Top 3 Places to Visit in Ottawa

Ottawa, our great nation’s capital, is one of my favourite cities to visit, especially in the summer time. I was there (again) last weekend, and loved it! Here are your top 3 must-see attractions on your next trip to Ottawa, Canada!

Parliament Hill

Parliament Hill by Anu J Photography
Parliament Hill by Anu J Photography

This is where “the everything” happens. Parliament Hill is a historical monument that holds a special place in Ottawa, and in the hearts of Canadians. It doesn’t hurt either that it is beautiful and picturesque and makes for a great tourist-y vacation photos. Take photos (and try not to get photo-bombed)!

Peace Tower (the tall middle structure) is gorgeous even all on it’s own. Try to visit it on the hour… I was there for 11 am, so I was able to hear the clock tower bell tolling 11 times. Stay for the bell toll! Love that sound!

Take a tour! There are free tours offered for people that speak Canadian in both official national languages, English et Français. The parliamentary library, a beautiful castle-like extension, is located directly behind Peace Tower. Even if you’re not taking the tour, make sure you do take a walk around the building for beautiful views of The Ottawa River (Rivière des Outaouais en Français) and the city of Hull, QC across from it.

You can also stay at night and watch the Mosaika light and sound show. You can take a blanket to lay on the ground (and maybe a sweater to hang on your shoulders… it gets chilly some summer nights), and a few snacks. For more info on making this a part of your night, visit the Ottawa Tourism website about it.

Byward Market

Byward Market by Anu J Photography
Byward Market by Anu J Photography

Located just a few minutes walking distance from Parliament Hill, Byward Market is the centre of lots of hustle and bustle. There are numerous little shops and stalls where you can buy souvenirs, fresh fruits and vegetables, trinkets, etc. If you’re looking for Ottawa-branded merchandise (hats, shirts, caricatures — you name it), Byward Market is the place to get it. Pick up a souvenir from one of the many specialty shops and stalls.

You can have lunch at one of the many restaurants (cuisines of the world include Moroccan, Italian, Mexican, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, and more). You can find something for the whole family. Even if everyone wants to eat something completely different, you can buy from different places and then find a table or bench in the common areas of the market to sit and eat together.

Confederation Park

Confederation Park by Anu J Photography
Confederation Park by Anu J Photography

A national historic site and beautiful park in the heart of downtown Ottawa, Confederation Park is a no-fee park attracting tourists from all around. Take a walk through Confederation Park with your friends and family and take photos of the spectacular views of the Ottawa River, as well as the Parliament buildings from the back.

Ride your bike through Confederation Park. You can bring your own or find a place to rent them near the park. There are people wearing navy blue uniforms that offer help to tourists looking to get around the city and explore and ask questions about it. They have free bike trail and walking trail maps of downtown and of Confederation Park available for you.

You can also have a picnic on the grounds and grasses of Confederation Park. Pack your own food, bring a ball or frisbee, and enjoy the shade of the lovely trees and gardens of the Park.

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