Top Attractions in Ottawa
Top Attractions in Ottawa
Pleased with its capital status, Ottawa is an exuberant cosmopolitan city of around 1 million inhabitants. Though this administrative town is drenched in history, the development of different areas of the city has given its restaurants, boutiques and hotels a modern day charm. Here, Canada's bilingual laws truly bode well i.e. French-speaking Gatineau, over the stream in Québec, is lumped together with Ontario's Ottawa and hence, you'll hear as much French as English. Discover the city’s rich heritage as you explore numerous national sites and iconic landmarks like the infamous Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that turns into the world's longest skating arena in winter. Here, the cultural attractions like world-class museums, art centers and parliament buildings live in harmony with natural sites like parks, walkways and ski areas, making Ottawa a welcoming and uniquely beautiful city to live in. It is a city thrives on festivals that commence with Winterlude in February, followed by the Tulip Festival in May and continues up until the summer music festival. A place where farmers market and trendy shops highlight the day while the classic pub grubs rule the night, the Capital city of Ottawa is a widely acclaimed city as far as the culinary scene is concerned. Drive beside the rivers, canals and nearby hills and experience the true vibes of what is known to be ‘the Green Capital’.
An internationally recognized landmark and a symbol of Canada's pride, Parliament Hill is the cultural health and political heart of Ottawa. Sitting atop the hill and overlooking the Ottawa River, the Gothic revival architectural elements of the building are a significant point for national celebrations. Categorized into 3 sections namely - Central Block, East Block and West Block, each section hides a trail of history. Watch a live debate in the House of Commons or the Senate or hum to the tunes of 53 Bells at Peace Tower Carillon. Witness the Canadian tradition of the Changing of the Guards during summer at 10 am and appreciate the structures like the Peace Tower that represents the country's heritage.
Note: Though the entry is free, tickets are issued on a ‘first come, first serve’ basis at the Wellington Street.
Rideau Canal consists of a chain of lakes, rivers and canals curving 202 kilometers starting from Kingston. It is preserved and run by Parks Canada to present and preserve its historic features. The canal is primarily used for boating and offers a panoramic view of the scenery to the visitors. It is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the city. The canal throws open the world's largest natural ice rink for all skaters to enjoy their winters. So strap up your skates and glide away!
Canadian Museum of Nature:
Be astonished by the beauty and the powerful geological forces that have shaped earth at the Canadian Museum of Nature. Housed in an impressive heritage landmark 'Victoria Memorial Building', a castle style building that once served as the emergency headquarters for the government, the museum houses modern galleries that represent all the forces of nature. The museum holds natural history exhibits which are well presented in a way to teach children about nature and make it interesting at the same time. There are plenty of delightful things to look out for here. The building alone is worth seeing, as it is a fine example of Gothic Revival and Scottish Baronial architecture.
Canadian War Museum:
A national treasure, the Canadian War Museum narrates the stories of the country's involvement in conflicts and honors the sacrifices of the national heroes. An architectural gem in the western downtown of Ottawa, it was structured by architect Raymond Moriyama and reflects the theme of the museum 'regeneration'. You will be awed by the tanks, combat gear, artillery, guns and many other militia artefacts from different eras that talk about the military past of the country and emphasize on the human experiences of war.
Royal Canadian Mint:
A national brand in Central Ottawa that honors the national achievements and where the mint was found in 1908, Royal Canadian Mint is a place of educational value. Take a tour of the mint and learn about the production process of coins, gold bullion bars, medals and medallions. Explore this national historic site and see the art of master tooling that is used to make the dies that strike coin designs for both circulation and commemorative issues and be fascinated by one million dollars worth of pure gold that is preserved here. Buy unique collectives, gifts and momentos from the on-site shop and add to your coin collection.
A thriving outdoor market bordered by cozy cafés, tantalizing restaurants and vibrant bars and clubs, Byward Market offers you a delightful shopping experience with its trend setting fashion boutiques and eclectic stores. Right in the heart of the capital city, this historical neighborhood features an array of more than 600 shops selling everything from fruits and vegetables to local artisans products, jewelry and more.
National Gallery of Canada:
A giant 30-foot spider greets you outside as you reach the National Gallery of Canada. One of the prominent art establishments in the world, it exhibits over 40,000 art pieces crafted by more than 6,000 artists that reflect the rich diversity of the country's heritage. Displaying everything from old age paintings to avant-grande sculptures, the gallery features the largest collection of comprehensive Canadian art and international works from different centuries. The 'Maman', a large bronze spider structure with a sack of 26 white marble eggs under her belly is carved by Louise Bourgeois and is the most famous display of the gallery.
Canadian Museum of History:
Visit the Canadian Museum of History, a national museum where marvelous architecture blends with unique displays to form the most visited historical center of the country. Offering a dramatic trail of past, this museum primarily focuses on collecting, studying, preserving, and presenting material objects that illuminate the human history of Canada and the cultural diversity of its people. Be fascinated by the awe-inspiring life-size recreations of original settlements of the country as you wander through the museum and widen your eyes in astonishment at the largest indoor collection of totem poles in the world. Catch a movie at the theater as you let the little ones try some hands-on games at the Children's Museum.
Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica:
The seat of the Royal Catholic archbishop of the capital city, Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilic was built in the 19th century and is known for its colorful interiors and skyscraping spires. A stunning exemplar of religious art, the believers come from all over to worship the oldest standing church in the city. This architectural masterpiece features Gothic arches right from the entrance to the main altar complemented by a Gothic-styled sanctuary and embellished with stained glass windows.
Note: The cathedral might charge an entry fee or ask for a small donation.