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Top Activities in Ottawa

See all 24 things to do in Ottawa

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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.

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.

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Hull

With extensive cycle paths and river views, this old-world district is lined with some of Gatineau’s finest museums and most pristine parks.

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ByWard Market

Bars and entertainment venues line the avenues of a district centered on a daily market, whose vendors sell everything from food to artworks.

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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.

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.

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Gloucester

Packed with quiet parks, this historic suburb has nature trails leading to a majestic waterfall and an outdoor sports area.

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Learn More About Ottawa | Blog

The Ins and Outs for Visiting Ottawa

10 things to do in Ottawa, whether you’re looking for something inside or something that lets you enjoy that fresh Canada air.

Expedia Guest Author
The Ins and Outs for Visiting Ottawa. Opens in a new window.

Frequently Asked Questions

What to do in Ottawa on a sunny day?

What to do in Ottawa on a rainy day?

If it's pouring with rain during your stay, shake off your umbrella and try your hand at these entertaining indoor activities:

What is Ottawa famous for?

Parliament Hill and National Gallery of Canada deserve to be at the top of your list of things to see in Ottawa.

What should I not miss in Ottawa?

Put these things at the top of your sightseeing list to make the most of your visit:

  • 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?

Your escape to Ottawa won't cost an arm and a leg with free things like these to enjoy:

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