Ottawa’s grandeur makes for a striking capital city. Its gothic parliament buildings create an impressive centre piece, with its rolling hills and snaking rivers creating a picturesque setting. Its nightlife is more low-key than other Canadian cities, however its extensive number of museums and historical sites will ensure your days are as filled as you want them to be.


Parliament Hill or ‘The Hill’ as the locals call it, is located on the southern banks of the Ottawa River, in the centre of downtown Ottawa. It’s the cultural heart of the city and there’s free daily guided tours available, giving you chance to explore the parliamentary buildings and possibly even head up Peace Tower.

The list of museums and galleries on offer is endless, the most popular being the National Gallery of Canada, the Canadian Museum of Civilization, the Canadian Museum of Nature, the Canadian war museum, Bytown Museum, the Canada Science and Technology Museum and the Canada Aviation and Space Museum.

There are a few other sites which we’d recommend visiting. The first is the Rideau Canal, a 125 mile waterway, which was constructed in 1826 to defend the city’s trade route in case of attack from US forces. Also a visit to ByWard Market is a great way to while away a few hours one afternoon, it’s in the heart of downtown and it’s one of the country’s oldest and largest public markets -you’re sure to come across a few intriguing finds. The stunning gothic-style Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica always makes one of Ottawa’s top 10 attractions and for a few hours of you time head to Gatineau Park.

When the sun sets head to Elgin Street, the hub of the city’s nightlife. It tends to be a more relaxed affair than what’s on offer by its neighbouring cities. A nice meal, followed by a couple of cocktails or beers is more the norm. However the city’s culinary scene has really come into its own in recent years, with a range of culinary delights on offer.

For something a little different, take to the water and kayak along the Ottawa River, or if you’re more daring further out of the city you can even go white water rafting. There’s also many more sporting activities on offer too, everything from bungee jumping to cycling the 180km recreational track.