Fun Things to Do
in Ottawa

Fun Things to Do in Ottawa. From Parliament Hill to Hot Air Balloon Rides, There's Something for Every Taste.

Ottawa is one of my favourite cities to visit.

Above: The setting sun paints Ottawa's historic Rideau Canal in a golden glow. 

Canada's capital boasts some of the country's largest and most spectacular museums and art galleries and some amazing architecture, including the Canadian Parliament Buildings, which are open for guided tours.

Ottawa is also a busy urban centre with all the entertainment and nightlife you'd expect from a city this size plus green adventure for the active, sporty types.

Here are some picks to please every palate.

For Culture Vultures

Visit Parliament Hill, take in a guided tour and watch the Changing of the Guard.

Watch the Mosaika Sound and Light Show.

Visit a blockbuster exhibit at the National Art Gallery.

Enjoy an evening of live music or theatre at the National Arts Centre.

Visit the Museum of Nature. For a slide show of what you'll see, visit my page on Ottawa museums.

Take in live bands at the clubs and bars.

Laugh it up at Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club.

Try out the FREE music concerts on the lawn of Rideau Hall.

Cruise along Sussex Drive, home to mansions, embassies, museums and monuments.

Above: Rideau Falls seen from a boat tour.

For Nature Lovers

Stroll miles of walking and biking trails, many winding along a scenic river or canal. Go skating on the world's longest skating rink (the Rideau Canal).

Go cross country skiing on the Rideau Trail connecting Ottawa and Kingston.

Take a romantic boat cruise and get up close and personal with the Rideau Falls.

Take a hot-air balloon ride.

For Party People

Party-lovers will find lots of things to do in Ottawa. Plan your trip around one of Ottawa’s great festivals, such as:

Ottawa Tulip Festival

Ottawa International Jazz Festival

Ottawa Bluesfest


The Ottawa Fringe Festival (theatre)

Carnival of Cultures

Ottawa Busker Festival

Above: the famous Byward Market

For Shopaholics & Foodies

Explore the Byward Market, a popular, historic food market, dining and shopping district.

Visit Sparks Street Mall, a pedestrian-only street lined with heritage buildings, stores and restaurants.

Shop til you drop at the Rideau Centre.

You may enjoy

Ottawa tours

Ottawa Museums

Chateau Laurier Ottawa