What to do in Ottawa

Activities, attractions and tours
Ottawa showing outdoor art, rides and a garden

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.

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What to do in Ottawa

Free Things to Do in Ottawa

There's no need to max out your credit card in Ottawa. The following won't cost a penny.

Nepean Museum - Packed with artifacts and displays, this place is heaven for inquiring minds.

Le Cordon Bleu Ottawa Culinary Arts Institute - When you want to get cultured, stop here and enjoy the artistic creativity on display.

Ottawa River Parkway - Make this place your first stop for a dash of fun during your time away.

Ottawa City Hall - Take in the design and originality of this impressive example of modernistic architecture.

Supreme Court of Canada - If you're interested in bygone times, this is one attraction you really shouldn't miss.

Confederation Square - Amble along the streets and enjoy the atmosphere of this favorite area.

Victoria Island - Get out of life's fast lane and spend some time out close to the water.

Library and Archives Canada - Leave time to have a look at this site of local importance.

St Andrew's Church - Enjoy some quiet reflection and learn a thing or two about this site's spiritual importance.

Chocolate Cove - Dive into your favorite magazine or listen to a popular playlist while getting some sun.

Commissioners Park - Contemplate the stark contrast between urban life and nature's wonders at this special location.

Confederation Park - Grab your blanket, pack some finger food and find a cozy area to be with nature.

Things to Do in Ottawa with Kids

There are plenty of enjoyable things to do in Ottawa with the young ones. Keep everyone happy with these family friendly experiences:


Looking for sports, concerts, or theater events in Ottawa? Search event tickets to see what's happening today, or to plan what to do this weekend!



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Frequently asked questions

What to do in Ottawa on a rainy day?
A Saturdays Learning - Musical exploration is an awesome indoor activity if the weather forecast isn’t great.
What is Ottawa famous for?
Make it a priority to visit Parliament Hill and National Gallery of Canada if it’s big-name sights you’re after.
What should I not miss in Ottawa?
If you want to see the best of this place, pencil these attractions into your itinerary:

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

Are there cheap things to do in Ottawa?
What can you do in Ottawa for free?
You could leave your money in the hotel safe for the day, because these cool attractions can be seen for nothing:

  • University of Ottawa
  • Rideau Canal
  • Supreme Court of Canada
  • Carleton University

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