Things To Do in Ottawa, Ontario

Activities, attractions and tours
Ottawa featuring rides, a park and outdoor art

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, is your ticket for traveling to Ottawa.

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Top places to visit

1. Byward Market Square

Eat, drink and shop at Byward Market, the most popular market in Ottawa. During the summer months, 50,000 people visit each weekend to browse the stalls, sample produce and enjoy the lively atmosphere. Both a marketplace and a large commercial district just east of the city’s historic center, Byward Market offers enough attractions to take up a whole day of your stay in the city.
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Byward Market featuring signage, street scenes and a city

2. Parliament Hill

The center of the Canadian government is situated on a 170-foot (50-meter) hilltop overlooking the Ottawa River. Home to the members of Parliament, the Senate and the House of Commons, the buildings on Parliament Hill are a stunning example of Gothic Revival architecture.
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Parliament Hill which includes heritage architecture and an administrative building

3. Canadian War Museum

See tanks, artillery pieces and a fighter jet and learn about Canada's military history when you visit the Canadian War Museum. Through art, photographs, personal stories, medals and uniforms, understand more about the human cost of conflict.
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Canadian War Museum which includes modern architecture and a city

4. Canadian Museum of History

The Canadian Museum of History is one of Ottawa’s architectural and cultural jewels. See its magnificent Grand Hall and impressive collection of Canadian cultural treasures.
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Canadian Museum of History showing modern architecture and skyline

5. Rideau Canal

The Rideau Canal is a water channel that runs 126 miles (202 kilometers) between Ottawa and Kingston, Ontario. Built between 1827 and 1832, the canal is North America’s oldest continuously operated canal system. Today the canal is the scenic and recreational centerpiece of Ottawa, filling with boats in summer and skaters during winter.
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Rideau Canal which includes a castle, a river or creek and a city

6. National Gallery of Canada

The National Gallery of Canada is home to a significant collection of national and international art from across the ages. The gallery houses over 30,000 works of art and is the perfect place to learn about Canada’s rich artistic heritage, from the carvings of the First Peoples to the nation’s latest contemporary arts.
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National Gallery of Canada showing interior views as well as a large group of people

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