Evening Activities in Ottawa
Contrary to the stereotypical, sleepy government town, Ottawa has tons of unique attractions open to visitors in the late afternoon, evening, and into the night. There are also myriad bars, pubs and nightclubs in most of Ottawa’s central neighbourhoods.
Evening Attraction Ideas
- Camp Fortune Ski and Aerial Experience: 15 minutes from downtown Ottawa, Camp Fortune offers a variety of outdoor recreational activities from skiing and snowboarding in the winter, to mountain biking, hiking and Fortune Aerial Experience from May to October. Mondays through Saturdays during ski season, you can hit the slopes for skiing or snowboarding until 10:00pm.
- Canadian War Museum: The Canadian War Museum is open till 8:00 pm every Thursday year round and Fridays till 8:00 pm from July to September. The museum focuses on military conflicts that occurred on Canadian soil, involved Canadian forces, or had a significant effect on the country and its people.
- Capital Cruises: Capture spectacular views of the city and listen to entertaining commentary (available in 6 languages) on this sightseeing tour of the Nation’s Capital. Evenings welcome a two-and-a-half hour dinner cruise (June through August) or special themed dinner–dance events. The ship is also available for private charters like corporate cruises, conference and convention events, weddings and more.
- Casino du Lac-Leamy: Located only minutes from downtown Ottawa, the Casino features world-class gaming with almost 2,000 slot machines and over 60 gaming tables. It also presents an ongoing lineup of dinner + show events in Le Théâtre du Casino, an annual fireworks competition in early August, and wonderful dining options including Le Baccara, one of only a handful of Canadian restaurants awarded the CAA-AAA Five Diamond distinction.
- Hull-Chelsea-Wakefield Steam Train: Hop aboard one of Canada’s last remaining authentic steam-powered trains and climb the Gatineau hills as the pioneers did at the turn of the last century. Every Friday and Saturday, June through mid-September, visitors can enjoy the picturesque countryside and a sumptuous four-course dinner featuring regional cuisine on board the Sunset Dinner Train.
- Haunted Walk of Ottawa: Locals and newcomers alike are fascinated by these glimpses into the darker history and haunting of the Nation's Capital. Visitors can choose from the Original Haunted Walk, the Crime and Punishment Jail Tour (featuring the Old Carleton County Jail) and the Naughty Ottawa Pub Walk (19 years or older). All stories are thoroughly researched and will delight even the skeptics in the group!
- IMAX Theatre: Located in the Canadian Museum of Civilization, the IMAX theatre offers a unique perspective on history, culture, adventure and nature through an array of stunning films that touch and inspire. IMAX technology features the largest commercial film format in motion picture history: 70mm, 15-perforation, and has reclining seats for maximum comfort.
- Lady Dive Amphibus: Tour Canada’s Capital Region by land and water! Lady Dive Tours specializes in bilingual guided tours of the National Capital region of Canada on both land and water. The Colossal night tour (offered end June to early September) is a one hour tour of stories, legends and anecdotes about the beautiful city of Ottawa that lets you sample the night time city life and view over 75 key sites.
- Laser Quest: Played in a large, multi-level arena featuring specialty lighting, swirling fog and heart-pounding music, Laser Questors use their lasers to score as many points as possible by tagging the sensors on their opponents’ equipment. A fun activity for ages 5 to 85, or for birthdays, corporate groups, teams and social outings.
- Laurier House Candlelight Tour: Join Edward, Mr. King's 'butler', on a candlelight tour as he shares the stories and secrets of the historic house that was the meeting place of royalty, dignitaries and celebrities for more than 50 years. The Candlelight tour of Laurier House will give you an insider's point of view of the personalities behind the politics that shaped Canada during the first half of the 20th century. This tour begins at 7:00 p.m. and last approximately an hour. Reservations are recommended.
- Midway Family Fun Park: This indoor amusement park lets children of all ages putt like a pro on a 9-hole mini-golf course, tackle Midway's 25-foot climbing wall, play over a hundred video and skill-testing games such as arcade games, bowling lanes, simulators, dancing games and air hockey tables.
- National Arts Centre: With over 600 performances on four stages every year the NAC offers something for everyone - Music, Theatre and Dance. The NAC is home to the world-renowned National Arts Centre Orchestra, led by world-renowned violinist/violist, conductor and educator Pinchas Zukerman. The ‘Get a Live Rush’ program, www.liverush.ca, allows students (ages 13-29) to purchase two last-minute tickets (for themselves and a guest) on the day of selected performances at the special rate of $10 each.
- OLG – Slots at Rideau Carleton Raceway: Home to 1,250 slot machines in a 40,000 square foot, travel-themed gaming area, the ambiance and state-of-the-art slot machines at the OLG Slots will dazzle your senses. A 650 seat dining room overlooks Canada's fastest 5/8th mile track, the perfect place to enjoy the panoramic view of the race track and cheer on your favorite horse and driver.
- Ottawa Little Theatre: With nearly 100 years under its belt, Ottawa Little Theatre is Canada’s oldest community theatre. The facility presents a great mix of comedies, mysteries, and dramas to entertain diverse audiences.
- Ottawa Senators Hockey Club & Scotiabank Place: The Ottawa Senators is Ottawa’s National Hockey League (NHL) franchise, one of the NHL’s most exciting teams and a perennial Stanley Cup contender. The Sens play 41 regular season (mostly evening) games at Scotiabank Place every September to April. Tickets for individual games are available through Capital Tickets. Visitors can also check the schedule at Scotiabank Place, as this first-class entertainment arena also hosts rock concerts, family entertainment and other great events.
- Parliament of Canada Tours: Parliament is the seat of Canada’s government and the buildings (Centre Block, East Block and West Block) are fine examples of the Gothic revival style architecture. Tours of Centre Block are available daily except on Christmas, New Year's, and Canada Day (July 1), with multiple tours (in both official languages) available at staggered times throughout the day, including evening tours from mid-May through August. To make the most of your visit, check the Parliament’s Visitor web site for details. Same day tickets for individuals or groups of less than 10 people are free and available on a first come first served basis from 9:00 am daily. Groups of 10 or more must make a reservation in advance by calling 613-996-0896.
- Paul’s Boat Lines: Choose to see Ottawa’s scenery via the Rideau Canal or the Ottawa River. You will see the natural beauty of the region that captured the imagination of the first European explorer Samuel de Champlain. Operating from May to October, evening cruises end in early September.
- Saunders Farm: Each October, “Haunting Season” transforms Saunders Farm into Canada’s most eerie-sistible farm attraction. Spook-tacular haunted hayrides, parades, puppets, live shows, 11 mazes and strolling characters combine to create awesome thrills for all. Evening activities include Haunted Hayrides, the Barn of Terror, a Ghost Town Stage Show, Ghost Stories by the Bonfire, the Climbing Wall of Doom, Ghoulish glow-in-the-dark mini putt and the Gathering of the Ghouls. Evening activities are not recommended for children under age 10.
- Scarlett's Dinner Theatre, by Eddie May Murder Mysteries: North America's longest running producer of murder mystery entertainment presents public dinner theatre every Friday and Saturday at Scarlett's. Private parties can be arranged at Scarlett's or at off-site venues. Call 613-850-9700 for information and reservations. Dinner and show packages start at $52. Private dinner/shows for groups of 10-500.
- Sound and Light Show on Parliament Hill: Experience the story of Canada as told through music, spectacular lighting effects and stunning giant image projections on the Parliament Buildings. This free, bilingual show illuminates Parliament Hill twice nightly in summer.
Evening Shopping Ideas
- Bayshore Shopping Centre: Located in the western portion of Ottawa at a highly visible and accessible location on the north side of Highway 417, near the Highway 416 junction, Bayshore offers 728,047 square feet and 155 stores and services. Its fashion and lifestyle merchant mix attracts more than 7.1 million people annually.
- ByWard Market: There’s always something happening in the ByWard Market! Established by Lt-Col. John By in 1826, the ByWard Market is one of Canada's oldest and largest public markets. Within an area roughly four blocks square, you'll find museums, cafés, specialty food shops, boutiques, galleries, restaurants, pubs and hip nightspots! Easily accessible on foot, by transit or by car, the ByWard Market offers a unique shopping experience for all.
- Rideau Centre: Located one block east of Parliament Hill, Rideau Centre is one of Canada’s most popular shopping destinations and home to 180 of the biggest names in fashion, food and services. For groups: Rideau Centre offers organized group tour programs and discount incentives that let you integrate shopping, food and fun into your itinerary. Customized receptions for groups, an exclusive Visitors Values Coupon Book of savings for everyone and special student tour programming, it’s a one-stop group shopping experience.
- St. Laurent Centre: The St. Laurent Shopping Centre, located in the east end of the city, boasts over 195 stores and services, an expansive food court, cinema and Cyberdome entertainment complex.