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Part of Ottawa’s distinctive charm is its geography – edged by the Ottawa River and the Gatineau Hills, with the Rideau Canal (“the world’s longest skating rink”) winding through the city core. The nation’s capital since 1857, Ottawa has been dubbed as uninteresting and bureaucratic. In fact, it has tons to offer, from an extraordinary collection of museums and galleries to the imposing Parliament Buildings. Annual events such as Winterlude, the Canadian Tulip Festival and Bluesfest draw huge crowds, while the National Arts Centre presents a stellar program of music, theater and dance featuring world-renowned artists. Perhaps due to the ...

Part of Ottawa’s distinctive charm is its geography – edged by the Ottawa River and the Gatineau Hills, with the Rideau Canal (“the world’s longest skating rink”) winding through the city core. The nation’s capital since 1857, Ottawa has been dubbed as uninteresting and bureaucratic. In fact, it has tons to offer, from an extraordinary collection of museums and galleries to the imposing Parliament Buildings. Annual events such as Winterlude, the Canadian Tulip Festival and Bluesfest draw huge crowds, while the National Arts Centre presents a stellar program of music, theater and dance featuring world-renowned artists. Perhaps due to the presence of the world’s diplomatic core, Ottawa can honestly boast a superb range of dining options and a thriving nightlife of clubs and pubs, particularly around the Byward Market. A pleasantly leafy city to explore on foot, outdoors enthusiasts rate it highly for its easy access to hiking, cycling, and water sports in summer, and to winter sports in the Gatineaus.

Joanna Ebbutt
About the Expert

Joanna Ebbutt is the author or editor of three Insight Guides to Toronto and Canada, and coauthor of Off the Beaten Track: Western Canada. She has been writing about travel for three decades, including chasing the aurora borealis in Northern Ontario.

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Joanna Ebbutt for Triporati

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Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Summer, late spring, early fall, February, Christmas/New Year’s holiday season