I love Ottawa not just because it’s the home to my dental practice, Villanova Dental Studio, but as the capital city, there’s so much to see and do. Here’s my personal list of the top 10 things to do here in Ottawa.
This is the seat of the Canadian federal government and a must-see attraction in the city. Currently undergoing a multi-year rehabilitation, visitors can still take tours to learn about the history and current day affairs or take part in regular ceremonies and celebrations like the Changing of the Guard in summer or Canada Day on July 1st. Learn more.
Ottawa is a very walkable city, and a walking tour is a great way to get a feel for the people and the neighborhoods. On your list, include Sparks Street, a pedestrian area full of shopping and dining; Glebe, a neighborhood full of local shops; Bank Street, an important center for the city’s LGBTQ2 community; and Chinatown and Little Italy. Learn more.
A top tourist attraction in the city, ByWard Market is much more than a market, with plenty of dining, shopping, entertainment, and special events, too. No trip to Ottawa would be complete without a visit here! Learn more.
This canal connects the city to Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River and is at the heart of the city. When the weather is nice, you can go boating or take a sightseeing cruise, and in winter it becomes the world’s largest skating rink! Learn more.
Winterlude, the Ottawa International Jazz Festival, Fringe Festival, and Bluesfest are just a few of the most popular annual festivals here, but there’s always something special going on, year round. Learn more.
Canadian War Museum
Canada’s national military history museum gives visitors a comprehensive and educational look at our country’s past conflicts through exhibitions and boasts a large collection of artifacts spanning many years and many countries. Learn more.
National Gallery of Canada
Considered by many to be the best art gallery in the country, the National Gallery of Canada has an excellent collection of art by Canadian artists as well as several works by Andy Warhol. It’s also famous for Maman, a giant sculpture of a spider that greets you outside the gallery. Learn more.
Canadian Museum of Nature
From butterflies to gems to dinosaur fossils, and everything in between, this is the place to learn about natural history and natural sciences. You can also see a collection of live bugs, beetles, and more in the Nature Live section, or trade a rock, fossil, plant, or shell you’ve found at Nature Trade. Learn more.
It’s not just a green space and a respite from the city, but an enormous park with tons of things to do. Hike, bike, swim, camp, canoe, snowshoe, cross country ski, see nature, or just relax – there’s so much for the whole family to enjoy. Learn more.
Eat Like a Local
Last but not least, food. Try a BeaverTail, a specialty dessert of Ottawa made of deep fried dough, while you’re here and take advantage of the city’s great restaurant scene, with everything from simple sandwiches and burgers to high-end tasting menus. Learn more.