The Five Most Interesting Attractions in Ottawa, Ontario

Whether you are a local or just visiting the Ottawa area, there are plenty of things to do during both the warm and cold seasons. Being Canada’s capital and a cultural melting pot, activities range from historical sites to arts and dining. Check out our five most interesting attractions in Ottawa below.

Parliament Hill

Parliament Hill is home to Canada’s national government and the host for celebrations and attractions year round. Originally the location for a military base in the 1800’s, Queen Victoria selected Ottawa as the Capital of Canada, making it the new site for parliament buildings. There are guided tours to learn and experience the rich history and architecture of these amazing buildings. From being decorated with Christmas lights in December, to sound and light shows during summer nights, there is always an attraction or event going on at Parliament Hill.

Rideau Canal

This historic canal is a great place to visit not only during the Summer, but Winter as well. Originally used as a safe and secure route for Montreal and the British Naval base in the War of 1812, it is a hotspot for locals and tourists alike. During the warmer months, you can kayak to get a closer look at the historic site, or during the colder months it is a popular ice skating spot. Either way, Rideau Canal is a must if you are in the Ottawa area.

National Museums

The Ottawa/Gatineau area is home to 7 of Canada’s 9 National Museums. 6 of these national museums are in Ottawa alone. These offer great places to visit with friends and family to learn about Canada’s rich history. They are relatively cheap as well, offering free entry at certain times per day and bundling ticket prices so you can visit multiple museums in the same day.

Byward Market

Established in 1826, the Byward Market is one of Canada’s oldest and largest public markets. It is the ultimate destination for shopping, dining, arts, and entertainment. It’s well known for the colorful street art and hip stores filled with crafts and clothes by local designers. It is open 7 days a week year-round, with some exceptions during Holidays and winter months.

Annual Festivals

Ottawa has tons of annual festivals, running during Summer and Winter months. The biggest festival during the winter is Winterlude, which runs for 3 weekends during February. Events include ice sculpting competitions and public ice skating. There are also many festivals during the summer months, the largest being Canada Day on July 1st. There is also the Canadian Tulip festival in May and the Bluesfest in mid July.