Something old, something new, buildings of tall glass, parks full of soft grass—Ottawa is a city full of texture and personality. This is extra apparent in autumn, when hockey season begins to roar in earnest and hikes around the capital city provide ample views of golden foliage. Here at Expedia Canada, we love going on weekend trips as the seasons change, which is why we’ve partnered with Ottawa Tourism to present you a 36-hour guide to Ottawa this fall.
If you want to get into the thick of the action as soon as you arrive, throw on some red, black, and gold and head to an Ottawa Senators game. The rowdy crowd of over 19,000 shake the seats as players scrape the ice and fire pucks into the net. Called the “Sens” by locals, the team plays at the Canadian Tire Centre, about 27 km southwest of downtown. The Senators won 11 Stanley Cups in the first half of their history, with playoff showings nearly every year since returning to Ottawa in 1992. Come see hockey history being made during your autumn trip. Just remember the face paint.
Want to see the city in its fall outfit? Hike up King Mountain. The path is a 2 km-loop and regarded as easy for all types of hikers. There are 10 lookout spots for epic views, but you might want to keep going until you hit the trail’s summit at the Eardley Escarpment. From there, you can see the tips of the downtown buildings, as well as the thick forest in its various fall colours of reds, golds, and oranges.
If there’s exactly one thing you have to see on your Ottawa vacation, it’s the ByWard Market neighbourhood. Ottawa’s entertainment district is where you’ll find a myriad of restaurants, clubs, bistros and boutiques, but it is also home to one of Canada’s oldest and largest farmers’ markets. This is one of Ottawa’s most famous attractions aside from Parliament. Founded in 1826, the market is open seven days a week, and closes around 5-6 p.m. on the weekends during fall. In addition to the open-air market, the ByWard Market Square building is where you’ll find roughly two dozen vendors, selling everything from fall-flavored treats to winter accessories. As a bonus, the market is conveniently located within walking distance of other popular spots in town like City Hall, the Rideau Canal, and the National War Memorial, if you don’t mind strolling around with purchases in hand.
Top off your night in Ottawa in your finest outfit at the National Arts Centre (NAC). Fun fact: the NAC is the only bilingual, multidisciplinary arts theatre in Canada. Practice your French skills with an array of dramas and modern productions. The centre also puts on a variety of ballets, symphonies, and musicals. Check the calendar to see what’s playing during your trip.
Fall is meant for foliage and rustic wooden fences, so before you head out of town, enjoy an old-fashioned at Ottawa Rural Ramble, an afternoon tour of the Ottawa Valley. Select a number of activities like fossil hunting, art studio tours, and taste tests of the local food. There’s also a special giant pumpkin weigh-off to get you in the Halloween spirit.
This fall, make your way to Ottawa. Between theatre, hockey, and changing leaves, you really can’t go wrong on a fall getaway to the nation’s capital.
For more information about the city, check out our guide to Ottawa from a local’s perspective.
Expedia Canada Staff Writer