Whether you’re a student, young couple, growing family, or seeking leisure in retirement, Ottawa offers a rich variety of indoor and outdoor activities that are so easily accessible, you can incorporate them into your daily lives.
Coupled with its relatively affordable real estate and quick, low-stress commutes, Ottawa is a wonderful city to settle down and enjoy all of life’s treasures and adventures with your family. No matter the time of year, Ottawa is packed with opportunities for leisure, culture and fun!
In the Fall, Ottawa bursts with mesmerizing colour, as the Gatineau Hills next to the City are blanketed by bright red, orange and yellow leaves, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. You can visit one of dozens of farmers’ markets throughout the City, or take a short drive to visit the farmers at any one of many local U-Pick fruit and vegetable farms nearby. Kids will love the corn mazes, fall festivals, and hay rides, and everyone enjoys picking fresh apples for Rosh Hashana!
For something a little more dazzling, head over to Winterlude, Ottawa’s annual celebration of winter, with its ice sculptures, ice slides, snowball fights, and more. And, of course, nobody can resist walking or skating on the Rideau Canal – the world’s longest skating rink!
On weekends, many families head to the hills, just 30 minutes away, where several resorts offer ski, snowboard and cross-country lessons and passes. And once you’re done enjoying the great outdoors, you might want to head back into town to warm up with a Starbucks coffee at Ottawa’s world renown Chateau Laurier Hotel, where monarchs, heads of state and celebrities have lodged while in town.
For those days when you prefer staying warm, Ottawa offers a long list of fantastic national museums and galleries. From family favourites, like the Children’s Museum, the Agricultural Museum – a giant farm and petting zoo in the heart of the city - and the Museum of Science and Technology, to the slightly more high-brow ones, like the National Art Gallery and the Museum of History, museums abound in this city, and everyone is sure to find a favourite.
Ottawa is so packed with things to do in the spring and summer, that you’ll find yourself reluctant to leave the city for vacations!
Weather-wise, Ottawa remains quite hot for most of the summer, so you’ll appreciate the dozens of splash pads and wading pools found in almost every neighbourhood.
Near the heart of the city, but within 10 minutes of several Jewish neighbourhoods, you’ll find Brewer Park, where parents can relax while their kids enjoy any one of four playgrounds, a two-story splash pad, water slide, play fountains and sports fields.
And if that’s not enough, Ottawa is also home to Canada’s largest playground – Mooney’s Bay Park – where children can enjoy Canada themed play structures right by the beach waterfront or steps away from the beautiful and scenic Hog’s Back waterfall.
For those seeking more athletic pursuits, Ottawa cycling and running communities are booming.
Provincial parks and some of the local freeways are closed on Sundays to allow cyclists and runners the freedom to ride or run to their hearts’ content. For those who like to challenge themselves physically, Ottawa is home to dozens of spring, summer and fall races, including the National Capital Race Weekend in May and the famous Army Run in September, where you can join members of Canada’s Armed Forces for races of all different distances throughout the Capital.
Later, you can pop over to the Rideau Canal, where you can rent a pedal boat, cayak, or canoe and paddle around the canal while you watch a sunset. One of the best things about this city, is that these activities are truly accessible – within minutes – of the places people live, so rather than special occasions, enjoying them becomes part of regular activities, offering an unparalleled quality of life.
Looking for something to really beat the summer heat? No sweat. You’re just a short drive from two world-class water parks – Mont Cascades and Calypso water parks – where adults and children aged 2 and up will find an array of lazy rivers, toddler zones, daring slides and wave pools to splash in for the day.
As Canada’s festival capital, the city boasts more than 55 annual festivals, ranging from music festivals, like Bluesfest, in which the biggest musical stars from every genre of music descend on the capital, to Jazzfest, music lovers can enjoy world-class entertainment just minutes from home. Kids will delight in Kidsfest and the Children’s Festival, while fun-lovers of all ages will have a blast at Buskerfest, where some of the world’s best street performers go to dazzle attendees with their shows.
But no celebration can match Canada Day in Ottawa, a truly inspiring event of a lifetime. Join hundreds of thousands of Canadian revelers, as you celebrate the country on Parliament Hill, with free, day-long activities, the best Canadian musical acts, cultural displays, and celebrity appearances.