A Big Small City

The capital of Canada is filled with history, culture, and natural beauty. Here are some top things to do in Ottawa.

Ottawa is the picturesque capital city of Canada on the Ontario and Quebec borders, often grouped together with Gatineau, a city in Quebec that’s only five miles away. It is a city full of culture, natural beauty, and history that makes a great weekend getaway any time of the year. You’ll find an abundance of things to do and see while you’re here. Ottawa is a diverse, multicultural, must-see city with an incredible mix of natural beauty and cosmopolitan flair. Come and see what this big city with a small-town feel is all about.

Sites to See

Visit Parliament Hill to get a taste of the Canadian political landscape and history. If you’re a fan of art and special exhibits, there are many world-class museums and galleries to see. The massive Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau is one of the top visited attractions in all of Canada. For natural beauty, check out Gatineau and many of the local neighborhood parks and green spaces. Make time for ByWard Market and experience many local tastes, flavours, and local goods. This neighbourhood is one of the top attractions in Ottawa and has everything you could need from great restaurants to theatres and markets filled with goods made by local artisans.

Seasonal Charms

Ottawa-Gatineau is a place you can visit any time of year and still have a long list of things to do. As the seasons change, so do the outdoor activities, including dog sledding, snow shoeing, skating, golfing, biking, whitewater rafting, relaxing at beaches, and so much more. With direct access to three large rivers, Ottawa has tons of water sports and waterside activities to keep you cooled down during hot summer days. Gatineau Park is a must-see during autumn to see the best that Canada’s fall colours have to offer. In the winter, enjoy Winterlude and skate on the Rideau Canal while enjoying some hot chocolate, or watch the locals skate to work or school. The Rideau Canal Skateway is the largest natural skate rink in the world with an impressive length of 4.8 miles. In the spring, don’t miss the Tulip Festival, where millions of tulips from the Netherlands bloom and fill the city with their beauty.

For the Foodies

As Canada’s capital, Ottawa of course has to represent the country’s cultural diversity through its endless international restaurant options. As for most things in Ottawa, ByWard Market is a great place to start. Oyster lovers can take advantage of Ottawa’s very present seafood scene, be it at an upscale restaurant or one of the many local bars. The headquarters of France’s famous Le Cordon Bleu happens to be in Ottawa, so stop by and have a meal made by one of the classically trained chefs at the school. And while you’re in the capital, try one of the many restaurants serving Canadian cuisine featuring traditional Canadian dishes made from locally sourced ingredients. If you really want a diverse palate of things to try, take one of the foodie tours available in the city.

Entertainment Hub

ByWard Market isn’t just the place to be during the day. At night, it transforms into a lively and bustling area filled with locals kicking back with some drinks. “The Market” is also host to a couple of venues where you can catch some amazing live music or a show. If you want a more formal outing, the National Arts Centre is where you can watch a Broadway show, an opera, a classical orchestra and more. If you’re more of a sports fanatic, catch an Ottawa Senators game at the Canadian Tire Centre. In the mood to gamble? Head over to Gatineau’s Lac-Leamy Casino for a thrilling night of shows, slots, and even an upscale club.

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