Welcome to Ottawa, Ontario, where you’ll find charming old-world buildings surrounded by picturesque natural beauty.

The first stop on an Ottawa tour should be the Rideau Canal. This waterway cuts the city in half, and it provides places for boating and paddleboarding during the summer. Visiting in winter? Not a problem—you can go ice skating along the Rideau when it ices over. On the south side of the river, you can see the Changing of the Guard Ceremony at Parliament Hill. A few blocks to the north is the National Gallery of Canada, a stunning glass-and-granite building full of art from Canadian, European, and other North American artists.

You’ll be hungry after all this walking around, so head to ByWard Market. If you see beavertails, don’t worry; they’re a pastry, not part of an actual beaver—and they’re delicious. ByWard Market also has some of the best fresh produce you’ll ever taste, so stock up on fruits and vegetables while you’re there.

After sampling the fare at ByWard Market, cross the river to visit the Canadian Museum of History in Quebec. This is where you can tour recreations of Old Canada: explore 1800s storefronts, wander into log cabins, and learn about the First Nations people who inhabited Canada for thousands of years prior to European settlement.

Round out your trip with a venture to Gatineau Park, where you can relax by the lake or take tea in the MacKenzie King estate.

What’s your favorite part of Ottawa?

Visit our Ottawa travel guide page for more information or to plan your next vacation!


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32 comments

  1. I visited for the first time this July. Such a beautiful city. I hope to be able to visit again next year for Canada's 150th birthday!

  2. UPDATE: Ottawa is no longer the 4th largest city in Canada, it is the 6th largest now. Calgary and Edmonton are now both larger than Ottawa in terms of population.

  3. (WARNING) dont go to down town at night cause bad stuff happens but its beautiful and nice people in the morning time xD so dont go to down town at night got it everyone well the down town in ottawa e.e

  4. Ottawa = shit hole.
    I have nearly been mugged in 3 occasions.
    They tried on many occasions to break into my home both apartments.
    and in one of the apartments Landlord was stealing.
    I now have CCTV cameras window bars and alarms 24 hour security in my home.
    And still don`t feel safe. I wish I ha never moved here.
    There are gangs living in my neighborhood street SCUM.
    Do not move to Ottawa, they tell you its safe that is BULLSHIT.

  5. Ottawa is chock-full of reserved progressive conservative intellectuals. If your thing is adventure and outrageous events and architecture, don't consider moving there.

  6. It's really unfortunate that Ottawa is one of the most boring cities in Canada. Also, people like to say that Ottawa is a very cold city during the winter. Ottawa is definitely not like Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver, but it's more laid-back for elders and there's at least one sports team which is the Ottawa Senators (NHL) that can at least make you excited.

  7. The canadian people have football fans?, but not the american football, i refer the real football, i'm chilean and i wanna back the canadian back to the world cup

  8. A Ottawa, un grande nombre de parents ignorent des regles sur la circulation lorsque leurs enfants sont avec eux. et bon nombre de ces parents sont des fonctionnaires? En Canada, les jeunes meritent d'etre entoures de fonctionnaires responsables, consciencieux et respectueux de lois; leur avenir en depend. Si nous doublons les amendes routieres dans les capitales, nous verrons apparaitre des rues et des adultes respectueux de la loi, ce qu'on attend depuis longtemps a Ottawa. L'Organization Mondiale de la Sante, Bureau de Securite Routiere, estime que le respect des regles sur la circulation est souhaitable depuis longtemps en Canada. Que pensez-vous?

  9. Lovely, stunning, freewheeling capital city! Did you know, that many of the parents in Ottawa ignore traffic laws with their children and that many of these parents are civil servants? Youth in Canada deserve law-abiding, ethical and conscientious civil servants, their future actually depends on it. Let's double traffic fines in capital cites and watch law-abiding streets and adults appear. Let's stop the federal freewheeling family phenomenon and the city slicker syndrome as well as civic inattention. The World Health Organization, Road Safety Office, feels that law-abiding streets and highways are long overdue, in Canada. What do you think?

  10. Coming to ottawa this summer 🙂 Dont really care for Toronto, it seems like a New York wannabe. Ive already seen the original so the screw the copy

  11. To be honest, it looks like the city is pretty boring and dull. Pretty much like other planned capitals (Camberra, Brasilia, etc). Washington DC smashes all these, by far

    There might be other nice cities in Canada, but Ottawa seems soul less

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