Capital of 🇨🇦Canada

Ottawa

Beautiful architecture and plentiful outdoor activities.

Explore Canada's capital, Ottawa, for its mix of natural beauty, historic sites like Parliament Hill, vibrant culture, and dynamic nightlife.

3.8
out of 5

Ottawa, Canada's capital, sits at the confluence of the Ottawa, Gatineau, and Rideau rivers. It's a city where the charm of its winter-season Rideau Canal Skateway complements the stately grandeur of Parliament Hill. The Canadian War Museum and the National Gallery of Canada are just a couple of the cultural institutions reflecting the city's diverse historical and artistic landscape. Ottawa's ByWard Market area encapsulates an active local food and craft scene, making the city a convergence of culture, politics, and recreation.

Parliament Hill

The heart of Canadian democracy, Parliament Hill, is an essential visit for those interested in the nation's political heritage. Free guided tours are available, allowing visitors to explore the historic buildings and learn about Canada's parliamentary processes. The changing of the guard ceremony during summer and the sound and light show in the evenings are experiences not to miss. Additionally, the panoramic view of the city from the Peace Tower is a highlight for many tourists.

Museums and Cultural Institutions

Ottawa is home to several national museums that cater to a range of interests. The Canadian War Museum offers extensive exhibits on Canada's military history, while the National Gallery of Canada holds a vast collection of art, including Indigenous and Canadian works. For families, the Canadian Museum of Nature and the Canada Science and Technology Museum present interactive displays that are both educational and entertaining. History enthusiasts should make time for the Canadian Museum of History, located across the river in Gatineau.

Rideau Canal

In any season, the Rideau Canal is a central part of Ottawa's landscape. During winter, it transforms into the world's largest skating rink, while in the warmer months, it's a scenic waterway for boating and cycling along its paths. Visitors can rent skates or bikes to fully enjoy this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

ByWard Market

The ByWard Market is Ottawa's premier destination for dining and shopping. Here you'll find restaurants serving up everything from authentic poutine to international cuisines. Seasonal outdoor produce stands and artisan boutiques offer a wide range of local products. This area is also known for its vibrant nightlife, with numerous bars and live music venues.

Annual Events and Festivals

Ottawa hosts several annual festivals that attract both locals and tourists. Winterlude, with its ice sculptures and outdoor activities, takes full advantage of the cold climate. The Canadian Tulip Festival in spring celebrates the blooming of over a million tulips across the city, a tradition rooted in historical ties with the Netherlands. In summer, Canada Day festivities bring the city alive with concerts, fireworks, and patriotic celebrations.

Outdoor Activities in Gatineau Park

Just a short drive from Ottawa, Gatineau Park offers ample opportunities for outdoor recreation. Hikers and cyclists can explore over 165 kilometers of trails, and in autumn, the park's foliage becomes a stunning display of colors. In winter, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are popular activities.

Bilingualism

Ottawa's unique position on the border of English-speaking Ontario and French-speaking Quebec makes it a truly bilingual city. Visitors will notice this in street signs, services, and when interacting with locals, giving a small taste of Canada's linguistic duality.

Public Transportation and Accessibility

Ottawa's public transportation system is efficient and tourist-friendly, with the OC Transpo buses and the O-Train light rail providing comprehensive coverage of the city. The multi-use pathways are also great for cycling or walking around to explore different neighborhoods.

Affordability and Cost of Visiting

Compared to larger cities like Toronto and Vancouver, Ottawa is relatively affordable for travelers. Accommodations can be found at various price points, and many museums offer free admission at certain times.

Safety

Safety is a priority in Ottawa, with well-lit streets and an active police presence ensuring that visitors feel secure exploring the city at any time of day or night.

Average temperatures during the day in Ottawa.
June
24°
Jul
26°
Aug
25°
Sep
20°
Oct
13°
Nov
5°
Dec
-3°
Jan
-6°
Feb
-4°
Mar
2°
Apr
11°
May
19°

What people say about Ottawa

3.8
People
4
Food
4
Spaces
4
Value
3
Safety
4

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