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UNIQUE THINGS TO DO IN OTTAWA THIS YEAR

Things to do in Ottawa - Le Germain Hotel

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There are plenty of things to do in Ottawa, Canada’s capital city, all year round. Winter is especially fun as there are so many outdoors things to do in Ottawa. Skate the canal, shop local at Byward Market or spend the day lounging at one of the amazing spas near Ottawa. If you’re looking for a relaxing getaway, Ottawa is the place to visit.

Things to do in Ottawa

Things to do in Ottawa - Winterlude
Taking in the views of Parliament Hill

Winterlude. From February 3 – 20, 2023, Winterlude will be celebrated in Ottawa. Skate on the Rideau Canal, grab a Beaver Tail and check out some of the other great activities happening around the city.

ByWard Market – Photo courtesy of Ottawa Tourism

ByWard Market. Located in downtown Ottawa, The ByWard Market is a hub for indoor and outdoor market vendors selling anything from locally handmade items to delicious food.

Things to do in Ottawa - Nordik Spa-Nature
Nordik Spa-Nature

Nordik Spa-Nature. There are lots of things to do in Ottawa but this centrally located city is also so close to amazing activities just outside of it! Modelled after European spas, this incredible spa has 10 outdoor pools, 9 saunas, 4 restaurants, an exfoliation room and an indoor salt floating pool. There is so much space to zen out, and a long list of spa treatments to book. Just 20 minutes outside of Ottawa in Chelsea, Que. Tip: Plan ahead and pre-book a massage in the Nordik Spa-Nature’s massage cabins or get a pass for their saltwater float pool.

Kōena Spa

Kōena Spa. This spa is located just 20 minutes from Le Germain Hotel. The Kōena Spa provides guests with an unforgettable thermal experience from thermotherapy to light therapy, including halotherapy and cryotherapy. There is also an amazing restaurant on site so plan to spend a full day there.

Things to do in Ottawa - Lansdowne Park
Skating at Lansdowne Park

Lansdowne Park. One of the most popular things to do in Ottawa in the winter is to go skating! An what a better place to do it than at Lansdowne Park. You can also check out this hip neighbourhood called The Glebe where there are so many cute shops and great places to eat and drink! Check online for farmer’s market details. Depending on the time of year Lansdowne Park has one of the best farmer’s markets with amazing local vendors and in the winter it has a Christmas Market.

Pinhey Forest Sand Dunes – Photo courtesy of www.biodiversityconservancy.org

Hike the Pinhey Forest. With 6.4km of hiking trails and loops, the Pinhey Forest is a great place for hikers of all levels. When you enter the forest you’re met with striking sand dunes, but be sure to follow signs and keep off certain areas to protect the park’s natural beauty. On the way, stop at one of the amazing farmer’s market stands. This area is known for its incredibly vast number of farms!

Canada’s Science and Technology Museum – Photo courtesy of Ottawa Tourism

Visit the Science and Technology Museum. There are also things to do in Ottawa year round and not just seasonally – like visiting the newly renovated and expanded Science and Technology Museum. They reopened their doors with 80,000 square feet of exhibit space. Great for all ages, this interactive museum is a must see if you’re in Ottawa. It celebrates science and technology from around the world and will blow your mind.

Where to stay in Ottawa

Things to do in Ottawa - Le Germain Hotel
Le Germain Hotel

Le Germain Hotel. Centrally located in downtown Ottawa, making it a good home base. We loved the relaxing soaker tubs, turndown service with evening tea, and the gym for those who want to work out on holiday. Tip: upgrade to a room with the soaker tub overlooking the city.

Things to do in Ottawa - Fairmont Chateau Laurier
Fairmont Chateau Laurier – Photo courtesy of Ottawa Tourism

Fairmont Chateau Laurier. Overlooking the Rideau Canal, this beautiful hotel is centrally located to everything downtown Ottawa has to offer.

Things to do in Ottawa - Kemptville Suites
Kemptville Suites – Photo courtesy of Expedia

Kemptville Suite. Located in historic Kemptville, this one-of-a-kind hotel boasts top of the line amenities and uniquely designed rooms.

Things to do in Ottawa - The Grand Hotel
The Grand Hotel – Photo courtesy of Google

The Grand Hotel. Elegant luxury hotel and event centre, located in downtown Ottawa it’s the perfect place to host events and stay close by!

Things to do in Ottawa - The Wakefield Mill
The Wakefield Mill – Photo courtesy of The Wakefield Mill

Wakefield Mill. Eco-conscious inn located nearby in Wakefield, Que., just 30 minutes from Ottawa. The beautiful LEED-certified Eco River Lodge is the perfect place to stay if you’re looking for an eco getaway!

Things to do in Ottawa - Parc Omega
Wolf Lodge at Parc Omega

Parc Omega. Only an hour from downtown Ottawa, you can do a day visit through the park to see lots of animals, or spend the night in one of their wolf lodges. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience that you have to check out if you’re in the area!

Where to eat in Ottawa

Things to do in Ottawa - SuzyQ Doughnuts
SuzyQ Doughnuts – Photo courtesy of SuzyQ Doughnuts website

SuzyQ’s Doughnuts. With 3 locations around the city, you’ll want to find the nearest one and try at least ONE of their doughnuts. Easily the yummiest doughnuts we have ever tried, SuzyQ’s has earned a name for themselves by locals and visitors alike.

Things to do in Ottawa - Thali
Thali – Photo courtesy of Thali’s website

Thali. An incredible Indian restaurant in the heart of the city. At the height of the pandemic, Joe, the chef at Thali, dedicated their kitchen to making food for homeless families. His team prepared more than 20,000 meals for people in need.

Things to do in Ottawa - Cantina Gia
Cantina Gia – Photo courtesy of Cantina Gia’s Facebook

Cantina Gia. An beautiful and delicious Italian restaurant in The Glebe neighbourhood, Cantina Gia is well known for their comfort food and incredible wine selection.

Things to do in Ottawa - Resto Lounge Onō
Resto Lounge Onō – Photo courtesy of DoubleTree by Hilton Gatineau

Resto Lounge Onō. Located inside the Kōena Spa, this lounge offers incredible fare and an extensive selection of wines and spirits. We weren’t joking when we said to plan a DAY at the spa.

Things to do in Ottawa - Pure Kitchen
Pure Kitchen – Photo courtesy of Pure Kitchen website

Pure Kitchen. With 5 locations around Ottawa, this vegetarian restaurant and juice bar has become quite the spot for yogis and health fanatics. The food is absolutely delicious and guilt free!

Things to do in Ottawa -Little Victories Coffee
Little Victories Coffee – Photo Courtesy of Sprudge

Little Victories Coffee. This cute little coffee shop is owned by good friends who are dedicated to really educating customers on the coffee they are drinking. We love their passion and enthusiasm!

Things to do in Ottawa - Happy Goat Coffee Co.
Happy Goat Coffee Co. – Photo Courtesy of The Zero Waste Coffee Project

Happy Goat Coffee Company. With several locations in Ottawa, this little cafe is known for the cute little goat in their logo. Besides that they offer up some amazing hot and cold drinks directly sourced from the growers.

Things to do in Ottawa - Luxe Blooms Flower Cafe
Luxe Blooms Flower Cafe – Photo courtesy of Luxe Blooms Flower Cafe website

Luxe Blooms Flower Cafe. One for the ‘gram! With a floor-to-ceiling rose wall and all pink everything, this floral-inspired cafe is just too cute to miss a photo op in.

How to get to Ottawa

Ottawa is easily accessible from just about ANYWHERE. It’s easy to drive to Ottawa from nearby cities, or take a train / bus from Toronto, Montreal or Quebec City. If you’re coming from further away, the Ottawa Airport is only 20 minutes from downtown and is an International Airport so many major cities have direct flights to Ottawa. For more inspiration for your next trip, head to Ottawa Tourism’s official website.

Looking for other Ontario hot spots to visit? Check out our guide on UNIQUE THINGS TO DO IN COLLINGWOOD THIS WINTER.

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