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Best Places To Visit In Ottawa: 15 Places You Cannot Miss

These are the amazing places to visit in Ottawa. Make sure to check them out.

best places to visit in Ottawa
Photo by Jacob Meissner on Unsplash

Ottawa is one of Canada’s most popular cities and capital city. It is located in the southern province of Ontario at the confluence of the Ottawa and Rideau rivers.

There are places to visit in Ottawa that can mesmerize anyone.

Why Is Ottawa Famous

The capital city of Canada is a perfect combination of business and fun. Ottawa is not only a thriving global tech hub, but it is also a famous tourist destination for everyone visiting Canada.

There are various museums, art galleries, theatres, nightclubs, pubs, parks, gardens, natural areas, trails, national buildings, and monuments. This lively and vibrant city offers visitors several live shows, musical events, celebrations, parties, and festivals and keeps them engaged and excited.

So, plan your visit to Ottawa this time in your upcoming vacations, or if it is not possible, then at least add it to your bucket list. For now, look at the most interesting places to visit in Ottawa.

Places To Visit In Ottawa

There are numerous places to visit in Ottawa that can’t be ignored. We have brought you the gems of this city in this article that you must visit.

1. Canadian War Museum

It is a national museum reflecting the country’s military history in Ottawa. It is located at 1 Vimy Pl, Ottawa, ON K1R.

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What’s On

The museum is one of the best places to visit in Ottawa that you can’t miss. It serves as an educational facility for visitors and a memorial to the country’s past.

The Canadian war museum hosts a vast permanent exhibition comprising various galleries and smaller display spaces. Apart from these, several temporary exhibitions are also organized there from time to time.

It also displays an amazing collection of military artifacts under the Canadian government’s possession. You can also approach the museum guide available at the entrance to explore more.

“Battleground,” For Crown and County,” “Forged In Fire,” and A Violent Peace” are its four main exhibitions that cover all information relating to the country’s past wars and disputes.

The museum is set on the shore of the Ottawa river. You can even picnic on the beautiful green grounds of the museum.

Enjoy a nice lunch or breakfast at the wonderful cafeteria-style restaurant in the museum. There is a presence of a gift shop in the museum with lots to offer everyone, including books, games, models, clothes, and accessories.

2. Parliament Hill

Parliament Hill is one of the most prominent buildings of national importance, located at 111 wellington st, Ottawa, ON, K1A0A9.

Photo by Sarah Baxter on Unsplash

What’s On

The building got this national symbolic importance because of its Gothic revival style buildings and architectural elements.

There are the offices of members of Parliament, houses of Commons, and the Senate. The Grand entrance hall is an amazing sight, and even the court is very popular among visitors where trials occur.

You can discover many things relating to the history, functions, art, beautiful grounds, and monuments of the Canadian Parliament with the help of guided or self-guided tours.

Apart from these, there are many interesting things to experience, including the sound and light show, amazing Carillon concerts, and the Christmas lights.

You can also witness the live debates and proceedings of the Senate and the House of Commons. Enjoy the 30 minutes light and sound show that displays an engaging and beautiful story of Parliament buildings.

If interested, you can organize an event or program on Parliament hill after applying for it and receiving permission.

3. Canada Aviation And Space Museum

The Museum is located at 11 Aviation Pkwy, Ottawa, ON, K1K 4R3.

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What’s On

The museum is home to many military and civilian aircraft. It displays a huge collection of more than 130 aircraft and artifacts.

The Canada aviation and space museum hosts various educational programs for students which help them to discover the mysteries of space and the wonder of flights.

Students are given several opportunities to observe, explore, and discuss around. The Steam-based programs are also very interesting and fun.

Events And Exhibitions

The biggest attractions of this museum are the permanent and temporary exhibitions held there. Some endless popular shows held there are:

1. Canada In Space

This exhibition is the right choice if you want to explore the museum’s space offerings. It also gives an overview of the country’s most notable achievements.

2. Main Exhibition Hall

In the main exhibition hall, you will learn about the story of aviation, focusing on Canadian contributions and their effects on its life.

3. Eyes On The Skies

Explore the story of industry insiders and learn more about the factors affecting air traffic management in Canada. A special area named “Tiny Controllers” is provided for small kids.

4. Peace Tower

Peace tower is one the most prominent building in Canada, located at Parliament hill, Ottawa K1A 0A2.

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What’s On

Peace tower is the highest point (300 feet tall) in Ottawa that encompasses Parliament hill, the river, Gatineau, the entire city, and the northside hills. So, one can’t miss this amazing place to visit in Ottawa to experience the panoramic view from the top of the tower.

This iconic building is also known for its marvelous Gothic architecture. You will also spot lovely tower focal bells in the elevator.

It also memorializes the Canadian soldiers who died in world wars.

5. National Gallery Of Canada

The National Gallery is at 380 Sussex Dr, Ottawa, ON, K1N 9N4.

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What’s On

The National Gallery exhibits the most exceptional and diverse collections of artworks. You will get amused by the amazing artworks there, including various paintings, sculptures, drawings, and photographs relating to different historical periods.

It also presents the civilization story of Canada in the form of visual arts.

Many exhibitions and events are held there showcasing the excellent works of Canadian artists, both native and contemporary.

The Canada National Gallery has a library having an extensive collection of visual arts literature in Canada. You will see the library’s huge collection of books, catalogs, subscriptions, documentation files, study photographs, and more.

This place also serves as an institute of learning for students and kids as they can get an insight into the historical world through these artworks.

It is a perfect choice for your day trip where you can easily spend your whole enjoying the visuals artworks along with some excellent snacks, coffees, or meals. Some spots where you can have refreshments inside the gallery are My Bistro, Happy Goat Coffee, and Tavern at the Gallery.

It also has several amenities: parking, a wheelchair, a washroom, a clock room, lost and found, and a cash machine facility. There is a wonderful gift shop 0ffering a unique collection of gifts inspired by the Gallery and Canadian art.

6. Rideau Canal

The Rideau Canal is situated at 1125 Colonel by Dr, Ottawa ON K1S 5R1. It connects Ottawa city to Lake Ontario and the Saint Lawrence River at Kingston.

What’s On

The Rideau Canal is 202 meters long and is the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in Ottawa.

This place in Ottawa offers different ways to experience different seasons. In winter, the river remains completely frozen, and you will enjoy ice-skating along the river, gliding your way through downtown Ottawa. So, it is also popular as the world’s largest naturally frozen skating rink.

In summer, you can enjoy an eco-friendly cruise on the waters or stroll and cycle along the canal’s scenic pathways. You can also hire a paddleboat, kayak, or canoe for a wonderful drive.

Some best attractions along the Rideau canal are the Bytown museum housed in Ottawa’s oldest stone building, Ottawa locks, and Rideau canal pathways.

It is an amazing blend of nature and history and a perfect visiting spot for outdoor fun.

7. Canadian Museum Of History

The iconic Canadian Museum of History is located in Ottawa on the Quebec side of the Ottawa river.

Photo by Sean Driscoll on Unsplash

What’s On

Several temporary and permanent exhibitions on anthropology, history, and ethnology are held there. These exhibitions display unique and amazing collections of more than three million artifacts, documents, artworks, photographs, and other specimens.

Some popular permanent exhibitions are the Canadian History Hall, Grand Hall, Canadian Children’s Museum, and the Canadian Stamp Collection. The museum also hosts some online exhibitions.

The museum also provides facility rentals for organizing special events on rent. They also offer an online gift shop based on the theme of exhibitions in the museum.

8. Major’s Hill Park

Major’s hill park is surprisingly beautiful in downtown Ottawa located at Mackenzie Ave, behind the Chateau Laurier, Ottawa K1N 1G8.

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What’s On

If you get tired of traveling or exploring this big city and looking for some natural, calm surroundings to relax your mind and body, this park would be the perfect choice for you.

The park in the city center hosts several events and is open all year. It is surrounded by the most notable attractions in Ottawa, including Parliament hill, the US embassy, and other major attractions.

It is amazing to see numerous tulips blooming in the spring season. Become a part of the popular Canadian Tulip festival that marks the end of winter.

You can also enjoy a picnic with your loved ones and family in the Greenlands of the park. A Tavern on the Hill, an outdoor patio, an ice cream shop, and a seasonal canteen in the park that offers locally sourced foods.

The park is equipped with the basic amenities of washrooms and parking facilities.

9. National Arts Centre

One can’t skip this well-known performing arts organization in Ottawa, the National Arts Centre. It is located at 1 Elgin Street, Ottawa, ON K1P 5 W1.

What’s On

The National Arts Centre is popular for showcasing some of the best theatre acts in the city. Its biggest attraction is the phenomenal orchestral performances.

There are four stages at the center. These are the Southam Hall, the Theatre, the Studio, and the Fourth Stage.

It is one of the largest art centers in the world that hosts around 600 performances every year, including touring shows, international talents, and several world-class performers.

It includes an opera hall, a salon for reading and concerts, and a studio theatre. The sculptures created by Canadian and other international artists add to the center’s beauty inside and outside.

You will love the variety of performances there, including orchestras, dances, and English and French theatre shows.

Some special festivals and events are also organized here that attract many visitors.

Enjoy some refreshments at the cafe in the center’s new glass atrium or have dinner in the 1 Elgin Restaurant.

10. Canadian Museum of Nature

The famous Canadian Museum of Nature is located at 240 Rue McLeod, Ottawa, ON K2P 2R1.

Photo by Gillian Lingard on Unsplash

What’s On

Housed in the ornate gothic-revival Victoria Memorial building is the Canadian museum of nature that offers an insight into the wonders of the natural world and showcases the world’s best natural history collections.

It is a perfect combination of fun with knowledge and one of the best places to visit in Ottawa with family.

Exhibitions

Several temporary and permanent exhibitions related to botany, zoology, mineralogy, and paleontology are displayed throughout the year. Some popular collections held there include

1. The Fossil Gallery

This gallery consists of several marine and dinosaur fossils.’

2. The Bird Gallery

In the bird gallery, you will spot more than 400 species of indigenous Canadian birds.

3. The Earth Gallery

Get involved in the planet’s geographical history and other features at the Earth’s gallery through various interactive exhibits and displays.

4. The Mammal Gallery

Several indigenous mammalian species like grizzly bears, bison, cougars, and the caribou are showcased in this gallery.

The museum is well-equipped and provides various amenities, including multiple drinking fountains, free wi-fi access, and a free cell phone charging booth.

If you are tired or hungry while exploring this museum, go to its Modern Nature Cafe and have some snacks or lunch.

11. Byward Market

Byward market is located at the downtown core of Ottawa, Ontario, and is one of the oldest markets in this place.

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What’s Special

It is the largest farmers’ market in Canada. You will find museums, cafes, boutiques, galleries, food shops, pubs, restaurants, and aesthetic saloons spread within an area of four blocks square.

The market is always packed with fresh foods, maple syrup, craft vendors, unique eateries, and several utility products.

You will notice many small stalls of flowers, fruits, and vegetables in the street, supplementing the main market hall during the summer season.

The Byward market is one of the busiest public markets in Canada and, thus, one of the best places to visit in Ottawa.

It offers everything from restaurants to traditional eateries, pubs, and bars. Have the best food with your favourite wines, and enjoy your trip to Ottawa.

12. Royal Canadian mint

The Royal Canadian Mint is located at 320 Sussex Drive, Ottawa, ON, K1A 0G8.

What’s On

It is a national historic site that used to manufacture most of the country’s coinage, including gold, silver, and platinum coinage.

Now it produces hand-crafted collector, commemorative coins, medals, medallions, and gold bullion bars and coins.

The mint is among the best places to visit in Ottawa with family. You can tour it to explore how these coins are designed and produced.

13. Notre Dame Basilica

Notre Dame Basilica is a Roman Catholic Basilica located at 56 Guigues Ave, Ottawa, K1N 5H5.

What’s On

It has been designated the National Historic Site of Canada and is the oldest standing church in Ottawa.

The basilica boasts two towering twin spires which you can also see from the city center and Parliament hill.

The church’s exterior is quite austere and simple, but as you enter, it is a delight for your eyes. It reflects Canadian religious art and Gothic architecture beautifully. The elaborated carvings with Biblical inscriptions inside and the stained-glass windows with arches and terraced galleries make it look magnificent.

You can join their worshipping and prayers and participate in the church’s life by giving your time and talent.

Anyone who is visiting Ottawa should not miss this amazing piece of art. The National Gallery, Byward Market, Peacekeeping monument, and Nepean Point are some of the attractions nearby within a 10 km area.

You can try nearby restaurants, including the Big Pub, Courtyard, and Play Food and Wine, for refreshments or food.

14. National War Memorial

The National War Memorial is a historical building in Ottawa located at 4 Elgin Street, Ottawa, ON K1N 9N6.

What’s On

It is a tall, granite memorial arch with accreted bronze sculptures in Ottawa. A statue around its base is popular as ” The Response.”

It was constructed to commemorate the Canadians and soldiers who died during the first world war. It salutes their heroism and sacrifices and represents freedom and peace.

It has 23 bronze statues that represent the 11 branches of Canadian forces.

The National war memorial lies a small distance from Parliament hill, the National Arts Center, and Confederation Park.

15. Central Experimental Farm

The Central Experimental Farm or the Experimental farm is located at Prince of Wales, Ottawa, ON K2C 3R6.’

What’s On

It serves as an agriculture facility and a research center of the Science and Technology branch.

The farm is a National Historic site in Canada and the home to Agriculture and Agri-food Canada HQ.

It is also considered among the best places to visit in Ottawa and is open to the public throughout the year.

Over 10,000 species of flora and many beautiful gardens are a treat for the visitors.

Main Attractions

Some major attractions of this farm are

1. Ornamental Gardens

Ornamental gardens have been the favourite spot of photographers. There are several beautiful areas like the rose garden, the rock garden, the annual garden, the perennial collections, the hedge collections, and many more.

The gardens have around 65 different species of plants, 125 lilac varieties, irises and roses, and many other plants to explore.

2. Arboretum

The Arboretum is a rolling land between Prince of Wales Drive and the Rideau canal that displays a wide range of trees and shrubs, different soil types, and moisture levels.

3. Tropical Green House

It is a popular tropical plant exhibition, and it is also free of charge.

Apart from these, there are some research sites, a National historic site plaque, and similar other attractions on the farm.

You can also use the farm space for some events or functions like weddings or hosting any charitable event. But the number of guests is limited there, and you must get permission from the farm authorities.

Conclusion

Ottawa is among the most popular and most visited cities in Canada. Known for its art and culture, foods and drinks, festivals, and events, Ottawa holds something special for everyone. Enjoy the scenic views, plenty of greenery, and wonderful lifestyle of Ottawa, and make your holidays special. Here, we elaborated on the 15 best places to visit in Ottawa that you must visit.

Written by Pragya Chakrapani

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