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Finally visiting Ottawa at the end of September.

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Washington DC...
posts: 96
reviews: 493
Finally visiting Ottawa at the end of September.

Here's my Forum topic back in 2011:

I'm debating between a 3 or 5-day visit to Ottawa.

Oct 23, 2011, 1:41 AM

I am not sure if 3 days is enough to see the highlights of Ottawa or not. I'm looking for answers online and its seems most people who visited Ottawa think 3 days is more than enough to experience what it has to offer. I would like some ideas from others and tell me why you think it is so. Thanks.


I finally made plans for my 3-day Ottawa visit. Planned to see the ffg: Rideau Canal. Parliament Buildings. Byward Market. Perhaps I can add one more museum that is most interesting. Any suggestions?

Of course my trip is not complete without immersing myself into the culinary offerings of Ottawa. Any suggestions to the most discriminating palate, preferably Canadian/ French/ Steakhouse only cuisine, from $ to $$$ menu?

We have tickets to see Emilie Claire Barlow at Shenkman Arts. Any other hot tickets during the last week of September?


51 replies to this topic
posts: 4
reviews: 106
1. Re: Finally visiting Ottawa at the end of September.

You need 5 days to really explore. Westboro, Lowertown, and Glebe neighborhoods are interesting. . The War Museum is world class and a must see. The Diefenbunker is fascinating and a bit creepy. I would stick to French and Quebecois restaurants. Drive through Gatineau Park and go to the lookouts. Cycle along the canal and river. Check the National Arts Centre website for shows.

Ottawa, Canada
posts: 92
reviews: 366
2. Re: Finally visiting Ottawa at the end of September.

The 3 activities you mentioned (Rideau Canal, Byward Market, Parliament Building) can probably be done in a day, especially if you are taking a cruise on the canal. At most, this would be spread over 1 1/2 day. If you were to add something like the war museum, and visit a neighbourhood such as the Glebe and/or drive through Gatineau Park, that would probably stretch it to 3 days. Ottawa has a lot to offer in the museum/art gallery department and that could definitely take it to 5 days - but 3 days will definitely be sufficient to see the main sites and get a good feel for the city

SE Ontario
posts: 7,981
reviews: 9
3. Re: Finally visiting Ottawa at the end of September.

As of now you don't even have one museum on your list ... so adding one more would certainly be essential ... I would say the aforementioned War Museum, and either the National Gallery or Museum of Civilization (aka Canadian History Museum) ... all of these of interest because they focus on the achievements, histories and culture of Canada - which are rarely seen or discussed in the USA.

End of September may mean fall foliage will have begun, so a drive into Gatineau Park or the lovely Rockcliffe Park neighbourhood ( Rideau Hall (home of the GG), PM's residence, various embassies, etc) ... personally I don't find the Glebe very interesting .... Rockcliffe is more impressive.

Since you come from DC you'll understand the "national" weight of the city evidenced.

The very excellent Ottawa tourism site provides a calendar of events and activities - keep your eyes on it:


Ottawa, Canada
posts: 258
reviews: 3
4. Re: Finally visiting Ottawa at the end of September.

I think three days is enough. Westboro, Lowertown and the Glebe are residential neighbourhoods with cute little boutiques and stores. You can see that anywhere.

You are visiting the city at the height of fall colour - good decision. You should concentrate on the downtown area first. Wander around the grounds of the Parliament Buildings, and go behind them to look out over the river and see the Gatineau Hills with all the colours on the trees. The Art Gallery is not a far walk from there, and while its collection leans heavily toward religious art, you will also see some stunning Group of Seven works that some would say capture the essence of Canada. I also love the huge Riopelle painting that inspired me to look at non-representational art as beautiful.

From there, you can easily walk down the stairs to the market, which has many very good restos, and night life later. I'd also look at the Supreme Court Building (this is not an any order) because it's a fascinating Blend of Art Deco and traditional, and the Bank of Canada. The original building of the BOC is a lovely Beauxs Arts facade, now surrounded by a late 20C enlargement - what do you think of that? Nearby is St Andrews Church, where Queen Juliana of the Netherlands attended while she and her family were in exile while Holland was occupied. I'd also wander around the Chateau Laurier and look at some of the historic photos. You would be surprised who stayed in this hotel.

The War Museum is a stunner, and not what you think it will be. Worth a half day, right there.

Little off-beat, but those are my suggestions.

Washington DC...
posts: 96
reviews: 493
5. Re: Finally visiting Ottawa at the end of September.

@coalharbor2014, ottwtrvllr, phpr, leroy4565. Thanks for all the info. I checked all the places you suggested. It looks like there's a lot to see and do in Ottawa. I'm not a big fan of war stuff but the Diefenbunker seems interesting. Saturday is already booked at Shenkman Arts so we won't be able to fit in another show at the National Arts Center. I'm just curious what is there to see or do in Glebe, Lowertown or Westboro? Phpr, I'm adding Rideau Hall in Rockcliff Park for a visit. Informative walking tour there Leroy. Fortunately, we'll be staying at Chateau Laurier so we should have plenty of time to soak in its history. I'm still looking for an authentic French/ Quebecois restaurant, any suggestions here or in Gatineau?

Ottawa, Canada
posts: 1,303
reviews: 3
6. Re: Finally visiting Ottawa at the end of September.


"""I'm just curious what is there to see or do in Glebe, Lowertown or Westboro"""

In a nutshell -- nothing.....while somewhat nice, essentially just trendy somewhat upscale areas with boutiques and cafes and chain stores and franchises, nothing original or unique that cant be found in hundreds of other neighbourhoods across canada/US. Personally I do not think they warrant a special visit

SE Ontario
posts: 7,981
reviews: 9
7. Re: Finally visiting Ottawa at the end of September.

I'd agree with 001traveler001 - other than the fact they are nice residential neighbourhoods there is nothing of great interest there. As previously noted, on a fine day you can rent a bike and cycle along the canal which would give you a bit of a peek at some neighbourhoods.

Ottawa, Canada
posts: 1,013
reviews: 43
8. Re: Finally visiting Ottawa at the end of September.

ebbtide - here's a fun true "Quebec" food to try.....


Toronto, Canada
posts: 1
reviews: 6
9. Re: Finally visiting Ottawa at the end of September.

If you want to add more places to visit both the Canadian War Museum and the Canadian Mint are interesting to see. Outside of Downtown Ottawa one of my favourite places to visit while in the area is Le Nordik Spa Nature its on the outskirts of Gatineau but you need a good chunk of time (6-8 hours) to enjoy the amenities. Also Merrickville is a cute little tourist city an 1hr outside of the city depending on what your thing is.

You will find more than a few restaurants in the ByWard market that will fill that authentic dinner your are looking for, most likely the concierge at the Chateau Laurier will know the best one going at the time of your visit. Have fun!

Ottawa, ON
posts: 1,842
reviews: 59
10. Re: Finally visiting Ottawa at the end of September.

<<true "Quebec" food >>

Sad commentary that the supposed "best" poutine in Ottawa is found at a franchise branch of a chain based in Ajax, ON.

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