The Absolute BEST Things to Do In Ottawa

Top Attractions in Ottawa for an Incredible Vacation!

Ottawa, the capital of Canada, is a beautiful city located on the Ottawa River. It is home to many national museums and galleries, as well as the Parliament Buildings. 

Ottawa is also a great place to enjoy the outdoors, with its many parks and riverside trails. In winter, the city comes alive with outdoor ice skating and winter sports. 

There are so many things to do in Ottawa that you will never be bored! 

Ottawa Canada, best things to do in Ottawa

Downtown Ottawa

There’s plenty to do in Downtown Ottawa, whether you’re looking for a night out on the town or a quiet day exploring the city. 

Downtown Ottawa is the vibrant heart of Canada’s capital, where historical charm meets urban sophistication. It’s home to the iconic Parliament Hill, a must-visit for its stunning Gothic-revival architecture and the ceremonial Changing of the Guard.

The area buzzes with political energy during the day and transforms into a cultural hub at night, with numerous restaurants and entertainment venues.

Just a stone’s throw from Parliament Hill, the bustling ByWard Market neighborhood offers an eclectic shopping and dining experience. It’s a foodie’s paradise, with artisanal cheese shops, cafes, and some of Ottawa’s best eateries.

The market also hosts seasonal events and local produce stands, making it a lively spot for both locals and tourists to explore year-round.

Parliament Hill

Ottawa, the capital of Canada, is a beautiful city located in Ontario. There is plenty to see and do here, but one of the most popular attractions is Parliament Hill. 

This hill is the site of the Canadian Parliament buildings, and it offers stunning views of the city. 

Visitors can take a tour of the Parliament buildings, and there are also several museums and art galleries nearby. 

In addition, Parliament Hill is a great place to watch the changing of the guard ceremony. 

This ceremony takes place everyday at noon, and it is a great way to learn about Canadian history and culture.

Canadian War Museum

If you’re looking for things to do in Ottawa, the Canadian War Museum is a must-see. 

The museum tells the story of Canada’s military history, from the earliest conflicts to the present day. 

Visitors can explore exhibits on the country’s involvement in major wars, as well as learn about the lives of the men and women who served. 

The museum also has an extensive collection of artifacts, including uniforms, weapons, and photographs.

Rideau Canal National Historic Site

One of the most popular tourist attractions is the Rideau Canal National Historic Site. 

The canal is a great place to walk, bike, or skate in the summer, and in the winter it transforms into the world’s largest skating rink. 

The canal is also home to many businesses and restaurants, so there’s always something to do. 

If you’re looking for a more active vacation, Ottawa is also home to several parks and trails. 

From hiking and biking to canoeing and kayaking, there’s something for everyone. 

And of course, no trip to Ottawa would be complete without visiting Parliament Hill. 

Whether you’re taking a tour of the building or simply enjoying the view from outside, Parliament Hill is a must-see. 

So whether you’re looking for a leisurely vacation or an action-packed adventure, Ottawa has something for you.

Canadian Museum of Nature

The Canadian Museum of Nature is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Ottawa, Ontario. 

The museum is home to a large collection of natural history exhibits, including an IMAX theater and a planetarium. 

Visitors can also take part in a variety of educational programs, such as guided tours and hands-on activities. 

The museum is also a great place to learn about the history and culture of Canada’s First Nations people. 

The National Gallery of Canada is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Ottawa. 

Located in the heart of the city, the Gallery is home to an impressive collection of Canadian and international art. 

Visitors can explore the galleries at their own pace, or participate in one of the many guided tours offered by the Gallery staff. 

In addition to the permanent collection, the National Gallery of Canada also hosts rotating exhibitions of both contemporary and historical art. 

These exhibitions provide a great opportunity to see some of the world’s finest paintings, sculptures, and other works of art up close. 

Canada Aviation and Space Museum

The Canada Aviation and Space Museum is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Ottawa, Ontario. 

Located near the city’s international airport, the museum showcases the country’s rich aviation history. 

Visitors can explore over 130 aircrafts, many of which are unique to Canadian aviation. 

In addition, the museum features exhibits on the space program, both past and present. 

Peace Tower

The Peace Tower is located on Parliament Hill, the Peace Tower is a symbol of Canada’s commitment to peace and security. 

Standing more than 100 metres tall, the tower offers breathtaking views of the city and neighbouring provinces. 

Visitors can take a guided tour of the tower, or simply enjoy the view from one of the many observation decks. 

The Peace Tower is also home to the Canadian Parliamentary Archives, which houses more than 9 million documents dating back to the 18th century. 

Royal Canadian Mint

Nestled in the heart of Canada’s capital city, the Royal Canadian Mint is a must-see for anyone visiting Ottawa. 

The Mint is responsible for producing all of Canada’s circulating coins, and offers visitors a behind-the-scenes look at the country’s coin-making process. 

The Mint also houses a world-class collection of rare and historical coins, many of which are on display to the public. 

In addition, the mint offers a variety of educational programs and workshops for all ages. 

Notre Dame Basilica

Located in the heart of Ottawa’s historic ByWard Market district, Notre Dame Basilica is one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions. 

The neo-gothic cathedral, which was built in 1841, is known for its intricate stonework and beautiful stained glass windows. 

Visitors can explore the basilica’s three levels, including the Crypt Museum, which houses an impressive collection of religious artifacts. 

Notre Dame Basilica also offers a variety of seasonal events, such as concerts and exhibits. 

The Basilica is open daily, and Mass is held several times throughout the week. 

Hog’s Back Falls

If you’re looking for an outdoor adventure near Ottawa, Ontario, be sure to check out Hog’s Back Falls. 

This stunning natural waterfall is located in the heart of the city, making it the perfect place to enjoy a picnic or take a leisurely stroll. 

The falls are accessible by a short hiking trail, and there is also a viewing platform where you can get a closer look at the cascading water. 

In addition to its natural beauty, Hog’s Back Falls is also home to a variety of wildlife, making it a great place for bird watching or simply enjoying the sounds of nature. 

Major’s Hill Park

Major’s Hill Park is located in the heart of Ottawa, Ontario and is one of the best places to enjoy the outdoors in the city. 

The park offers stunning views of Parliament Hill and the Ottawa River, and is a great place to take a walk or have a picnic. 

Visitors can also check out the National Gallery of Canada, which is located just across the street from the park. 

In addition, Major’s Hill Park is home to a number of monuments and statues, including the statue of Major John By, after whom the park is named. 

Bank of Canada Museum

The Bank of Canada Museum tells the story of money—past, present, and future. It’s the only museum of its kind in Canada and it’s free to enter. 

The museum is located in the country’s capital, Ottawa, making it a perfect activity for those visiting the city. 

Although the museum covers a wide range of topics, some of the highlights include learning about how currency is designed and produced, discovering how banknotes are authenticated, and exploring the history of Canadian money. 

There is also an interactive exhibit that allows visitors to role-play as bank economists. 

Carp Farmers’ Mark

The Carp Farmers’ Mark is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Ottawa, Ontario. 

Every year, thousands of people visit the market to buy fresh carp, which is a type of fish that is popular in Eastern European cuisine. 

The market is open from early June to late October, and it is located in the heart of Ottawa’s Little Italy. 

In addition to carp, the market sells a variety of other seafood, as well as fruits and vegetables. 

Visitors can also purchase souvenirs and other items from local vendors. 

The Carp Farmers’ Mark is a great place to sample the local cuisine and culture.

Rideau Hall

Rideau Hall is the official residence of the Governor General of Canada, and it is located in Ottawa, Ontario. 

The building dates back to 1838, and it is a National Historic Site of Canada. Visitors can take a guided tour of the building, which lasts about an hour. 

Rideau Hall also has beautiful gardens that are open to the public. In the spring, the gardens are filled with tulips, and in the summer, visitors can enjoy roses, lilies, and other flowers. 

There are also sculptures and fountains on the grounds. The gardens are open daily from sunrise to sunset.

Ottawa Locks

The Ottawa Locks are part of the Rideau Canal, which connects the Ottawa River to Lake Ontario. 

Visitors can watch boats pass through the locks from a platform above, or take a ride on one of the canal boats. 

The Ottawa Locks are open all year round, and there is also a visitor center with exhibits about the history of the canal and how it works. 

Canada Science and Technology Museum

The Canada Science and Technology Museum is dedicated to the history and impact of science and technology on Canadian society. 

Visitors can explore over 150 interactive exhibits, watch live demonstrations, and participate in hands-on activities. 

The museum also features a number of unique collections, including the largest collection of antique scientific instruments in Canada. 

In addition to its many exhibits, the Canada Science and Technology Museum also offers a variety of educational programs for both children and adults. 

These programs include workshops, lectures, and films that explore the role of science and technology in our world. 

National War Museum

The National War Museum in Ottawa, Ontario covers the country’s involvement in conflicts from the War of 1812 to the present day, with exhibits on topics ranging from the life of soldiers to the role of women in wartime. 

Visitors can explore artifacts, watch videos, and learn about the personal experiences of those who served. 

The museum also has an interactive area where children can dress up in uniforms and play war-themed games. 

Walter Baker Park

Walter Baker Park is a beautiful park that is located in the heart of the city and offers a wide range of activities for visitors of all ages. 

The park features a playground, picnic area, basketball court, and much more. 

Be sure to take advantage of the park’s scenic walking trails. 

Whether you’re looking to explore Ottawa’s natural beauty or just want to spend some time outdoors, Walter Baker Park is a great place to spend a morning or afternoon. 

Watson’s Mill

Watson’s Mill is a historic gristmill in Ottawa, Ontario. Originally built in 1861, it is now a museum and event venue. 

The mill is open to the public for tours, and there are also a number of events held throughout the year, such as a Halloween party, an Easter egg hunt, and a summer concert series. 

The mill is powered by water from the Rideau River, and it is one of the only working gristmills in Canada. The mill produces flour and stone-ground cornmeal, which are sold in the on-site store. 

The flour is also used in the baking of breads and pastries at the nearby Biscotti Cafe. 

In addition to being a working museum, Watson’s Mill is also a beautiful spot for picnics and photos. 

The grounds are well-maintained and there are plenty of shady spots to relax in on a hot day.

Gatineau Park

Ottawa is a beautiful city, and Gatineau Park is a perfect place to enjoy the great outdoors. 

The park offers a variety of activities for all ages, including hiking, biking, swimming, and picnicking. 

There are also several scenic lookout points where you can admire the stunning views. 

In addition, Gatineau Park is home to a number of historical sites, including the Parliamentary Precinct and the Rideau Canal. 

Fairmont Chateau Laurier

The Fairmont Chateau Laurier is one of Ottawa’s most iconic landmarks. Built in the early 20th century, the imposing Gothic Revival structure has played host to royalty, celebrities, and politicians over the years. 

Today, it remains one of the city’s premier hotels, offering visitors a luxurious place to stay while exploring all that Ottawa has to offer. 

The hotel is situated in the heart of downtown, just steps away from many of the city’s top attractions. 

From art galleries and museums to parks and restaurants, there is something for everyone within walking distance of the Fairmont Chateau Laurier. 

Dows Lake Pavilion

Dows Lake Pavilion is located right in the heart of the city and offers a stunning view of the Ottawa skyline. 

The pavilion itself is an impressive sight, with its grand columns and glass roof.

Inside, the pavilion is full of fascinating displays that tell the history of Ottawa and Canada. 

Visitors can also explore the many shops and restaurants that are located within the pavilion. 

Humanics Sanctuary & Sculpture Park

Humanics Sanctuary & Sculpture Park is home to a variety of beautiful sculptures, as well as a tranquil pond and walking trails. 

The sculptures are all made by local artists, and they range in style from realistic to abstract. 

Visitors can explore the sculptures at their own pace, or take a guided tour to learn more about the artist’s inspirations. 

There is also a gift shop on-site, where visitors can purchase souvenirs and support the park. 

Mooney’s Bay Park

Mooney’s Bay Park is one of the most popular recreational areas in Ottawa, Ontario. 

With a large sandy beach, a heated outdoor pool, and plenty of green space, the park is a perfect place to enjoy the warm weather. 

Visitors can go for a swim, sunbathe on the beach, or play volleyball. There are also several picnic areas and a playground for children. 

In addition to its recreational facilities, Mooney’s Bay Park is also home to a number of important cultural and historical sites. 

The park is the site of the annual Ottawa Folk Festival, and it also contains a monument to Samuel de Champlain, one of the founding fathers of Canada.

With its many features, Mooney’s Bay Park is an essential part of Ottawa’s summertime landscape.

Nepean Point

Nepean Point is located in the heart of downtown, and offers truly stunning views of the Rideau Canal and the Parliament Buildings. 

Visitors can also enjoy a variety of activities such as picnicking, hiking, and bird watching. 

In addition, Nepean Point is home to a number of historical landmarks such as the Samuel de Champlain Monument and the Marquis de Montcalm Monument. 

Famous Five Monument

Just outside of Ottawa’s Parliament Hill, on the edge of Confederation Park, sits a monument dedicated to the Famous Five. 

The Famous Five were a group of Canadian women who fought for recognition of women as persons under the law. 

Although they were unsuccessful in their initial challenge, their persistence ultimately led to the passing of the Persons Case in 1929. 

The Famous Five Monument was erected in 2000 to commemorate their accomplishments. 

The monument consists of five statues, each representing one of the Famous Five. 

Visitors can learn more about the women and their fight for equality at the nearby National Museum of Women in Science and Technology. 

The Famous Five Monument is a fitting tribute to these groundbreaking women and an important part of Ottawa’s history.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I have fun in Ottawa?

There are a number of ways to have fun in Ottawa. There are many parks and recreational areas to enjoy, as well as a variety of cultural and historical attractions. Visitors can also take part in a number of activities such as swimming, picnicking, hiking, and bird watching.

Does Ottawa have a zoo?

No, Ottawa does not have a zoo. However, there are a number of nearby animal sanctuaries and wildlife parks, such as the Papanack Park Zoo and the Wildlife Sanctuary at Stirling Falls.

What food is Ottawa known for?

Ottawa is known for its diverse food culture. There are a number of restaurants that serve Ottawa’s traditional dishes, such as poutine and beavertails. In addition, Ottawa has a number of ethnic restaurants that offer a variety of cuisines from around the world.

How many days do you need in Ottawa?

There is no definitive answer to this question as it depends on the interests of the visitor. However, most visitors find that they need at least a few days in order to see and do everything that Ottawa has to offer.

Is Ottawa a good place to live?

Yes, Ottawa is a great place to live. The city has a low crime rate and a high quality of life. In addition, Ottawa is home to a number of world-class educational institutions and is a hub for the tech industry.

Is Ottawa worth visiting?

Yes, Ottawa is definitely worth visiting. The city has a wide variety of attractions and activities to offer, and is home to some of the most beautiful scenery in Canada. In addition, Ottawa is an affordable city to visit, with a wide range of accommodation options available.

Is Ottawa a beautiful city?

Yes, Ottawa is a beautiful city. The city is home to a number of parks and recreational areas, as well as a variety of historical and cultural attractions. Ottawa also has a lively food and nightlife scene, and is home to some of the most beautiful scenery in Canada.

What is the closest US city to Ottawa?

The closest US city to Ottawa is Buffalo, New York. Buffalo is located approximately 180 miles (290 kilometers) from Ottawa.

What do you call someone from Ottawa?

A person from Ottawa is called an Ottawaian.

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