Best Spots for Christmas Light Shows and Displays in Ottawa

Best Spots for Christmas Light Shows and Displays in Ottawa

One of the most anticipated occasions I look forward to every year is Christmas. Apart from holiday presents and festive meals, I just love how Ottawa is transformed into a Christmas Wonderland with all the light shows and displays.

So if you intend to go on a Christmas tour, here’s a list of popular spots for Christmas lights and displays that are worth visiting this Yuletide season. 

1. Downtown Ottawa’s Pathway of Lights

Downtown Ottawa’s Pathway of Lights

One of the best ways to enjoy the holiday season’s magic is by visiting Downtown Ottawa for its annual Pathway of Lights. It is a Christmas tradition that illuminates the lane of the historic Confederation Boulevard. 

Thousands of lights will brighten the famed avenue. This sensory stroll extends from the National War Memorial all the way to the Supreme Court. 

I personally like the displays and how the lights transform the route with a festive holiday season look. Elgin Street, where beautiful lights are often clustered together, is a great spot for a photo op. 

The best part is that this Christmas light display is free. There are also a lot of good restaurants nearby, so grabbing food along the way won’t be a problem. 

Pro Tip: 

If you’re going for a stroll along the area, I recommend starting from the National War Memorial and making your way to the Rideau Canal Park, to Elgin Street, to the Peacekeeping Monument, to the Garden of Provinces and Territories, and finally, to the Supreme Court. 

2. Lansdowne’s Ottawa Christmas Market

Lansdowne’s Ottawa Christmas Market is a perfect place to go if you’re into a holiday shopping spree. There are a lot of local artistry and homemade ornaments you can check out and purchase here.

Comparable to a German Christmas market, this place also has all sorts of nice treats to offer – from hot chocolates and spiral potatoes on a stick to gluhwein and traditional German bratwurst. 

The best part is that since all of the vendors are locals, buying items here will help support small Ottawa businesses. Admission is also free, which is another reason why you should visit. 

But more than just a place for some cool merchandise, Lansdowne’s Ottawa Christmas Market is also popular for its beautiful Christmas light displays. 

Some of the highlights to look forward to include giant, lit-up candy canes, a towering outdoor Christmas tree, and a large Christmas sign where guests can take photos.  But since the place is often packed with people, you’ll have to wait for your turn. 

The live music in the background is also great, adding life to the market’s overall holiday vibe.

Pro Tip: 

If you’re into ice skating, don’t forget to bring your skates to have fun at Lansdowne’s Ottawa Christmas Market free ice rink!

3. Parliament Hill’s Christmas Light Show

Parliament Hill’s Christmas Light Show

If I were to rate all the Christmas light shows across Ottawa, the one that takes place in Parliament Hill would probably be the best. 

Projected onto the Parliament buildings, the show features magical lights that are matched with an awesome music backdrop. It is a fun and animated way of getting a glimpse of Canada’s vast landscapes throughout history. 

The best part is that it is free and can be seen no matter where you’re standing.

In case you arrive at the site partway through, I recommend waiting to watch the entire show to have a better understanding of what it is. 

As it plays on a loop, you’ll know when the next one will begin. Just make sure that you pay extra attention to the announcement to know exactly when the next reel will start. 

Pro Tip: 

If you’re planning to watch the light show, don’t forget to bring your jacket or hoodie to keep you warm as it can get a bit chilly outside.

4. Sparks Street’s Winter Wander

Sparks Street’s Winter Wander

Every year, Sparks Street turns into a winter wonderland that is packed with a lot of photo ops with festive music in the background. This spot is particularly nice for someone who is into seeing some Christmas lights without the hassle.

You’ll find an array of beautiful Christmas lights and countless ornaments that can produce Insta-worthy holiday photos as you stroll along the area.

Among the other decorations to look forward to include colorful Christmas wreaths and majestic life-size photo frames. There’s also the massive Ottawa sign where you get to be the “T” to complete the word. 

While Spark Street’s Winter Wander is relatively new, its success in 2020 will probably turn this Christmas light display into a tradition that both locals and guests can enjoy in the upcoming years. 

Although this might not be as festive and immersive as the other light shows in Ottawa, witnessing this awesome holiday display comes with no charge. 

The best part is that the place doesn’t get too crowded, so you’ll have plenty of chances to capture some of the best Christmas photos that are worth keeping and sharing. 

Pro Tip: 

If you’re planning to visit, I recommend starting from Metcalfe and walking your way towards Lyon Street to make the most of the experience. 

5. Stittsville’s Enchanted Holiday Drive

If you fancy taking photos with a live Santa Claus, Stittsville’s Enchanted Holiday Drive is the place to be. 

This immersive, drive-through Christmas lights experience is somewhat similar to a Santa Claus parade. The only difference is that you will be the one to proceed through to see them all. 

But apart from having fun interacting with live Santa Clauses, a visit to this place also lets you enjoy amazing Christmas light displays, along with 8 live-action scenes that are complete with actors and decorations. 

Kids can even send their letters to Santa through his mailbox and tell him how good they’ve been all year and what they would like for Christmas. There will also be elves and gingerbread men around to take pictures with.

Upon arrival, you will be given the exact radio station to tune into during the holiday drive to compliment the place’s overall Christmas vibe. 

Pro Tip: 

If you intend to visit, I suggest booking earlier as the slots get filled up easily. You may buy your tickets here.

6. Turcotte Family’s Holiday-Themed Home

Turcotte Family’s Holiday-Themed Home

Also happening at Stittsville is a Christmas spectacular that features the Turcotte family’s home. It is a popular stop for people who go on Christmas light tours in the city. 

At one point, their love for the movie, Home Alone, had transformed their residence into a replica of the house from the film. In 2022, the family welcomed guests with an Elf-themed fundraiser for charity.

While admission is free, visitors are encouraged to make donations. All funds raised go to the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO). 

As the family changes their theme every year, I can’t wait what they’ll do this time.

Pro Tip: 

For interested parties, donations can be made while at Turcotte’s home or through CHEO’s official website

7. Taffy Lane’s Christmas Displays

Taffy Lane’s Christmas Displays

A street in Orleans, Taffy Lane has a long history of breathtaking Christmas light marvels and life-sized displays. 

Since 1981, residents in this area have been going all-out in decorating their homes with colorful lights and larger-than-life ornaments during the holiday season. 

As you go along the street, you can expect to see one house with over 13,000 lights! 

There will also be many other massive displays — from toy soldiers to flying reindeer – that make an awesome backdrop for Christmas photos.

Pro Tip: 

If you’re planning to visit, I recommend coming on a weekday when the street is often less crowded.

8. Wesley Clover Park’s Magic of Lights

If there’s one Christmas light display that you wouldn’t want to miss, the Magic of Lights that takes place at Wesley Clover Park is the one. 

Similar to Stittsville’s Enchanted Holiday Drive, this festive drive-through experience offers a lot of beautifully decorated trees that are picture-worthy. You’ll also come across some sections that depict the 12 days of Christmas in full.

Among the other awesome stuff to see in this 30-minute drive are cool animatronics that everyone will surely enjoy. 

You may also opt to tune in to Magic of Light’s radio station when you get there and cruise through the displays with some nice Christmas songs in the background.

If you’re coming in with an RV, there’s a campsite nearby where you could stay while waiting for the campground to turn into a true Christmas light wonderland by sundown. 

To avoid long lines of vehicles, I suggest visiting this popular destination right after it opens or an hour before it closes.

All proceeds go to CHEO, which is another good reason why you should come and see these beautiful Christmas light displays. 

Pro Tip: 

To get tickets at a much cheaper rate, I recommend buying them online. You may purchase them here