Ottawa Uncovered: Insider’s Guide to Canada’s Capita

Discover Ottawa

Traveling to Ottawa offers a delightful blend of cultural immersion, historic exploration, and scenic beauty. As the capital city of Canada, Ottawa welcomes visitors with open arms, showcasing its rich heritage through iconic landmarks such as Parliament Hill and the Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Beyond the urban landscape, Ottawa’s natural beauty shines through its numerous parks and green spaces, providing ample opportunities for outdoor activities and leisurely walks. Whether marveling at stunning tulip displays during the Canadian Tulip Festival or gliding along the frozen Rideau Canal during Winterlude, traveling to Ottawa promises an unforgettable experience steeped in history, culture, and natural wonders.


Best time to visit
Best places to visit

Three Fun Facts About Ottawa


Rideau Canal

The Rideau Canal, which runs through Ottawa, is the oldest continuously operated canal system in North America and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Tulip Festival

Ottawa hosts the Canadian Tulip Festival annually, celebrating the city’s connection with the Dutch Royal Family. The festival features over a million tulips in bloom across the city.



BeaverTails, a popular Canadian pastry, originated in Ottawa. These fried dough pastries are stretched to resemble a beaver’s tail and are often topped with various sweet toppings.


Must See Attractions

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Parliament Hill

Government Building

The iconic Parliament Hill is home to Canada’s federal government buildings, including the Parliament Buildings. Visitors can take guided tours, attend the Changing of the Guard ceremony, and enjoy stunning views of the Ottawa River and downtown Ottawa.

Rideau Canal

Speciality Museum

Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Rideau Canal offers picturesque scenery year-round. In the summer, visitors can enjoy boat cruises, kayaking, and cycling along the canal, while in the winter, it transforms into the world’s largest skating rink.

National Gallery of Canada

Speciality Museum

This impressive art museum showcases Canadian and international artworks, including paintings, sculptures, photographs, and indigenous art. Highlights include works by the Group of Seven and the Canadian Indigenous Galleries.

ByWard Market

Shopping & Dining

One of Ottawa’s oldest and largest public markets, the ByWard Market features a vibrant mix of shops, restaurants, cafes, and artisans. Visitors can explore the diverse culinary scene, shop for local goods, and enjoy street performers.

Canadian Museum of History

Speciality Museum

Located just across the Ottawa River in Gatineau, Quebec, this museum offers exhibits highlighting Canada’s rich history and cultural heritage. Don’t miss the First Peoples Hall and the impressive Grand Hall.

Major’s Hill Park

Nature & Parks

This scenic park offers panoramic views of Parliament Hill and the Ottawa River. It’s a great spot for picnics, leisurely walks, and outdoor events, such as the annual Canada Day celebrations.

Lakes Near Ottawa

Gatineau Park Lakes

Chem. Sincennes, Les Collines-de-l’Outaouais, Quebec J0X 2W0

Within the expansive Gatineau Park, there are numerous lakes, such as Lac Philippe, Lac Meech, and Pink Lake, known for their crystal-clear waters and picturesque surroundings.

Distance from Ottawa: 56 kilometers
Watersports, fishing, hiking, camping

Rideau Canal

Marché Way, Ottawa, Ontario K1S 3W7

While primarily a navigable waterway, the Rideau Canal also encompasses several lakes, including Dow’s Lake and the Mooney’s Bay, providing opportunities for boating, kayaking, and paddleboarding.

Distance from Ottawa: 4 kilometers
Kayaking, fishing, swimming

Lac des Chats

Lac-des-Chats Saint-Sauveur, Quebec J0R 1R1

Just across the Ottawa River in Quebec, Lac des Chats (Lake of the Cats) offers stunning views of the Gatineau Hills and provides opportunities for boating, swimming, and picnicking.

Distance from Ottawa: 163 kilometers
Boating, swimming, picnicking

Secret Fishing Destinations Near Ottawa


Elgin St, Merrickville-Wolford, Ontario K0G 1N0

Located about an hour south of Ottawa along the Rideau River, Merrickville is a charming village known for its historic charm and excellent fishing opportunities. Anglers can explore quiet stretches of the river, where they might catch bass, walleye, and panfish.

Bass, walleye, panfish

Mississippi Lake

3465 Beckwith 9th Line, Carleton Place, Ontario K7C 3P2

Situated west of Ottawa near the town of Carleton Place, Mississippi Lake is a hidden gem for anglers seeking a variety of fish species, including largemouth bass, northern pike, and panfish. The lake offers plenty of secluded spots for fishing from shore or by boat.

Fishing: Shoreline, dock, kayak, boat
Largemouth bass, northern pike, panfish

Clayton Lake

Lanark Highlands, Ontario K0A 1P0

Tucked away in Lanark County, Clayton Lake is a peaceful fishing destination known for its tranquility and abundant fish population. Anglers can expect to catch bass, perch, and sunfish while enjoying the serene surroundings and unspoiled nature.

Fishing: Boat, dock, kayak, shoreline
Bass, pike, perch, trout

Best Hiking Trails Near Ottawa

Klondike, North Dogsled and Beartree Trail Loop

South March Highlands Trail Network, Klondike Rd, Ottawa, Ontario K2K 0G2

This picturesque loop, nestled within the heart of Gatineau Park, presents a unique opportunity to explore the rugged beauty of the Canadian landscape. As visitors embark on this trail, they are greeted by towering trees, meandering creeks, and expansive vistas, creating an immersive experience in nature.

Distance: 5.3 kilometers
Elevation Gain:
 60 m
Time to Complete:
1.5 hours

PWT – Outback Loop

South March Highlands Trail Network, Klondike Rd, Ottawa, Ontario K2K 0G2

The PWT – Outback Loop in Ottawa offers outdoor enthusiasts an immersive journey through the natural beauty of the city’s surrounding wilderness. This scenic loop, nestled within the heart of the Ottawa Greenbelt, provides an escape from the hustle and bustle of urban life, inviting visitors to explore the serene landscapes and diverse ecosystems of the region.

Distance: 12.9 kilometers
Elevation Gain: 
154 m
Time to Complete:
3 hours

Ottawa River Pathway: Eastern Section

Orléans, Ontario K1C 2X6

This scenic pathway, stretching from downtown Ottawa to the eastern suburbs, invites outdoor enthusiasts to immerse themselves in the breathtaking vistas and tranquil surroundings of the riverfront. As pedestrians and cyclists traverse the pathway, they are treated to panoramic views of the river, lush greenery, and iconic landmarks such as Parliament Hill and the Canadian Museum of History.

Distance: 11.7 kilometers
Point to point
Elevation Gain:
 155 m
Time to Complete:
3 hours

Best Golf Courses Near Ottawa

The Marshes Golf Club

320 Terry Fox Dr, Kanata, Ontario K2K 3L1

Located in Kanata, just a short drive from downtown Ottawa, The Marshes Golf Club offers a championship-caliber course designed by Robert Trent Jones II. This stunning course winds its way through natural wetlands, showcasing scenic views and challenging holes.

Holes: 18
Robert Trent Jones II

Visit their website for more information

Greyhawk Golf Club

4999 Boundary Rd, Navan, Ontario K4B 1P5

Situated in Cumberland, northeast of Ottawa, Greyhawk Golf Club features two 18 hole courses: the Talon and the Predator. Both courses offer a challenging yet enjoyable golfing experience amidst rolling terrain, mature trees, and picturesque water hazards.

Holes: 32
Darrell Huxham

Visit their website for more information

Eagle Creek Golf Club

109 Royal Troon Ln, Dunrobin, Ontario K0A 1T0

Nestled along the Ottawa River in Dunrobin, Eagle Creek Golf Club boasts a beautiful course designed by renowned architect Tom McBroom. With its lush fairways, strategically placed bunkers, and stunning river views, Eagle Creek offers a memorable golfing experience for players of all abilities.

Holes: 18
Tom McBroom

Visit their website for more information


01 / Mont Tremblant

Nestled in the Laurentian Mountains of Quebec, Mont Tremblant offers a picturesque alpine village atmosphere and a vast ski area catering to all skill levels. With over 100 trails spread across four distinct slopes, there’s plenty of terrain for everyone, from beginner slopes to challenging glades and terrain parks. The resort boasts modern lifts, well-groomed trails, and a range of amenities including ski schools, equipment rentals, and vibrant après-ski options. Mont Tremblant provides an ideal winter escape for Ottawa residents seeking adventure in a stunning natural setting.

young active snowboarder in bright sportswear jumping up on a mountain slope 1 1

02 / Calabogie Peaks Resort

Set amidst the beautiful Calabogie Highlands, the resort features a variety of terrain suitable for all skill levels, from gentle slopes for beginners to challenging runs for advanced riders. Calabogie Peaks boasts modern lifts, well-maintained trails, and amenities such as ski and snowboard lessons, equipment rentals, and on-mountain dining options. With its proximity to Ottawa and range of activities including skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing, Calabogie Peaks Resort provides a perfect winter retreat for families and outdoor enthusiasts.

young active snowboarder in bright sportswear jumping up on a mountain slope 1 1

03 / Camp Fortune

With a variety of slopes catering to all levels of experience, from beginner-friendly runs to challenging terrain for advanced riders, Camp Fortune provides something for everyone. The resort features modern lifts, well-groomed trails, and amenities including ski schools, equipment rentals, and cozy lodge facilities. Camp Fortune’s proximity to Ottawa makes it a popular choice for day trips or weekend getaways, allowing residents to enjoy outdoor winter activities without straying too far from home.

young active snowboarder in bright sportswear jumping up on a mountain slope 1 1
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Tips on Renting a Vacation Property in Ottawa

Stay Flexible

Remain flexible with your travel dates and accommodation preferences to increase your chances of finding a suitable vacation rental in Ottawa that meets your needs and budget.

Start Early

Begin your search for vacation rentals in Ottawa well in advance, especially if you’re planning to visit during peak seasons or for special events. This will give you more options to choose from and increase your chances of finding the perfect property.

Research Neighborhoods

Explore different neighborhoods in Ottawa to find the one that best suits your preferences and interests. Consider factors such as proximity to attractions, restaurants, shopping areas, public transportation, and safety.

Communicate with the Host

Reach out to the host or property manager with any questions or concerns you may have before booking. Clarify details such as check-in/out procedures, house rules, cancellation policies, and any additional fees or charges.

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Jet Skiing

Traveling to Ottawa, Canada’s charming capital city, is an enriching experience that offers a blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. Situated along the banks of the picturesque Ottawa River, the city boasts a rich tapestry of attractions and activities to suit every traveler’s interests.

One of the city’s most iconic landmarks is Parliament Hill, home to Canada’s federal government and adorned with stunning Gothic-style architecture. Visitors can take guided tours of the Parliament buildings, witness the Changing of the Guard ceremony during the summer months, and enjoy panoramic views of the city from the Peace Tower.

Beyond Parliament Hill, Ottawa offers a wealth of cultural institutions, including the National Gallery of Canada, which showcases an impressive collection of Canadian and international art, and the Canadian Museum of History, where visitors can explore the country’s rich heritage through interactive exhibits and artifacts.

For outdoor enthusiasts, Ottawa’s green spaces provide ample opportunities for recreation and relaxation. The Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, transforms into the world’s longest skating rink in the winter months, while Gatineau Park offers miles of hiking and biking trails, scenic lookouts, and picnic areas just a short drive from the city center.

Food lovers will delight in Ottawa’s burgeoning culinary scene, which features a diverse array of dining options ranging from farm-to-table eateries and food trucks to upscale restaurants serving international cuisine. Be sure to sample local specialties like poutine, BeaverTails pastries, and Ottawa’s renowned craft beer and wine offerings.

Throughout the year, Ottawa plays host to a vibrant calendar of events and festivals, including Winterlude, a celebration of winter featuring ice sculptures, outdoor activities, and culinary delights, and Canada Day, the country’s biggest national holiday, marked by fireworks, concerts, and festivities on Parliament Hill.

Traveling to Ottawa is made easy by the city’s efficient public transportation system, including buses, the O-Train light rail, and cycling routes, allowing visitors to explore the city’s diverse neighborhoods and attractions with ease. Additionally, Ottawa’s pedestrian-friendly downtown core makes it a pleasure to stroll along bustling streets lined with shops, cafes, and cultural landmarks.

Whether you’re drawn to Ottawa’s historic landmarks, cultural institutions, outdoor adventures, or culinary delights, a visit to Canada’s capital promises an unforgettable journey filled with discovery and delight.

Frequently Asked Questions about Ottawa

Some must-see attractions in Ottawa include Parliament Hill, the Rideau Canal, the National Gallery of Canada, and the Canadian Museum of History.

The best time to visit Ottawa is during the spring and fall seasons when the weather is mild, and there are plenty of outdoor events and festivals taking place.

Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy activities such as cycling along the Rideau Canal, hiking in Gatineau Park, or boating on the Ottawa River.

Visitors can expect to find a diverse culinary scene in Ottawa, with options ranging from traditional Canadian fare to international cuisines. Be sure to try some poutine, BeaverTails, and locally sourced dishes.

Family-friendly attractions in Ottawa include the Canadian Museum of Nature, the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, and the Children’s Museum at the Canadian Museum of History.

Cultural experiences to enjoy in Ottawa include attending a performance at the National Arts Centre, exploring the indigenous history and art at the Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health, and visiting the Ottawa Art Gallery.

Yes, visitors can take day trips from Ottawa to destinations such as the charming town of Wakefield in Quebec, the charming village of Merrickville, or the picturesque Prince Edward County.

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