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World-renowned museums, internationally recognized landmarks and live arts and music venues are located in the capital city of Canada, which offers beautiful Victorian architecture and a thriving cultural heritage. This beautiful city along with the Ottawa River on the border between The United States and Québec offers many beautiful date ideas, such as going sightseeing to The National Gallery of Canada or touring the Rideau Canal. After sightseeing, one can explore the city's culinary scene and enjoy one of Canada's most vibrant cities.
Here are some of the best things to do in Ottawa:
1. Enjoy skating on the largest ice rink in the world
A large section of the Rideau Canal is transformed into an ice rink during the winter. Its outer track stretches for almost eight kilometers, making it the world's longest. The ice rink is open 24 hours a day and is the perfect place to spend a romantic evening. It is great for everyone during the day, whether it is a family, couple, or a solo traveler. A skate down the Rideau Canal would be incomplete without a Beaver Tail. You can buy these fried dough candies at kiosks along the ice rink as well as in the Byward Market.
2. Tour the Parliament
Overlooking the Ottawa River, Parliament Hill is a gorgeous Gothic Revival building located right in the city center. In addition to housing the Parliament of Canada, the building is a major tourist attraction. Parliament Hill consists of three buildings as well as an expansive garden. The grounds of the complex are home to many national celebrations, demonstrations and shows. Several tours are offered throughout the day in both English and French. Each session lasts 30 to 60 minutes, and you must arrive at 9 a.m. in order to reserve your spot.
3. Shop at the market
The ByWard Market, one of Canada's oldest markets, is located in the heart of downtown Ottawa. The fair consists of a central building and open-air stalls. There is an open-air market in the main building year-round, and the surrounding stalls open when the weather is good. In this colorful market, you can buy fresh fruits, vegetables, and flowers, as well as other groceries. The ByWard Market is home to a variety of restaurants, fast food kiosks, and boutiques. This is a great place to walk around and meet locals.
4. Get to know the history of Canada
Ottawa is home to many national museums, as it is the nation's capital. Their appeal is not limited to history buffs. Museums in Ottawa include the Canadian Museum of History, the National Gallery of Canada, the Canadian Museum of Nature, the Canada Agriculture Museum, and the Canadian War Museum.In addition, there are specialty museums that may not appeal to everyone but are very interesting nonetheless. A few of them are the Canadian Science and Technology Museum, Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, and Portrait Gallery of Canada.
5. Discover the darker side of the city
The city of Ottawa is not all about color and smiles. There is also a Haunted Walk in Ottawa that tells about the city's infamous history. Tour participants will learn about some of the city's most famous spots, including the Bytown Museum, Ottawa Jail Hostel, and Fairmont Chateau Laurier. Each tour is guided by a black guide holding a lantern. Throughout the year, these haunted tours of the city are available. Halloween is, of course, the best time to discover this side of Ottawa, but any time of the year is pleasant in Ottawa.
6. Taste the local cuisine
Ottawa is a melting pot of cultures, and that is reflected in its cuisine. There is a wide variety of food to be enjoyed here, including some classics from Canada and the city. BeaverTails, as mentioned earlier, are a must-have, and there are many options for toppings, including cinnamon sugar, chocolate hazelnut spread, peanut butter, and maple syrup. Another must-have is poutine, a French-Canadian dish made with fries, curd cheese, and gravy. Additionally, Ottawa is known for its great Chinese, Lebanese, and Vietnamese food. Restaurants in the city also serve French, Italian, and Mediterranean cuisines.
7. Take a stroll through a historic castle
Fairmont Château Laurier is a luxury hotel with a 660,000 sq. ft. castle. You won't be able to go anywhere on the premises. A French Gothic castle towers over the Rideau Canal at the corner of Rideau Street and Sussex Drive. The hotel dates back to 1912 when only half of its 350 rooms had en-suite bathrooms. There are now 429 guest rooms in the castle. Tiffany stained glass windows, Roman columns, and a copper roof make this building stunning. Featuring Belgian marble floors, the hotel's atrium lounge features glowing chandeliers and is ideal for afternoon tea.
8. Take a walk in the park
Major's Hill Park is located directly across from Parliament Hill, just above the Rideau Canal. In addition to being open all year round, it is one of the oldest green spaces in the city. Numerous events are hosted at the park, including Canada Day and "B In The Park" - a pipe band festival. It's just a pleasant place to relax after a long day. Major's Hill Park also offers spectacular views of Parliament Hill, Notre Dame Cathedral, the American Embassy, and the Fairmont Château Laurier.
9. Go to the beach for a great day
Ottawa does have a beach. It is located in the Ottawa River on Petrie Island. On the island there are two beaches, both in the northeast corner. Both are open from May 17th through September 1st. They are open from noon-7 p.m. The beaches are run by the city and lifeguards are on duty seven days a week. They are perfect for picnics, swimming, or just getting away from the city center.
10. Participate in a sport
There are several professional sports teams in Ottawa, but the Ottawa Senators are the most famous. Ottawa's National Hockey League team plays at the Canadian Tire Center, which houses the Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame. TD Place Stadium is a great place to watch the Ottawa Redblacks, a Canadian Football League team. It is also the home stadium for Ottawa Fury FC. Fans of baseball should head to Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton Park to see the Ottawa Champions. This team is a member of the Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball.
11. Learn about royalties
Rideau Hall, the official residence of the monarch of Canada, is a majestic mansion set on 88 acres. This is comparable to Buckingham Palace in the United Kingdom. The National Historic Site of Canada, Rideau Hall, dates back to 1867. This magnificent building combines historical and contemporary elements. All year round, guided tours of the mansion are available. Each tour lasts about 45 minutes and is free of charge.
12. Attend a court session
Located in a beautiful Art Deco building, the Supreme Court of Canada has a magnificent marble entrance hall. First cornerstone laid by Queen Elisabeth in 1939 marked the start of construction. Guided tours of the courthouse are available all year, but reservations are required during the off-season, from September to April. The building is surrounded by two flagpoles and numerous statues of Canadian greats such as Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent. Also on the site are statues of Veritas (Truth) and Justitia (Justice).
13. Take part in a festival
Ottawa is the capital of Canada, so there are plenty of annual festivals to enjoy. You can also enjoy festivals throughout the year. Winterlude is the largest winter festival, held every year over three weekends in February. This winter festival features a competition for ice sculptures, as well as ice skating and other activities. You shouldn't miss the Canadian Tulip Festival in May and Canada Day on July 1st if you're in Ottawa that day. Among the great summer festivals, Bluesfest is another that attracts visitors from all over the world.
14. Wander through Westboro Village
Many outdoor shops have opened up here with flagship stores, making it a major shopping area. Furthermore, it is home to unique boutiques, local design houses, and unique souvenir shops. Enjoy a freshly brewed cappuccino or pastry while shopping or surfing. Relax with a glass of craft beer or indulge in a delicious truffle box in the evening. There are also wellness centers, yoga schools, and massage shops in Westboro Village. The area also has art galleries and hair salons.
15. Experience the nightlife
Nightlife in Ottawa consists of bars, pubs, lounges, and nightclubs. Listen to live jazz or dance to the latest dance tracks spinning by a DJ. There are plenty of bars and pubs to choose from in ByWard Market, making it a great place to go on a bar crawl. Centretown is also a great place to go on a bar crawl. Jazz and blues are big in the city, and live music is offered at numerous venues. Ottawa has many stylish nightclubs and lounges if good music and high ambiance is your thing.
So, on your next trip to Ottawa do not miss anything on the list and make sure to share your experiences with us.
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