Ottawa Tourism

Get Into the Holiday Spirit in Ottawa!

Looking for some great activities to help you get into a holiday season mood? Ottawa definitely has something for you. From its lovely, decorated museums and storefronts to thousands upon thousands of twinkling lights, it’s hard not to walk around the city and be in a cheerful mood.

But to kick start your holiday season, we thought we’d let you know about a few special activities that are great to enjoy on your own or as a group. Also, these activities will get you out to enjoy the snowy, milder winter weather that December often brings.

In Ottawa for a meeting or a conference leading up to the holidays? Use your downtime to take in these activities on your own or, bring a few delegates or coworkers along.

Gift of Lights: A brand new holiday season attraction, Gift of Lights takes place just west of Ottawa’s downtown core at Wesley Clover Parks.

Enjoy this two-kilometre drive-thru attraction that features more than 30 different light displays and a 100-foot light tunnel. Limos and buses can be accommodated, making this the perfect group activity. Gift of Lights runs from Nov. 25, 2016 to Jan. 1, 2017.

Upper Canada VillageAlight at Night: If you have access to a car, head about 40 minutes south of Ottawa to Upper Canada Village.

Located in the small town of Morrisburg, Ont., this charming 1860’s village is decorated with one million twinkling lights during this special holiday season event. On selected evenings from Dec. 2 – 31, 2016, enjoy the decorated village as well as traditional holiday-themed activities such as carol singing and carriage rides. Here, you’ll fall in love with the charm of an old-fashioned Canadian Christmas. Going into its 16th year, Alight at Night delights visitors of all ages. See the lights from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Christmas Lights Across CanadaChristmas Lights Across Canada: You won’t have to venture far for this holiday season attraction. Just put on a hat and step out of your hotel.

Going into its 32nd edition, Christmas Lights Across Canada sees Ottawa’s downtown core covered in about 400,000 twinkling lights. If this doesn’t put you in a cheerful holiday mood, we don’t know what will.

From Dec. 7, 2016 to Jan. 7, 2017, walk around downtown and enjoy all of the beautiful lights. Also, on Parliament Hill, you’ll find a nightly holiday-themed sound and light show. This free 13-minute show runs from 5:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. until Dec. 25. And new this year, Confederation Park will be illuminated in red and white to mark Canada’s 150th anniversary year. Make sure to bring a camera along.

New Year's Eve CelebrationThinking about spending New Year’s Eve in Ottawa? This would be the year to do it. On Dec. 31, Ottawa will welcome 2017, launching sesquicentennial celebrations across the country!

Celebrations will be taking place around the city, with a major event happening on the iconic Parliament Hill. This is where the Canada 150 Kick Off will take place. The celebration begins at 7:00 p.m. and will then be followed by various activities, including live music performances and a pyromusical fireworks show at 8:17 p.m.; also known as 20:17. Another smaller fireworks display will take place at midnight.

But the New Year’s Eve celebrations are only the beginning. As Canada’s Capital, Ottawa has big 2017 events planned all year long. Want to know more? Explore Ottawa Tourism’s 2017 website section.