Top 10 Date Spots in Ottawa for a Fun First Date

Top 10 Date Spots in Ottawa for a Fun First Date

How well do you remember your first dates? Many of us have fond memories of our first dates, whether they involved cruising along the Rideau Canal at dusk or exploring the ByWard Market after enjoying a meal.

During first dates, we try to make the right impression, create a connection, and find out if we vibe with the person to actually go on a date with him or her again. 

Luckily, Ottawa has plenty of romantic and fun options for you and your date whether you prefer culture, nature, or adventure. 

Here’s a complete guide to the first-date spots in our city for you and your date to enjoy. 

1. National Gallery of Canada

Location: 380 Sussex Drive

Website: https://www.gallery.ca/

Admission: Free on Thursday Nights; Adult: $20; Senior (65 and over):$18; Student (Student or 24 and under): $10; Child (11 and under): Free 

Contact Number: 1-800-319-2787

Operation Hours: 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM on Thursdays; 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM on rest of the days

Show your date your intuitive side by taking him or her to a day of art appreciation at the National Gallery of Canada, a museum that houses 40,000 artworks from over 6,000 artists. You can learn more about each other by listening to your reactions to art.

Before you enter the building, you’ll see “Maman”, a huge spider sculpture by Louise Bourgeois. Inside, you can also admire the Rideau Street Chapel, which was rebuilt and redecorated as part of the museum.

For more art appreciation with a great view, bring your date behind the museum where you can see interesting artworks such as “One Hundred Foot Line” by Roxy Paine, a tall and modern sculpture; and a big statue of Samuel de Champlain, a French explorer.

2. The Central Experimental Farm

The Central Experimental Farm

Location: 960 Carling Ave

Website: https://friendsofthefarm.ca/about-the-farm/

Admission: Free

Contact Number:(613) 230-3276

Operation Hours: Monday – Sunday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Dates with nature are a good idea but a date at the Central Experimental Farm and Arboretum is way better. This national historic site is a captivating and relaxing place where you can not only appreciate nature but also learn about agriculture.

You can take a stroll around the 4 square kilometer area and enjoy the gardens, admire the flowers, and see different kinds of plants and trees. Showing your appreciation of nature can be a great way of creating a good impression. 

Attractions on the site include the Dominion Arboretum (Is visiting Dominion Arboretum free) which contains 4,000 specimens of trees and shrubs, Ornamental Gardens which display a variety of flowers, and the Tropical Greenhouse which is home to exotic plants from different parts of the world. 

3. The Rideau Falls

The Rideau Falls

Location: 1 Sussex Dr

Website: https://ncc-ccn.gc.ca/places/rideau-falls-park-and-green-island

Admission: Free

Waterfalls evoke romance, that’s why you see a lot of them in romantic movies. The sound of the water is scientifically proven to calm humans, something you need on the first date. 

Rideau Falls, which is named after the French word for curtain because it looks like one, is a romantic spot for dates. This is where the Ottawa River receives the Rideau River, forming two waterfalls that are 11 meters high. 

This area is surrounded by a 2.89-hectare park called Rideau Falls Park, where you can enjoy a walk, a picnic, or a view of the monuments which honor the history and heritage of Canada and its allies. 

4. The Dow’s Lake Pavilion

The Dow's Lake Pavilion

Location: 1001 Queen Elizabeth Drive

Website: https://www.dowslake.com/

Operation Hours: Monday to Sunday: 9:00 AM – 9:00 PM 

What I like about going on a date at The Dow’s Lake Pavilion is the option to have a sumptuous meal at the restaurant. If my date is feeling adventurous, we can rent a boat to watch the stunning water views in this area. 

Although there are many restaurants at the Dow’s Lake Pavilion with different types of cuisines available, it is wise to order light meals at Lago Bar & Grill. If you are not going on a boat ride after, you can opt for Mexican food at Mexicali Rosa’s.

The Dow’s Lake Pavilion is an accessible place to get to and there’s plenty of parking available. It is also close to other attractions such as Preston Street, Canada Agriculture and Food Museum, and Brewer Park.

5. The Arboretum

The Arboretum

Location: Central Experimental Farm

Website: https://friendsofthefarm.ca/plan-your-visit/attractions/

Admission: Free

Contact Number: (613) 230-3276

Operation Hours: 24 Hours

Nature is a great backdrop to getting to know a person and the Arboretum is a great place to explore on your first date. You can stroll along the paths and admire the different species of plants, some of which have been growing there since 1889. 

At the northeast corner of the Arboretum, you and your date can enjoy the fragrance of magnolias, wisteria, and other flowering plants. And on the southeast, you can get a breathtaking view of the Rideau Canal and Carleton University. 

The Arboretum is part of the Central Experimental Farm. It is accessible by public transportation and is free and open to the public.

I like dates with nature because they are not only convenient, but they are also budget-friendly. 

6. Great Canadian Theater Company

Great Canadian Theater Company

Location: 1233 Wellington St. W. 

Website: www.gctc.ca 

Admission: Call the GCTC Box Office at 613-236-5196

Contact Number: 613-236-5196

Operation Hours: Tuesday – Friday: 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM, Saturday: 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM

If your date loves Canadian theater, take him or her to the Great Canadian Theater Company (GCTC), a company dedicated to Canadian plays. GCTC stages diverse stories that highlight Canada’s culture and history. 

Before going, you can have a look at the season’s schedule on its website, which is composed of plays ranging from comedy, drama, musical, and experimental performances. 

The GCTC is located at a building on Wellington Street West, which can easily be accessed by car, bus, bike, or walk if you prefer.  It is also close to many restaurants and cafes where you can grab a bite after the show. 

7. The Drive-In Experience Ottawa

The Drive-In Experience Ottawa

Location: 300 Coventry Rd and Wesley Clover Parks

Website: https://www.thedriveinottawa.ca/

Admission: $30 for movies and $30 for live events.

Email: [email protected]

Operation Hours: Schedule Depends on Events

The Drive-In Experience Ottawa is a unique drive-in that offers more than just movies. You and your date can also enjoy live concerts, comedy shows, outdoor yoga, outdoor fitness classes, and more. 

With the variety of activities available, there’s something that you and your date can both enjoy. You can also bring your own food and drinks or order from local vendors on-site.

The Drive-In Experience Ottawa has two venues, one at Wesley Clover Parks and one at Coventry Road. The two locations each have wide space to park your car and watch the show. 

8. Beckta

Beckta

Location: 150 Elgin St

Website: https://beckta.com/

Contact Number: (613) 238-7063

Operation Hours: 

Tuesday – Thursday: 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Friday: 5:00 PM – 10:00 PM

Saturday – Sunday: 5:00 PM – 10:00 PM

Monday: 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM

If you want to impress your date with a five-star dining experience, Beckta is the restaurant you should be calling for reservations right now.

Beckta is a renowned restaurant that lets you choose between a five-course interactive chef’s tasting menu or an a la carte menu. You and your date can enjoy the exquisite food, the thoughtful service, and the romantic atmosphere. 

What I like about this restaurant is that it’s located in a beautiful heritage building and its interior is modern and elegant. Perfect for first-date photos for the gram. 

9. The Loft Board Game Lounge

Location: 14 Waller Street

Website: https://levelonegamepub.com/

Admission: $8 Stay and Play per Person

Contact Number: (613) 695-7529

Operation Hours: 

Sunday: 12:00 PM – 12:00 AM

Monday: 4:00 PM – 12:00 AM

Tuesday – Thursday: 2:00 PM – 12:00 AM

Friday: 2:00 PM – 2:00 AM

Saturday: 12:00 PM – 2:00 AM

The Loft Board Game Lounge is a cafe and bar that offers access to 900+ board games for $8 per person. You and your date can choose from a variety of games that are posted on its website. 

From classics to new releases, this cafe offers a great selection of games for you to enjoy. It’s a great place to bond with your date over some fun and friendly competition.

Aside from the games, the bar offers delicious food and drinks. Guests also complement its friendly service.

10. West Park Bowling 

Location: 1205 Wellington St. W.

Website: https://www.westparkbowling.com/

Admission:
$7.50 per game per person;

$45 per lane per hour (Maximum of 6 people per lane);

$6 per senior/Kids game per person;

$3.50 shoe Rentals

Contact Number:  613-728-0933

Operation Hours: 

Monday – Thursday: Noon – 9:00 PM

Friday & Saturday: Noon – Late

Sunday: Noon – 9:00 PM

If you want to have lots of fun on your first date, bring him or her to West Park Bowling for a few rounds of the game, which can also be a good gauge of personality. It is a 5-pin bowling center that has been operating since 1946 in the center of the Ottawa area. 

Where there’s bowling, there’s also pizzas burgers, nachos, and lots of drinks! You can order them at Fil’s Diner and Daniel O’Connell’s Irish Pub, which are located next to the bowling center.


Ottawa is a wonderful city to explore with your partner. The places listed above are the best romantic spots where you can impress your date with your cultural knowledge, your adventurous spirit, and your fun personality.