Ottawa Travel Guide

Joel Bedford

From its humble beginnings as a lumber town, when the construction of Rideau Canal spurred the development of many lumber mills along the Ottawa River, Ottawa has grown to be the fourth-largest city in Canada. It has been ranked the third-cleanest city in the world and called the American city with the second-best quality of living in the Americas. English and French are spoken with ease by most of the city's 1 million residents. With its famous landmarks, scenic attractions and green spaces, bilingual and beautiful Ottawa is a refreshing place to visit.



Take a tour of Parliament Hill and watch the Commons and Senate in action. The main building is known as the Centre Block and it supports the Peace Tower. The Canadian Museum of Civilization has interesting displays as well as a separate museum for kids. The War Museum depicts Canada's involvement in various conflicts over the years. For a hands-on experience, try pushing the knobs and buttons at the Canada Science and Technology Museum. The livestock, greenhouse and the arboretum of the Canada Agricultural Museum are a cool place to take the whole family. Art enthusiasts can easily spend a whole day viewing the vast collection of Inuit and Canadian works of art in the National Gallery of Canada, while the Royal Canadian Mint will stimulate coin collectors. Across from the National Gallery, you can find the oldest church in Ottawa, the Notre Dame Cathedral-Basilica, which is worth of a visit. Of course, don't miss the chance to go skating on the largest outdoor skating rink in the world, Rideau Canal, when in Ottawa in the winter.



Since it's a relatively rich city, many are surprised to find the restaurants in Ottawa so affordable. Bank Street in the downtown area has many eateries, cafes, fast-food joints and chip wagons. For trendy outdoor dining in the summer, the best places are found along the Byward Market area. Try the "beavertails" that are so popular here. If you're craving Chinese, head to Bronson Avenue and Somerset Street West, the center of Ottawa's Chinatown. In Preston Street, you'll find Little Italy, with a collection of restaurants serving Italian fare.



A vast array of shopping choices awaits at Bayshore Shopping Center, Byward Market and the Place d'Orleans Shopping Center. In the middle of downtown is the Rideau Shopping Center, with more than 200 shops. Other shopping destinations are Sparks Street Mall and the Hudson's Bay Company which holds the distinction of being the oldest department store in the country.

Where to Go in Ottawa


Westin Ottawa (The)

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expert pick

11 Colonel By Dr
1 block south of Rideau St

Award-Winning Accommodation

Rideau Canal

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expert pick

Colonel By Drive

UNESCO World Heritage Site

Genji Japanese Restaurant

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175 Lisgar Street
(Between Metcalfe and Elgin)

Vegetarian Vitality

Barrymore's Music Hall

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323 Bank Street

Ottawa's Largest Live Music Venue

Ottawa Blog Posts


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