Ottawa - Canada's Capital and Exciting Travel Destination

In preparation for my trip to Ottawa next weekend, I researched and reached out to Ottawa Tourism. Ottawa, Canada's capital, is a popular destination and has many activities, destinations, and events.

Get a general overview of all the things I could see and do in Ottawa. Nighttime panorama of Ottawa, with the Canadian Museum of Civilization at the front


In this article:

Some basic information about Ottawa. What is the size of the city?

What is the best way to get around Ottawa?

Ottawa, Canada's capital, has been a key player in Canada's history.

Most important attractions, museums, and galleries in Ottawa.

Ottawa's festivals and other special events.

How about restaurants and entertainment/nightlife areas in Ottawa?

We would love to give you an overview of all the performing arts available in Ottawa.

What are some shopping options in Ottawa?

What are the outdoor, recreation, and sports opportunities around Ottawa?

What are the options for accommodations in Ottawa?

What are the most important events and news stories in Ottawa in 2021?

  • Music and Beyond

  • 613flea

  • Capital Ukrainian Festival

  • Canadian Stone Carving Festival

  • Caribe Ottawa Caribbean Carnival

  • Capital Ribfest Ottawa

  • Ottawa Chamberfest

  • Gatineau Beerfest

  • Sheltered in Place

  • Twist Fibre Festival

  • Casino Lac Leamy Sound of Light

  • Russell Agricultural Fair

  • Queens in Egypt

  • TD Ottawa Jazz Festival

  • Curd Festival

  • Ottawa RedBLACKS

  • 2021 CKC Sprint National Championships

  • Capital Pride

  • Ottawa Kosher BBQ Festival

  • Rideau Lakes 50 and 50

  • Heating up the Capital: Ottawa Hot Sauce Expo

  • Trillium Championships Show

  • Escapade Music Festival

  • Rembrandt at Amsterdam: Creativity, Competition

  • Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival

  • Ottawa ComicCon

  • Fibrefest

  • Canada Army Run

  • Asinabka Film and Media Arts Festival

  • Festival Franco-Ontarien

  • Carp Fair

  • Harvest


some basic information about Ottawa. What is the size of the city?

Ottawa is Canada's capital and fourth-largest city. The region is home to approximately 1.2 million people, with Gatineau, a neighboring town in Quebec. Ottawa is in eastern Ontario. It's about four hours drive northeast of Toronto, two hours west of Montreal, and one hour north of New York State.

Ottawa has four seasons. There are the warmest temperatures and often high humidity in July and August. Then there is temperate autumn with beautiful fall colors—a cold and snowy winter, And finally, there's a wet season.

What is the best way to get around Ottawa?

Direct flights to Ottawa are available from many major Canadian cities and several U.S. cities, including New York, Washington, and Chicago. Ottawa is a significant stop on the VIA Rail Windsor-Quebec City Corridor. The city is also connected by bus service to other Canadian cities.

Highway 416 is a major highway that links Ottawa to Highway 401. The city is connected by Highway 417, and Autoroutes 5, 50, and 148 runs along the Quebec side.

Ottawa, Canada's capital, has been a key player in Canada's history.

The Canadian Heritage, and the experiences offered in Ottawa.

The Rideau Canal was built between 1826-1832 by Lt. Colonel John By of Royal Engineers, and thousands, mainly Irish laborers, are the beginning of Ottawa's story. The Canal runs 202km (126 miles) from eastern Ontario to the St. Lawrence River. It was constructed to provide a supply line for Americans in case of attack but never used for military purposes. The 49 locks still function in the same manner as when they were initially constructed. The Rideau Canal, Canada's nominee for UNESCO World Heritage Site status, 2007 marks the 175th Anniversary of its construction.

In 1857, Queen Victoria declared that Ottawa would become the capital of Canada. The magnificent Parliament Buildings were built shortly after and are a must-see attraction in Ottawa. Ottawa, as the capital, is home to 24 Sussex Drive, the residence of the prime minister and not open to the public. Rideau Hall, the residence of the Governor-General with guided tours of the home and gardens, and many high commissions and embassies of governments around the globe.

Laurier House is home to Sir Wilfrid Laurier and William Lyn Mackenzie King. Also, don't miss the Mackenzie King Estate, which is King's summer home at Gatineau Park, Mackenzie King Estate.

most important attractions, museums, and galleries in Ottawa.

The impressive Canadian War Museum was the latest addition to Canada's museum scene. It opened in May 2005 at a beautiful location near the Ottawa River. Gatineau's Canadian Museum of Civilization is Canada's most visited museum. The National Gallery of Canada has the most extensive Canadian art collection and includes American and European masters. The Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, the Canada Aviation Museum, the Canada Science and Technology Museum, the Canada Agriculture Museum, the Royal Canadian Mint, the Currency Museum of the Bank of Canada, and the Canadian Museum of Nature - are other cultural facilities. These institutions took benefits of a massive renovation completed in 2009.

The Bytown Museum - tells the story of Ottawa's early days and includes the construction of the Rideau Canal. Billings Estate Museum traces the history and life of a prominent family. And the Diefenbunker is Canada's Cold War Museum. This underground bunker, four stories high, was built between 1959 and 1961 to provide refuge for the Canadian military and political elite.

2006 marks the 150th Anniversary of The Canadian Museum of Civilization. At the beginning, established as part of Canada's Geological Survey in May 1856, a young museum grew to become the National Museum of Canada and later the National Museum of Man. in 1986 renamed the Canadian Museum of Civilization. Three years later, it moved into the magnificent Gatineau buildings and continuing to offer informative and entertaining exhibits for a broad range of interests.

We would love to hear from you about Ottawa's festivals and other special events.

Ottawa's festival scene is vibrant all year. Winterlude is the year's first festival taking place over three weekends in February. The Irish community celebrates Irish Week in March. In March and April, the maple syrup season is celebrated with a variety of festivals and events.

The Canadian Tulip Festival celebrates May with three weeks of celebrations of Ottawa's favorite flower. Princess Margriet was born in Ottawa in a room designated Dutch soil. The Dutch royal family fled to Ottawa during World War II. Canadians played an important role in liberating the Netherlands. After the war, the royal family returned to Canada and sent thousands of tulip bulbs as a gesture of friendship, respect, and appreciation. The bulbs have been following suit every year, and 3,000,000 tulips now bloom in Canada's Capital Region.

The Ottawa Race Weekend in May will feature Canada's largest marathon. Festivals abound in the summer months: Doors Open Ottawa showcases heritage buildings; the Nortel Ottawa Dragon Boat Race Festival Festival; Cisco Systems Ottawa Bluesfest Festival (Canada's biggest); the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival(the world's greatest); the Sound of Light fireworks Festival; Ottawa Busker Festival, Ottawa GreekFest; CKCU Ottawa Folk Festival and the Central Canada Exhibition.

Two free summer activities are offered on Parliament Hill: the 10:00 a.m Changing of the Guard ceremony and the evening Sound and Light Show.

The Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival colors the sky in the fall, and the La Vendemmia Harvest Festival delights visitors' palates. The Ottawa International Animation Festival features artists from all over the globe, while the Ottawa International Writers Festival hosts lively discussions. Fall Rhapsody celebrates autumn's beautiful colors.

Christmas Lights Across Canada is a program that lights up the capital for the holidays.

How about restaurants and entertainment/nightlife areas in Ottawa?

There are many entertainment options available in Ottawa. One of Ottawa's oldest neighborhoods, the ByWard Market also serves as an entertainment district. It offers over 100 food- and drink choices in a mere four-block area. You can find fine dining, casual dining, a cozy bistro, or a romantic cafe in "the Market".

Elgin Street is another area that's very popular for nightlife. It has a variety of bars, restaurants, and cafes within a short distance. Bank Street has three to four distinct areas, including the Glebe, along its length. Westboro, located at the west end of Bank Street, is a great place to have dinner and drinks.

You can also explore the many options at Casino du Lac-Leamy, whether it's entertainment or a show at its theatre or a meal at Le Baccara, its five-diamond restaurant. Signatures at Le Cordon Bleu Ottawa is the other five-diamond restaurant in the region, one of only eleven across Canada.

In March 2006, the Casino du Lac-Leamy celebrated 10 years of continuous excitement. It was originally known as the Casino de Hull, and today, it is a top attraction in Canada's Capital Region. The Casino offers gaming every day from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 a.m. Le Baccara has five-diamond dining and an adjoining Theatre that offers musical programming and variety shows. There are docking facilities and a Hilton hotel with a spa. Celebrate with themed activities at the Casino, such as the 7 Lucky Days promotion that offers a new promotion every day.

We would love to give you an overview of all the performing arts available in Ottawa.

Canada's leading performing arts center, the National Arts Centre, offers English and French theatre performances, dance, and the National Arts Centre Orchestra. There are many smaller theatres in English and French as well, such as the Great Canadian Theatre Company and La Nouvelle Scene. The Odyssey Theatre offers outdoor performances right next to the Rideau River. A Company of Fools is another example.

The Cirque du Soleil's production of Quidam will be in Ottawa from May 18 through June 11. Canada Dance Festival is held every two years in Ottawa (June 2--10, 2006). The Ottawa Fringe Festival (also in May) is another excellent way to enjoy new productions and innovations. In

The Centrepointe Theatre, located in the west end, offers a wide range of performances.

Scotiabank Place and Ottawa Civic Centre are often the venues for larger events.

What are some shopping options in Ottawa?

There are many great shopping centers in Ottawa: Rideau Centre downtown, Bayshore Shopping Centre, Rideau Centre, St. Laurent Centre, Place d'Orleans Shopping Centre, all in the west end. These centers feature the most well-known brands.

The ByWard Market neighborhood has excellent fashion and houseware.

What are the outdoor, recreation, and sports opportunities around Ottawa?

The Ottawa Senators are a favorite team from a professional standpoint. They have won the Stanley Cup!

The Ottawa '67s represent the Ontario Hockey League.

The Ottawa Renegades bring Canadian Football League excitement, while the Ottawa Lynx plays in baseball's International League (the Triple-A farm team for Baltimore Orioles).

However, Ottawa sports are more participative than that. Ottawa is home to many kilometers worth of recreational paths. Ottawans enjoy inline skating, cycling, and hiking. For the more adventurous, there is incredible whitewater rafting on the Ottawa River.

Just north of Ottawa, Gatineau Park is the location for Canada's highest bungee-freefall. Gatineau Park has something for everyone all year. The Park is loved by everyone in the area, whether it's camping or canoeing, kayaking or hiking, mountain biking, swimming, or even snowshoeing in winter.

It's also the only place in Ottawa where you can both play on the largest skate rink in the world and participate in the largest beach volleyball tournament.

What are the options for accommodations in Ottawa?

The Ottawa-Gatineau area has over 11,000 hotels. There are many options for hotels in the Ottawa-Gatineau region, including major chains like Fairmont, Fairmont and Westin, Marriotts, Delta, Sheraton, Novotel Holiday Inns, Best Western, Comfort Inns, Holiday Inns, Holiday Inns, Best Western, and Hilton.

Downtown locations offer easy access to many major attractions, and numerous bed-and-breakfast providers offer a cozy alternative to hotels.

Visit to see a complete list of available options.

What are the most important events and news stories in Ottawa in 2021?

"Ottawa BlackJacks Professional Basketball Club."

July 10, 2021; July 17, 2021; July 26, 2021; August 4, 20,21.

Canada's capital is home to professional basketball and family-friendly entertainment. The Arena at TD Place in Lansdowne offers fast breaks, huge dunks, and impressive blocks.

The Ottawa BlackJacks are members of the Canadian Elite Basketball League. They play against other teams across Canada from May through August. High-quality basketball action is guaranteed for sports fans thanks to CEBL players from top NCAA programs, Canadian national programs, NBA G-League clubs, and other Division 1 FIBA Leagues around the globe.

Music and Beyond

July 4 and 17, 2021

This unique festival, which combines classical music with visual art, poetry, drama, and science, draws audiences to performances at distinctive venues across Canada's capital.

The Music and Beyond festival host dozens of concerts in Ottawa over two weeks every July. It features orchestras, choirs, and bands, as well as individual vocal and instrumental performers. These musical events can be linked to theatre, dance, visual art, poetry, yoga, acrobatics, yoga, and other forms of performance. What is the goal? The goal is to make classical music available to everyone, including seniors and families.


July 24, 2021; August 14, 28, 2021; September 4, 5, 10, 11, 19, 22, 24, 25, 26, 2021; October 16, 2021; November 20, 2021.

The 613flea, a not-for-profit marketplace that takes place in Ottawa's historic Aberdeen Pavilion at Lansdowne Park every month, is vast. This free event is open to all and features an ever-changing lineup of exciting vendors. Over 140 vendors offer unique goods, hand-made treasures, vintage finds, and one-of-a-kind items. Artists, bakers, and artists, as well as antiques, vintage clothing, comics, and records, are all welcome to visit our booth. 613flea is available on Saturdays except for January and December.

Capital Ukrainian Festival

July 24, 2021

Enjoy the joy, life, and Heritage of Ukrainian culture and art... live music, delicious food, refreshing drinks, and stunning artwork... all along the Rideau Canal, the heart of Ottawa. Smachnoho wishes tablemates (Bon Appetit!) Toast friends "Na Zdorovia!" (To your health!) .

Canadian Stone Carving Festival

July 23 - 25, 2021

Stone carvers from Canada and the U.S. will come together to show their creativity and skills. Participants will be working with hand tools for 18 hours, over three days, to create their pieces. Local charities will benefit from the proceeds of the carvings.

Caribe Ottawa Caribbean Carnival

July 23 - 25, 2021

The largest Caribbean beach party in Ottawa, where thousands of people from all walks of life will be entertained and not, at last, eat delicious Caribbean food.

Capital Ribfest Ottawa

July 29 - August 3, 2021

Capital Ribfest is a family-friendly event. Festival Plaza is located in downtown Ottawa. Free admission, live performances, craft beer gardens, and non-alcoholic beverages. Desserts, treats and treats are available to complement the main course.

Ottawa Chamberfest

July 22 - August 4, 2021

Notice: The Chamberfest 2021 festival will be online. If restrictions allow, you can also attend the event in person.

You can enjoy 120 concerts by top international solo and ensemble musicians at Canada's Capital during the world's largest annual chamber music festival.

Two weeks of outdoor and indoor performances by internationally renowned artists will be held in the city's most beautiful and acoustically stunning churches, museums, galleries, and theatres for two weeks in late August and early July. The festival also offers unique Chamberfringe programming that combines comedy, film, fantasy, and sometimes even cannabis.

Quatuor Danel and Kune were the festival's headliners, as well as Adrianne Pieczonka and Suzie LeBlanc, Angela Hewitt, and Quatuor Danel.

Ottawa Chamberfest hosts special programming throughout each year so that you can get your chamber music fix every day!

Gatineau Beerfest

August 4, 7, and 14, 2021; August 11, 14, and 15, 2021

This is your chance to choose from 350 craft beers made by over 30 Quebec and Ontario Brewers. You'll be hungry after all the tasting, so make sure you visit the food trucks. There will be more than 12 vendors selling delicious local products. Festibiere de Gatineau has it all: live music, a children's zone, and many young and old activities.

Sheltered in Place

Dates to be revealed

People look outward at their immediate family or community bubbles when they are feeling isolated and social-distancing. This group exhibition features self-portraits as well as works of artists who create portraits for their community.

Twist Fibre Festival

August 13 - 15, 2021

TWIST, a unique Canadian fiber festival, brings together the best players in the industry.

Casino Lac Leamy Sound of Light

August 7 - 21, 2021

NoteThis event, which will mark its 25th Anniversary in 2021, is more intimate and more distant than usual. Instead of the typical six nights of fireworks in three weeks, 10 nights of fireworks will be held over two weeks. Fireworks will also be launched from land instead of the Ottawa River. The Canadian Museum of History will offer a smaller Sound of Light experience for ticket holders. This also means that the show is not visible outside of the viewing area. For tickets and more information, visit the event's official website. For information about regular programming, see below.

Enjoy spectacular fireworks displays that explode in sparkling waterfalls and colorful blooms high above the Ottawa River each summer. All this is set to exciting music.

The fireworks are launched from an elevated platform on the Ottawa River that is located below the Gatineau Canadian Museum of History. They take place Wednesday and Saturday evenings in the first three weeks of August. Tickets to any of the official events at the museum are required for the best pyromusical experience—these range from outdoor access to gourmet dinners to simple outdoor access.

Alternate viewing spots across the Ottawa River are also possible. Enjoy the pyrotechnic displays by international designers competing for the top spot at the Casino Lac-Leamy Sound of Light fireworks contest.

Russell Agricultural Fair

August 19, 22, and 23, 2021

Amazing entertainment and a display of agricultural Heritage.

Queens in Egypt

June 2, 2021; August 22, 2021

You can travel back to Egypt 3,500 years ago this summer and meet women of power. The major exhibition includes more than 300 iconic items, including monumental statues and sarcophagi and jewelry that are associated with legendary queens like Nefertari, Nefertiti, and Hatshepsut. This immersive multisensory experience gives visitors a unique glimpse into one of the most important ancient civilizations in history.

TD Ottawa Jazz Festival

August 19, 22, and 23, 2021

The festival plans to create a virtual world of sounds and visuals in 2021. There may also be pop-up concerts if allowed. For more information, see below.

This summer jazz festival brings together jazz fans from all walks of life. Outdoor stages, theatres, and galleries throughout Ottawa are filled with people enjoying jazz from avant-garde to big band.

The TD Ottawa Jazz Festival offers a rare opportunity to experience intimate performances in unique indoor or outdoor settings. There are hundreds of jazz artists and newcomers, as well as established names. The festival culminates in a series of free concerts on Canada Day (July 1)

The festival was founded in 1981 and has attracted a variety of international and Canadian musical stars to Canada's capital.

Curd Festival

August 2021 dates to be announced

You will find many activities and live music for your whole family.

Ottawa RedBLACKS

August 28, 2021; September 3, 22, and 28, 2021; October 16, and 29, 2021; November 6, 2021.

From June to November, cheer on the Ottawa REDBLACKS The Ottawa Canadian Football League (CFL), the team plays their home games at the new TD Place Stadium in Lansdowne. You can paint your face red-and-black, or wear your favorite REDBLACKS outfit, and cheer for your team to victory against rivals such as the Toronto Argonauts and Montreal Alouettes.

2021 CKC Sprint National Championships

August 24 - 29, 2021

More than 1200 Canadian paddlers from 40+ clubs across Canada will be paddling down Mooney's Bay in search of national titles at the Canoe Kayak Sprint National Championships as well as the Canadian Master's Championships.

Capital Pride

August 22 - 29, 2021

Every year, the third week in August is a time when you can participate in many celebrations of Ottawa's LGBTQ+ communities in parks, streets, and clubs.

Capital Pride highlights include sporting events and a Rainbow Party. A family picnic is also a highlight. And, of course, the Pride Parade. You can choose from more than 50 community events, as well as 12 signature events. Many of these events are free.

Festival Weekend is when the intersection of Bank Street West and Somerset Street West becomes an entertainment hub featuring live music, community fairs, and a beer garden.

Ottawa Kosher BBQ Festival

Dates for Summer 2021 to be announced

This family-friendly summertime event celebrates the rich flavors, culture, and cuisine of Ottawa's Jewish Community. Admission is free

The Ottawa Torah Centre hosts the Ottawa Kosher BBQ Festival in collaboration with other organizations. It features a BBQ contest, a live band stage, a Kosher food Court, a craft beer garden, and a large kids' zone.

Rideau Lakes 50 and 50

June 1, 2021, August 31, 2021

Ottawa Bicycle Club will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Rideau Lakes Cycle Tour in 2021. Riders are asked to complete 50 rides this summer. All the usual cities, towns, or villages are included in the rides.

Heating up the Capital: Ottawa Hot Sauce Expo

September 4, 2021

The Capital Hot Sauce Awards, a contest for pepper and spicy food, and a Guinness World Record attempt are some of the featured events. There are also ice cream, food trucks, and adult beverages (with gluten-free and vegan options).

Trillium Championships Show

September 1, 5 - 8, 2021

Trillium Hunter Jumper Association organizes the largest equestrian event in Ontario. It is set in the stunning scenery and is a venue for world-class equestrian competitions.

Escapade Music Festival

September 3, 5, and 6, 2021

Escapade Music Fest is the NCR's first such festival. This festival is dedicated to the growth of NCR's electronic music scene. Escapade Music Festival aims to create a festival that is unparalleled in Canada during Canada Day. It will feature the best local talent, the most sought-after international talent, and the highest quality production along with exceptional service and atmosphere. Escapade Music Festival was founded in 2010. It attracted over 3000 people (3,000 each) to the first event, which featured sound and visual productions that were unmatched in the NCR. Deadmau5, a Canadian-born superstar and Grammy-award winner, was the headliner of the event. 2011 Escapade Music Festival was even more successful with a Canadian-born superstar, Deadmau5, who is well-known as the largest DJ in the world. TIESTO provided entertainment for the patrons and the opportunity to see Laidback Luke (also his first appearance in Ottawa) and Calvin Harris (also his debut time in Ottawa). There were also six (6) national and local DJs. With a crowd of nearly five thousand (5,000), people, the event attendance has almost doubled since its inception. DNA Presents relocated to Ottawa Stadium in 2012 due to increasing demand for such music and events in the NCR. 2012 saw 15,000 people attend the festival, which featured Eric Prydz, Avicii, and Afrojack. Escapade Music Festival grew to more than 20,000 people in just two days at the RA Centre. In 2014, our 5th Anniversary saw us reach a record attendance of 28