19th July 2019

Eight Things You Need to Do in Ottawa

Ottawa is the capital city of Canada, and where business and fun meet. If visiting Canada is something you have considered, then it’s a great idea to put it on your list of must-visits, as you’ll find plenty to see and do during your stay. Whether you’re into winter activities like ice skating or simply want to eat your way around tasting all the amazing dishes that the capital has to offer, you’ll never be stuck for things to do here. And, to help you put together an itinerary you can’t wait to get started with, we’ve put together some of the top reasons to visit Ottawa. 

#1. Shop to Your Heart’s Content:

Whether you are a self-confessed shopaholic or just love exploring local crafts and food stalls, you won’t be disappointed when it comes to shopping in Ottawa. The ByWard Market is an absolute must-visit; you’ll enjoy indulging all of your five senses at one destination. This market is a firm favourite spot with foodies, with some of the freshest foods and baked goods that the city has to offer – not to mention some of the best restaurants in the city with a wide variety of different cuisines to choose from. You may even be lucky enough to have a live band performing as you eat. And, your trip through the market doesn’t have to be all about food. With 250 different stands and the amazing Alpha Art Gallery, there’s plenty to look at, try out, and take home. 

#2. Skate on the Largest Ice-Skating Rink:

In Ottawa, winter is the season with the most fun and excitement. If you’re visiting during the winter months, then be sure to head to the Rideau Canal, which transforms into the world’s largest ice skating rink. And measuring up at a massive 7.8km, it even has a spot in the Guinness World Book of Records. Get your skates on and skate through the heart of Ottawa in a truly unique and memorable way to explore the city. It’s a fun, popular activity with families, friends and couples alike – you can rent skates at the Rideau Canal website or there on the day. 

#3. Visit the Museum of Nature:

It’s the second-largest country in the world, so it’s unsurprising that there’s no shortage of plants and animals in Canada. You can explore the natural world of Canada with a trip to the renowned Canadian Museum of Nature, located in Ottawa, which is home to expansive collections of nature art, zoology, fossils, and geological items. And, the museum has an awesome interactive design, making visitors feel like they have entered the animal kingdom. You can travel back in time to the dinosaur age, walk among the butterflies, and explore a real whale skeleton. 

#4. Celebrate Winter in Canada Style:

In addition to the world’s largest ice rink, winter is simply the season of the year with the most fun, games, excitement and things to do. The first three weekends in February are the best time to visit if you want to have your fill of winter fun; visit the Winterlude festival, which is the biggest winter festival in Ottawa with close to six hundred thousand people attending. You can expect all kinds of fun activities to enjoy such as dragon boat races, fun in the winter playground, ice skating, Maple syrup candy, Winterlude mascots, and fabulous, unique ice carvings from artists around the world. 

#5. Discover Canada’s Political Heart:

Whether or not you are interested in politics, it’s definitely worth paying a visit to Parliament Hill, the political heart of Canada. If you want to know what sets Canada apart from the rest of the world, and how this dynamic and multi-cultural city exists so harmoniously, the free tour through Parliament Hill has plenty of answers. The tour through the inside of this stunning building with Gothic Revival architecture is a great way to discover the art and history of this amazing nation, whilst learning how the parliament functions on a day to day basis. You can explore the senate, house of commons, and the library. And, visiting over the festive period allows you to see the stunning Parliament building covered in thousands of lights for Christmas. You can find plenty of flights to Ottawa from most major U.S. airports around the festive period – look here for flight details and deals from Porter Airlines. 

#6. Explore Major Hill Park:

If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the big city, then Major Hill Park is the perfect, serene oasis to get away from the crowds and enjoy a quiet stroll or a picnic. Overlooking the stunning views of Ottawa Locks on the Rideau Canal, the Parliament Buildings and Ottawa River, it’s the perfect spot for taking in the scenery or getting some stunning photographs of your trip too. Take a relaxing stroll through the winding pathways in the park and learn more about its history thanks to the various interpretation panels available. 

#7. Explore Canada’s History:

The Canadian History Museum can’t be missed if you are interested in learning more about the history and heritage of this awesome country. Prepare to be enlightened by the diverse experiences and stories that are told by the very people that lived it, with exhibits that illuminate the earliest known human habitation to right now. At the museum, you can explore some of the largest exhibitions of Canadian history, with 1,500 authentic artefacts, including stories from coast to coast and even some dark chapters from the country’s past. If you would ever like to move to Canada and become a Canadian citizen, then a trip to the History Museum is a great idea to help you learn everything that you need to know about the country in a fun, interactive way. 

#8. Sample Some of the Best Food:

Last but not least, you can’t miss out on sampling some of the best food and snacks that the city has to offer during your visit to Ottawa. If you fancy a taste of some deep-fried, doughy goodness, then you can’t go wrong with a Beaver Tail. This popular deep-fried pasty resembles a beavertail, if you haven’t guessed, and is covered in a choice of sweet toppings, whether you want cinnamon sugar with a zest of lemon, bananas, Nutella, crumbled Oreo biscuits, and plenty more sweet and naughty things that you can indulge in. It’s the perfect snack during the cold weather and you’ll find plenty of stalls selling them during the winter months, particularly around the festive celebrations. 

If you’re considering visiting Canada, then Ottawa is one of the best cities to choose from, with so many things to see and do no matter how short or long your trip is planned for. There are plenty of museums for those who are interested in Canada’s history and the natural world, and Parliament Hill is a must-visit for all, regardless of their interest in politics, with plenty of things to learn there about the country’s history. 

What would be on your itinerary during a trip to Ottawa? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.

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