Though Ottawa’s summers are hot, boisterous and energizing, the cooler weather and beautiful fall colours bring in a slower pace and a cozy, laid-back atmosphere. Fall means wool sweaters, warm sunshine, tasty treats and a crisp, refreshing breeze.
Why not come to Ottawa, Canada’s Capital, to experience the beauty of the autumn season and all of its glorious fall colours for yourself along with your special someone? Whether you’re the outdoor adventure or spa-loving type, Ottawa will have a delightful harvest season experience for you. Browse this list for five romantic Ottawa fall getaway ideas!
Tours Expédition Ottawa:
If you’re looking to explore the wild and luscious Gatineau Park with your sweetheart, you might want to consider heading out with Tours Expédition Ottawa, which offers VIP-style excursions in the expansive 361-square kilometre (90,000 acres) park.
Have your guide pick you up at your hotel, drive you to Gatineau Park and guide you along trails that will provide scenic views of the Ottawa region’s glorious rhapsody of fall colours. Make sure to bring your camera as you either hike or bike through the park, while your guide takes you to all of the best lookout points to take in the various shades of red, gold, orange and yellow. This is a great way to experience Gatineau Park as the Ottawa locals do!
And just bring your basic equipment (proper shoes and a jacket) along with you, as Tours Expédition has thought of everything else, right down to a gourmet picnic lunch. If the weather is nice, your guide will set up lunch for two at one of the park’s most scenic lookout points. Enjoy your meal as you sip hot tea and take in awe-inspiring views. And if it rains, there’s no need to worry as your lunch will simply be relocated to one of Gatineau Park’s cozy, candlelit wood cabins. Either on a scenic cliff or in a cabin, this could be the perfect setting to pop that important question…
Tours Expédition operates year-round, offering hiking, cycling and canoeing excursions in the warmer weather months and cross-country skiing excursions once the snow arrives. These tours can accommodate up to four people and are completely customizable, ranging from three hours to a full day. Decide how much time you want to spend in the park and head out with your guide.
If you’re looking for something a little more relaxing and low key, Nordik Spa-Nature is where you’ll want to be. Enjoy the soft chill, the senses, sights and scents of fall from the comfort of a bubbling outdoor hot tub!
Located at a short 20-minute drive north of Ottawa’s downtown core, “Nordik” as it’s known locally, is the largest spa of its kind in North America and it’s easy to spend the whole day here. Opt for Nordik’s Thermal Baths and Saunas experience, which invites you to soothe your mind and unwind as you move through several cold and temperate baths, nine unique sauna experiences and an infinity pool that overlooks Ottawa’s beautiful skyline. Massages are also available.
Relax as much as you like, then go indoors to recharge with a meal at one of Nordik’s two restaurants; Restö and the Panorama Lounge, which also offer bar drinks such as craft beer and wine. Enjoy the traditional restaurant feel of Restö or cozy up together with a blanket on the Panorama Lounge’s leather couches. Have a drink as you sit in front of a glowing, roaring fire.
Have a picnic with items from the ByWard Market:
Located in the middle of Ottawa’s downtown core, the open-air ByWard Market is home to one of the oldest and largest farmers’ markets in Canada. It is also surrounded by great shops; a few of which were opened back when the market started up in the 1820s.
Visit this neighbourhood to get some fresh meat, vegetables, bread and cheese to put together a picnic lunch. For a sweet treat, consider going to the ByWard Market Square building where you’ll find French baker Moulin de Provence. Here, you’ll find a selection of delectable baked goods as well as Ottawa’s famous “Obama Cookies.” These are maple leaf-shaped cookies with red and white icing!
Now once you’ve assembled all of your culinary supplies, head to one of Ottawa’s scenic picnic spots. We recommend Major’s Hill Park (located behind the Fairmont Château Laurier) or Nepean Point (located behind the National Gallery of Canada). Both of these areas are a short walk from the ByWard Market. They offer lovely green spaces and panoramic views of Ottawa’s iconic Parliament Buildings as well as the Ottawa River. Just don’t forget to bring a blanket!
See the fall colours from above in a vintage, open-cockpit biplane:
Get in the 1930’s plane – originally used to train United States Military pilots during the Second World War – with your partner, put on some fun vintage goggles and take in Ottawa’s beautiful fall colours as your pilot takes you over the scenic downtown core or over Gatineau Park. You’ll be flying at a height of only 1,500 feet. Enjoy a cuddly flight (there’s not much room in the plane) as you take in great views and the wind whips through your hair. You’ve definitely never seen Ottawa like this, so make sure to bring a camera!
The biplane operates until mid-October, weather permitting. Flights start at $65 CDN per person and reservations are recommended. This is a popular anniversary activity!
Explore Ottawa’s restaurants with Ottawa Tasting Tours:
Ottawa Tasting Tours is a great way to discover a few restaurants in the historic ByWard Market neighbourhood.
In the evening, follow your guide as you enjoy four courses in four different Market area restaurants. Also, each course is paired with a delicious wine. Additionally, your guide will share interesting historical anecdotes about the city as you walk from one establishment to another.
The Ottawa Tasting Tours experience lasts two hours, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. This is a great way to spend an evening together on the town!