Living in Canada’s capital city has its perks. There are new activities happening all the time that will make whatever time of year eventful. Here is a list of some things you must do in Ottawa. Can you even say you live in Ottawa if you haven’t done all six of these?
1. Visit Parliament Hill
Every Canada day, Ottawa hosts the country’s largest celebration at Parliament Hill. The event includes live music, fireworks and the majority of the city’s residents. If you haven’t been down to the hill for Canada day, I recommend bringing lots of water, and sticking close to your friends, you’ll never see downtown so packed!
If you’re looking for a tour of the buildings, don’t wait as renovations will be shutting down Parliament for an estimated 10 years. Don’t worry though, you can still attend the stunning sound and light shows that occur every July to August. Grab a blanket, some snacks and get your camera ready!
2. Skate on the Rideau Canal
What is more Canadian than putting on your ice-skates, eating a beavertail and skating along downtown Ottawa? Every year, the Rideau Canal is frozen during winter and prepped to meet your skating needs. With this outstanding view, skating on the canal makes for the perfect date, or a fun activity for friends. Eating a beavertail while skating totally negates the calories, right? Let’s test that theory this winter.
3. Eat a Shawarma
If you have ever been to Ottawa, you’ll notice a shawarma restaurant in every neighbourhood. Whether you’re downtown or in the suburbs, you’re likely to find a shawarma place that will satisfy your hunger. Ottawa boasts some of the best shawarma in the country, and if you haven’t tried it, you’re missing out. This Arab meal will excite your taste buds and leave you wishing you had tried it sooner.
4. Embrace Gatineau
One of the best things about living in Ottawa is our neighbours. Being minutes from Quebec means you have access to some awesome areas. Plan a day trip to the stunning Gatineau Hills where you can hike, explore and get that perfect Instagram nature shot.
Every summer Casino du Lac-Leamy hosts the Sounds of Light, five massive firework displays with four teams from different continents showcasing pyromusical presentations. The show takes place behind the Canadian Museum of Nature lighting up the Ottawa River for a night you won’t forget. Bring your chairs, or pull your boat up on the river for the best view of this renowned display.
Nordic Spa Nature in Chelsea is the perfect day-trip for any occasion. Whether you’re celebrating your friend’s birthday, or are just in need of some good pampering, Nordic Spa is a great spot. With outdoor pools, saunas and bars open year-round, you can relax in nature with a glass of wine or detoxifying tea.
5. Tour the Museums
Whether you’re looking for a cool day trip or an exciting club night out, Ottawa’s museums have you covered. The Canadian Museum of Nature can provide both of these. With so many exciting exhibits like the Butterflies in Flight, where you can walk through hundreds of species of live butterflies. If bugs aren’t your thing, the museum hosts Nature Nocturne, where the museum turns into a nightclub and you’re able to explore the exhibits after hours.
6. Get out of the City
They don’t call it the Ottawa Valley for no reason. From berry, apple and pumpkin picking, to haunted Halloween festivities, there is always something to do outside of the city. Saunders Farm located in Munster is famous for its Halloween specialty including Haunting Season for daytime and Fright Fest at night hosting over 1 million guests on their 100-acre property. Be prepared for a spooky, fun filled time.