Canadian Armed Forces.

42. Marvel at the Beauty of the Rideau Falls

Be awed by the breathtaking sight of the Rideau Falls, where the mighty Rideau River cascades over two distinct falls. Located just upstream from downtown Ottawa, these magnificent waterfalls offer a picturesque backdrop for a leisurely stroll, a picnic in the nearby parks, or a boat ride along the river. Admire the natural beauty and sheer power of this hidden gem.

43. Experience the Magic of Shakespeare in the Park

Delight in an open-air theater experience with Shakespeare in the Park. Ottawa boasts several theater companies that bring the works of the Bard to life in outdoor venues, allowing you to immerse yourself in the magic of his timeless tales against the backdrop of nature. Pack a picnic, grab a blanket, and let the enchantment unfold under the stars.

44. Explore the Petite-Nation Region

Embark on an adventure through Ottawa’s scenic countryside and discover the charming Petite-Nation region. Located just outside the city, this picturesque area offers a wealth of outdoor activities, from canoeing on the winding rivers to hiking through lush forests. Immerse yourself in the tranquility of this idyllic landscape and discover the hidden gems tucked away in this lesser-known corner of Ottawa.

45. Indulge in Theatre at the Great Canadian Theatre Company

Immerse yourself in thought-provoking theater productions at the Great Canadian Theatre Company. With a focus on Canadian plays and emerging artists, this theater company offers a unique perspective on Canadian culture and society. Engage in lively post-show discussions, support local talent, and experience the transformative power of live theater.

46. Discover Ottawa’s Vibrant LGBTQ+ Scene

Celebrate diversity and embrace Ottawa’s vibrant LGBTQ+ scene. The city is home to a thriving LGBTQ+ community, with numerous bars, clubs, and events that cater to all interests and identities. Attend the annual Capital Pride Festival, explore LGBTQ+ art exhibits, and embrace the welcoming atmosphere that makes Ottawa an inclusive and progressive destination.

47. Explore the Unique Neighborhoods of Ottawa

Uncover the hidden gems and distinct character of Ottawa’s diverse neighborhoods. From the bustling and trendy Glebe to the vibrant and multicultural Chinatown, each neighborhood has its own charm and offers a range of unique experiences. Take a stroll along the charming streets, browse local shops, and immerse yourself in the local flavors of each community.

48. Discover the World of Horticulture at the Ornamental Gardens

Immerse yourself in a world of color and beauty at the Ornamental Gardens. Located at the Central Experimental Farm, these meticulously maintained gardens showcase a stunning collection of annuals, perennials, and ornamental shrubs. Take a leisurely walk through the themed gardens, breathe in the fragrant blooms, and let the natural beauty of this oasis soothe your soul.

49. Journey Back in Time at the Cumberland Heritage Village Museum

Discover the charm and simplicity of rural life in the past at the Cumberland Heritage Village Museum. This living history museum recreates a 19th-century village, complete with historic buildings, costumed interpreters, and engaging demonstrations of traditional crafts and activities. Immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of a bygone era as you explore the village’s fascinating heritage.

50. Celebrate Indigenous Culture at Indigenous Experiences

Gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of Canada’s Indigenous heritage at Indigenous Experiences. Located on the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg Algonquin First Nation, this unique cultural attraction offers visitors an opportunity to connect with and learn from Indigenous knowledge keepers. Engage in workshops, listen to captivating storytelling, and participate in traditional ceremonies to gain a holistic perspective on the rich Indigenous culture that permeates Canada.

51. Relax by Dow’s Lake and Explore the Arboretum

Escape the city bustle and unwind by the tranquil shores of Dow’s Lake. Located near the heart of Ottawa, this picturesque lake offers a serene setting for picnics, walking, or simply enjoying the view. Adjacent to the lake, the Central Experimental Farm’s Arboretum boasts an impressive collection of trees and shrubs, perfect for a leisurely stroll among nature’s splendor.

52. Explore Ottawa’s Historical Underground at the Bytown Museum

Delve into Ottawa’s fascinating history at the Bytown Museum, located in the city’s oldest stone building. Learn about the early days of Ottawa, originally known as Bytown, and the pivotal role it played in the construction of the Rideau Canal. Explore exhibits depicting the challenges faced by the early settlers, marvel at the artifacts, and gain a deeper appreciation for the city’s origins.

53. Celebrate Diversity at the Ottawa Caribbean Carnival

Experience a vibrant explosion of Caribbean culture at the Ottawa Caribbean Carnival, also known as Carivibe. This annual festival celebrates the richness and diversity of Caribbean heritage through a multitude of events, from parades and concerts to culinary delights and cultural performances. Get swept up in the infectious rhythms, revel in the colorful costumes, and savor the flavors of the Caribbean during this lively celebration.

54. Discover Ottawa’s Dark Side on a Haunted Walk Tour

Embrace the eerie ambiance of Ottawa’s dark past on a haunted walk tour. Led by expert storytellers, these guided tours take you on a spine-tingling journey through the city’s most haunted sites, sharing chilling tales of ghosts, murder, and the supernatural. Feel a shiver down your spine as you explore hidden nooks and crannies and uncover the secrets that lie beneath the city’s surface.

55. Tee Off at Ottawa’s Premier Golf Courses

Perfect your swing and enjoy a round of golf at one of Ottawa’s premier golf courses. With a range of beautiful and challenging courses to choose from, golfers of all skill levels will find their paradise. Tee off against the backdrop of picturesque fairways, rolling hills, and lush green landscapes, and revel in the tranquility of this outdoor sport.

56. Step into Medieval Times at the Canadian Museum of History

Embark on a journey through medieval times at the Canadian Museum of History. Discover the fascinating history of knights, castles, and the Middle Ages through interactive exhibits, authentic artifacts, and captivating displays. Immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of this bygone era as you explore the rich cultural heritage of medieval Europe.

57. Savor Ottawa’s Craft Beer and Food Pairings

Indulge in a culinary adventure by pairing Ottawa’s craft beers with delectable food offerings. Discover the local beer scene and learn about the intricacies of beer and food pairing with the guidance of expert brewers and chefs. Embark on a guided tour or make your own pairings as you discover new flavor combinations that tantalize your taste buds.

58. Paddle Along the Ottawa River with a River Rafting Adventure

Experience the exhilaration of river rafting on the mighty Ottawa River. Whether you’re a seasoned paddler seeking thrilling whitewater rapids or a beginner looking for a leisurely float, there are river rafting adventures for all skill levels. Feel the rush of adrenaline as you navigate the undulating currents and take in the stunning natural beauty that surrounds you.

Immerse yourself in the vibrant art scene of Ottawa at the Ottawa Art Gallery. With a focus on contemporary and local works, this gallery showcases the rich creativity and diversity of the region’s artists. Explore the thought-provoking exhibitions, attend art talks and workshops, and allow the captivating art to inspire and ignite your own creative spark.

60. Unwind at Nordik Spa-Nature

Relax, rejuvenate, and reconnect with nature at Nordik Spa-Nature, North America’s largest spa. Located just outside Ottawa, this tranquil oasis offers a range of thermal baths, saunas, and relaxation areas set amidst the natural beauty of the Gatineau Hills. Soak in the healing waters, indulge in soothing treatments, and let the stresses of everyday life melt away in this blissful sanctuary.

61. Explore Ottawa’s Heritage Buildings on a Doors Open Tour

Uncover the architectural gems and hidden treasures of Ottawa’s heritage buildings during the annual Doors Open Ottawa event. Step inside historic landmarks, government buildings, and private residences that are not usually accessible to the public. Engage with knowledgeable guides, learn about the city’s architectural history, and discover the stories that shaped Ottawa’s iconic structures.

62. Indulge in Retail Therapy at the Ottawa Farmers’ Market

Support local farmers, artisans, and small businesses at the Ottawa Farmers’ Market. Offering a wide array of fresh produce, handmade crafts, gourmet treats, and more, this vibrant market is a haven for those seeking unique and high-quality goods. From farm-fresh vegetables to artisanal cheeses and freshly baked pastries, this is the perfect place to stock up on local treasures.

63. Hike the Trails of Gatineau Park

Embark on a hiking adventure through the breathtaking landscapes of Gatineau Park. With over 165 kilometers of trails, ranging from easy nature walks to challenging summit hikes, this natural playground caters to hikers of all levels. Discover hidden waterfalls, marvel at panoramic viewpoints, and immerse yourself in the beauty of the Canadian wilderness.

64. Discover Ottawa’s Underground at the Rideau Street Caves

Uncover the hidden history and secrets beneath Ottawa’s streets with a visit to the Rideau Street Caves. Join a guided tour and explore the network of tunnels and chambers that once housed breweries and served as escape routes during times of war. Learn about the fascinating stories associated with these underground passageways and gain a unique perspective on the city’s past.

65. Celebrate Multiculturalism at the Canadian Museum of Immigration

Explore the mosaic of cultures that have shaped Canada at the Canadian Museum of Immigration. Delve into the personal stories of immigrants, discover the challenges and triumphs they faced upon arrival, and gain a deeper appreciation for the diverse fabric of Canadian society. Engage with interactive exhibits, listen to personal anecdotes, and reflect on the significance of multiculturalism in shaping Canada’s identity.

66. Explore Ottawa’s Growing Craft Distillery Scene

Indulge in the flavors of Ottawa’s burgeoning craft distillery scene. From small-batch gins and vodkas to artisanal liqueurs and whiskies, the city is home to distilleries that are putting their own unique twist on traditional spirits. Embark on a tasting tour, learn about the distillation process, and toast to the creativity and craftsmanship of Ottawa’s distillers.

67. Soak in the Beauty of the Rideau Trail

Embark on a multi-day hiking adventure along the scenic Rideau Trail. Stretching over 300 kilometers from Ottawa to Kingston, this picturesque trail offers breathtaking vistas, peaceful forests, and serene lakes. Whether you tackle a small section or attempt the entire trail, this is an opportunity to reconnect with nature, challenge your limits, and appreciate the beauty of Canada’s great outdoors.

68. Dance the Night Away at Ottawa’s Nightclubs

Experience Ottawa’s vibrant nightlife scene by hitting the city’s renowned nightclubs. Dance to the rhythm of live DJs, groove to the beats of local bands, or simply enjoy the lively ambiance as you mingle with fellow partygoers. From trendy hotspots to underground venues, Ottawa offers a diverse range of nocturnal entertainment options.

69. Attend a Live Performance at the Ottawa Little Theatre

Immerse yourself in the world of theater at the Ottawa Little Theatre. Founded in 1913, this historic venue showcases a diverse range of plays, both classic and contemporary. Be captivated by the talent of local actors, enjoy thought-provoking productions, and support the vibrant theater community that makes Ottawa a hub of artistic excellence.

70. Embrace the Great Outdoors at Mer Bleue Bog

Step into a unique ecological sanctuary at Mer Bleue Bog. This pristine peatland offers a fascinating ecosystem with an abundance of flora and fauna, making it a paradise for nature enthusiasts and birdwatchers. Traverse the boardwalks that wind through the marsh, listen to the calls of migratory birds, and immerse yourself in the tranquility of this natural oasis.

71. Explore the Rich History of the Fairmont Chateau Laurier

Step into a bygone era at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier, a historic landmark that embodies elegance and grandeur. This iconic hotel has welcomed dignitaries and celebrities since its opening in 1912. Take a guided tour to explore the luxurious interiors, learn about its storied past, and marvel at the opulent architecture that sets it apart as a beacon of heritage in Ottawa.

72. Sample Ottawa’s Sweet Delights at Cakes and Shakes

Indulge your sweet tooth with a visit to Cakes and Shakes, a local institution that offers a delectable array of cakes, pastries, and milkshakes. Each treat is lovingly handcrafted and baked to perfection, using only the finest ingredients. From indulgent chocolate creations to exquisite fruit tarts, this is the perfect place to satisfy your cravings for something sweet.

73. Immerse Yourself in the World of Sports at the Canadian Tire Centre

Cheer on your favorite teams and experience the excitement of live sports at the Canadian Tire Centre. Home to the Ottawa Senators, the city’s National Hockey League team, this state-of-the-art arena hosts a variety of sporting events, from hockey and basketball games to concerts and shows. Join the roaring crowd, don your team colors, and soak in the electric atmosphere of a live game.

74. Explore the Heart of Ottawa at Confederation Park

Discover the beating heart of downtown Ottawa at Confederation Park. This vibrant urban park is home to numerous events and festivals throughout the year, including the famous Christmas Lights Across Canada. Stroll along the pathways, admire the beautiful sculptures and fountains, and take a moment to relax and people-watch in this bustling oasis.

75. Uncover the Secrets of Ottawa’s Underground Railroad History

Delve into Ottawa’s role in the Underground Railroad, a clandestine network that helped enslaved individuals escape to freedom. Explore significant sites, such as the Billings Estate National Historic Site, that played a pivotal role in this fascinating chapter of Canadian history. Learn about the courageous individuals who risked their lives to assist freedom seekers and gain a deeper understanding of Canada’s commitment to liberty and equality.

76. Go on a Shopping Spree at Tanger Outlets

Indulge in retail therapy and score deals at Tanger Outlets. Located just outside Ottawa, this popular shopping destination offers a wide selection of brand-name stores and designer outlets. Shop for stylish clothing, accessories, and household items at discounted prices, and treat yourself to a shopping spree without breaking the bank.

77. Discover Ottawa’s Cornucopia of Museums

Immerse yourself in Ottawa’s museum scene, which offers an impressive array of specialized museums catering to diverse interests. From the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum to the Canadian Museum of Nature, these institutions offer unique insights into their respective fields. Explore anthropology, aviation, technology, and more, and gain a deeper understanding of the world around us.

78. Watch the Sunset at Nepean Point

Witness a breathtaking panoramic view of Ottawa’s skyline and the majestic Parliament Buildings from Nepean Point. Perched atop a hill, this scenic lookout offers the perfect vantage point to enjoy a stunning sunset. Bring a picnic blanket, sit back, and let the colors of the sky unfold as you bask in the serene beauty of the capital.

79. Explore the Science and History of Medicine at the Museum of Health Care

Delve into the fascinating world of medicine and healthcare at the Museum of Health Care. Learn about the evolution of medical technology, explore the stories of healthcare professionals, and gain a deeper understanding of the challenges and triumphs in the field of medicine. Engage with interactive exhibits, view historical artifacts, and reflect on the remarkable progress made in healthcare throughout history.

80. Savor Ottawa’s Culinary Creations at Farm-to-Table Restaurants

Immerse yourself in Ottawa’s burgeoning farm-to-table dining scene and savor the flavors of the region’s bountiful produce. Indulge in thoughtfully crafted menus that highlight local ingredients, connect with the farmers who produce the food, and revel in the freshness and sustainability that defines Ottawa’s culinary culture. From fine dining establishments to cozy neighborhood cafes, the city offers a diverse range of farm-to-table experiences.

81. Discover Canada’s Military History at the Canadian War Museum

Gain insight into the heroic tales that have shaped Canada’s military history at the Canadian War Museum. With immersive exhibitions, powerful artifacts, and personal narratives, this museum takes you on a journey through Canada’s involvement in conflicts from World War I to the present day. Pay tribute to those who have served, learn about the impacts of war on Canadian society, and reflect on the importance of peacekeeping.

82. Get Active with Water Sports on the Ottawa River

Dive into adventure and experience the thrill of water sports on the Ottawa River. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner, the river offers a range of activities to suit all levels of expertise. Try your hand at whitewater rafting, kayaking, paddleboarding, or even surfing the waves created by the river’s famous rapids. Get ready for a wet and wild adventure.

83. Marvel at the Awe-inspiring Beauty of the Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica

Step inside the Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica and be awestruck by its magnificent architecture and ornate details. Admire the beautiful stained glass windows, intricately carved wooden accents, and stunning vaulted ceilings. Whether you attend a mass service or simply take a moment for quiet reflection, the ethereal ambiance of this national historic site will leave a lasting impression.

Immerse yourself in Ottawa’s vibrant art scene at the Ottawa Art Gallery. Located in the heart of downtown, this contemporary art museum showcases a diverse range of works by Canadian and international artists. Explore thought-provoking exhibitions, attend artist talks and workshops, and let the creative spirit inspire you as you navigate the ever-evolving world of contemporary art.

Embark on a visual feast for the eyes at the National Gallery of Canada. Not only does the museum house an impressive collection of art, but its unique glass-and-granite architecture itself is a work of art. Marvel at the stunning views of Parliament Hill from the Great Hall, explore the impressive Indigenous art collection, and immerse yourself in the world-class exhibitions that make this gallery a must-visit destination.

86. Take a Stroll Along the Rideau Canal

Discover the beauty and history of the Rideau Canal as you take a leisurely stroll along its scenic pathways. Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this historic canal is a testament to human ingenuity and engineering prowess. Enjoy the peaceful ambiance, admire the charming locks, and take in the picturesque views that make this iconic waterway a beloved symbol of Ottawa.

87. Discover the Richness of Ottawa’s Indigenous Culture

Immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of Ottawa’s Indigenous communities. Explore the city’s museums, such as the Indigenous Walks, explore traditional crafts and art at the Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health, or attend cultural events and powwows to experience the vibrancy and diversity of Indigenous traditions. Engage with Indigenous knowledge keepers, learn about their history, and gain a deeper understanding of the contributions Indigenous peoples have made to Canada.

88. Discover the Art of Brewing at Ottawa’s Craft Breweries

Uncover the art of brewing and indulge in unique flavors at Ottawa’s craft breweries. From hoppy IPAs to smooth stouts and refreshing sours, the city’s vibrant beer scene offers something to suit every palate. Embark on a brewery tour, learn about the brewing process, and sample a flight of expertly crafted beers as you immerse yourself in the spirit of Ottawa’s craft beer community.

89. Explore the Majestic Halls of the Library and Archives Canada

Step into a treasure trove of knowledge and history at the Library and Archives Canada. Delve into the country’s documentary heritage through the vast collections of books, manuscripts, photographs, and records. Explore the stunning halls of this grand institution, immerse yourself in exhibitions that showcase Canada’s past, and gain a deeper appreciation for the value of preserving our collective memory.

90. Savor the Flavors of Ottawa at the ByWard Market

Tantalize your taste buds with a culinary journey through the ByWard Market, Ottawa’s vibrant culinary epicenter. This historic market offers a tantalizing array of fresh produce, gourmet treats, and artisanal creations. Sample local delicacies, browse artisanal cheeses, and indulge in street food from around the world. The ByWard Market is a foodie’s paradise where you can truly savor the flavors of Ottawa.

91. Unwind by the Gatineau River in Chelsea

Escape to the picturesque village of Chelsea, nestled on the banks of the Gatineau River. This charming retreat offers an idyllic escape from the city, with its quaint streets, cozy cafes, and breathtaking natural surroundings. Explore nearby hiking trails, unwind at a spa, or simply sit back and enjoy the tranquility of the river as it meanders through this picturesque landscape.

92. Take a Leisurely Bike Ride along Ottawa’s Scenic Pathways

Discover Ottawa’s scenic beauty on a leisurely bike ride along its extensive network of pathways. Cruise along the Rideau Canal, cycle through picturesque parks, and soak in the stunning views of the Ottawa River. Rent a bike from one of the city’s numerous rental shops, pack a picnic, and embark on a two-wheeled adventure to explore the city at your own pace.

93. Marvel at the Beauty of the Canadian Museum of Nature

Discover the wonders of the natural world at the Canadian Museum of Nature. Step inside the historic Victoria Memorial Museum Building, with its stunning Venetian Gothic architecture, and embark on a journey through the Earth’s diverse ecosystems. From towering dinosaurs to sparkling minerals, and from exquisite wildlife dioramas to immersive exhibitions, this museum offers a captivating experience for nature enthusiasts of all ages.

94. Explore Ottawa’s Vibrant Festivals

Immerse yourself in the celebratory spirit of Ottawa’s vibrant festivals. From the world-renowned Canada Day festivities on July 1st to the electrifying energy of the TD Ottawa Jazz Festival, the city offers a plethora of events that showcase music, art, culture, and diversity. Dance to the rhythm of live performances, indulge in international cuisine, and let the contagious joy of these festivals sweep you away.

95. Take a Scenic Drive along the Ottawa Valley

Embark on a scenic drive along the Ottawa Valley and discover the stunning landscapes that surround the capital. Wind your way through picturesque countryside, marvel at rolling hills and vibrant farmland, and stop at charming towns and villages along the way. Explore local shops, savor farm-to-table cuisine, and soak in the breathtaking vistas that make this region a hidden gem.

96. Step into the Fascinating World of Nature at the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum

Delve into the captivating world of agriculture and food production at the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum. From interactive exhibits on farm life to demonstrations on sustainable farming practices, this museum offers a fun and educational experience for visitors of all ages. Get up close and personal with farm animals, learn about the journey from field to plate, and gain insight into the vital role of agriculture in our daily lives.

97. Immerse Yourself in the Tranquility of Rockcliffe Park

Escape the bustle of the city and unwind in the serene beauty of Rockcliffe Park. This prestigious neighborhood boasts lush green spaces, scenic parklands, and luxury homes. Take a leisurely stroll through the manicured gardens, breathe in the fresh air, and enjoy the quietude as you connect with nature in this idyllic oasis.

98. Explore Local History at the Billings Estate National Historic Site

Step back in time and discover the fascinating history of the Billings family at the Billings Estate National Historic Site. This picturesque heritage property showcases the life and times of one of Ottawa’s founding families. Explore the meticulously restored 19th-century home, stroll through the heritage gardens, and learn about the challenges and triumphs of early settlers in the region.

99. Soar Over the City with a Hot Air Balloon Ride

Experience Ottawa from a whole new perspective with a thrilling hot air balloon ride. Float above the city, taking in panoramic views of the Ottawa River, the downtown skyline, and iconic landmarks. Feel as though you’re suspended in mid-air as you drift peacefully with the wind, an unforgettable experience that showcases the beauty of Ottawa like never before.

100. Celebrate Diversity at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights

Explore the importance of human rights and the pursuit of social justice at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Located in Winnipeg, this groundbreaking museum offers a journey through Canada’s human rights history, as well as global perspectives on significant issues. Engage with thought-provoking exhibits, listen to personal stories, and reflect on what it means to be an advocate for equality and fairness.

Now that you’ve discovered 100 compelling reasons to visit Ottawa, Canada, it’s time to pack your bags and embark on an adventure unlike any other. From historic landmarks and world-class museums to vibrant festivals and outdoor escapades, Ottawa offers a captivating blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. So, what are you waiting

Why go to Ottawa, Canada?

You must visit Ottawa, Canada, at least once in your lifetime because it’s a city filled with history, culture, and energy. You may go ice skating on the Rideau Canal, visit museums, or witness a stunning light show at Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

Places to go in Ottawa, Canada:

  1. Bank of Canada Museum
  2. Byward Market 
  3. Canada Aviation and Space Museum
  4. Canada Agriculture and Food Museum
  5. Canadian Museum of Nature
  6. Canadian War Museum
  7. Hog’s Back Falls
  8. Laurier House
  9. Little Ray’s Reptile Zoo
  10. Major’s Park and The Canadian Tulip Festival
  11. Maplelawn Garden
  12. National Gallery of Canada
  13. Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica 
  14. Ottawa Art Gallery
  15. Ottawa Farmers Market
  16. Parliament Hill and Buildings
  17. Peace Tower
  18. Petrie Island
  19. Rideau Canal 
  20. Royal Canadian Mint
  21. Westboro Village

What is Ottawa, Canada, famous for?

Ottawa, Canada, is famous for international music festivals, a world-record ice skating rink, and stunning natural scenery. These are just a few of Ottawa’s many drawcards. Ottawa is also known for its bilingualism, civility, and beavertail cravings.

Fun Facts about Ottawa, Canada

  • A massive Cold War-era bunker may be found there.
  • A fire that raged through the Parliamentary complex nearly wiped out the entire structure.
  • The Château Laurier Hotel is believed to be haunted by Charles Melville Hays, the hotel’s founder. 12 days before its official inauguration on April 14, 1912, the Titanic sank and killed Hays.
  • In the early days, Ottawa was known as “Bytown.”
  • The initial tulips that made Ottawa famous came from the Netherlands.

Why visit Ottawa, Canada

How big is Ottawa, Canada?

Ottawa, Canada, is about 2,790 square km or 1077 square miles in size.

When is the best time to visit Ottawa, Canada?

The best time to visit Ottawa, Canada, is the months of March, April, and May.

The best time to visit Ottawa is between March and May, when the weather warms up, and the city begins to spring into life. Many of the city’s most popular festivals and events, including the Tulip Festival, take place during this time.

How many days do you need to see Ottawa, Canada?

You could easily spend a week going to the Byward Market, Parliament Hill, and the Rideau Canal by boat, the National Museums, the Art Gallery, and the Mint.

What is the cheapest time to go to Ottawa, Canada?

The low season (flights) to visit Ottawa, Canada, is in the months of November, December, January, and February.

The winter (November through February) is the least popular time to visit Ottawa. The weather can be severe, but if you’re willing to brave the frigid air, you’ll likely find inexpensive Ottawa flights and accommodations during this season.

Is Ottawa, Canada an expensive city to visit?

Ottawa is a costly city. One of the busiest and most rapidly expanding cities in the country. Individuals spend $1,168 on an average seven-day trip to Ottawa; couples spend $2,098, and families of four spend $3,933 on an average seven-day trip to Ottawa. Accommodations in Ottawa hotels start at $56, while vacation rentals start at $80 and go up to $400.

How to save money when visiting Ottawa, Canada?

The best ways to save money when visiting Ottawa, Canada are:

  • ClubZone can help you save money on cover charges.
  • Skate around on the ice. Ice skating along the Rideau Canal’s length is absolutely free in winter, making it a popular winter activity in Ottawa.
  • Save money at restaurants like Warehouse and Pub 101.
  • Use all of the bike lanes available to you. If you don’t have time or money to drive or get a Presto pass, consider biking.

What food (and drinks) is Ottawa, Canada, known for?

Things you need to eat in Ottawa, Canada before you die:

  • Beaver’s Tails
  • Bacon dipped in pancake batter: 
  • Unicorn Milk-Horchata: 
  • Get rich or die chai’ing: 

Visit Ottawa, Canada at least once in your lifetime

Is Ottawa, Canada, safe to visit?

Ottawa is a highly secure area to live and visit. The level of crime here is relatively low. If you have common sense, you won’t face serious difficulty here. Even though there are a lot of tourists in the city, especially in the summer, theft and violence happen very rarely.

What is the best way to get around in Ottawa, Canada?

The best way to get around in Ottawa, Canada, are:

  • Boat: Visitors can take a water taxi between the Ontario and Quebec shores of the Ottawa River during the summer months.
  • Ride-sharing: Both Uber and Lyft have operations in Ottawa. Taxicabs can drop off but not pick up passengers on the Quebec side.
  • Car service/Limousine: Our luxurious fleet of limos, sedans, and SUVs can take you to and from the airport and around town at any time while in Ottawa.

What are the neighborhoods or areas I should stay in when I visit Ottawa, Canada?

The best areas you should stay in when visiting Ottawa, Canada are:

  • ByWard Blue Inn
  • Holiday Inn Expres
  • Chateau Laurier
  • Ottawa Marriott Hotel

What are the best neighborhoods or areas for food?

The best areas for food and drinks when visiting Ottawa, Canada are:

  • Absinthe-is a busy, modern café that opened in 2003. Its menu of seasonal, gourmet European food and drinks changes frequently.
  • Cumberland Pizza-Over the past 45 years, Cumberland Pizza has been delivering dine-in and delivery clients’ pizza and Greek food.
  • Yangtze Restaurant- The restaurant serves a wide variety of dim sum daily, every day, in a large dining area, including everything from seafood rolls like steamed squid and shrimp to vegetarian options like red bean cakes and Liu Sha bao.
  • Soif Bar à Vin-However, the fresh dishes, and romantic ambiance make a five-minute cab ride (or a stroll) across the Portage Bridge pedestrian walkway to Quebec worthwhile. Heartbreakers Pizza & Wine is the hipster wine bar alternative if you’re searching for something a little less stuffy.

What are the best neighborhoods or areas for shopping?

The best areas for shopping when visiting Ottawa, Canada, are:

  • ByWard Market
  • Sparks Street
  • CF Rideau Centre
  • Bayshore Shopping Centre

What should I do on my first trip to Ottawa, Canada?

If you are visiting Ottawa, Canada, for the first time, take a tour of the ByWard Market. Located in downtown Ottawa, it is one of the country’s oldest. It is surrounded by open-air stalls. The main buildings are open year-round, and the surrounding booths are available when the weather is favorable. Fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers, and other groceries are sold there. The ByWard Market contains restaurants, kiosks, and stores.

Is Ottawa, Canada a good place for solo travel?

When traveling solo, you can relax while strolling through the Dominion Arboretum. The Dominion Arboretum is a sight in the city’s heart. Also, it’s a terrific option for lone travelers in Ottawa. It’s a massive area with around 1500 distinct tree species, which is incredible!

Is Ottawa, Canada a good place to visit for a family with kids?

When visiting Ottawa, Canada as a family with kids, you can see the Canadian Museum of History, which has a separate children’s museum. The Canadian Children’s Museum contains a wide range of hands-on activities for children, such as a marketplace where they can learn about basic commerce. An international village showcasing art and culture from across the world; a cookery lab; and a port where they can help unload goods.

Is Ottawa, Canada a good place for couples?

When visiting Ottawa, Canada, you can attach a love lock to the Corktown Footbridge as a couple. Crossing the Rideau Canal links the University of Ottawa campus to the bar and restaurant-filled Elgin Street. Even at twilight, it immediately became a favorite location for couples looking for a romantic stroll around the city. Adding to the romantic charm of Corktown Footbridge is the innovative practice of hanging love locks featuring your names or initials on the bridge’s railing and then throwing away the key.

What are the best annual events in Ottawa, Canada?

The best annual events in Ottawa, Canada, that you cannot miss are

  • Canadian Tulip Festival in May
  • Winterlude in January and February
  • Ottawa Fringe Festival in June
  • Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival in June
  • Canada Dance Festival in July

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