Canada : What to do in Ottawa | Activities and dining suggestions

To the point Here are some not-to-be-missed events, restaurants and activities in Ottawa, as well as secrets revealed by its residents.

Ottawa - Things to do

The Rideau Canal

A visit to the Rideau Canal is a must! The site is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can simply walk or cycle along its banks.

In spring, crabapple and cherry trees bloom at the Dominion Arboretum, which runs along part of the canal near Dow’s Lake. Kayaks, canoes and paddleboards are available for hire.
In May, you’ll be thrilled by the spectacle of tulips in bloom along the canal during the Tulip Festival. The event takes place in the Parc des Commissaires.
You can also discover the beauty of the Rideau Canal on a cruise from Dow’s Lake to the Ottawa River.
Rideau Canal Ottawa
Manual locks still exist, linking the Ottawa River to the canal. The show is worth the detour! Stop by Parks Canada’s lock station to learn how the system works.

Did you know that you can camp at lock stations along the canal? This activity is offered from mid-May to early October.

In summer, four beaches await you on the shores of the Ottawa and Rideau rivers.

Petrie Island Beach Ottawa
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Ottawa's big and small events

Here are the most popular activities throughout the year:

These events and activities are also available:

Yoga on Ottawa Hill.
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Ottawa - Where to eat?

The secrets of the residents

Here are a few addresses to try out, with your eyes closed:

  • Di Rienzo’s Grocery. A small deli known to locals for making the best sandwiches in town. What’s more, prices are very affordable;
  • El Camino, for excellent Mexican food;
  • Boulangerie L’Art-is-in. For its pizzas, sourdough breads, burgers, pastries, and croissants that impress even the French;
  • Copper Spirits & Sights, the Andaz terrace. It overlooks a superb view of Ottawa and the ByWard Market;
  • The Grand Pizzeria and Bar. We go there for the wood-fired pizza and the beer and wine, which are discounted during market hours;
  • Sidedoor and its indoor Ceylonta terrace on West Somerset Street. It’s a restaurant that doesn’t look like much, but serves absolutely delicious Sri Lankan food.
Wood oven pizza

Top of the range

Gourmets will surely appreciate these good addresses:

  • T.O.W.N. An intimate bistro with modern, tasty cuisine;
  • Two Six Ate. For creative dishes that look as good as they taste;
  • Fairouz Cafe. A great Lebanese restaurant;
  • Riviera. Excellent food, served in a century-old building;
  • Beckta Dining & Wine, very high-end. It is regularly listed as one of the best restaurants in Canada.
Beckta Dining and Wine

Finally, here are some other restaurant suggestions to suit all tastes:

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For your spending in restaurants and bars, don’t forget to use one of these credit cards, which earn you 5 points per dollar spent:

Ottawa - Where to sleep?

Save with points

There are several Marriott hotels in Ottawa. In Canada, Marriott Bonvoy is the most attractive loyalty program for free hotel nights. In fact, there are two Marriott Bonvoy credit cards issued by American Express, which allow you to accumulate numerous points in the blink of an eye.

The icing on the cake: you could stay five nights for the price of four, in the same hotel, using Marriott Bonvoy points!

To help you choose your hotel, here are our reviews:

Come to discuss that topic in our Facebook Group!
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