Best Things To Do in Ottawa, Canada

Are you looking for what to do in Ottawa?

If you want to ditch the already popular Toronto and go for something else in Canada, then opt for the capital city of Ottawa. If you’re a history lover or just like medieval architecture, then Ottawa has something in store for you. There are many attractions and things you can indulge in during your trip to Ottawa. Leisure attractions, outdoor activities, historic and cultural attractions, Ottawa has plentiful of places for every kind of tourist.

In order to visit the old days, you can visit many ancient buildings like the Parliament Hill, Canadian War Museum, Peace Tower or Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica. Enlighten yourself by visiting prominent museums like National Gallery of Canada, Canadian Museum of Nature and Peace Tower. Other major attractions in Ottawa include Bytown Museum, Centre Block, Currency Museum, Laurier House, Major’s Hill Park and National War Memorial.

Below we have a list of things to do in Ottawa and the places where you want to spend the best moments of your trip. At the same time, the city offers you the best neighborhoods to explore and new foods to try.

This list should help you in deciding and prioritizing what you should plan on your Ottawa getaway. Find a mix of must-see tourist spots, underrated local hangouts, and maybe even a few new experiences you can try out.

Make the most of your trip to Ottawa with confidence.

Tourist Attractions in Ottawa

Here is the list of things to do in Ottawa and tourist attractions in city.

  1. Parliament Hill

    4.7 (1017 Votes)
    Parliament Hill
    Feel close to political royalty by taking a tour of the Parliament Hill and Buildings. The parliament suite which still houses the Canadian legislature, was built in 1859 and is one of the most visited places in the country. The hill was a military base all through the 18th century till the early 19th century. The peace tower was added in 1927. Today, the buildings are loved for its sheers hist...Read more
  2. Rideau Canal

    4.7 (683 Votes)
    Rideau Canal

    Water Body

    The Rideau Canal forms the longest ice-skating rink in the world during winter and offers a range of activities including camping and boating all year round. Opened in the 1830’s as a strategic idea in case of a war with the United States, today the canal is a recreational hub with families and friends spending some quality time camping, mooring or boating at the canal. The Rideau Canal i...Read more
  3. Canadian War Museum

    4.7 (489 Votes)
    Canadian War Museum

    Museum, Specialty Museum

    The Canadian War Museum was built in 1880 and houses a colossal collection of over 50,0000 items that portray all the aspects of the history Canadian Military. The permanent collection includes the stories of the wars fought on Canadian land, the Cold War, the Second World War, the South African War and other operations. The collection of jet aircrafts, motorcycles, tanks and naval weapons are ...Read more
  4. Byward Market


    Offering a mad-mix of bustling cafes, pubs, restaurants, boutiques, art galleries, museums, salons and shops, the ByWard Market is Canada’s oldest public market. Whether you love fashion or are a foodie at heart or simply want to explore the vibrant local life of Ottawa, a walk around the ByWard Market offers something for everyone. Stop by at the place to grab some delicious food to late...Read more
  5. National Gallery Of Canada

    4.7 (1154 Votes)
    National Gallery Of Canada

    Art Gallery, Sculpture

    With a huge spider sculpture welcoming you at the entrance, you get ready to see the surreal collection of National Gallery of Canada. The Gallery was founded in 1880 and is by far, one of the best art galleries in the world. The beautiful building itself was designed by Moshe Safdie and showcases a wide collection of some of the best paintings, sculptures and photographs in the country. The ar...Read more
  6. Canadian Museum Of Nature

    4.7 (1149 Votes)
    Canadian Museum Of Nature


    The Canadian Museum of Nature is one of the most popular kids’ attractions in Ottawa with a rich collection of fossils, mineral and rocks, exhibits of wild animals, birds and insects and a stunning exhibit of the marine and fresh water fishes including a skeleton of a blue whale. The in-house library is just what you need to unleash your inner-geek and go through the vast collection of bo...Read more
  7. Canada Aviation And Space Museum


    The Canada Aviation and Space Museum showcases the history of the country’s aviation and has a collection of military and civilian aircrafts, helicopters and prototypes, bush-planes that date back to the early 20th century, exhibits that explain the science behind the airplanes and the technology used to aid the functioning of these planes. Take the tour of the place to learn about the re...Read more
  8. Peace Tower

    4.5 (963 Votes)
    Peace Tower

    Landmark, Tower

    The Peace Tower was added to the Parliament Buildings in the 1920’s and today it is one of the finest examples of Gothic design with a number of gargoyles, friezes and other stone sculptures that adorn the tall tower. The Memorial Chamber dedicated to the Canadians who sacrificed their lives during the Great War, has a collection of all the names of the fallen soldiers in the Books of Rem...Read more
  9. Notre Dame Basilica

    4.7 (1051 Votes)
    Notre Dame Basilica

    Religious Site, Cathedral

    The Notre Dame Basilica was built from 1841 to 1885 and is the oldest building in Ottawa. The present day basilica stands on the grounds of the prior St. Jacques Church that was built in 1832. Today, the church’s Neoclassical and Gothic Revival architecture invites visitors from far and near and its interiors cast a spell on you, as soon as you enter! The gorgeous alter does take your bre...Read more
  10. Diefenbunker - Canadas Cold War Museum


    The Diefenbunker: Canada's Cold War Museum was built during the Cold War as an emergency underground bunker. The bunker was built to protect incase of a Nuclear attack and still reminds the world about coming in close proximity to a Nuclear tragedy during 1963. See the underground facility that consist of an informative collection of archives, blueprints, photos, sculptures and a library that s...Read more
  11. Royal Canadian Mint

    4.5 (665 Votes)
    Royal Canadian Mint


    The Royal Canadian Mint designs and produces all of the country’s coins in gold, silver, platinum and palladium and manufactures coins on behalf of other countries as well. Esteemed medals are also produced here including the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games medals. The museum showcases these coins that cover a vast time in the history of the country and even has collector coins on displays fo...Read more
  12. National War Memorial

    4.7 (731 Votes)
    National War Memorial

    War Memorial

    The National War Memorial was established in 1939 to pay tribute to the Canadian soldiers who lost their lives during World War I, World War II, Second Boer War, War in Afghanistan and the Korean War. The statues consist of 23 bronze statues that represent the 11 branches of the Canadian forces that served in the First World War. The Tomb of the unknown soldier placed in front of the monument b...Read more
  13. Ottawa Locks

    4.7 (410 Votes)
    Ottawa Locks
    The Ottawa Locks consist of 8 locks that link the Ottawa river to the Rideau Canal. The locks provide a lift of 24 meters and is still manually operated. The boat rides take you to the locks and also offers a stunning view of the buildings that line the canal. Water taxis are easily available for a quick ride and the neighboring cafes and eateries make for a pleasant place to grab a quick bite ...Read more
  14. Haunted Walk Of Ottawa

    4.4 (563 Votes)
    Haunted Walk Of Ottawa
    Ottawa’s hauntings have been captured by many television shows and paranormal detectives and to taste a slice of its legendary tales, the Haunted Walk of Ottawa is as close to Ghosts as you can come to. The haunted walks take place in the Bunker built during the Nuclear scare of 1930’s, the Mackenzie King Estate and the old Carleton County Jail along with special tours arranged duri...Read more
  15. Rideau Hall

    4.5 (411 Votes)
    Rideau Hall

    Architecture , Hall

    Built in 1838, the Rideau Hall is the official residence of the Canadian Monarch and the Governor General of Canada. Take a tour where the Governor welcomes dignitaries from all over the world. The royal furnishings and art work, the grand architecture and the gorgeously maintained grounds- all make the tour rather special. The tour gets you familiar with the history, function and stories about...Read more

Ask question in category
  • Is there anywhere in Ottawa that tells and shows you about the history of Ottawa as a lumber town? An exhibit or movie or displays?

    Answer Report Abuse
    • I would suggest asking the local tourist center if they know about such exhibits or tours. 

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  • suggestion re: half day or day trips to interesting areas/towns outside of greater Ottawa

    Answer Report Abuse
    • You may enjoy visiting the  Bonnechere Caves, Old Montreal, Upper Canada Village, or Gananoque for a day trip from Ottawa.

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