As soon as the weather warms up in Ottawa, patios fill up all over town. Many of the most popular are conveniently located within walking distance from downtown hotels! Join us on a patio-crawl to some of Ottawa’s trendy spots, rooftop decks and casual places where you can relax, sip, nibble and people watch.
UPSCALE & TRENDY
Tavern on the Hill
Looking for a magical terrace tucked away amidst colourful gardens with killer views of Parliament Hill, the National Gallery of Canada and the Ottawa River? Head to the swanky yet comfortable Tavern on the Hill in Major’s Hill Park. Enjoy their tasty gourmet hot dogs (vegan and gluten-free options available) and full bar options all week-long, plus live jazz on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings (verify schedule). Seasonal.
Tavern on the Falls
For the same great menu but a slightly different view, head to Tavern on the Falls located off Sussex Drive next to the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. Feel the cool mist from the Rideau Falls as they tumble into the Ottawa River. This new terrace also offers live jazz on Monday and Wednesday evenings (verify schedule). Seasonal.
1 Elgin (formerly Le Café)
The National Arts Centre’s hidden gem of a restaurant, 1 Elgin, has one of the rare patios overlooking the scenic Rideau Canal. The shaded covered terrace is the perfect spot to enjoy a meal or beverage while watching boats float by on Ontario’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site. A little slice of Europe in downtown Ottawa!
Located in a sunken nook between the Fairmont Château Laurier and the ByWard Market area, Métropolitain’s patio offers some Parisian flair. Gather at a table or cuddle on an outdoor sofa and enjoy the lit-up trees in the evening. Plus, take advantage of discounted menu items during Hill Hour (weekdays, 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. to close)!
La Terrasse at the historic Fairmont Château Laurier hotel has one of the most scenic settings in the city. Enjoy stellar service as well as views of iconic Parliament Hill, the majestic Ottawa River and the beautiful Canadian Museum of History. Look below and you’ll even see boats going through the historic locks of the Rideau Canal!
The Clarendon Courtyard is a special nook in the ByWard Market area where patios of multiple restaurants converge. Choose from the aptly-named and classic Courtyard Restaurant, the chic but comfortable Social or the Italian-style Mamma Grazzi’s Kitchen, and ask to be seated on their respective patios. The stone arches and cobblestones combined with lit trees and occasional live music in the summer make this large outdoor space a romantic and convivial spot!
Copper Spirits and Sights
For some of the best views of Ottawa’s spectacular sunsets and cityscape, head up to Copper Spirits and Sights on the 16th floor of the Andaz Ottawa ByWard Market hotel. Whether you sit by one of the fire pits on the outdoor terrace, or gaze out of the wall-to-wall windows in the interior lounge, you’ll be mesmerized by the westward views overlooking the historic ByWard Market area, Parliament Hill, the Ottawa River and the Gatineau Hills.
Sens House Sports Bar & Grill
In keeping with the historic architecture of the ByWard Market area, many of its buildings are only a few storeys high. This means that their elevated patios offer relatively great views! Located above Lowertown Brewery, Sens House is dedicated to hometown NHL hockey heroes the Ottawa Senators. The Sens House second floor deck features a retractable roof that is the first of its kind in Canada!
The popular local restaurant El Camino opened its second location in the ByWard Market neighbourhood on a stretch of Clarence Street which is worthy of a patio crawl! Order a margarita or their famous tacos at the patio bar and enjoy an elevated look at other patios.
Blend together a cocktail bar, restaurant and pop culture venue and you get Atari. Admire the colourful graffiti and urban art inside the restaurant as you make your way to the impressive rooftop patio. This busy corner of Dalhousie and Clarence Streets is one of the best vantage points in the ByWard Market area!
This airy patio was featured on Open Table’s list of 100 Best Outdoor Dining Restaurants in Canada for 2016. Bazille is located at Nordstrom on the rooftop terrace of the CF Rideau Centre – Ottawa’s largest shopping destination. Enjoy locally sourced, fresh salads, specialty entrées, signature cocktails and more!
CASUAL AND SOCIAL
The Brig Pub
When it’s warm out, the ByWard Market neighbourhood teems with popular street patios, but one of the area’s best-kept secrets is located behind The Brig Pub. Walk through the busy restaurant and step into the Instagram-worthy setting: greenery hangs from the high walls, funky artwork adorns the space and the patio is open to the sky!
On bustling York Street in the ByWard Market area, you’ll find Lowertown Brewery’s large front patio. Grab a seat in the sun at one of the large wood tables, order one of their craft beers (brewed on site) and choose from their made-from-scratch menu.
Heart & Crown Irish Pubs
The Heart & Crown is a collection of four connected pubs known locally as “the Irish Village.” Take your pick from the multiple patios on this corner property including at the front, on the side, at the back and on a deck. You might hear live music coming from the bands playing inside!
William Street pedestrian walkway
Where the pedestrian section of William Street meets George Street (near ByWard Market Square), you’ll find lovely outdoor seating areas lined with colourful umbrellas. Choose from a street level or second floor patio at the Aulde Dubliner and Pour House, or nibble on a wood-fired pizza on the terrace at The Grand Pizzeria and Bar. And leave room for a BeaverTails pastry – the Canadian treat’s original kiosk is located across George Street!
This popular Irish pub at the corner of Sparks Street and Elgin Street has a busy corner patio facing the National War Memorial. It’s a great spot to people-watch and take in the activity of pedestrian Sparks Street. Locals often head to D’Arcy’s after work for traditional pub fare, a great selection of beer and live music.
Mill Street Brew Pub
Just outside of the downtown core near the Canadian War Museum, the Mill Street Brew Pub is one of the only venues located on the shores of the majestic Ottawa River. The beers brewed in the 140-year-old former grist mill are only available at this location. Order one to accompany your meal and enjoy the tranquil setting of the two outdoor patios.
Craft Beer Market
The historic Glebe neighbourhood just south of downtown Ottawa features a few great patios, including the Craft Beer Market at Lansdowne. Choose from over 100 beers on tap and sip a few on the lively terrace. With its busy location on the corner of Bank Street and near TD Place Stadium, this patio is a great place to people watch, especially when a sporting event or concert is on tap next door!
If you’d rather focus on culinary offerings instead of outdoor settings, check out our list of Great Ottawa Restaurants!