Best Places to Visit in Ottawa – Top 10 Gems

Top 10 Best Places to Visit in Ottawa

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Best Places to Visit in Ottawa



Parliament Hill

8:30 AM – 6 PM


Rideau Canal



Canadian War Museum

9:30 AM – 5 PM


National Gallery of Canada

10 AM – 5 PM


Notre Dame Basilica

9 AM – 6 PM


Canadian Museum of Nature

9 AM – 6 PM


Canada Aviation and Space Museum



National War Memorial

Open 24 hours


Royal Canadian Mint

9:30 AM – 5:30 PM


Byward Market


Best Places to Visit in Ottawa

Ottawa, the capital city of Canada and the province of Ontario, is a vibrant destination with a rich blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. Known for its breathtaking Victorian architecture and picturesque landscapes, Ottawa offers a plethora of attractions for visitors to explore. From iconic landmarks to world-class museums, Ottawa is a treasure trove of experiences that cater to all interests. Whether you’re interested in delving into Canada’s political history at Parliament Hill, taking a leisurely stroll along the historic Rideau Canal, or immersing yourself in art and culture at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa has something for everyone. The city’s charming neighborhoods, such as Byward Market, offer a vibrant culinary scene and unique shopping experiences. With its fascinating blend of old-world charm and modern attractions, Ottawa is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in Canada for an unforgettable travel experience.


1. Parliament Hill

Best Places to Visit in Ottawa - Top 10 Gems

Parliament Hill is the iconic centerpiece of Ottawa and the seat of Canada’s government. This grand complex comprises three impressive buildings: the East Block, the West Block, and the Centre Block. The Centre Block, with its iconic Peace Tower, is particularly renowned for its stunning Gothic Revival architecture. Visitors can explore the grounds and take guided tours to learn about Canada’s political history, architecture, and the functioning of the government. The highlight of a visit to Parliament Hill is the opportunity to witness the Changing of the Guard ceremony, where the ceremonial guard marches to the sound of bagpipes and drums. The observation deck of the Peace Tower offers breathtaking panoramic views of the city, making it a must-visit spot for photography enthusiasts. Additionally, during the summer months, Parliament Hill hosts various events and festivals, including Canada Day celebrations with fireworks.

2. Rideau Canal

Best Places to Visit in Ottawa - Top 10 Gems

The Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a historic waterway that winds its way through Ottawa. Built-in the early 19th century, the canal stretches for 202 kilometers, connecting Ottawa with Kingston. In winter, the canal transforms into the world’s largest naturally frozen skating rink, attracting locals and tourists alike. Skating along the frozen canal, surrounded by picturesque winter scenery, is a magical experience. During the summer, visitors can take boat tours or rent kayaks and paddle along the canal, enjoying the serene and scenic views. The canal is lined with charming pathways and parks, perfect for leisurely walks or picnics. Exploring the canal’s locks, which are still manually operated, offers a glimpse into the engineering marvels of the past. Whether you visit in winter or summer, the Rideau Canal is a must-visit destination in Ottawa, offering a unique blend of history, natural beauty, and recreational activities.

3. Canadian War Museum

Best Places to Visit in Ottawa - Top 10 Gems

Located just a short walk from downtown Ottawa, the Canadian War Museum is a captivating attraction that showcases Canada’s military history. The museum’s striking architecture, resembling a stylized artillery shell, is a fitting tribute to the exhibits housed within. With an extensive collection of artifacts, the museum tells the stories of Canada’s involvement in various conflicts and wars, from the early battles to modern-day missions. Visitors can explore exhibits that feature military vehicles, aircraft, weaponry, uniforms, and personal stories of veterans. One of the museum’s highlights is the Memorial Hall, where the names of Canadians who sacrificed their lives for the nation are inscribed. Interactive displays and multimedia presentations provide a deeper understanding of the experiences of soldiers and civilians during wartime. The Canadian War Museum offers a thought-provoking and educational experience, honoring the country’s military heritage and the sacrifices made for freedom and peace.

4. National Gallery of Canada

Best Places to Visit in Ottawa - Top 10 Gems

The National Gallery of Canada is a premier art institution that houses an impressive collection of Canadian and international artworks. The gallery’s distinctive building, with its striking glass spires and pink granite exterior, is an architectural marvel in itself. Inside, visitors can explore a diverse range of art forms, including paintings, sculptures, prints, photography, and decorative arts. The gallery’s collection features works by renowned Canadian artists like Emily Carr and the Group of Seven, as well as masterpieces by European and Indigenous artists. Highlights include the Canadian and Indigenous Galleries, which showcase the richness and diversity of Canadian art, and the European and Contemporary Galleries, which feature works by famous international artists. The gallery also hosts temporary exhibitions, educational programs, and special events throughout the year. With its extensive collection and stunning architecture, the National Gallery of Canada offers a captivating journey through the world of art for visitors of all ages and interests.

5. Notre Dame Basilica

Best Places to Visit in Ottawa - Top 10 Gems

Notre Dame Basilica is a magnificent landmark and the largest standing church in Ottawa. Built in the 1840s, this architectural masterpiece showcases exquisite Gothic Revival style and is a testament to Canadian religious art. As you step inside, you’ll be captivated by the ornate stained-glass windows adorned with Biblical inscriptions, the soaring vaulted ceilings, and the intricate terraced galleries. The two sparkling silver tin-topped steeples add to the grandeur of the basilica. The interior of the church features a stunning altar crafted with carved mahogany by Philippe Parizeau, as well as statues of prophets, apostles, and evangelists by Louis-Philippe Hébert. The Notre Dame Basilica is not only a place of worship but also a cultural and historical gem, attracting visitors with its architectural splendor and serene ambiance. Whether you’re an architecture enthusiast, a history buff, or simply seeking a peaceful retreat, a visit to Notre Dame Basilica is a must when exploring Ottawa.

6. Canadian Museum of Nature

Best Places to Visit in Ottawa - Top 10 Gems

The Canadian Museum of Nature is a captivating destination that allows visitors to discover the diverse natural wonders of Canada. The museum boasts world-class exhibition galleries that showcase a wide range of fascinating subjects. From dinosaur fossils to iconic Canadian mammals, from minerals and gemstones to an enormous blue whale skeleton, the museum offers a comprehensive exploration of Canada’s rich natural heritage. As you explore the galleries, you’ll be enthralled by the life-size specimens of birds and mammals that beautifully showcase the country’s wildlife. The museum also offers engaging 3D movies, special exhibitions, guided tours, and workshops, providing interactive and educational experiences for visitors of all ages. Located in close proximity to Parliament Hill, the Canadian Museum of Nature is a popular attraction in Ottawa, offering a blend of entertainment, learning, and appreciation for the natural world. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a science lover, or a family looking for an enriching experience, a visit to the Canadian Museum of Nature promises to be a memorable adventure.

7. Canada Aviation and Space Museum

Best Places to Visit in Ottawa - Top 10 Gems

The Canada Aviation and Space Museum is a fascinating institution that takes visitors on a captivating journey through Canada’s aviation and space history. With an impressive collection of over 130 military and civilian aircraft, the museum showcases the evolution of flight and the remarkable achievements of Canadian aviation pioneers. As you explore the museum, you’ll come across iconic aircraft such as the Avro Arrow and the Lancaster bomber, which played significant roles in Canada’s aviation legacy. The museum offers a captivating mix of historical artifacts, interactive displays, and immersive exhibits that bring the world of aviation and space exploration to life. Visitors can learn about the science behind flight, discover the challenges faced by astronauts, and even try their hand at flying in flight simulators. The Canada Aviation and Space Museum is a must-visit destination for aviation enthusiasts, history buffs, and those with a curiosity for the wonders of flight and space exploration.

8. National War Memorial

Best Places to Visit in Ottawa - Top 10 Gems

The National War Memorial in Ottawa is a poignant and significant landmark that pays tribute to the sacrifices made by Canadian military forces during the First World War. Located in Confederation Square near Parliament Hill, the memorial stands as a solemn reminder of the courage and heroism displayed by those who served their nation. The memorial features a towering granite arch adorned with bronze sculptures and intricate carvings. At the base of the arch, you’ll find the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a sacred site that honors all unidentified soldiers who gave their lives in service to Canada.

Surrounded by beautiful landscaping and symbolic statues, the National War Memorial serves as a gathering place for national ceremonies and remembrance events. On important occasions like Remembrance Day, thousands of people come together to pay their respects and reflect on the sacrifices made by Canadian soldiers. The memorial holds a deep historical and emotional significance, representing the nation’s gratitude and commitment to honoring its veterans. Visiting the National War Memorial provides a solemn and reflective experience, allowing visitors to connect with Canada’s military history and express their gratitude for those who served.

9. Royal Canadian Mint

Best Places to Visit in Ottawa - Top 10 Gems

The Royal Canadian Mint, located in the heart of Ottawa, is a fascinating destination that offers visitors a glimpse into the world of Canadian currency and the art of coin production. As one of the most respected mints in the world, the Royal Canadian Mint is responsible for producing all of Canada’s coins, as well as coins for other countries. The mint showcases the intricate process of coin manufacturing through interactive exhibits, guided tours, and a behind-the-scenes look at the minting operations.

During a visit to the Royal Canadian Mint, you can explore informative displays on the history of currency, see rare and valuable coins on display, and learn about the mint’s innovative coin designs. The highlight of the tour is witnessing the mesmerizing process of coin production, where you can observe the cutting-edge technology and precision involved in creating each coin. Additionally, the Royal Canadian Mint has a boutique where you can purchase unique collector coins, jewelry, and other souvenirs. A visit to the mint offers a fascinating insight into the craftsmanship and precision that goes into creating the currency we use in our daily lives.

10. Byward Market

Best Places to Visit in Ottawa - Top 10 Gems

Situated in the heart of downtown Ottawa, Byward Market is a vibrant and bustling neighborhood that is renowned for its lively atmosphere, diverse culinary scene, and eclectic shopping opportunities. With a history dating back to the early 19th century, this historic market has evolved into a thriving hub of activity where locals and visitors alike gather to explore its many offerings.

Byward Market is a food lover’s paradise, featuring a wide array of restaurants, cafes, and food stalls that cater to every taste. From gourmet cuisine to street food, you can indulge in a variety of culinary delights, including local specialties and international flavors. The market is also home to a range of specialty shops, boutiques, and artisans, where you can find unique clothing, jewelry, artwork, and handicrafts.

Beyond the gastronomic pleasures and shopping experiences, Byward Market is also a cultural hotspot. It hosts numerous events, live performances, and art exhibitions throughout the year. Whether you’re looking for a lively night out at the bars and clubs or a leisurely stroll through the market’s charming streets, Byward Market offers a vibrant and energetic atmosphere that captures the essence of Ottawa’s urban spirit.

What are the Top 10 Things to Do in Ottawa?

Based on the provided information, here are the top 10 things to do in Ottawa:

1. Ice-Skating on the Rideau Canal: Experience the thrill of ice-skating on the world’s largest skating rink, the Rideau Canal. Glide along the frozen canal during the winter season and enjoy the picturesque surroundings.

2. Sound & Light Show at Parliament Hill: Witness the captivating Sound and Light Show at Parliament Hill, where the historic buildings come alive with stunning lighting effects, projections, and narrations.

3. Shopping at ByWard Market: Explore the vibrant ByWard Market, one of Canada’s oldest markets, featuring open-air stalls, boutiques, restaurants, and fast-food kiosks. Discover unique items and indulge in diverse culinary experiences.

4. Museum Hopping: Discover Ottawa’s rich cultural heritage by visiting its national museums, including the Canadian Museum of Nature, Canadian Museum of History, and National Gallery of Canada. Explore other intriguing museums that offer unique insights into various aspects of Canadian history and art.

5. Ghost Hunting: Embark on a spooky ghost tour through Downtown Ottawa to explore haunted sites like the Ottawa Jail Hostel, Bytown Museum, and the Fairmont Chateau Laurier. Learn about Ottawa’s dark past and the paranormal stories associated with these locations.

6. Beach Outing: Take a break from the city and enjoy a relaxing day at one of Ottawa’s beautiful beaches, such as Westboro Beach, Britannia Beach, or Mooney’s Bay Park & Beach. Swim, picnic, and soak up the sun on the sandy shores

7. Attend Winterlude Festival: Experience the magic of Ottawa’s Winterlude Festival, where you can witness breathtaking ice sculpting competitions, enjoy public skating, and immerse yourself in the festive winter atmosphere.

8. Ottawa Nightlife: Discover the vibrant nightlife scene in Ottawa by visiting bars, pubs, and clubs in areas like ByWard Market and Centretown. Enjoy live music, dance, and socialize with locals and fellow travelers.

9. Visit the National War Memorial: Pay tribute to Canadian military forces at the National War Memorial, a significant landmark honoring those who served in the First World War. Reflect on the sacrifices made and appreciate the monument’s architecture and symbolism.

10. Explore the Royal Canadian Mint: Take a tour of the Royal Canadian Mint and learn about the production of Canadian currency. Witness the coin-making process, browse unique collector coins, and gain insights into the history of Canadian currency.

By engaging in these top 10 activities, you’ll have a comprehensive and fulfilling experience in Ottawa, immersing yourself in its history, culture, natural beauty, and vibrant atmosphere.

Disclaimer: The above information is for general informational purposes only. All information on the Site is provided in good faith, however we make no representation or warranty of any kind, express or implied, regarding the accuracy, adequacy, validity, reliability, availability or completeness of any information on the Site.

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