Ottawa, Canada’s capital, is a dynamic showcase city of more than one million people. Located in Ontario at the Quebec border, it’s a place where you’ll hear English and French spoken in the streets. Here you can discover Canada’s proud heritage at impressive national sites and famous landmarks. Ottawa is a city steeped in culture, with world-class museums and galleries displaying stunning national collections and special exhibitions from Canada and around the world.
The city is a uniquely beautiful place. An urban center on the edge of nature where you can enjoy the great outdoors just outside your hotel room, and nearby in the surrounding country side. There’s an easy cosmopolitan vibe, and Ottawa is known for being both welcoming and walkable. Explore the distinctive local neighborhoods, the natural beauty of the city and the bustling culture life.
Top Things to See & Do
The Parliament Buildings are home to Canada’s federal government. Located on a scenic tree-covered promontory that overlooks the rolling Ottawa River, the neo-Gothic structures were built between 1859 and 1927. The Parliament Buildings include East Block, West Block and the most impressive Center Block, which is the one every visitor wants to see. Take an elevator to the Peace Tower’s observation deck to enjoy a dramatic 360-degree view of the city. Adn don’t miss the Whispering Wall monument! Sit at one end of the wall and whisper. The person at the other end of the wall will be able to hear exactly what you’re saying. This is one of Ottawa’s best kept secrets!
During the warmer months, explore the canal by strolling or cycling along its scenic banks, which make their way from Ottawa’s downtown core to Dows Lake. Or for the more adventurous visitor, rent a kayak, canoe or paddleboat from the Dows Lake Marina and explore the Rideau Canal on your own.
The ByWard Market
The ByWard Market is one of the oldest and largest farmers’ markets in Canada, but it is also the name of the eclectic neighborhood that surrounds it. Explore the ByWard Market, which is home to fresh food and maple syrup retailers, as well as great restaurants, clubs, bistros, coffee shops and various unique boutiques.
If you’re after rugged terrain and beautiful natural trails, look no further than Gatineau Park. Located in Gatineau, Québec, just a short drive north of downtown Ottawa, the park covers 90,000 acres of wilderness and offers about 103 miles of picturesque hiking trails that vary in distance from half a mile to 3 miles.
Get Your Brew On
Many craft breweries have popped up in Ottawa over the last few years and now the city is home to a vibrant local beer scene. You will find many small brewers to discover. But, a great way to find all of these delicious local brews is to hop on a craft brewery tour. Drive or walk around the city with a guide and get acquainted with Ottawa’s budding craft beer scene.
Housed in Ottawa’s oldest stone building, the Bytown Museum explores the city’s history from the early years of Rideau Canal construction, through the rough and tumble days of Bytown, to its emergence as Canada’s capital and beyond.
National Gallery of Canada
See Canada in one day through the World’s largest Canadian Art Collection. Once inside the Gallery, you’ll discover one of the greatest art institutions in the world. It’s home to more than 40,000 works of art (by over 6,000 artists), home to the most comprehensive collection of Canadian art, including a large number by the Group of Seven, and strong collections of Indigenous, Asian, and International works. The Gallery hosts special exhibits throughout the year that bring light to renowned and up-and-coming artists.
For more on Ottawa, check out the tourism board website – Ottawa Tourism