Coming to Ottawa for a meeting or conference this summer? That’s great! As Canada’s Capital, Ottawa is home to several national museums, Parliament Hill and other important landmarks such as the Rideau Canal, Ontario’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In meetings or sessions all day? No problem! There’s still plenty of things to see and do in Ottawa as well as in its surrounding region once the sun goes down. We’ve put together a list of a few nighttime activities that you’ll definitely want to consider adding into your schedule. Work all day and then, experience some of Ottawa’s great assets on a warm summer night.
Go on a culinary tour with Ottawa Tasting Tours:
Ottawa Tasting Tours is one of the city’s newest culinary walking tour companies. Opened just last summer, this local company offers a ‘progressive’ four-course dining experience through Ottawa’s historic ByWard Market neighbourhood. Did you know that the ByWard Market is one of the oldest and largest farmers’ markets in Canada, but it’s also the name of the eclectic neighbourhood that surrounds it?
Follow your guide as you enjoy each course – along with wine – in a different Ottawa restaurant! And get ready for a delectable evening, as these tours focus on fine and higher end dining. Ottawa Tasting Tours can accommodate groups of two to 25 people or more. A reservation is required.
Enjoy the night at the Casino du Lac-Leamy:
Celebrating its twentieth anniversary this year, the Casino du Lac-Leamy is located across the Ottawa River at a short drive north of Ottawa’s downtown core.
Into gaming? The state-of-the-art casino has everything you need. Here, you’ll find 1,700 slot machines as well as 64 gaming tables offering classic games such as Roulette, Blackjack, Baccarat and more. You also won’t want to miss The Zone, an immersive and interactive gaming experience. Enjoy a multi-game playing area with fun music, exploding confetti and a live host!
Not into gaming? No problem. Just take in some of the casino’s other fabulous assets. Enjoy a delectable meal at one of the casino’s fine restaurants such as Arôme Seafood and Grill or Le Baccara. Did you know that Le Baccara is one of only a handful of Canadian restaurants to receive the CAA-AAA Five Diamond distinction?
Or if you don’t feel like having a full gourmet meal, opt to grab a drink at the modern Bar 7 instead. In this sleek and open area, you’ll find an extensive selection of imported beer, cocktails and martinis as well as DJ performances and more. Want to dance the night away? Just head upstairs to the casino’s Club Aléa. Opened in 2014, Aléa has a capacity of only 219 people. This nightclub screams exclusivity and has live DJs playing on most Friday and Saturday nights. The casino is a great place to go if you want to take a break from the summer heat.
Take in the Sound and Light Show on Parliament Hill:
Northern Lights is a free sound and light show that takes place on Parliament Hill nightly. Throughout July, August and in early September, you can watch Canada’s history be recounted on the walls of the historic Parliament Buildings. Sit on the iconic front lawn and watch as Canadian stories of nation-building, discovery and valour are told. This 30-minute shows plays at 10:00 p.m. in July, 9:30 p.m. in August and at 9:00 p.m. in September. This is an Ottawa summer evening activity that you don’t want to miss!
Discover Ottawa’s darker past with Haunted Walks Inc.:
This popular evening walking tour leaves from the Haunted Walk of Ottawa’s office at the corner of Sparks Street and Elgin Street.
From here, follow a cloaked guide by soft lantern light through the historic ByWard Market neighbourhood and hear tales of Ottawa’s early days, before it became the polished capital city it is today. Go for the Original Haunted Walk of Ottawa that stops throughout the market area or if you’re a bit more adventurous, opt for the Ghosts and the Gallows tour.
The Ghosts and the Gallows tour makes its way through the ByWard Market to eventually stop at the HI-Ottawa Jail Hostel. The now hostel was once the Carleton County Gaol, which operated from 1862 to 1972. This is the site of Canada’s last public hanging and it is known as one of North America’s most haunted buildings. Learn about the fate of James Patrick Whelan, who is still believed to walk the hostel’s halls.
The Haunted Walk tours last about 90 minutes with several stops being made along the way. The Original Haunted Walk experience is available from April to November and the Ghosts and the Gallows is available year-round. This is a great way to see the city either with colleagues or on your own.
Catch the Casino du Lac-Leamy Sound of Light:
If you’re in Ottawa for a meeting or a conference from Aug. 6 to 20, 2016, the Sound of Light is a seasonal event that you won’t want to miss!
Head to the scenic grounds of the Canadian Museum of History to see this international fireworks competition on Saturday and Wednesday nights. Here, you’ll see impressive fireworks displays that are choreographed to music. This year, China, the Netherlands, Estonia and Australia will compete. General admission is $8 CDN per person.
These however, are only a few activity suggestions. Ottawa is bustling with music festivals and special events throughout the summer season. Visit the Ottawa Tourism Event Calendar to find out what’s going on when you’ll be in town!