Ottawa Visitor Guide 2023: Everything you need to know
The Canadian capital Ottawa offers some of the best historical and cultural attractions in the Great White North. From historic government buildings to world-class museums to welcoming bilingual locals, Ottawa is one of the best places to experience Canada.
Ottawa is located on the eastern side of Canada in Ontario, roughly 60 miles from the American border. With a population nearing one million, Ottawa is the fourth largest city in Canada. Ottawa is also home to one of Canada's busiest airports, Ottawa Macdonald–Cartier International Airport, which provides flights worldwide to around five million passengers a year.
Whatever the reason you're visiting Ottawa, keep your luggage safe by visiting an Ottawa luggage locker. Bounce offers services across Ottawa, where you can unload your heavy luggage before seeing the best of the Canadian capital.
A weekend in Ottawa
Ottawa is home to dozens of top attractions to keep you entertained whether you're in town for the week or just the weekend. Squeezing everything the Canadian capital has to offer into a weekend is no easy feat, so make the most of your fleeting visit by dropping off your heavy bags at a luggage storage service in Ottawa.
- Enjoy a relaxing stroll along the Rideau Canal. Ottawa's canal system is ideal for boating and hiking during the summer, and during the winter, a section of the canal is closed off to become the world's largest ice skating rink.
- Pay a visit to Canada's Parliament Hill. While taking a tour of the Canadian parliament, you can watch live hearings in the House of Commons and the Senate and book tickets to sit in on committee meetings.
- Book a table at one of the top restaurants in Ottawa. Ottawa is home to some of the best restaurants in the country, including Beckta Dining and Wine, Gezellig, and Fraser Cafe.
- Plan a night out at the Casino du Lac-Leamy. This vibrant casino is perfect for high rollers and features a range of games and a classy restaurant.
Ottawa is one of Canada's safest cities; however, its metro area is fairly spread out, so you may want to stow your bags somewhere to avoid lugging them around the city. You can avoid being weighed down in sun or snow by booking a spot at an Ottawa suitcase locker. Bounce has several facilities across Ottawa, where you unburden yourself of your backpacks and suitcases before touring a nearby museum or landmark. Download the Bounce app and check in at an Ottawa luggage locker today!
Off the beaten path in Ottawa
Trying to escape the crowds in Ottawa? Jet setters who come to the city often or just want to discover the local countryside are in luck, with lots of parks in and around the city where you can get back in touch with nature.
- Chow down on a canalside picnic at Major's Hill Park. An open area perched along the Rideau Canal, Major's Hill Park is ideal for picnicking or taking a stroll in the shadow of Ottawa's famous landmarks.
- Hog's Back Park is the perfect place to experience the local countryside without straying far from the city. Covering around 50 acres, Hog's Back Park is famous for the Hog's Back Falls, a series of waterfalls and rapids where the Rideau Canal meets the Rideau River.
- Soak up the sun at Mooney's Bay Park and Beach. This pristine sandy beach on the banks of the Rideau River is one of the best places to take a dip in Ottawa and is also great for barbecues in the summer and skiing in the winter.
A weekend alone in Ottawa
Those who find themselves alone in the Canadian capital might be wondering what activities there are for solo sightseers. Thankfully, Ottawa boasts plenty of attractions that can be explored independently, with tons of museums and historical tours to discover. Keep your valuables secure by stopping off at an Ottawa luggage storage service, and then head on one of these excursions.
- Tap into your artistic side at the National Gallery of Canada. One of the largest art museums in North America, the National Gallery of Canada has a collection of over 90,000 objects, including paintings by Claude Monet, Gustav Klimt, and Vincent van Gogh.
- Step into the past at the Canadian Museum of History. Focused on preserving artifacts relating to human cultural development across Canada, the Canadian Museum of History boasts numerous fascinating relics, including the first-ever hockey stick dating back to the 1830s.
- Admire classical architecture at the Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica. Built during the mid 19th century, the Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica features neo-classical architecture with twin spires and an ornate interior with dozens of stained-glass windows.
The best souvenirs in Ottawa
Looking for the perfect souvenir to remember your adventure in Ottawa? You'll find plenty of trinkets in the Canadian capital to remember your trip by. Head to ByWard Market Square and visit the Crazy Moose of Ottawa souvenir store to pick out a classic memento like an Ottawa t-shirt, mug, or fridge magnet. If you're searching for something unique, swing by the Glebe neighborhood and check out the boutiques selling Canadian fashion brands and bespoke handcrafts. If you plan on touring some museums, ensure you check out the souvenir stores and pick up your favorite print from the National Gallery of Canada or a relic replica from the Canadian Museum of History.