What to Do and See in Ottawa

Visitors seeking to experience Canadian culture, history, and natural beauty flock to Ottawa, the nation’s capital city, which is a thriving tourist destination. The city is home to a large number of museums, galleries, and historic sites in addition to beautiful parks and outdoor recreation options.

The Parliament Hill, one of Ottawa’s most well-known sites, offers tourists the chance to enjoy a guided tour of the city’s historic structures and take in the Changing of the Guard event. The Canadian Museum of History, which highlights the nation’s extensive cultural and natural legacy, is another well-liked destination.

The Rideau Canal and Gatineau Park, two stunning parks in Ottawa that provide breath-taking views and outdoor activities like hiking, biking, and boating, are also well-known for their beauty. The Byward Market, a historic neighborhood with distinctive stores, eateries, and outdoor vendors, is another place tourists can visit.

The Canadian War Museum and the National Gallery of Canada should not be missed by history buffs. Visitors can also take a tour of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Musical Ride Centre or the Governor General of Canada’s official residence, Rideau Hall.

Ottawa has something to offer everyone, whether you are a history buff, an outdoor enthusiast, or just seeking for a bustling city to explore. In this article, we will explore what you should do and see when you visit Ottawa.

  1. Visit Parliament Hill

Ottawa’s Parliament Hill is a well-known landmark and the nation’s political center. The federal government is housed there, along with many of the most significant historical and cultural landmarks in the nation. The Centre Block, the East Block, and the West Block are the three principal structures that make up The Hill.

The renowned Peace Tower and the venerable Library of Parliament are both located in the Centre Block, which is open to visitors for guided tours. The offices of the Prime Minister and other significant government figures are located in the East Block, while renovations are now taking place in the West Block.

The Centennial Flame, the Lawn and Gardens and the Changing of the Guard ceremony are a few of Parliament Hill’s breath-taking exterior features. On Parliament Hill, hundreds of people attend the yearly Canada Day celebrations to take in the live music, fireworks, and cultural displays.

The Parliament Hill is a must-see location for anybody visiting Ottawa, regardless of whether they are interested in politics, history, or just admiring the stunning architecture and natural surroundings.

  1. Visit the National Gallery of Canada

One of Canada’s most significant cultural institutions is the National Gallery of Canada, which is situated in Ottawa. It houses a noteworthy collection of artwork from across the globe and Canada, including pieces by well-known painters including Emily Carr, Tom Thomson, and the Group of Seven.

The gallery’s collection spans a variety of artistic trends and styles and consists of paintings, sculptures, prints, photographs, and decorative art. The gallery’s permanent collection, as well as a range of temporary exhibitions and special events, are all open to visitors.

With spectacular architecture and a lovely central courtyard, the building itself is also a work of beauty. Visitors can join guided tours, attend lectures and discussions by notable artists and curators, and take part in art workshops and classes.

The National Gallery of Canada is a must-see attraction in Ottawa, regardless of whether you are an experienced art enthusiast or just want to learn more about Canada’s cultural legacy. It provides visitors of all ages and backgrounds with a distinctive and educational experience with its varied collection and stimulating programmes.

  1. Take a Hop on Hop Off Bus Tours in Ottawa

An excellent option to experience Ottawa at your own pace is with a hop on/hop off bus trip. You may easily explore all of the city’s greatest sites and monuments with a ticket that permits you to board and exit the bus at any of its scheduled stops.

The air-conditioned coaches on the bus tour provide a quick and comfortable way to get about Ottawa. They also provide educational audio guides in several different languages. You may spend as much time as you want at each stop, whether it is seeing museums and art galleries, seeing historic sites like Parliament Hill, or just taking in the breath-taking views of the Rideau Canal, thanks to the freedom to design your own itinerary.

The Royal Canadian Mint, the ByWard Market, the National Gallery of Canada, and the Canadian Museum of History are just a few of the top sights you can see in Ottawa while on a hop on, hop off bus tour. A hop on hop off bus trip is a fantastic way to experience everything Ottawa has to offer, whether you are a frequent traveler or a first-time visitor.

If you would like to book a hop on hop off bus tour in Ottawa, click here or on the Big Bus Tours or CitySightseeing image below to select from one of our preferred suppliers. 

  1. Go to a Professional Sports Game in Ottawa

There are several professional sports teams in Ottawa that play a variety of sports. The Ottawa Senators, an NHL ice hockey team, are the most well-known sports team in the area. They play their home games at the Canadian Tyre Centre in Kanata. Since the team’s inception in 1992, the Senators have cultivated a devoted fan base and played a significant role in the life of Ottawa.

The Ottawa Redblacks, a Canadian Football League (CFL) team that plays its home games at TD Place Stadium in Lansdowne Park, are another well-liked sports team in Ottawa. The Redblacks have a devoted following and have twice claimed the Grey Cup title in their comparatively little history.

In addition, Ottawa is home to the Ottawa Aces, a professional rugby league side that competes in League 1 of the Rugby Football League, and the Ottawa Fury FC, a professional football team that competes in the United Soccer League. Ottawa is a terrific place for sports fans to visit because there are so many different teams to select from and going to a game is definitely recommended.

If you would like to book a ticket to see the Ottawa Senators or Ottawa Redblacks, click here or on the Ticketmaster banner below and select from one of our preferred suppliers. 

  1. Do a Rideau Canal Cruise

In Ottawa, Canada, boarding a Rideau Canal boat is a lovely way to discover the city’s waterways and take in its natural beauty. A distinctive viewpoint is offered while cruising down the ancient canal, which offers glimpses of famous sites and beautiful scenery.

You pass through a number of locks throughout the leisurely ride, showing the engineering achievement of the canal’s construction. You may observe the amazing operation and learn about the canal’s lengthy history as the boat slowly ascends or falls through the locks.

Throughout the voyage, knowledgeable interpreters offer commentary and share intriguing information about the history of the Rideau Canal, the significance of Ottawa’s landmarks, and the local culture. On the deck, you may unwind while admiring the expansive views of the city skyline, the verdant surroundings, and the attractive waterfront neighborhoods.

You will pass through historical structures, parks, and gorgeous attractions as you cruise along the water. An pleasurable and serene experience, the voyage is made possible by the calm surroundings and the moderate rocking of the boat.

A Rideau Canal cruise offers a memorable way to experience Ottawa’s natural beauty, architectural splendors, and the lasting heritage of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, whether you select a sightseeing cruise or go on a themed tour.

If you would like to book a Rideau Canal Cruise tour in Ottawa, click here or on the Get Your Guide image below to select from one of our preferred suppliers. 

  1. Visit the Canadian War Museum

A national museum in Ottawa, the Canadian War Museum displays Canada’s military history from the time before colonization to the present. The museum’s holdings include artefacts, images, works of art, and other relics that document Canada’s participation in international military conflicts, peacekeeping missions, and humanitarian missions.

The Canadian War Museum features exhibits on a variety of subjects, including Canada’s participation in NATO and UN peacekeeping missions as well as the First and Second World Wars. Throughout the year, the museum also hosts a number of temporary exhibitions that highlight various facets of Canadian military history and culture.

A wide range of educational programmes and events are available for visitors of all ages at the Canadian War Museum in addition to its exhibitions. These comprise escorted tours, workshops, lectures, and practical experiences that offer a deeper comprehension of Canadian military history and its influence on Canadian society. In conclusion, anyone curious about Canada’s extensive military history would find the Canadian War Museum to be a fascinating stop.

If you would like to book a tour to see the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, click here or on the Viator image below to select from one of our preferred suppliers. 

  1. Visit the Canadian Museum of History

Located in Gatineau, Quebec, directly across the Ottawa River from Parliament Hill in Ottawa, the Canadian Museum of History is a national museum. It is one of the biggest and busiest museums in Canada, and its exhibits highlight the nation’s history, culture, and accomplishments.

The exhibitions at the museum focus on a variety of subjects, such as Canadian history, First Nations culture, Canadian art, and the natural environment. The Canadian History Hall, which chronicles the history of Canada from the first human settlements to the present, is one of the most well-liked displays.

The Canadian Museum of History also organizes a number of temporary exhibitions throughout the year that highlight many facets of Canadian and international history and culture in addition to its permanent exhibits.

In addition to guided tours, workshops, and lectures, the museum offers a variety of educational programmes and events, as well as performances and other cultural activities. Anyone who is interested in learning more about the fascinating history and culture of Canada should visit the Canadian Museum of History.

If you would like to book a tour to see the Canadian Museum of History in Ottawa, click here or on the Klook image below to select from one of our preferred suppliers. 

  1. Visit the Byward Market

In the center of Ottawa, there is a thriving public market called Byward Market. Visitors to the city can enjoy a distinctive shopping and dining experience at the market. Along with cafes, restaurants, and bars, it is packed with artisanal goods, fresh produce, baked goods, and flowers. The market, which has been open since 1826, is a well-liked hangout for both tourists and locals.

The market offers a wide range of goods, including maple syrup, artisanal cheeses, handmade crafts, and jewelry. Additionally, there are a number of outdoor stalls selling fresh produce, flowers, and plants. The market is a fantastic location to find one-of-a-kind items and souvenirs to bring back home.

Along with being a place for dining and shopping, Byward Market has a number of cultural celebrations and events all year long. The Ottawa Jazz celebration, which displays top-notch jazz musicians, and the yearly Winterlude celebration are a couple of examples. In conclusion, anyone visiting Ottawa should make sure to visit Byward Market.

If you would like to book a tour to see the Byward Market in Ottawa, click here or on the Klook image below to select from one of our preferred suppliers. 

  1. Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Musical Ride Centre

Anyone interested in Canadian history and heritage must visit the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Musical Ride Centre, which is situated in Ottawa, Ontario. The Musical Ride is a breath-taking demonstration of the RCMP’s riding prowess. The RCMP is well-known throughout the world for its unique outfit.

Visitors to the center can see the Musical Ride, which incorporates a choreographed show paired to music, in action. Riders and horses perform elaborate formations and patterns while moving in unison throughout the performance. It is an amazing sight and a true testament to the RCMP’s abilities and commitment.

In addition to the show, guests can explore the stables and get a chance to interact with the horses and riders. The tour provides an inside view at the upkeep and instruction of the horses, as well as background information on the RCMP’s history and function in Canadian law enforcement.

The RCMP Musical Ride Centre is an intriguing and distinctive tourist destination that highlights a significant aspect of Canadian history and culture.

  1. Visit Gatineau Park

The 361 square km park known as Gatineau Park is located in Quebec’s Outaouais area. The park is well-known for its scenic surroundings and outdoor activities like swimming, skiing, hiking, and camping. The park is a quick day excursion for tourists to the capital city as it is situated only over the Ottawa River from Ottawa.

Forests, lakes, and rocky hills are just a few of the park’s varied topography’s chances for outdoor activity for visitors. The park has more than 200 kilometers of hiking paths, including the well-known King Mountain Trail and the difficult Luskville Falls Trail. With more than 50 kilometers of groomed paths, the park is a well-liked place to go cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter.

Numerous wildlife species, such as deer, moose, beavers, and different bird species, are also found in Gatineau Park. Visitors may also spot the park’s most famous inhabitants, its population of wild black bears. Gatineau Park is a must-visit location for anyone wanting to take advantage of the outdoor recreation opportunities and scenic splendor that the Ottawa-Gatineau region has to offer.

  1. Festivals in Ottawa

Canada’s capital city, Ottawa, is a thriving center for cultural events and festivals all year long. These celebrations highlight the city’s rich cultural diversity, artistic brilliance, and sense of community.

Winterlude, which takes place in Ottawa during the chilly months of February, is one of the city’s most famous festivities. Ice sculptures, ice skating on the frozen Rideau Canal, and other events and performances that celebrate the beauty of the season are all part of this winter extravaganza.

The July 1st Canada Day celebrations are another popular event in Ottawa. For the celebration of the country’s birthday, the city comes to life with performances, fireworks, and other events. A spectacular fireworks show over the Ottawa River and concerts are held on Parliament Hill, which serves as the focal point of the festivities.

Music lovers come from near and far to attend the June Ottawa International Jazz Festival. The festival presents a broad roster of performances at numerous locations throughout the city, displaying well-known jazz musicians.

Other significant events include the Ottawa Fringe Festival, which honors independent theatre and performing arts, and the Canadian Tulip Festival, which highlights the city’s blossoming tulips in May.

Ottawa provides a dynamic and stimulating experience for residents and visitors alike with its variety of cultural, artistic, and seasonal festivals, which celebrate the city’s strong spirit and unique identity.

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