Ottawa isn’t a big place but if you are in Canada and passing by you should see the capital. If you are traveling against the clock or simply don’t want to spend very long there, here are some of the must sees and dos in Ottawa that can be done in 1 day:
1) Breakfast in the ByWard market – The Byward market is Ottawa’s hotspot for restaurants, bars and clubs. It is one of the more lively areas in Ottawa. If you have a sweet tooth like me, go and get your breakfast in Cacao 70. Their menu is filled with a huge range of hot chocolates, waffles, crepes, chocolate pizza, chocolate fondue aaaaand there are a few things for the boring non chocolate lovers.
2) Major’s Hill Park & Nepean Point – From the Byward market, walk up the steps at the end of York Street to Major’s Hill Park. If you look to your right you will see the statue. Follow the path, cross the road and make your way up to the statue. On a nice day you get amazing views of Québec, The Ottawa River, The Parliament and Alexandra Bridge. (Great Picture opportunity).
3) Go get a coffee or gelato in Mantovani 1946 – This Italian café does the most amazing homemade gelato and little tea cakes. They have lovely big couches where you can sit and drink coffee and eat your gelato.
4) Fairmont Chateau Laurier – Head back through the market towards the Fairmont Chateau Laurier. This is the hotel I recently had Afternoon Tea (which was super yummy) – Check out the review here. Less importantly, guests such as King George VI and Queen Elizabeth stayed here on their trip to Canada.
5) Parliament – The Parliament buildings are right beside the Fairmont Chateau Laurier, they are so beautiful and have stunning views of The Ottawa River. We didn’t do it but you can get free tours of the building and even go and sit in on Parliament meetings. To get your tickets, you have to go directly across the street to a building with a big question mark on it. Here they will tell you about what times the tours are on and all of the information you will need. So don’t walk up to realise you have to walk back down to get your tickets.
6) Go grab some lunch – There are some cool places to eat around centre town, one being Good Eats on Albert street (closes at 2pm), see review here. If that isn’t what you are looking for you are sure to find something you will like on Spark street. Spark Street is a pedestrianised street that runs through Centretown. Or you can check out Pure Kitchen, it is definitely my favourite place to eat in Ottawa. Check out the review: Ottawa Series – Pure Kitchen.
7) Walk along/ skate on the Canal – (depending on the time of year). The canal isn’t always open for skating during the winter, so it is best to take the opportunity if you get one. Just because it is open one day doesn’t mean it will be open the next it all depends on the weather. If it is closed the walk along it is lovely too.
8) Hop in an Uber and go and get some donuts – Suzy Q’s Donuts are a blessing to this earth. These freshly made donuts come in numerous flavours such as Maple Bacon, Salty Caramel, Boston Creme and Carrot cake. The shop is located a bit out of the city (6 min uber ride – maybe walkable from Centre town in summer) but they are definitely worth the trip.
9) The Glebe – The Glebe is an area just outside the city centre. It is about a 40 – 50 min walk from the centre or only a short 7 dollar uber. The Glebe is home to loads of quirky shops and restaurants as well as a huge Whole Foods Store and Cineplex VIP cinema. I recently went to this ‘adult only’ VIP theatre for the first time and oh my… it was revolutionary. These theatres have big black leather seats that could fit at least one and a half of me. Not only that but you can order food and drinks to your seat. As I said, revolutionary.
10) Get yourself some dinner – I have done many restaurant reviews on places in Ottawa, such as Ottawa Series – La Bottega, Ottawa Series – Vittoria Trattoria. So check them out and see if there is anything you fancy (Click on images below for details).
11) Hit the Market – Head back down to the Byward Market, (especially on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays) to some of the cool bars and clubs.
I hope this has been able to help squeeze a short but sweet trip to Ottawa into your plans. Honestly you don’t need more than two days to be able to see everything that it has to offer.
The Girl on the Go xx