Top 10 Things to Do in Ottawa

As the seat of Canada’s government and a large, cosmopolitan city with a rich history, Ottawa is packed with things to do. As a visitor to this beautiful city you’ll find historical and political buildings, parks, museums, performing and visual arts and more to keep you busy all day and into the night.
Parliament Hill

Parliament Hill

Ottawa’s beautiful Parliament Buildings are set atop Capital Hill, overlooking the Ottawa River. Free guided tours are available every day and, if you’re in Ottawa during the summer months make sure you catch the Changing the Guard, held every morning on the front lawns, and the Sounds and Light Show held every evening.
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Rideau Canal

Rideau Canal

Winding its way through the city, the canal is both an engineering marvel and a scenic landmark, perfect for a relaxing walk, bike ride or picnic. During January and February, weather-permitting, thousands of skaters take to the ice on the Rideau Skateway, over 7 kilometres of tended ice interspersed with snack and refreshment shops as well as skate rentals and change huts.
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Aboriginal Experiences

Aboriginal Experiences

The Island of Victoria is considered to be traditional territory by the Aboriginal Peoples and visitors are invited here to take a journey back in history, discovering the culture, food and art of the First Nations from across North America.
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Rideau Hall

Rideau Hall

Home to the Governor General of Canada, this is the largest official residence in the capital, and open to the public all year. During the summer, visitors can enjoy art tours, garden tours and free outdoor concerts. During the winter, there is free skating on the outdoor rink. 
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Upper Canada Village

Upper Canada Village

Take a trip back to the 1860s in one of Canada’s largest living history sites. Amidst authentic buildings, and stunning Victorian gardens, visitors can see traditional farming demonstrations, functioning mills and workshops where staff in period costumes bring the past alive.
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Museums

Museums

This historic city abounds with museums where visitors can explore the area’s rich heritage, its people, natural history, culture, technology and more. The Canadian Museum of History, The Bytown Museum and The Canadian Museum of Nature are just a few of the fascinating and popular museums in Ottawa.
Laurier House

Laurier House

This Victorian mansion, in the downtown neighbourhood of Sandy Hill, was separately the home of former Prime Ministers Sir Wilfrid Laurier and William Lyon MacKenzie King. Now a National Historic Site, the house contains artwork, furniture and memorabilia from its two most notable occupants.
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Festivals

Festivals

Ottawa is a city of festivals all year, with something for everyone. Some of the biggest festivals include Winterlude held every February, and The Tulip Festival held every May.
Gatineau Park

Gatineau Park

Just a short ride from downtown Ottawa, this stunning natural area encompasses almost 90,000 acres. With hundreds of kilometres of trails and an abundance of wildlife, this beautiful park is a year-round playground for the outdoor enthusiast.
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Notre Dame Basilica

Notre Dame Basilica

This beautiful cathedral is one of Ottawa’s landmarks and a fine example of gothic architecture. A must-see for anyone with an interest in historic churches.
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