Home to close to a million people making it the fourth largest city in Canada, Ottawa is home to tons of things to do and experience. Bordering the province of Quebec, the city is quite multi cultural and diverse as well as friendly and inviting making it one of the top places in Canada to visit. Here are the best 30 things you shouldn’t skip out on the next time you’re in the neighborhood.
Pack up a blanket and your lover and enjoy a cute date night at the Centretown Film Festival. Lasting for six weeks, this festival happens every summer and allows you to enjoy a movie on the big screen under a blanket of stars.
Admire the scenery and the big city feel of Ottawa at your own pace. Hop on and off Ottawa’s London style double-decker buses and tour through the city.
Stroll through one of Canada’s oldest markets, the Byward Market and treat yourself to a souvenir. With not only over 600 shops, the market also has bars and restaurants lining the streets waiting to be explored.
Take a guided tour through the Parliament Library and marvel at the beautiful gothic style architecture the building has to offer.
Visit during the winter months and skate along the Rideau Canal. When the canal freezes over, visitors can enjoy a 7.8 kilometer long skating rink with all around views of the city.
Indulge in one of Ottawa’s many specialties, the beaver tail. Perfect for those with a sweet tooth, a beaver tail is a flat piece of fried dough topped with ingredients such as powdered sugar, nutella, fruits, and cinnamon sugar.
Shop until you drop in one of the city’s largest shopping malls, the Rideau Centre. Spread out over a span of three floors with over 180 stores and restaurants to choose from, it is the perfect place to spend the day.
For scenic views and a bit of a workout, rent a bike and ride down Aviation Parkway. Make your way all the way down to the Sussex neighborhood and get a glimpse at the politicians’ houses including the house of the Prime Minister.
Learn all about Ottawa’s history and the events that shaped the city into what it is today, at the Bytown Museum. Located on the banks of the Rideau Canal, the museum teaches visitors about how Bytown and it’s residents evolved into what is now present day Ottawa.
Pay your respects at the National War Memorial, that can be found in the center of confederation square. The 70 foot tall, granite arch commemorates Canadians that died during battle in both World Wars as well as the Korean war and the Afghanistan war.
Not only beautiful but also free to enter, the Dominion Arboretum is a top place to visit. Home to over 10,000 plants, the arboretum is one of the country’s oldest gardens.
Enjoy a day trip out of the city, 35 kilometers away at Calypso Park. The water park is the largest of it’s kind in all of Canada and has something for people of all ages to enjoy. The park is home to over 30 water slides and about 100 different water games to enjoy on a hot summer day.
Learn about the city’s dark and creepy side on of the many haunted walks the city has to offer. Listen to some of the best ghost stories from the area and visit some of the most haunted buildings in the entire city.
Drive up to Nepean Point and take in the incredible views. The spot overlooks the Ottawa river and offers a view of Parliament Hill, the Canadian Museum of History as well as other focal points of both Ottawa and the neighboring city of Gatineau.
Grab a group of friends and try your hand at Ottawa Escapes, an escape room experience. Participants must escape from a themed room by solving puzzles, riddles, and scavenging for clues.
Get your adrenaline pumping at Great Canadian Bungee. Jump off a 200 foot high ledge known as ‘the rock’ towards the crystal clear waters of the lagoon below.
Spend the day at Explorer Park located only 15 minutes away from the heart of Ottawa. Head out on a zip lining adventure through the tree tops of the Gatineau Park or partake in the Free Fall Air Bag Jump where you jump from a height of either 28, 34, or 40 feet and land in a giant air bag at the bottom.
Head out on a mission to taste some of the best food in the city, at Ottawa’s many food trucks and carts. Home to more than 60 different food trucks serving up dishes such as fresh fruit popsicles, gourmet pancakes, and fish tacos, there is sure to be something for everyone’s taste buds.
Learn all about Canada’s wildlife and nature at the Canadian Museum of Nature. The museum houses a collection of dinosaur fossils, exhibits about marine life as well as an outdoor exhibit showcasing three different ecosystems that are found in Canada.
Visit Ottawa at the end of June/beginning of July to experience the annual Ottawa Jazz Festival. The festival spans out over 11 days and features over 300 jazz musicians from Canada and around the world.
Try your hand at mini golf with a twist at Putting Edge. With 18 different ones to play on, the courses at Putting Edge are unlike anywhere else. Painted in a glow-y, neon colored paint and bathed in a black light to make everything light up, it is a true out of this world experience.
Come explore the biggest cave in the Canadian Shield and get your blood pumping at Abraska Lafleche. Experience the nature and beauty of the Lafleches forest and zoom through the air on the park’s zip lines.
Indulge your sweet tooth at one of the city’s most well-known doughnut shops, Suzy Q. Head over to the quaint, little shop and taste some unique doughnut flavors such as maple bacon, spicy pineapple, and salty caramel.
Admire one of Ottawa’s oldest and largest standing churches, the Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica. Decorated in intricate stained glass windows and various religious statues, the interior of the church is just as beautiful as the outside.
Ottawa is home to many vibrant and unique neighborhoods that can be explored on foot. Spend the day exploring these places and discovering fun things to do such as dining, shopping, and nightlife in distinct neighborhoods like Little Italy and Chinatown.
If you’re feeling brave and confident, stay at one of Ottawa’s most haunted buildings, the Old Ottawa Jail. Now converted into a hostel, guests can spend the night in an old jail cell and hope to see some of the ghosts said to roam the hostel.
Marvel at breath-taking views of the city high up in the Peace Tower over-looking Parliament Hill. Free to all visitors, you can go up in the elevator to the viewing platform located underneath the clock in the tower.
Go on the statue trail around Parliament Hill for an afternoon of fun and culture. On the trail, visitors can see statues paying tribute to those who made significant contributions to Canada’s history such as Winston Churchill and Queen Victoria.
Spend a day out shopping at the Tanger Outlet Mall. Score some great deals and brand names with the over 75 stores the mall has to offer.
Have any of you ever been to Ottawa or the surrounding area? Let me know some of your favorite things to do and see in the city.