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See all 37 things to do in Ottawa

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What to Do in Ottawa: Must See Attractions

Ottawa Attractions

Ottawa is the capital of Canada and is located on the map of eastern Ontario near the Quebec border, and it was formerly known as Bytown named after its founder Colonel John By in 1826. The name was changed to Ottawa in 1855, and now in addition to being the center of the Canadian government, it also is a tourist hub you can visit any time of the year and expect to find entertainment and relaxing spots to spend your time. Among fun things to do in Ottawa, the following places are by far the best to visit when you travel here.

One must see attraction in Ottawa is the Canadian Museum of Civilization, a museum that takes you way back in history to the early days of the native people who inhabited the country before the Europeans came, through to the the French settler periods, and all the way to the time in which Canada became a nation. From artifacts and profiles of famous Canadian founders to even a children's museum section, these features make this place a top location for Ottawa excursions.

There are many local festivals taking place throughout the year you may add to the list of Ottawa activities such as the Festival of India, the Nevan Fair, the Carp Fair, and the Ottawa Egyptian Festival. These festivals are great for the family to enjoy together, while kids also get a chance to dress up in costumes and participate in other activities to give them an insight to different cultures.

Among other attractions in Ottawa is the Fitzroy Provincial Park, a place where you can go to enjoy the Canadian outdoors and view wildlife on the Ottawa River. The park also hosts outdoor concerts sometimes where you can add the tune of music to the sights and sounds of your visit.

Other Ottawa tours are available from Expedia, so use our packages to discover Canada's capital and see how you can plan for your trip there. With lots to do and more to see, Expedia.com is your ticket for traveling to Ottawa.

Things to Do in Ottawa with Kids

If you're taking a break with the little ones, there are plenty of things to do together in Ottawa. These family friendly experiences will put wide smiles on faces of all ages:

Free Things to Do in Ottawa

Leave your purse in the hotel room. It's easy to occupy yourself in Ottawa without surrendering a penny.

Nepean Museum - Packed with fascinating displays and objects, this place is a wonderland for hungry minds.

Le Cordon Bleu Ottawa Culinary Arts Institute - This is a must-visit for culture vultures wanting to add an artistic flourish to their getaway.

Ottawa River Parkway - Let the kids play or release your own inner child — this place just oozes fun.

Ottawa City Hall - Stop at this landmark and marvel at its design.

Supreme Court of Canada - Get to grips with some of the interesting history of the region through this site.

Confederation Square - Discover for yourself why locals and visitors alike are in love with the atmosphere of this place.

Victoria Island - Just being close to the water is guaranteed to leave you feeling rejuvenated and calm.

Library and Archives Canada - Strike up a conversation with a few locals and find out why many travelers drop by this place.

St Andrew's Church - Stop for some quiet reflection and find out a few things about this site's spiritual importance.

Chocolate Cove - Take a stroll along the coastline and maybe even dip a toe in.

Commissioners Park - Take your camera and let Mother Nature awaken awe and wonder in you.

Confederation Park - Grab your rug, pack some nibbles and find a shady spot to relish nature.

Explore The Neighborhoods of Ottawa

Downtown Ottawa

Discover art, delve into history and savor natural beauty in the heart of Canada’s national capital, a delightful blend of old and new.

MuseumsShoppingWalking

Hull

Hull is a destination visitors seek out for is interesting museums, casinos, and stunning river views. You might want to check out attractions like Casino du Lac Leamy or Jacques Cartier Park while you're exploring the neighborhood.

MuseumsEntertainmentRivers

Ottawa Division

While you're in Ottawa Division, take in top sights like Canadian Tire Centre or Rideau Canal, and hop on the metro to see more the city at Confederation Station or Greenboro Station.

ByWard Market

One reason travelers love spending time in ByWard Market is the popular shops, and Byward Market Square is a top place to visit.

ShoppingWalkingDining

Vanier

The restaurants and live music are just a few features travelers like about Vanier. If you want to do some sightseeing nearby, Byward Market Square and Canada Aviation and Space Museum are a few top places to visit.

DancingFamily-FriendlyNature

Centretown

The abundant dining options and interesting museums are top of the list for many visitors to Centretown. A stop by Museum of Nature or Dundonald Park might round out your trip.

WalkingFriendly PeopleDining

Frequently Asked Questions

What to do in Ottawa on a sunny day?

What to do in Ottawa on a rainy day?

Throw yourself into some of these indoor activities and turn a dull, rainy day into something unforgettable:

What is Ottawa famous for?

Head straight for Parliament Hill and National Gallery of Canada if it's major attractions you're chasing.

What should I not miss in Ottawa?

You'll want to put these things at the top of your must-see list to get the most out of your visit:

  • Canadian Tire Centre
  • Rideau Canal
  • University of Ottawa
  • Canadian War Museum

Are there cheap things to do in Ottawa?

Keep more of your hard-earned money in your wallet with these thrifty and fun experiences:

What can you do in Ottawa for free?

Your break in Ottawa won't cost an arm and a leg with free attractions like these to keep you on the go:

  • Rideau Canal
  • University of Ottawa
  • Supreme Court of Canada
  • Byward Market Square