National Gallery of Canada
National Gallery of Canada
4.5
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
About
The National Gallery of Canada is committed to offering a welcoming and safe place for our visitors, employees and volunteers. Discover contemporary and historical artworks - including paintings, sculptures, photographs and multimedia installations - in this landmark site located near the vibrant ByWard Market area.
Duration: 2-3 hours
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Neighborhood: Byward Market Area
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  • RINO T
    3 contributions
    First time there.
    There was a place to leave your jacket near the entrance, so it was nice to be able to watch without being disturbed. I liked that there was a place to take a break. There was a place where you could see the video. Too wide so, legs get tired.
    Visited February 2023
    Traveled with friends
    Written February 22, 2023
  • Bob K
    Fairfax, Virginia2,234 contributions
    Getting my art fix in Ottawa
    This was my second visit to the gallery (first time was years ago). I enjoyed walking through all of the gallery rooms. This time I visited the Rideau Chapel - the only drawback for me was that the choral music is a little too loud. Other than that, they have a very nice collection of art pieces.
    Visited March 2023
    Written April 1, 2023
  • operalover939
    Toronto, Canada2,990 contributions
    Always good to visit
    We saw two special exhibitions, visited parts of the permanent collection, and listened to Tallis's Spem in Alium in the Rideau Chapel. The 'Movement: Expressive Bodies in Art' exhibition is very fine, even if the video featuring Kent Monkman left me cold. We did not visit 'Canadian Women Artists in the Modern Moment' because we had seen it at the McMichael Gallery; we urge those who didn't see it there to see it at the NAC.
    Visited May 2023
    Written May 23, 2023
  • CPAreviewlady
    Burke, Virginia56 contributions
    If you have 2 hours..visit the Museum
    Walkable to Parliament, the Byway Market, War Memorial. N other words downtown Ottawa. The museum had many Masters painters well displayed. It was quiet with plenty of time to see the artwork. The Museum store was one of the best I’ve visited. It had much to choose from with unique kid’s items. The pricing to get into the museum and in the gift shop were reasonable.
    Visited May 2023
    Traveled with friends
    Written May 28, 2023
  • helpless1
    166 contributions
    Excellent gallery in great setting
    We really enjoyed the gallery which has a wide selection of art from modern to indigenous to classics all set in a light and airy peaceful environment. The cafe was clean and the food tasty whether you want coffee and cake or lunch, we ended up having both. A really enjoyable experience and we fully recommend it.
    Visited May 2023
    Written June 13, 2023
  • Professional-Pilgrim
    Alberta, Canada1,400 contributions
    Canada's Flagship Gallery
    I have been visiting this magnificent gallery ever since it was built. The collection is outstanding, as befits the country's flagship gallery. The building alone is a work of art in itself. I like to go on Thursday evenings, when entry is free, and snacks can be purchased to eat under the glass tower. The music is rather loud, however. Do be sure to go to Janet Cardiff's magical "sound sculpture" in the Rideau Chapel. A 40-part motet by Thomas Tallis, with 40 speakers (8 groups of 5), each one delivering the vocal part of the relevant singer! The boutique is excellent, with a table near the entrance full of catalogues from past exhibitions (some costing as much as $65) on sale for $10 each.
    Visited June 2023
    Written July 4, 2023
  • futtock21
    London, United Kingdom11,616 contributions
    Canadian Women Modernists
    That it’s shut today (Tuesday) only reminds me of the riches on display when it’s open. A few Fridays ago I saw the current exhibition of works by 20th century female artists from the McMichael Collection of Canadian Art supplemented by works from the gallery’s own collection. Far more than just Emily Carr’s musings on the art and culture of BC’s native peoples it introduces to a wider public the superb 1930s portraiture of Paraskeva Clark, the peopled landscapes of Peggi Nicol McLeod, society portraits by Suzanne Duquet, village scenes by Yvonne McKague, clothing and artefacts by native peoples and so much more besides. Just time to take a leisurely stroll around the extensive Canadian permanent collection but not the European galleries. The ground floor bookshop is particularly impressive and has a Happy Goat cafe attached although oh my visit had almost run out of brownies and pastries. NGC also affords stunning views of Parliament, the Supreme Court and down the Ottawa river between Ottawa and Gatineau.
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled solo
    Written August 1, 2023
  • Mellie2013
    Port Moody, Canada2,721 contributions
    FREE Thursday nights!!
    Free Thursday nights ( from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m.) are a fantastic way to view this phenomenal museum! The Scotiabank Great Hall offers the sound of music by a local DJ and participation in free art-making activities. This museum can rival those of Europe. We enjoyed the Canadiana portion. Emily Carr, Tom Thomson, Marc‑Aurèle Fortin, Lawren S. Harris, the Group of Seven. A wonderfully diverse collection. Throw in the Americans and Europeans, it's magical. The largest number of works comes from Britain, France and Italy, but important and characteristic pieces by Dutch, Flemish, German and Spanish artists are represented. Within the 3 hour time frame, we completed many of the collections to our satisfaction. Enjoy the Spider Sculpture and the breathtaking Scotiabank glass hall. Beautiful! Would we return...definitely!
    Visited June 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written August 16, 2023
  • PookyCake
    Victoria, Canada13,884 contributions
    An Artistic Reflection of the Country
    Founded in 1880, the current edifice that houses the National Gallery of Canada opened in 1988. It was designed by Moshe Safdie as a contemporary and postmodern take on the architecture of Canada’s Parliament buildings, which it strategically faces across the Rideau Canal. I think this is quite apt because any art gallery that calls itself a “national” one should look and feel the part. Thankfully, our National Gallery of Canada does just that. It is grand in scale, but – and almost contradictorily – understated in its presentation of the artworks, modern and classical, inside. True to form, the National Gallery gives nearly equal weight to traditional heavyweights – the Group of Seven and Emily Carr, for example – and emerging voices, including from our diverse Indigenous and multicultural communities. It’s a beautiful thing and one could easily spend hours ambling about this space and learning about this place. The National Gallery of Canada represented the second major stop during our all too brief visit to Ottawa. All told, we spent about three hours here and could’ve easily spent longer, but time was of the essence. While I enjoyed looking at the works of Carr and Group of Seven, the Indigenous artworks – and especially those by the Inuit – really captured my attention. The amount of detail carved into bone and tusk was nothing short of amazing. I also enjoyed a rather large installation called “Non Orientable,” which used scrap materials to comment upon capitalism and commodity. In some ways it reminded me of works by Douglas Coupland (I know this was not his). In any event, when it’s all said and done, the National Gallery of Canada succeeds in one of its primary goals; that is to say, it does an exceptional job of walking us through the nation’s history and its ever-expanding cultural development. In short, the gallery is a physical manifestation of our beautiful mosaic. Oh! And while you’re outside the gallery, be sure to spend a few moments admiring Maman – the giant spider (see my earlier review on this site). At a micro level, Maman is a protector of the National Gallery; at a macro level, it comments upon our country as a symbol for shelter and home. Now we’re getting deep . . . ;)
    Visited May 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written December 14, 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
3,112 reviews
Excellent
1,970
Very good
890
Average
196
Poor
34
Terrible
22

tshep42
Halifax, Canada3,667 contributions
Mar 2020 • Solo
Even if you’re not an artist or a real art lover (like me), it’s worth a visit. They do have some big name artist displayed there that even I recognized.

I wish galleries could figure out how to make the building design intuitive so you don’t end up backtracking and always feeling like you may have missed something. There’s nothing easy about the layout of this museum.

The gift shop is great with lots of unique gift ideas for the artist or art lover in your family. Interesting kids stuff too.

It wasn’t busy when I was there in a Thursday afternoon and it was free after 5:00 PM (otherwise, just over $18).

You’ll pass by “Maman,” the large spider, on your way in but do walk around the back of the building for the neat outdoor sculptures. Keep going up the hill and you’ll get a great view of the Ottawa River and the back of the Parliament Building. Also, don’t miss Notre Dame Basilica across the street from the National Gallery.

The location is just past Byward Market a long Sussex Street.

I only spent an hour and focused on the European and Canadian galleries, but to do it properly, you’d need 2-3 hours. There is a tapas bar and a Second Cup.
Written March 12, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Francis T
Montreal, Canada247 contributions
Aug 2020 • Friends
This became the focus of our trip when a rainy day prevented us from doing anything else. It is free for members, but that day, it seemed to be free for everyone

The good: You can rent an electric vehicle for free. Building stunning. Art wonderful. Lots of different kinds of art from different eras. Very spacious and does not feel busy, even on a Saturday afternoon. Benches at various places.

The bad: Elevators way too small for wheelchairs or electric vehicles. You can easily get lost in there and miss portions of the museum (bring a map!) No cafeteria (due to covid). Portions of the museum closed (due to covid).

Covid restrictions: Staff wearing masks and disinfecting knobs and such on bathroom doors. Spacious museum make it easy to social distance. Staff controlling entrance for social distancing. Hand sanitation at entrance only.

This ended up taking our whole afternoon and it was very enjoyable. A must for any art lover.
Written September 1, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Sandra M
Ottawa, Canada117 contributions
Aug 2021
Visited the Rembrandt in Amsterdam exhibit in August 2021 with my sister. You need tickets which can be purchased online and as well you need to select a timeslot. You cannot bring in your own water but if you ask it is made available. Masks must be worn at all times. Our time slot was 1:00 pm. We arrived early and were allowed to enter when we arrived as they are always aware of how many patrons are in the exhibition at any one time. It is definitely worth visiting. Review the exhibit information online prior to visiting as there is much information available on the website. Allow a minimum of 2 hours.
Written September 4, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

operalover939
Toronto, Canada2,990 contributions
Oct 2021
Although I took a detour through the European section of the permanent collection, I soon joined my wife and our friend in the Exhibition of prints, the Collectors‘ Cosmos. It is a fascinating overview mainly of 16th and 17th century Netherlandish art, well worth the price of admission. The exhibition ends in November; try to see it if you can.
Written October 23, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ParentsView
2 contributions
Feb 2023 • Family
I would recommend you go to the NAC instead if you have kids. The national gallery used to be the go to- great for families, but recently, the security is very intense. Even though they still have child programming, it’s become much less of an overall supportive place for families. The great hall used to be a public meeting area and new moms could use the egg chairs for privacy while breastfeeding, but they took out those chairs. It’s so dense with security. Staff have shamed children for just running a little or playing in the great hall even though they’re not causing issues, nor are they in a gallery- they’re just excited, being kids. I recommend any other museum in Ottawa or the NAC over the national gallery if you’re with children. The climate and overarching feel with intense security guards stopping you throughout makes the whole experience less relaxing and enjoyable time if you’re with kids. I found the welcoming community atmosphere has really changed recently. Most parents are opting for the NAC as a better alternative to this national art gallery, because at the NAC, you’re never approached by security guards, they have a fabulous cafe and an amazing variety of kids programming which is often free.
Written February 18, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

FoodandTea_Lover
Kemptville, Canada332 contributions
Mar 2020 • Solo
I am only going to comment on the venue as each person’s expression of art or appreciation of art is different.

As a venue, this gallery is well situated in the heart of Ottawa’s Byward Market area. There is a nice car drop-off and pick-up area and underground parking. I dropped my coat and bag at the free coat check near the entrance. The ticket booth is a long walk up a ramp. I was there around 11 AM Sunday and it was quiet. When I left 3.5 hours later, it was quite busy.

Pick up a map when you get your ticket because I found I had to use it quite a bit. There was some rooms that were really dark and was showing a film. I found it a bit too dark and a bit unsettling to be seated there. Most of the gallery spaces had guards standing around so I should not have worried. Still...

There is a wonderful atrium with a garden in the centre of the museum. I get really tired under artificial light and found it refreshing to get some natural light sitting in the atrium.
Written March 6, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

MissGeorgiana
Montreal, Canada709 contributions
Sep 2020
We visit the National Gallery every few years and are never disappointed.

The Gallery itself is stunning. There is a great deal of natural light and artworks are well presented.

The permanent exhibit has some important pieces and there are always some amazing artworks on loan as well.

On our September 2020 visit, we really enjoyed the Beautiful Monsters special exhibit and were impressed with all the COVID-19 measures in place.
Written September 28, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

PAdeniyi
Washington DC, DC6 contributions
Feb 2020 • Friends
Very enjoyable experience. First time visiting Ottawa, and I decided to check out this World Class Gallery with a friend. They several forms of Art pieces including art from indigenous artists around the world.
Written February 21, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Brynlea W
Waterloo, Canada181 contributions
Jan 2020 • Friends
The gallery is beautiful. It tends to offer special exhibits. I had wished there was a stronger native art presence although the canadian art section is already quite spectacular.
It is amazing to stand amongst picassos, Rembrandt, degas, Monet and realize that you stand st the same spot the artist did so long ago. You can see each brush stroke. Just amazing.
Written February 6, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

LaFamilleBourgeois
6 contributions
Jul 2022 • Family
A fantastic visit. So much to see. Our kids 6/7years visited the Canadian Exhibit - it was their first time visiting an art gallery. We didn'tknow what to expect. It was affordable as kids 11 and under are free so we figured we'd try it out. The gallery has a booth with wonderful bilingual staff and activities specific to little kids.. perfect for 5-10years in our opinion (bingo activity was the best). I never expected my littles to become so involved and excited to visit the exhibit and see the art on display. A great early learning experience for them. I fully recommend :)
Written July 30, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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