Ottawa is a wonderful taste of Canadian culture, food, and nature. There’s something for everyone in this city, and the biggest challenge any tourist will face is trimming down their to-do list. These suggestions may make you want to stay a few extra days – for the food at the very least.
Places to Eat
Whatever you crave, Ottawa has it, even Mexican cuisine! Hot tip: be sure to visit a currency exchange before leaving on your trip or immediately after reaching the city. You’ll want cash in your pocket to taste all the yummy street food not mentioned in this article.
Speaking of Mexican, Ola Cocina Taqueria serves up amazing Mexican food on Ottawa’s east side. It’s high standing among the locals is a testament to its quality and flavor. If you’re looking for something on the go, PiliPili Grilled Chicken in the ByWard Market has French African food so good you’ll consider visiting another continent on your next trip. Then again, North and Navy may just tempt you to head towards Italy on your next international flight. Spots like Edgar and Union 613 & Jabberwocky have the comfort foods you crave for a hearty lunch or a late night bite. Finally, those looking for a refined tasting menu absolutely must visit Atelier, headed by one of Canada’s greatest chefs, Marc Lepine.
Ottawa has also elevated bar food to something truly beautiful. Places like Citizen serve full meals and small plates with an exotic range of beers, wines, and cocktails to suit any tourist’s tastes. The wine bar, Soif Bar à vin, has excellent small plates to pair with their luxurious wine menu. Plenty of other bars in the area offer tasty treats in addition to great booze, so keep your eyes and nose open as you wander.
Things to See
Ottawa has no shortage of splendid sights views. The ByWard market is a great place to start. Filled with fresh, local food, clever restaurants, and designer boutiques, it’s a classy way to get in touch with the city’s roots. Speaking of roots, the Rideau Canal offers passage to Ottawa’s history. Functional, picturesque, and lined with both boats and walkways, it gives loving couples a chance to stroll by the water. It’s also one of the city’s defining landmarks, and there are plenty of local tour-guides who would be happy to tell you more.
For a break from the open air, visitors should check out the city’s many museums, especially the National Gallery of Canada. Filled with some of the country’s best art and a spectacular international collection, it’s a wonderful place to stroll, chat, and see the world from a new point of view. There is also the Canadian War Museum and the Canadian Museum of Nature.
Other splendid views include the Peace Tower and the Notre Dame Basilica. Ottawa has a long history of impressive architecture. Even if you don’t take time to visit these sights individually, they will frame your visit.
Things to Do
Ottawa has no shortage of excellent tours to join. See the city by boat, by bus, by foot, or by amphibious vehicle. The Original Haunted Walk of Ottawa is a long-time tourist favorite, packed with both history and chills. Tours also canal, the river, and the city streets. Wine and culinary tours focus less on the views and more on the tasty things in life, of which Ottawa offers plenty.
If tours aren’t your cup of tea, get out in nature! Outside the city, the Hog’s Back Falls are calling. Plenty of other parks and nature reserves in the area can help you get in touch with the raw splendor of Canada’s wild side.
There is no shortage of nocturnal amusement in Ottawa. The ByWard Market hosts a plethora of bars, lounges, and live entertainment every night of the week. It’s the perfect place to barhop, meet with friends, or catch a show.
Drinking and dancing aren’t the city’s only nightlife attractions, though. The Casino du Lac-Leamy, just outside the city, keeps the energy high all night long. The Rideau Carlton Raceway Casino offers a change of venue with the same great games for those looking for multiple nights of fun.
If you’re looking for something different, you can try something unique, like Murder Mystery Ottawa. There are plenty of hockey games at the Canadian Tire Centre, and there are many theaters putting on the very best original comedies, dramas, and musical productions. Try something old, try something new, but always dress warmly so you don’t go blue.
Eat a lot, see a lot, and do a lot during your stay in Ottawa. The only limit is your time. The city has something to offer every visitor, and it always has a surprise as it continues to evolve and grow.