Top 10 Reasons to Visit Ottawa

Ottawa-the capital city of Canada, where business and fun meet. Ottawa is home to Parliament Hill- the beautiful Gothic style structures overlook the Ottawa river. If visiting Canada is on your bucket list, be sure to explore the scenic city where you will never run out of things to do! Here’s the top 10 Must See places in Ottawa.

1. Skate on the Largest Skating Rink

People skating on Rideau Canal, Ottawa Canada

Who says winter is no fun? Not in Ottawa! The Rideau Canal transforms into the largest outdoor skating rink during the frosty winter months. The 7.8km ice rink has a number one spot secured in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Skating through the heart of Ottawa is a fun activity enjoyed by families and couples, plus it’s a unique way to explore the city! Don’t miss out on this seasonal activity that promises loads of fun.

Head to the Rideau Canal Rideau Canal site to find out more about where you can rent skates.

2. Shop to your Heart's Content

Byward Market in Ottawa, Canada

Indulge all your senses at one destination when you visit the ByWard Market. The market is every foodie’s dream come true. You can eat at the best restaurants which offer a variety of cuisines to choose from. You may even be lucky enough to be entertained by an up-and-coming band while you dine. You can purchase the freshest foods and baked goods Ottawa has to offer.

What’s more, your trip through the market will lead you past more than 260 stands and the Alpha Art Gallery. Whether you choose to go during day or night, the market will always be alive with activity.

3. Get Spooked

A cottage with trees at the back on a cloudy day

Find out if Casper really exists and if he’s friendly after all. The Haunted Walk of Ottawa is not your typical walking tour. The 90 minute tour of your choice leads you to Ottawa’s most haunted buildings, like the old Carleton County Jail or the spooky Bytown Museum.

The tour guide will share some chilling ghost stories with your group and you will also receive a special limited edition Haunted Walk flashlight for the event.

In the event that you do spot a ghost, who you gonna call? ; )

4. Explore Canadian Fauna and Flora under one Roof

Dinosaur skeletons at Canadian Museum of Nature

As the second largest country in the world, Canada doesn't have a shortage of animals and plants. To ensure you don't miss out on the natural world of Canada, the Canadian Museum of Nature houses an expansive nature art collection, zoology collection, fossil collection and a geological collection.

The interactive design of the museum will make you feel like you’ve entered the animal kingdom. Walk amongst live butterflies, travel back to the dinosaur age and see a real whale skeleton. Whatever you can image, the Canadian Museum of Nature has it!

5. Discover the Political Heart Of Canada

Parliament hill buildings with pristine lawns in ottawa canada

Curious to know what sets Canada apart from the rest? How such a dynamic and multi-cultural state can truly exist? Make your way to Parliament Hill and take a free tour through the inside of Parliament Hill’s Gothic Revival architecture. You will discover the history and art of this great nation. Learn how Canada’s parliament functions on a daily basis and step through the senate, house of commons and library.

If you want to visit Canada, do so over the festive period. You wouldn't want to miss the Parliament building covered in hundreds and thousand of lights for Christmas and the many festivities during the period!

6. Celebrate Winter- Canadian Style

Men working on ice sculpures during the winterlude festival

The first three weekends of February in Ottawa are marked for winter fun. The Winterlude festival is the biggest winter festival in Ottawa and close to 600,000 people partake in the celebrations each year! What to expect? Dragon boat races, ice skating on Rideau Canal, winter playground, fantastic ice carvings from artists from around the world, Winterlude mascots and delicious frozen Maple syrup candy, to mention a few.

For more details, check out the Winterludesite.

7. A Must-Have Ottawa Snack

A busy pastry restaurant serving customers on a cold icy night

If deep fried, doughy goodness is what you're after, you simply must try a Beaver Tail. The deep fried pastry resembles a, as you may have guessed, beaver tail and is covered in sweet toppings. You can choose from toppings like, cinnamon sugar with a zest of lemon, nutella, bananas, crumbled oreos and plenty more sweet things.

If you only eat one thing in Ottawa, let it be a Beaver Tail that’s the perfect snack during cold weather.

8. Have A Picnic at Major Hill Park

people enjoying the sun on the major hill park lawn

If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle, go to the serene oasis of Major Hill Park in Ottawa. The park is the perfect spot to enjoy a light picnic lunch whilst overlooking the stunning views of Ottawa Locks on the Rideau Canal, Ottawa River and the Parliament Buildings. Take a stroll through the park’s winding pathways and learn about its history through a series of interpretation panels.

9. Put a Little Theatre in your Life

music festival in ottawa

Whether you're a fan of contemporary or classic plays, at the Ottawa Little Theatre (OLT) there’s something for everyone. The theatre is a vital part of Ottawa’s arts community- all staff members are volunteers who are passionate about performing and entertaining people from across Canada and visitors from across the globe.

To book your tickets for their exciting shows, visit the OLT Website, here.

10. Step Back Into Canadian History

traditional oboriginal attire found at the canadian museum in ottawa

Prepare to be enlightened by Canada’s story told through the diverse experiences and perspectives of real people who lived it. The Canadian History Museum illuminates the earliest known human habitation to the present day.

Explore the largest exhibitions of Canadian history and 1500 authentic artifacts. The Museum features stories from coast to coast and and some dark chapters from Canada’s past. If you want to live in Canada and become a Canadian citizen, ensure you make a trip to the History Museum to learn all you need to know about the world’s most loved country-in a fun and exciting way.