15 Things to Do in Ottawa: This vibrant city offers many activities to try. From swimming in a pristine lake, admiring sophisticated buildings to learning insightful knowledge and history. Here are our 15 recommended activities to do in Ottawa!
1. Admire the Gothic Building of Parliament Hill
The first thing first is to visit this iconic landmark of Ottawa, the Gothic Revival-styled Parliament Buildings. Why is it so special? Queen Victoria selected Ottawa as the capital of the Province of Canada, therefore they need to choose a new site for the parliament buildings. From the hill, you would be able to see all the scenic views of the city landscape. That is because the building is located on a hill above the Ottawa River. Moreover, you can also admire all the statues placed surrounding the building. There are over 20 bronze statues placed in the garden to honor important figures in the history of Canada. For example, the statue of Queen Victoria, George Etienne Cartier, John A. MacDonald, and Sir Galahad. Other than statues, there are also some other monuments: Centennial Flame, Canadian Police Memorium, Victoria Tower Bell, and War of 1812 monument.
2. Skiing at the Mount Pakenham
Satisfied with your insightful visit to the Parliamentary building? It is time to spend an adventurous day skiing on this pristine mountain! You don’t even need to hike, because there are three Quad chairlifts to get you uphill. Though the slope is not that challenging, this place is perfect for a group of family spending a day together. There are Ski and Snowboard rentals with accompanied lessons for beginners. Other than that, there are hot foods available to satisfy your hunger after a full day playing in the snow!
3. Swim in a Silent Lake of Lac Meech
If all you wanted to do is to relax and enjoy pristine nature, you should come to Meech Lake Accord. The lake offers a serene atmosphere and an enclosure towards nature. This is the perfect place for those who love to hike, cycle, jogging, or even camping. Moreover, the lake has crystal clear water with a reflection of the surrounding forest. You can also do kayaking if you bring your equipment. You can always come here at any time, however, the best time to visit is during the autumn when all the trees turned orange. Only thirty minutes drive from the center of the city, you can already find a pristine getaway.
4. Try a Hedge Maze in Saunders Farm
If you are looking for a fun place to have fun with your family, spending a day in Saunders Farm can be a perfect choice. Located in Ottawa’s countryside, this is the only farm that owns 12 full-sized hedge mazes in North America. The farm also hosts different events annually such as the Halloween and the harvest festivals. Moreover, they also host different events in Picnic season, Haunting season, and Christmas.
There are also many other activities, from hayride adventures, parades, puppet shows, to live shows! Sounds fun for all family members, it is also a perfect place for all the parents who would love to get their fresh produce directly from the farm. The farm owns its farm-fresh foods, 15 acres of pumpkins, and a gourmet farm shop! Lastly, they also have activities for everyone at night, which is a Campfire for a family or double dates. To read more about reservations, click here!
5. See Blooming Tulips in Commissioners Park
Another great option to explore Ottawa’s beauty is by visiting the Commissioners Park at the corner of Preston Street and the Queen Elizabeth Driveway. The main attraction which draws International visitors is the collection of 300,000 tulips this park owns. To celebrate this beautiful moment, the park holds the Canadian Tulip Festival. Back in 1945, Crown Princess Juliana of the Netherlands donated 100,000 tulips to honor the contribution of the county towards the independence of the Netherlands. During the blooming seasons, a walk around the park is perfect.
6. Explore Impressive Exhibitions at National Gallery of Canada
after spending the whole day in the farm, it is time to learn new things in the National Gallery of Canada. Most of the collections are Canadian art and European artworks. The museum seems to have new temporary exhibitions throughout the year. Current exhibitions are Genevieve Cadieux Barcelone, Rembrandt in Amsterdam, Tau Lewis Symphony, The collectors’ cosmo The meakins-McLarens Print collection, and Rashid Johnson Capsule. Meanwhile, there are many permanent exhibitions too, such as Indigenous and Canadian Art and Janet Cardiff Forty-Part Motet. The museum is open daily from 10 AM to 5 PM. To book your entry tickets, click here.
7. Ice Skting in Rideau Canal
If you like to enjoy a scenic walk around the tulip garden, You would love to take another walk around the Rideau Canal. Though the main function of the canal is to connect Ottawa with its main Rivers, From the location, you can see scenic lakes and Rivers connected by the canals. It is also one of the oldest operating canals in Noth America because it first opened in 1832. If you are interested, try to come to the canal between January to Mach when the skating season begins. The whole canals feeze and tuned in to one of the world’s largest ice-skating rinks. The total length of the canal is 7.8 km!
8. Learn about Canadian Inventions in Canada Science and Technology Museum
After spending the whole day Ice skating, it is time to learn new insightful knowledge in Canada Science and Technology Museum. The museum plays an important role to educate people about the technological and scientific history of Canada. It also offers lots of demonstrations of the latest digital technology to spark a passion for science. This including interactive displays where people can use to observe and play. There are also many impressive exhibitions, some of them are permanent and temporary. The permanent exhibition includes Artifact Alley featuring science demonstration, Crazy kitchen with an interactive experience, Hidden World with hands-on experience with microscope and telescopes, Sound by design, Medical sensations, wearable tech, etc.
9. Swim in Calypso Theme Waterpark
Is your head dizzy from learning all that insightful knowledge? It is time to have fun in one of the biggest water parks in the country! Calypso Waterpark has more than 100 water games and 35 different slides! Other than that, they also have volleyball games, Zumba dance, body painting, and temporary tattoos, etc. To buy your tickets click here.
10. Witness a Herritage from the 19th Century in Notre-Dame de Québec Basilica-Cathedral
It is time to explore another interesting part of Ottawa, which is the Cathedral-Basilica of Notre Dame de Quebec. But what makes the church very special? The church has become the first Catholic Parish in North America since 1664! The building has undergone shelling, fires, and multiple renovations. However, the building still stands strong to this day. Lastly, visits are available from Wednesday to Saturday from 11 AM to 6 PM.
11. See Floral Masterpiece in Jacques-Cartier Park
Visiting the city wouldn’t be complete without exploring Jacques-Cartier Park. The park is beloved by the locals, as it hosts an international flower show. You would see impressive skills from the artisan who created sculptures made of grass and flowers. Overall, this is the perfect place to take a chill stroll in the afternoon.
12. Play all Night Long in Casino du Lac-Leamy
Next up is to visit Casino du Lac-Leamy, which is a government-run casino in Gatineau, Quebec. It was first opened back in 1996 to raise profit for the government and giving job opportunities to the locals. This entertainment hub not only offers wide varieties of slot machines but also fine restaurants and live shows. If you think that’s enough, you are wrong because there is another nightclub completed with stages for live DJs. However, you have to be over 18 to enter this entertainment hub.
13. Feed Farm Animals in Canada Agriculture and Food Museum
Sadly, you can’t bring your kids with you to have fun in the casinos. To make up for it, you can take them to the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum where they can learn the Canadian history of Agriculture. The Canadian people have gone through a long journey to improve agricultural science and technology, therefore all the processes are preserved here. There are many fun and interactive exhibitions suitable for Children and all ages. One of the permanent exhibitions are Canola! Seeds of Innovation, Discovery Park, Food Preservation, Space to Spoon, and Soil Superheroes. They also held different events seasonally.
14. Explore a Bunker from the Cold War Era in Diefenbunker Museum
Who knows that Ottawa has this four-story underground bunker? Though it is now a National Historic Site, it was once designed to protect the Canadians from the threat of nuclear attack. Very creepy indeed. You can directly feel the chill once you step inside the tunnel. There are tours available to explore all the areas including government workspaces, living quarters, cryptographic areas, vintage maps, old telephones, and early computers. You can also see firsthand the Prime Minister’s suite, war cabinet, and bank of Canada here.
15. Enjoy a Scenic Trail in Dominion Arboretum
Last but not least, is to finish this memorable journey in Dominion Arboretum. There are many well-established trees and shrubs with paved walkaways. The plantation ranges from magnolias, azaleas, metasequoia, Liriodendron, Crappabapple trees. It also has Ornamental Gardens with collections of perennial borders, lilac walks, roses, and hedges from the 1960s. There is no admission fee here which means you can visit the arboretum every day!