What to Do on a Weekend in Ottawa
So you’ve decided to head to Ottawa for the Weekend. You want to have a few good meals, take some nice photos and enjoy the city like the locals do. What to Do, What to Do in Ottawa Over A Weekend??
It’s an astounding and beautiful place. I was amazed at how picturesque it was. Well, actually I was amazed at how COLD it was. I spent New Years there and even on New Year's Eve, It was so cold I opted to avoid outside. So if you’re there in the winter, it is going to be cold. But you can still have a great time.
Free Things to Do In Ottawa City
It's a beautiful city, made even more so by the fresh snow that seems to show up every day. So put your gloves on, take out your camera and snap some pictures. Some cool places to photograph include:
1. Parliment Hill: A castle-like structure on the bank of the Ottawa River, it houses Canada’s Parliament. Built in 1859, it’s survived a war and a fire and is currently under renovation. It makes for gorgeous pictures as well as a rich history lesson of Canada.
2. Lord Elgin Hotel: This hotel is yet another building rich in Canada’s history. It was originally used during the 2nd World War as housing for the military and those in government. After renovation in the in the early 2000’s, it has become a not-quite-luxury hotel that is still worth a stay just because of the history and its central location. It’s also rumored to be haunted. If you believe in such things.
3. Major Hills Park: Not only a beautiful park in itself, it is a great place to see the Ottawa River and Parliament Hill. It also allows for a fabulous view of Chateau Laurier, a castle and luxury hotel.
Head to the Museum of Nature
If you’re at all into science and history this museum is free for members and children under 2. It features fossil and mammal galleries as well as an extensive bird gallery featuring over 450 Canadian mounted birds. If you are not a member it is still relatively cheap at about $14 for adults and $11 for seniors and children under 12.
Other Cool Things to Do
Grab a Beavertail: They’re everywhere. They are the perfect delight for those with a sweet tooth. Most similar to a funnel cake in The States, this is a quintessential snack in Ottawa. You won’t be hard-pressed to find them. But BeaverTails Pastry in Byward Market is a good place to go.
Go to one of the MANY Pubs on Elgin Street: Elgin Street is rife with bars and pubs. Rife I say!!! If you’re into scotch, Deacon Brodies Scottish Pub is a good spot. It has an impressive scotch selection as well as tasty craft beers. Even their poutine has whiskey in it! Although it’s truthfully not the best poutine. The Lieutenants Pump is a cozy, dimly-lit gem to get out of the cold in. The food is good there as well. Other recommended spots include the Fox and Feather and Clocktower Brewpub Glebe.
Go Ice Skating: Although I cannot skate, because…well…too many reasons to describe, Ice Skating is BIG in Ottawa. I would be remiss to not mention it. There’s something fun about being able to watch everyone skating with enthusiasm together. As an American, I watch in wonder as even small children skate like it’s in their blood. Head to Rideau Canal Skateway. The “World’s Largest Skating Rink”.
Eat!: Ottawa has a lot of excellent restaurants, but to be honest I ate pretty cheaply while there. But in my aim to give my readers resources, I will defer you to the Food Bloggers of Canada site. They have a nice list (with yummy pictures) of places to eat. It's a good site that also has links to many of Canada’s top food bloggers.
Go to the National Arts Centre: I had the pleasure of performing for a week in this gorgeous building. Canada has a long history of supporting culture and the arts. This building epitomizes this. It's the home of an Orchestra in addition Opera and Ballet companies. They have an excellent selection of events year-round. So be sure to check out their calendar before your visit.
What are some other places you’d recommend?? Feel free to comment below.