Ottawa Tourism

Family Fun

Things to do in Ottawa this Weekend!
Things to do in Ottawa this Weekend!
January 18
Celebrate Winter in Ottawa with these fun activities! Here is a list of events happening in and around Ottawa from January 20-22, 2017, in addition to our already stellar lineup of ongoing activities. The Rideau Canal Skateway is open for business; check here for ice conditions! Skate along the world’s largest skating rink, spanning 7.8km (4.8 miles) through Ottawa’s downtown core! For visitor convenience, note the rest areas, change rooms,…
Winterlude
Winterlude
January 16
February 3 - 20, 2017 Come celebrate winter in Canada's Capital during three fun-filled weekends in February, which is known as Winterlude! There are so many things to see and do that celebrate Ottawa's enchanting snow-covered season. If you're in Ottawa on Feb. 3, don't miss the Winterlude Kick-Off party! Taking place at Confederation Park amongst the beautiful ice sculptures, you can enjoy live music and an exciting outdoor dance…
17 Reasons to visit Ottawa in 2017
17 Reasons to visit Ottawa in 2017
December 9
Want to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday in style? There’s no better place to be than Ottawa – Canada’s Capital – in 2017! From Jan. 1, 2017 all the way through to January 2018, you’ll find exciting, one-of-a-kind events going on all over Ottawa. Intrigued? You should be. We’ve put together 17 reasons you should be in Ottawa in 2017. This is a year in Ottawa that you definitely don’t want…
Where to Ice Skate in Ottawa
Where to Ice Skate in Ottawa
December 7
So you’ve come to Ottawa, Canada’s beautiful snowy capital to take in all the joy and pleasures of the Canadian winter season. While you’re visiting, why not start your winter experience with a staple Canadian activity and go ice skating? Whether you’re brand new to the sport of skating or you’re a seasoned expert, Ottawa has a charming ice rink that will delight any level of skater. Head out to…
La Machine – July 26-30, 2017
La Machine – July 26-30, 2017
December 6
In the summer of 2017, Ottawa will be home to La Machine’s North American debut. A France-based company, La Machine brings amazing, mythical creatures to life. In late July, two creatures – a dragon and a spider – will walk through Ottawa’s downtown core. This family-friendly event is free. Just make sure to bring a camera! Fast Facts Located in front of the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa’s Maman spider…
Sesquicentennial Celebrations – Dec. 31, 2016
Sesquicentennial Celebrations – Dec. 31, 2016
December 6
Taking place earlier in the evening on Dec. 31, this is Ottawa 2017’s New Year’s Eve celebration. Head to Ottawa City Hall (110 Laurier Ave.) for this family-friendly event that will welcome 2017, Canada’s 150th anniversary year. This event is free. Please avoid driving into the downtown core on New Years Eve. Due to all the road closures it is best to take advantage of the free service by OC…
Canada 150 Kick Off – Dec. 31, 2016
Canada 150 Kick Off – Dec. 31, 2016
December 6
If there’s one place you want to be this New Year’s Eve, it’s Ottawa! Taking place on the historic Parliament Hill, the Canada 150 Kick Off will usher in 2017 and kick off celebrations for Canada’s 150th anniversary year all across the country. Get ready to celebrate all night! And the best part? This major event is free. Please avoid driving into the downtown core on New Years Eve. Due…
Stanley Cup Tribute – March 15-18, 2017
Stanley Cup Tribute – March 15-18, 2017
December 6
Ottawa is the place to be for all things related to the legendary Stanley Cup in 2017! From a special gala event to a concert, to a brand new monument, it seems that the city just can’t get enough of this timeless award. Did you know that 2017 is the 125th anniversary of the first year the trophy was donated by Lord Stanley of Preston to be awarded to Canada’s…
Red Bull Crashed Ice – March 3-4, 2017
Red Bull Crashed Ice – March 3-4, 2017
December 6
One of Ottawa’s most anticipated 2017 events, the final leg of the Red Bull Ice Cross Downhill World Championship will take place on the famous Ottawa locks of the Rideau Canal, Ontario’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site. Fast Facts Red Bull Crashed Ice is the fastest sport on skates! Be in Ottawa to see athletes compete on an ice track, reaching speeds of up to 80 kilometres (50 miles) per…
Fun Winter Activities in Canada’s Capital
Fun Winter Activities in Canada’s Capital
November 16
Whether you want to stay indoors and hide from the cold, or you want to head outside and embrace the crisp breeze of the cooler season, there are many ways to enjoy winter in Ottawa! From indoor activities such as visiting a National Museum – we have seven – or going shopping, to fabulous hiking, skiing and skating, Canada’s Capital is sure to have a winter activity to suit your…
5-day Itinerary: A Holiday Season Getaway to Ottawa
5-day Itinerary: A Holiday Season Getaway to Ottawa
November 16
When it comes to the holiday season, there’s no denying the charm of Ottawa, Canada’s Capital. 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.Thinking of a little getaway this holiday season? Well, we can help with that. Check out these ideas for a 5-day trip to Ottawa. Follow this itinerary…
“Free or Nearly Free” Ottawa in Winter
“Free or Nearly Free” Ottawa in Winter
November 15
As Canada’s capital, Ottawa is known as a cosmopolitan city. From some of the most important national museums to high-end shopping on Sussex Drive, priceless items, premier attractions and luxury are always within reach. But visiting Ottawa doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. As the city freezes over during the colder Canadian months, it becomes home to a sparkling winter wonderland where affordable outdoor and indoor activities abound!…
Improved Science & Tech Museum Opening November 2017
Improved Science & Tech Museum Opening November 2017
November 14
Having closed in 2014 for a massive renovation, the new structure of the Canada Science and Technology Museum is 85 per cent complete, the museum says.On a special media tour of the museum’s construction site in early November, Fernand Proulx, the museum’s Chief Operating Officer, told journalists that exhibits and artifacts would start being placed in the new building in March; eight months ahead of the museum’s scheduled reopening in…
Upcoming Ottawa Festivals and Events
Upcoming Ottawa Festivals and Events
October 30
With the arrival of the autumn season, Ottawa awakens to a crisp breeze and beautiful fall colours. In this beautiful city, decorated with all the luminous tones and vibrant colours of the new season, exciting outdoor activities and delectable foodie events abound. From fresh culinary delights to beautiful fall scenes, Ottawa has several activities that will help you embrace fall and all of its glorious aspects!  The best part is…
Get into a Holiday Season Mood with these Activities!
Get into a Holiday Season Mood with these Activities!
October 19
If you need a little bit of help getting into the holiday spirit, Canada’s charming capital has many activities to offer. As the cooler winter season weather arrives, Ottawa becomes bathed in a crisp breeze and the soft glow of thousands upon thousands of twinkling lights. From beautiful colourful cityscapes created by Christmas Lights Across Canada, to unique theatre presentations and culinary delights, it’s impossible for you not to be…
Getaway to Canadian Nature at Parc Oméga
Getaway to Canadian Nature at Parc Oméga
October 18
If you want to get up close to real, living Canadian wildlife, there’s no better place to go than Parc Oméga. Located in Montebello, Que. – just a 45-minute drive east of Ottawa’s downtown core – Parc Oméga offers about 2,200 acres of natural habitat for Canadian animals such as deer, elk, bison, caribou, wolves and more. Whether you’re looking for a romantic outing, a family getaway or an interesting…
Ottawa Ambassadors – Carli Smelko
Ottawa Ambassadors – Carli Smelko
October 14
According to Smelko, whether you’ve been to Pumpkinferno before or not, 2016 will be the year to attend.In an interview with Ottawa Tourism, Smelko noted that there are “all kinds” of new elements to Pumpkinferno this year. Among them is a new display entitled A Night at the Gallery. In this art museum-style display, Smelko said the team at Pumpkinferno has recreated some famous portrait paintings in huge dimensions. “They’re…
‘Reptiles’ Brings Beautiful Deadly Creatures to Ottawa
‘Reptiles’ Brings Beautiful Deadly Creatures to Ottawa
October 11
Reptiles – Beautiful and Deadly is the Canadian Museum of Nature’s newest special exhibit, having opened on Oct. 7, 2016. And trust us, you don’t want to miss it!This special exhibit, which runs until April 8, 2017, lets adults and little ones get close to some of the world’s most venomous snakes and beautiful reptiles, from a safe distance of course. In most cases, you’ll be glad that aquarium glass…
Haunting season spooks its way into Ottawa this October
Haunting season spooks its way into Ottawa this October
September 19
If you’re coming to visit Ottawa during the month of October, you’ll definitely learn that Ottawa doesn’t mess around when it comes to Halloween festivities. Ready to be spooked? Here are a few of the events that will send shivers down your spine:Haunting SeasonSaunders Farm | Sept. 24 – Oct. 31, 2016 (select days)Days of fall-tastic family fun and nights of locally grown frights! Younger children will certainly enjoy the…
Enjoy the fall glow of Pumpkinferno!
Enjoy the fall glow of Pumpkinferno!
September 1
When you think of Halloween, you probably think of ghosts, goblins, scary witches, zombies and haunted houses; but those are not always for the faint of heart.If you’re looking to take in some of the Halloween season magic without something sinister popping out at you and scaring you out of your wits, you’ll definitely love Pumpkinferno.Going into its fifth year, this popular outdoor harvest season event takes place from Sept.…
Outdoor Family Fall Activities
Outdoor Family Fall Activities
August 15
Though the kids have gone back to school, evenings and weekends still provide ample opportunities for having fun. Why not get the family together and enjoy the crisp, cooler weather? From nature walks among the fallen leaves, to bustling outdoor markets, the Ottawa region has something to entertain you and your little ones all harvest season long!Located just a short 20-minute drive north of downtown Ottawa, Gatineau Park provides the…
Ultimate Dinosaurs offers giant one-of-a-kind dinos for all
Ultimate Dinosaurs offers giant one-of-a-kind dinos for all
July 4
Did you know that fossilized footprints and not bones are the earliest evidence of dinosaurs and their relatives? This is only one of the many amazing facts you’ll learn at the Canadian Museum of Nature’s new Ultimate Dinosaurs exhibit this summer!According to the special exhibit, which is running until Sept. 5, 2016, paleontologists working in Poland discovered 250 million-year-old tracks made by a “dinosaurmorph;” a group of animals that is…
“Free or Nearly Free” Ottawa in Summer and Fall
“Free or Nearly Free” Ottawa in Summer and Fall
June 27
As Canada’s Capital, Ottawa is a sophisticated and cosmopolitan city known for its many national museums and award-winning attractions. Throughout this charming former lumber town, visitors can also find a myriad of gourmet restaurants and high-end shopping avenues such as Sussex Drive. But though Ottawa has many sights to offer, visiting the city doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. As the city basks in the glow of the warming…
Horse Power: Exhibit presents unique piece of Canadian heritage
Horse Power: Exhibit presents unique piece of Canadian heritage
June 21
If you haven’t had time to see Horse Power – The Paul Bienvenu Carriage Collection exhibit at the Canadian Museum of History, you’ll want to add it to your summer ‘To Do’ list. This charming little exhibit, which features 18 impressive and beautifully restored horse-drawn carriages from Paul Bienvenu’s private collection, highlights an interesting piece of Canadian heritage. Did you know that from about 1770 to 1950, Quebec’s carriage makers…
A Visit to the Canadian Children’s Museum
A Visit to the Canadian Children’s Museum
May 27
If you’re looking to take the little ones to visit something that is just for them, look no further than the Canadian Children’s Museum!Located just across the Ottawa River at the award-winning Canadian Museum of History in nearby Gatineau, Québec, the Children’s Museum is hands-on, allowing children of all ages to learn through active play. This attraction is adored by Ottawa residents and tourists alike, being the Museum of History’s…
Canada Day
Canada Day
 
Ottawa, Canada’s Capital, is the place to be July 1 for the country’s biggest annual birthday celebration. It’s a giant patriotic party on the lawns of Parliament Hill, Major’s Hill Park, at the Canadian Museum of History and on the closed streets of downtown.The crowds start to gather on Parliament Hill early, for a 9 a.m. flag raising ceremony and the Changing of the Guard ceremony, which is followed by…
Extend Your Stay: Things To Do On & Around Canada...
Extend Your Stay: Things To Do On & Around Canada...
May 25
So you’re coming to Ottawa to experience Canada Day in all its glory? This is the country’s biggest annual birthday celebration on July 1. You’ll no doubt be out and about early, taking in all that the nation’s enchanting Capital has to offer at the main celebration sites of Parliament Hill, Major’s Hill Park, the Canadian Museum of History and on the closed streets of the city’s scenic downtown core.The…
Star Trek beams into Ottawa!
Star Trek beams into Ottawa!
May 16
If you’re looking for an authentic and unique Star Trek experience, Ottawa’s got it this summer and… It’s a world premiere!Housed in the Canada Aviation and Space Museum’s expansive Reserve Hangar, the special 10,000-square-foot interactive Star Trek: The Starfleet Academy Experience exhibit is running from May 13 to Sept. 5, 2016. And trust me, whether you’re a trekie or not, this is a fun summer exhibit that you don’t want…
Pedal your way through Prescott-Russell this summer!
Pedal your way through Prescott-Russell this summer!
May 5
Located south of Ottawa’s downtown core, the rural area of Prescott-Russell offers green, open spaces and scenic country roads. If you’re looking to get out of the city and enjoy a quiet, country bike ride on your own or with the family, this is where you want to be. And Prescott-Russell’s summer 2016 season has no shortage of cycling events!See the list below to discover events that will allow you…
Music & Beyond
Music & Beyond
 
This festival, which couples timeless classical music with several other beautiful art forms, kicks off Ottawa’s annual July music festivals list!Over 14 days, this festival hosts about 80 concerts that feature orchestras, wind ensembles, instrumental and vocal recitals as well as smaller ensembles. These ensembles are then partnered with dance, theatre pieces, visual art, poetry, yoga, acrobatics and more. This festival aims to make classical music accessible to all audiences,…
A Few of Ottawa’s World-Class Must-Sees
A Few of Ottawa’s World-Class Must-Sees
March 24
As Canada’s vibrant capital city, Ottawa offers a host of fabulous activities in any season. Whether you want to see cultural marvels, priceless, world-class art or get outside and have some fun, Ottawa will have a special exhibit or event that is sure to delight even the most discerning of visitors.Thinking of coming to Ottawa for a getaway? Discover some of the gems that make this city worth visiting –…
Ottawa’s Top Natural Wonders
Ottawa’s Top Natural Wonders
March 22
Ottawa, Canada’s Capital, is an urban and vibrant destination where you’ll find many cultural attractions, delectable restaurants and lots of cosmopolitan shopping options. But amongst its big city delights, you’ll also find expansive, luscious green spaces that offer adventure and spectacular natural wonders.Whether you’re looking to go hiking or to get out onto the water, Ottawa and its surrounding region is sure to have an experience for you. Bring some…
Discover The Mer Bleue Bog
Discover The Mer Bleue Bog
March 11
One of the most outstanding features of Ottawa’s expansive and luscious Greenbelt green space is the Mer Bleue Bog.Located towards Ottawa’s east end, this 7,700-year-old bog is host to many rare species and wildlife populations that are normally typical of northern bogs, which explains why it is designated as an internationally significant wetland and one of the most studied bogs in the world!Here, there’s an impressive 3,500-hectare conservation area with…
Bring children to Ottawa and have a blast this summer
Bring children to Ottawa and have a blast this summer
March 8
Most kids can’t wait for their summer vacation to start; it’s a time for relaxing, cooling off and spending time on holiday with loved ones. Travellers who are planning a trip with their little ones should not miss all the amazing and interactive things to see while visiting Ottawa. It’s all part of what makes Canada's capital so fun to visit for families.Indulge in outdoor wonders: Ottawa generally experiences gorgeous sunny…
Enjoy Spring in Ottawa with these Family Outdoor Activities
Enjoy Spring in Ottawa with these Family Outdoor Activities
March 8
As the snow gently melts away, Ottawa warms up to the wonder, beauty and vitality of spring. As the weather gets warmer, it’s time to shed some of those cozy winter layers and head outside into the sunshine. Ottawa has several activities that will let the whole family take advantage of the warmer springtime weather. Whether you want to see new baby animals or you want to head out to…
St. Patrick’s Day in Ottawa
St. Patrick’s Day in Ottawa
February 26
With Ottawa’s Irish Festival running from March 11 – 19 and the 34th annual St. Patrick’s Parade & Party, there’s plenty of fun and exciting things to do throughout the week. Not only are there activities to participate in with the festival, but there are many Irish pubs located all around the city that are sure to be celebrating Irish heritage on St. Patrick’s Day (March 17)!Live Celtic Music -…
March Break Activities
March Break Activities
February 10
When March Break in Ottawa rolls around from March 14 to 18, families can make some great travel plans and keep the kids entertained with some of the city's best holiday activities.Altitude GymClimbing Day Camp - Clip and climb your way to an awesome March Break! The Altitude camp is being offered for both the Quebec break (Feb. 29 to March 4) and the Ontario break (March 14 to 18).Bytown…
Sightseeing Cycling Route
Sightseeing Cycling Route
February 10
Please click the icon to see more info.Distance: 7.5 km (4.6 miles) Time: 1 hour, or 5 hours if you stop at museums along the wayOttawa is a beautiful, green-spaced city that offers more than 600 kilometres (372 miles) of recreational pathways. Offering a compact downtown core, it’s easy to make your way around the city.Ottawa is also home to the Capital Pathway Network, which stretches from downtown, to the…
Maple Syrup Fun
Maple Syrup Fun
February 9
These maple syrup experiences celebrate this sweet Canadian treat. Often seen as a harbinger of spring, the maple syrup season usually starts in late February. Ideal temperatures of +5° Celsius (41° Fahrenheit) during the day and -5° Celsius (23° Fahrenheit) during the night start the sap running through the trees. It takes 40 litres of sap to reduce down (by boiling) to one litre of maple syrup. It’s definitely worth…
A Tour of Ottawa’s Downtown Museums
A Tour of Ottawa’s Downtown Museums
December 1
If you’re coming to Ottawa, the city’s many national award-winning museums provide interesting hideaways in any season and in any weather. Located just a short 20-minute walk from many downtown Ottawa hotels, these diverse cultural attractions make it easy to escape the cold of the Canadian winter or the heat of the Canadian summer. Take in a delightful special exhibit or explore the museums’ priceless permanent collections, which are full…
Be an Ottawa Tourism Guide For A Day
Be an Ottawa Tourism Guide For A Day
November 1
If you have family or friends visiting Ottawa, there’s no need to be stressed about how to entertain them! As Canada’s capital, Ottawa is home to many national museums, interesting attractions and scenic locales that are sure to delight visitors at any time of the year. From national historic sites, to special exhibits, to outdoor activities, to great shops and restaurants, you won’t run out of things to do. And…
A Haunted Walk of Ottawa
A Haunted Walk of Ottawa
October 6
When I booked tickets for the Haunted Walk of Ottawa’s Ghosts and the Gallows tour, I simply thought that it would be an entertaining evening. My cousin, who had moved to the desert state of Arizona in the United States 10 years ago, was visiting with his girlfriend, who had never been to Ottawa or to Canada before and this seemed like a unique way for them to see Canada’s capital…
Fall Rhapsody
Fall Rhapsody
September 22
Autumn is a special time to visit Ottawa, as vibrant fall colours frame the Capital’s national sights, and Fall Rhapsody celebrations and activities attract thousands to nearby Gatineau Park – just a 15-minute drive from Parliament Hill.  An annual event organized by the National Capital Commission (NCC), Fall Rhapsody invites everyone to enjoy over 90 kilometres of trails that run through the Park – on foot or by bike –…
5 Must-sees when visiting Ottawa!
5 Must-sees when visiting Ottawa!
September 21
If you only have one or two days in Ottawa, there is plenty for you to see and do. Canada’s Capital is home to most of the country’s national museums, many great restaurants and a busy shopping district. And as Ottawa is a pedestrian-friendly city with most attractions being within a 20-minute walk from many downtown area hotels, it’s possible to see many sites in a short amount of time.…
Ottawa River Family-Friendly Bike Trail
Ottawa River Family-Friendly Bike Trail
September 14
Canada’s Capital is a cycling enthusiast’s dream destination with more than 600 kilometres (373 miles) of beautiful recreational pathways that link natural areas, parks, gardens and national historic sites. No matter the cycling skill level, Ottawa’s scenic pathways have something to offer the beginner to the more seasoned biker. Cycling is an Ottawa activity the whole family can enjoy together! But where do you go with the little ones in…
Rideau Canal Family-Friendly Bike Trail
Rideau Canal Family-Friendly Bike Trail
September 14
Canada’s Capital is a cycling enthusiast’s dream destination with more than 600 kilometres (373 miles) of beautiful recreational pathways that link natural areas, parks, gardens and national historic sites. No matter the cycling skill level, Ottawa’s scenic pathways have something to offer the beginner to the more seasoned biker. Cycling is an Ottawa activity the whole family can enjoy together! But where do you go with the little ones in…
Ottawa’s Wild Side: Horseback Riding
Ottawa’s Wild Side: Horseback Riding
August 20
If you’re looking for a little equine adventure, Ottawa and its surrounding region has that too. Why not take in the beauty of the upper Ottawa River region on horseback? Here are a few options for you to consider:Horse Country Campground:Located in Foresters Falls, Ont., rafting company Wilderness Tours is also home to the Horse Country Campground. This unique campground is equestrian-friendly, offering campsites with a fire pit and a…
Mountain Biking in Ottawa
Mountain Biking in Ottawa
August 10
Ottawa is home to a recreational pathway network that offers more than 170 kilometres (106 miles) of traffic free pathways for people to ride on during the warmer weather months.It’s easy to ride along these scenic paths to visit many of the city’s attractions as well as the luscious and untamed Gatineau Park. Located at a short 15-minute drive north of Ottawa’s downtown core, Gatineau Park offers an expansive 361-square-kilometres…
NOKIA Sunday Bikedays
NOKIA Sunday Bikedays
 
Each Sunday from late May to early September, the National Capital Commission (NCC) closes more than 50 kilometres (30 miles) of Ottawa’s scenic parkways to motorists, reserving them for cyclists, in-line skaters, runners, joggers and walkers.From 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., explore Ottawa’s scenic routes at your own pace without having to worry about traffic. Head out early to cover as much ground as possible or get the family together…
Learn how to time travel in Ottawa with Time Travel...
Learn how to time travel in Ottawa with Time Travel...
July 14
Have you ever wanted to time travel? Imagine what it would be like to hop from one century to another and see how people lived long before you were born. Well, if you’re in Ottawa, time travel is definitely possible.Initially launched as a pilot project last July and back this summer, the Time Travel Trail Adventure is the Haunted Walk of Ottawa’s newest walking tour and I can tell you…
Where to See Animals in Ottawa
Where to See Animals in Ottawa
June 12
Looking for something fun to do with the little ones during your stay in Canada’s Capital? Head out to see some of the cuddly and exotic animals that call Ottawa home. From traditional farm animals like cows, pigs and horses, to ferocious alligators, prehistoric turtles and slippery snakes, the whole family is sure to be delighted at one of Ottawa’s animal-focused attractions. If you or your little ones are animal…
Introducing our kids to Ottawa: the Nation's Capital
Introducing our kids to Ottawa: the Nation's Capital
June 12
I grew up close to Ottawa so I'm quite familiar with the city and all that it has to offer. My husband is from New Zealand and one of the first trips we made when he moved to Canada was a weekend in the Nation's Capital so he could learn more about our country. Now that our kids are 10 and 12, we felt it was time to introduce them…
Interesting walking and cycling tours in Ottawa
Interesting walking and cycling tours in Ottawa
May 26
Ottawa, Canada’s charming capital city, is an urban, sophisticated destination that is home to seven National Museums, thriving gourmet culinary and high-end shopping scenes as well as a strong performing arts community. If arts and culture are what you’re after, Ottawa has no shortage of that. And the best part? Most of Ottawa’s greatest attractions are located within a short, 20-minute walk from most downtown area hotels.Also, though Ottawa is…
Changing of the Guard
Changing of the Guard
 
June 25 - August 26, 2017Every summer morning Parliament Hill is alive with music and colourful drills. The Changing of the Guard began as a morning routine on the Hill in 1959, and has turned into an annual tradition. This large-scale production includes a regimental band and pipers. The ceremony begins at 10:00 a.m. each morning, but arrive about 15 minutes early to grab a spot with a great view.Fast FactsThe…