The beating pulse of Ottawa, Canadaâ€™s dynamic capital, is palpable from the moment you arrive. You will hear the French and English languages intermingle and friendly locals will welcome you into their colourful metropolis. The cosmopolitan vibe is infectious and wandering through the lively streets is a great way to get a sense of the heritage of the place, which boasts notable national sites and famous landmarks. Itâ€™s also a hub of culture, with a collection of world-class museums and interesting international art galleries.
A sense of pride exudes from these grand attractions, a feeling that is translated into an atmosphere of celebration that continues throughout the year. Thereâ€™s a wide selection of festivals, ranging from Winterlude in February to the countryâ€™s largest celebration of Canada Day in July. This buzzing capital is the place to be for a good time all year.
But you donâ€™t have to party to have fun here. Itâ€™s also a great place to get some downtime. Ottawa is uniquely beautiful and surrounded by sensational nature. It is a fantastic base for visitors who want to explore the great outdoors in between sightseeing.
The countryâ€™s capital is known for being walkable and welcoming, making exploring its various neighbourhoods with their quaint farmerâ€™s markets and boutique shops a lovely way to spend the day. At night, these trendy districts become pockets of social activity with excellent restaurants, bars and nightclubs.
With an acclaimed culinary community, lively local music scene and artistic expression around every corner, itâ€™s definitely a place that values the finer things in life. Whether youâ€™re a culture vulture, food fanatic or a nature lover, an Ottawa city break is sure to delight every kind traveller.
Sights You Wonâ€™t Want to Miss
â€¢The National Gallery of Canada â€“ Itâ€™s worth visiting this extraordinary building just to see the award-winning architecture, which is an art piece in itself. Within youâ€™ll find incredible treasures that tell the story of the country in the Canadian and Indigenous Galleries, gorgeous photographs in the Photography Institute and the works of the great masters that make up a fantastic collection of European art.
â€¢Parliament Hill â€“ With the impressive parliament buildings standing proud on a dramatic hill overlooking the river, this is the political and cultural heart of the capital. Free guided tours run throughout the day, giving you the chance to explore and learn a number of fascinating facts about this historic place.
â€¢The National Arts Centre â€“ Acting as a national stage for the performing arts, this centre is the home of Canadaâ€™s most creative artists, showcasing the very best performances from the NAC Orchestra and English and French theatres.
â€¢Rideau Canal â€“ An Ottawa city break is not complete without visiting this UNESCO World Heritage Site, which meanders through the charming downtown region. There are a number of ways to experience this beautiful waterway. Spend an interesting afternoon learning about the intricate lock system at the Lockstation or take a summer stroll along the canal pathways. Perhaps youâ€™ll take to the water and travel all the way to Dows Lake on a boat cruise or join a guided canoe tour. If youâ€™re visiting during the winter months, an iconic experience is ice skating on the Skateway, which is the worldâ€™s largest skating rink.
With so much on offer, planning an Ottawa city break can be a little overwhelming. To get the most out of this fabulous destination, booking with a specialist Canada tour operator is highly recommended. With that out of the way, all youâ€™ll have to do is soak up every little bit of this fantastic capital.
John Dixon is the Chairman and Managing Director of Prestige Holidays. For almost a decade he has been sending his clients on many an Ottawa city break, handcrafted by his award-winning team. John is an experienced world traveller and tries to visit each of the destinations regularly in order to ensure the quality of the properties he recommends, and stay up-to-date about the latest local news and events. He has a taste for the finer things in life and has an interest in arts, history and culture.
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