10 things for tourists to do in Ottawa


Canada is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world and the capital city, Ottawa, is one location that attracts many visitors from far and wide.

The city is bilingual with most of its residents speaking both English and French and it houses numerous cultures from different parts of the world—while still maintaining the rich heritage of the Canadian people.

Like many other travel destinations, Ottawa has quite a number of tourist attractions and as a first-time visitor, your trip is never complete unless you visit these places. Here’s a list of some of the best national attractions for visitors in Ottawa.

  1. Visit the world’s largest outdoor skating rink

During winter, a section of the Rideau Canal is turned into a huge skating rink and being nearly eight kilometres long, it is regarded as the longest in the world.

If you plan on spending a romantic evening with your partner or just hanging out with family and friends, this is one great spot that is open 24-hours every day.

  1. Visit the Parliament

Sitting in the middle of the city centre and overlooking the Ottawa River, the magnificent Parliament Hill is a major tourist attraction.

The building is open to tourists are different times every day for both English and French-speaking visitors.

  1. Watch a sports game

There are a couple of professional sports teams in Ottawa—the most famous of all being the Ottawa Senators. This National Hockey League (NHL) team plays their home games at the famed Canadian Tire Centre, which equally houses the Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame.

There are other teams you can also watch and if you’re the type that enjoys sports betting, you can place a bet conveniently online or choose to enjoy other games at available Canadian online slots.

  1. Go to the park

There’s the Major Hill Park just across the canal from Parliament Hill and above the Rideau Canal. It is one of Ottawa’s oldest open green spaces which is accessible to visitors all year round.

Numerous events and festivals are hosted at the park, some of which include the annual ‘B In The Park’ event and Canada Day celebrations.

  1. Head to the local market

ByWard Market is one of the oldest markets in Canada and there’s no way you can visit Ottawa without stopping by.

The market consists of a main building surrounded by numerous open-air stalls, particularly when the weather is favourable. It’s a really colourful place, where you can buy flowers, fruits, vegetables and other groceries.

You can also find numerous restaurants, fast-food joints and boutiques. Visiting the ByWard market gives visitors the chance to mingle with the locals and get a first-hand experience of the Ottawa culture.

  1. Spend some time at the beach

There are two beaches in Ottawa; both of which are located at the northeast corner of Petrie Island.

You can enjoy the beach sand and ocean view from mid-May to early September when they’re officially open. The beach is a great location for hosting a picnic, swimming or just escaping the city’s fast-moving lifestyle.

  1. Enjoy the culinary scene

Ottawa is one big melting pot of culture which is duly represented in its cuisine. Tourists can enjoy food originating from different parts of the world, as well as local Canadian cuisines and classics.

Different restaurants and fast-food joints across the city offer different meals from Chinese food to Lebanese food, Vietnamese food, Italian cuisine, French cuisine and many more. If you have an adventurous tastebud, then you would love to explore the various food destinations in Ottawa.

  1. Go to the Westboro Village

This Ottawa neighbourhood has become a shopping centre for many visitors due to the presence of numerous outdoor stores.

At the Westboro village, you can find all kinds of gift shops, antique stores, local design houses and special boutiques. There are also bakeries available as well as famed bars, yoga schools, massage shops, salons, barbershops and wellness centres, amongst others.

  1. Mingle with royalty

Imagine visiting London without catching a glimpse of Buckingham Palace. The same can be said for the Rideau Hall which is the official residence of the Canadian monarch.

The stunning 175-room mansion sits on over 85 acres of land and is a National Historic Site of Canada, dating as far back as 1867. The mansion is open to visitors for public tours throughout the year, with tours lasting as long as 45 minutes.

  1. Participate in a festival

Like many other cities in Canada, Ottawa has its own fair share of annual festivals bound to excite any tourist. Winterlude, the biggest winter festival in Ottawa shouldn’t be missed with various entertaining activities such as public skating, ice sculpting competition amongst other activities.

If you’re visiting in May, there’s the Canadian Tulip Festival while Canada Day is celebrated throughout the city in July. When it comes to festivals, be certain that Ottawa will definitely not disappoint.