This 2-day Culture itinerary is all about discovering Ottawa’s cultural attractions, including museums, theatres, and galleries, punctuated by uniquely Canadian experiences.
Day 1 – A Civilized Affair
10:00 a.m.: Begin this tour with a broad cultural overview of Canada at the Canadian Museum of History (formerly known as the Canadian Museum of Civilization), the most visited museum in the country. The building itself is spectacular, with its curving forms and breathtaking interiors such as in the Grand Hall. In 2017, the Museum will open its all-new Canadian History Hall.
FUN TIP: The museum also houses the Canadian Children’s Museum—one of the most fun places in the region—so there’s plenty for your little ones to see and do!
1:00 p.m.: Take a break and have lunch at the museum’s Bistro Boréal or the more casual Voyageurs Cafeteria.
2:00 p.m.: Catch the latest CINÉ+ flick. Sit back in a reclining seat to get the full effect of the seven-storey screen and curved dome.
3:30 p.m.: Discover the Capital with a Gray Line City Tour. Experience Ottawa’s original and most comprehensive Hop-On Hop-Off tour. Choose from Parliament Hill, museums, parks, embassies and more on this fun, historical, educational, and bilingual city tour.
6:00 p.m.: Spend a lovely dinner at Grill 41, on the main level of the Lord Elgin Hotel. The restaurant features a modern environment and classic menu that is a perfect match for connecting with new and familiar faces.
Youth/family-friendly option: Stop in for an Italian treat at The Grand Pizzeria, a great hotspot with authentic Neapolitain pizza.
8:00 p.m.: Theatre? Dance? Broadway? The symphony? The National Arts Centre is home to the NAC Orchestra as well as English and French theatre presenting the best artistry from across the country. In 2017, the NAC will unveil its spectacular new $110 million addition.
Day 2 – Out and About
10:00 a.m.: You can’t leave town without a tour through the largest visual arts museum in the country, the National Gallery of Canada. Its giant bronze spider, Maman, greets you on the plaza entranceway providing a taste of what to expect inside. The Gallery boasts the world’s most comprehensive collection of Canadian (including Inuit) art, plus permanent exhibits include major works from European, American, and Canadian masters among many others. In 2017, the Gallery will reopen its rejuvenated Canada Gallery.
3:00 p.m.: Spend the afternoon at the Mackenzie King Estate in Gatineau Park. Roam around the romantic gardens and picturesque ruins, or take one of the many trails through the woods before stopping for tea at the Mackenzie King Tearoom. Travel time is approx. 20 minutes from downtown.
6:30 p.m.: For dinner, indulge at the Courtyard Restaurant. A favourite destination for relaxed fine dining, the restaurant specializes in Canadian cuisine using fresh, seasonal ingredients from local suppliers or try the Lieutenants Pump, offering pub grub, diverse beers and an outdoor patio.
Youth/family-friendly option: Always popular with a younger crowd, stop in for supper where the Lone Star Texas Grill first opened its doors. Great food and a playful rodeo atmosphere make for a fun evening.
8:30 p.m.: No need to wait for Halloween to enjoy a really good scare. Take a lantern-guided walking tour of the city’s ‘dark side’ with the Haunted Walk of Ottawa.