Things to Do in Ottawa

Things to Do in Ottawa, Canada - Ottawa Attractions

Things to Do in Ottawa


Book these experiences for a close-up look at Ottawa.

Top Attractions in Ottawa

These rankings are informed by traveler reviews—we consider the quality, quantity, recency, consistency of reviews, and the number of page views over time.
1


*Likely to sell out: Based on Viator’s booking data and information from the provider from the past 30 days, it seems likely this experience will sell out through Viator, a Tripadvisor company.

What travelers are saying

  • Bea
    703 contributions
    Wonderful complex of Gothic revival buildings situated on the southern banks of the Ottawa River. it is a place where Canada's federal government is located.
    Peace Tower is absolutely amazing. The bronze clock was crafted in its present form in 1879.
    All is situated on a beautiful, well-taken of ground.
    Written December 11, 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Gardiner W
    Vancouver, Canada416 contributions
    Who knew? Comprehensive, thought provoking and very much "tell it like it was". Fascinating collections. Particularly liked the historical aspect of the museums offerings....tracing conflict from the earliest days...skirmishes amongst first nations peoples, to contact with European explorers and eventually settlers. And then of course Canada's participation in conflicts over the years...English vs French (the battles of these two great colonial empires), Canadian (comprising English, French and indigenous) with our big neighbour to the south. And then Canadian participation as the loyal British dominion in WW1 and WW2. A lot more history here than most Canadians realize. And if you are a military machinery fan, lots of tanks and armaments to gaze at. You really need 3 -4 hours to do the museum proud..or plan to come back another day. Underground parking ($13..pretty reasonable). The tours I had hoped for not available (staffing shortages) so check first by phone.
    Written December 12, 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • PookyCake
    Victoria, Canada13,884 contributions
    When visiting Ottawa, it is virtually impossible *not* to see Rideau Canal. If coming in from the airport, and heading downtown, your TAXI or Uber will drive alongside the canal for a few kilometers. Then, once downtown, it’s a major attraction near the Chateau Laurier thanks to the “Ottawa Locks” that bring boats safely down (or up) towards the Ottawa River, representing an elevation change of some 79 feet. In that regard, the Rideau Canal and their accompanying Locks represent a beautiful synthesis between human engineering, history, nature and, indeed, fun.

    A National Historic Site of Canada since 1925, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2007, the Rideau Canal is 202 kilometers in length – connecting Ottawa and Kingston – and was opened in 1832. Designed by John By, the canal was originally built to function as a reliable communication center during a time when Britain and the United States actively fought for control of the area (think War of 1812); however, it was never used for military service. Instead, it later functioned as an important shipping route and then, in the modern day, as a beautiful pleasure cruise space.

    In the current day, Rideau Canal is synonymous with Ottawa. As we were flying from Toronto, Air Canada showed a pretty nice propaganda photo of the canal as viewed across from the Senate of Canada Building and looking towards the Chateau Laurier. We made sure to mimic this photo ;)

    We only strolled a couple kilometers along the canal because of a foot malady I was dealing with at the time, but I imagine cruising the length of Rideau Canal would be nothing short of magical. Maybe that will be a future bucket list item?
    Written December 15, 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • PookyCake
    Victoria, Canada13,884 contributions
    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 . . . ;)
    Written December 14, 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Susie G
    Cumbria, UK12 contributions
    Such a great find! Amazing tour guide! Would highly recommend for all! Good way to spend an hour or two in Ottawa. Great price and lots to see.
    Written February 16, 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • BCNY100
    New York178 contributions
    Lovely and manageable museum with many exhibits. Great for kids who can read, a little less fun for those who can’t.

    The Dino extinction movie is very scary for kids. The owl special exhibit was a big hit
    Written February 15, 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Bea
    703 contributions
    It is the capital’s oldest neo-Gothic basilica and largest church in Ottawa. It dates to 1841. You can visit it daily between services or book a guided tour.
    Written December 11, 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Robert E
    Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada165 contributions
    Great museum with a very wide array of aircraft on display. Nicely laid out in large hanger-like hall. Need at least 2 hours to get through.
    All staff friendly and helpful. Museum a bit out of the way, so used the Hop On Hop Off Bus to get there.
    Written October 13, 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Dimitris L
    Sydney, Australia45,371 contributions
    The Peace Tower is a bautifful building on Parliament Hill. It was originall built as a memorial to those who died in World War I. It is currently undergoing quite extensive renovations and is unfortunately closed to the public. However it's worth visiting and having a look from the outside, as it is an architectural marvel.
    Written October 15, 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Gardiner W
    Vancouver, Canada416 contributions
    Fascinating! Joined a tour (about 15 folks) and were led into the world of precision medallion making. Very knowledgeable young guide who explained the history of the mint as well as the industrial processes we witnessed. Including good humour and interesting anecdotes. Every Canadian should make the time to visit. Nice little gift shop where you get a wonderful exposure to the various collections the mint has made over the years.
    Written December 12, 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • PookyCake
    Victoria, Canada13,884 contributions
    Located in Confederation Square, and unveiled in 1939 by King George VI, this beautiful monument made of bronze and granite was originally built to honour all those soldiers who lost their lives during the so-called Great War (World War I); however, with the passage of time, Canada’s National War Memorial – also called “The Response” – has come to symbolize and honour ALL Canadians who’ve served in conflicts since 1939 and, indeed, those who will serve in times of war in the years to come. In this regard, the National War Memorial is “timeless.” This timelessness forms the essence of the annual Remembrance Day celebrations, which are held each year on November 11: The Royal Canadian Legion, RCMP, Governor General, Prime Minister, Service Women and Men, and the public come together to pay their respects to those who’ve fallen in past and current wars.

    As I mentioned in my earlier review of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, I’m usually not big on war memorials, but this one just gets to me. It is, ironically, a solemn spot in the middle of bustling Ottawa for remembrance and reflection; and this is all beautifully captured by the National War Memorial, inclusive of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

    When visiting Ottawa, make sure to patronize this site. It is at once beautiful, sad and powerful.
    Written November 20, 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Dimitris L
    Sydney, Australia45,371 contributions
    The eight Ottawa locks, which are the largest single set of locks on the entire Rideau system, connect the channel of the Rideau Canal to the Ottawa River.
    They are designed to raise and lower boats from one water level to another. They were built, along with a series of dams, to bypass rapids and waterfalls.
    It takes at least one and a half hours to go through the locks.
    On one side of the locks are Canada’s Parliament buildings and on the other is the architecturally magnificent building of the Chateau Laurier hotel. Not to be missed!
    Written October 14, 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Frequently Asked Questions about Ottawa




Ottawa Attractions Information

Attractions

766

Attraction Reviews

61,598

Attraction Photos

30,397

Local Time

Saturday 5:57 AM