7 best places to visit in Ottawa

The Canadian capital is made for tourism, and features excellent sites and attractions.

Life + Leisure Travel and Getaways Koelen Andrews

This article was published on July 16th, 2017

Not just the seat of government, Ottawa has become a cool Canadian vacation destination. The Canadian capital is made for tourism, and features excellent sites and attractions. Originally a frontier town founded in 1826 known as Bytown, the town was later renamed to Ottawa in 1855, and was specifically chosen to be the Canadian Capital by Queen Victoria because of its strong natural defenses. Now, Ottawa has grown to be the fourth largest city in Canada. Ottawa has the highest standard of living in the country and is ranked 24th on the world list of quality of life of cities. Visitors to the capital will find a beautiful city, hugged by the Ottawa River, and decorated with lustrous green parks and stunning architecture. Here are the 7 best places to visit in Ottawa that will make you fall in love with Canada’s capital city.

Parliament Hill. Start at the center of Ottawa at Parliament Hill to get excellent views of the seats of Canadian government. The buildings are gorgeous examples of Victorian Gothic architecture. Here, you can see the changing of the guard, the memorial chamber, parliament library, and peace tower.

Parliament Hill

Rideau Canal. Next to Parliament Hill is the Rideau Canal: a 125-mile waterway that stretches from Ottawa to Montreal. There is ice-skating in the winter and summertime sees boating, sailing, swimming, bike riding, and walking trails opened to the public along this tree-lined river.

Rideau Canal

Byward Market. Also in the heart of Ottawa is the historic Byward Market, home to eclectic shops, fun eateries, secluded courtyards, and obscure trinket shops. It’s one of the largest and oldest public markets in Canada.

Byward Market

The National Gallery of Canada. This über modern, glass-towered building was designed to mimic the Parliament Building’s gothic towers and it houses much of the nation’s Inuit and aboriginal art.

The National Gallery of Canada

The Canadian War Museum. Perched next to the Ottawa River, the modern Canadian War Museum holds exhibits and artifacts from wars that Canadians took part in. From aboriginal wars fought in the 16th century to World War II and beyond, the Canadian War museum showcases Canadian contributions in the wars of the last 500 years.

The Canadian War Museum

Gatineau Park. If nature is more your flavor, head to Gatineau Park. Just 15 minutes from downtown Ottawa, Gatineau Park features stunning scenic lookouts and bluffs throughout the 90,000-acre park. Hundreds of miles of hiking trails and paths make this an Ottawa jewel visitors have come to love.

Gatineau Park

Dows Lake Pavilion. A lakeside pavilion containing ample restaurants, Dows Lake Pavilion has docks for renting water sports gear in the summer and sleds in the winter. Beautiful views of the lake and city and multiple things to do make this a great destination for the family.

Dows Lake Pavilion

Canadian Museum of History. Formerly the Canadian Museum of Civilization, this is massive museum and the most visited in Canada, seeing 1.2 million visitors a year. The museum has a vast collection of Totem poles throughout its 300,000 square feet, as well as housing 20,000 years of history through artifacts within its galleries.

Canadian Museum of History

There’s never been a better time to visit Ottawa, the capital city of Canada. Start planning your trip to Ottawa today!

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