With Canada Day just around the corner, it’s time to pack up your bags and get your butt over to Ottawa to celebrate in style in the nation’s capital. If you’ve never been or if you’re looking for a weekend getaway, we’ve got all the tips and tricks for making your visit to Ottawa an unforgettable one.
Catching some zzz’s at the Andaz Ottawa ByWard Market
The new boutique hotel, which is part of the Hyatt chain, is located right downtown in the middle of the ByWard Market. What does this mean for you? Well many of the city’s biggest attractions are close by, which means you can explore on foot. A majority of the rooms offer an unobstructed city-view and a fully stocked local mini-bar which is free for all guests (minus alcohol). The biggest tip (and must-do) here? Copper Spirits and Sights, the 16th-floor rooftop cocktail bar which overlooks all of Ottawa. It is beautiful to watch the sunset from up there.
Must see tourist attractions: ByWard Market and Parliament Hill
No visit to Ottawa would be complete without a visit to the ByWard Market. This huge outdoor market is similar to Seattle’s Public Market with lots of local vendors and pop-up food sellers. If you’re completely new to town, the ByWard Market has everything you need. After you’ve fuelled up at the Market, walk a few blocks over to Parliament Hill. While I personally did not get a glimpse of Justin on my visit, these gothic style buildings provide great views from any angle and the perfect selfie opportunity.
Stock up on coffee and doughnuts for the road: SuzyQ Doughnuts and Bridgehead Coffee
If you’re planning to tour around the city, it’s best to stock up at the beginning of the day with coffee and doughnuts. While I’m typically not one for sweet things, the doughnuts are irresistible. Each doughnut is $2, and in flavours like Blue Vanilla Fruit Loop, Spicy Pineapple, and Cookies and Cream, you’ll be hard pressed to pick just one. Afterwards, swing over to Bridgehead Coffee – Ottawa’s top roaster – which has various locations throughout the city. They are committed to brewing a good cup of joe and have some of the tastiest kombucha I’ve ever tasted.
Don’t go chasing waterfalls: Hog’s Back Park
If you’re looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of downtown life, then make your way to the Hog’s Back Park. While the park offers lots of natural trails for cycling and walking, the main attraction here is the beautiful waterfall created by rapids from the Rideau River. There is also a beach about a 10-15 minute walk away, should you feel like becoming one with the water.
Stop off for ice cream: Moo Shu Ice Cream & Kitchen
This place is tiny and you might need to wait in a line but trust us, it’s worth the wait. This cute shop serves up Asian flavours like Hong Kong Milk Tea and Black Sesame in house made waffle cones. Everything is super light, refreshing and tasty. Small cones (with two flavours) are $5 and large (with three flavours) are sold for $7. Experience it for yourself!
Get cultured: Canadian Museum of History and National Gallery of Canada
These are two of Ottawa’s most visited museums and for good reason! Everything you have ever wanted to know about Canada’s history can be found, including life-sized recreations of Canadian settlements and documentation of different political movements throughout history. Over at the National Gallery of Canada, you’ll find many of the original Group of Seven paintings as well as various collections dedicated to drawings, sculpture and photographs depicting Canadian history and beyond.
Breakfast of champions: Wilf & Ada’s
Every city has its one quintessential brunch place and for Ottawa, Wilf & Ada’s is the place. While it looks like a cute cozy diner, you’ll be impressed to know that everything is locally sourced and made in-house (wherever possible). While you’re likely to run into a line-up here (it’s just that popular) – don’t fret. They have a sister coffee shop next store and will let you bring over your cup of joe when your table is ready. Order the Blackstone ($14) and thank me later.
Did we miss any of the best spots to check out in Ottawa? Let us know in the comment section and tweet us at @ViewtheVibe.