5 Things You Have to Do in Ottawa

Ottawa is Canada’s capital, in the east of southern Ontario. Whilst it’s the capital, this beautiful city is often overlooked as a Canadian vacation destination as people prefer to visit the more rural areas such as Banff, Jasper, and Whistler.

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Photo by Splash of Rain on Pexels.com

Having visited Canada before, I wanted to share with you five things you could do in Ottawa – whether you’re there for a few days or as part of a bigger Canadian road trip.

Visit Parliament Hill

Parliament Hill is the seat of Canada’s federal government and the setting for national celebrations in Canada all year round. As one of the most visited Ottawa attractions, this is definitely a must see on your visit to the capital. During the summer months, you can see the Changing of the Guard ceremony every morning on the front lawn of Parliament Hill. Each evening, the public can gather again to witness the Sound and Light show – an amazing show of lighting effects, stunning giant images projected onto the buildings and fantastic musical set. Both of these spectacular events are completely free, so they are definitely worth checking out if you get the chance.

Shop at Byward Market

Byward Market is a historic farmers’ market and shopping district in the heart of Ottawa. By day you can shop at the market for food and souvenirs, but by night it becomes a popular gathering place for people looking to visit some of the cities best restaurants and clubs. ByWard Market is definitely the one Ottawa neighborhood you won’t want to miss during your stay.

If you’re looking for a hotel near to this area, you can try the Byward Blue Inn – keeping you close to all the action.

Take an Ottawa City Tour

With lots of capital sights and attractions to see in the city, it can be hard to know how to see them all. Luckily, there are lots of different tours you can take to ensure you don’t miss a thing! With Lady Dive Amphibus you can even explore both land and water in the same tour. Alternatively, you can take a walking tour across Ottawa’s most popular district – Byward Market.

Relax at Le Nordik Spa

If you’re looking for a bit of relaxation during your trip to Ottawa, why not try the Le Norkdik Spa? This beautiful spa is surrounded by nature and offers a stunning view of the Ottawa region. You can book treatments, float in the saltwater pool or lounge in the saunas on a cold day.

Be warned, the spa gets quite busy in the day so consider saving this particular excursion until late afternoon or sunset. Don’t worry, it’s beautiful then too.

Visit the Canadian War Museum

At the top of the steep steps that frame the Ottawa River, you can visit the fascinating Canadian War Museum. This museum pays homage to the long and violent military history of Canada, housing remnants from their numerous military. Whilst exploring the museum you will find more than 3 million incredible artifacts including artillery, uniforms, medals, sound recordings, and important war documents. For faster entry, purchase your tickets in advance.


Have you been to Ottawa before? Do you have any recommendations? Leave them in the comments below!


7 thoughts on “5 Things You Have to Do in Ottawa

  1. Loved this! As a Canadian from Ontario, I’ve been to Ottawa a few times. Would highly recommend checking out the HI Ottawa Jail hostel for accommodation. Although it is creepy, it’s a unique experience and the hostel offers a guided tour every morning for guests.

  2. Good suggestions. The only thing I would add is that in winter, February I think, when the weather is cold they have a winter festival and you can skate on the canal and there is an ice sculpture competition and a lot of fun to be had on the frozen canal and with other activities. I have not done it for many years but we used to go when our kids were young and it was great fun.

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