Unveiling Ottawa 6 Fun Reasons to Visit

Unveiling Ottawa: 6 Fun Reasons to Visit

Whenever you’re planning on going somewhere new, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is whether or not it’ll be a fun place to visit. And you’re not alone!

And, as a born and bred Ottawan, there’s no greater joy for me than to show everyone the charms of Ottawa. So I’m telling you right now, Ottawa is definitely fun to visit, and there are many reasons why!

It’d be too much to talk about all of them right here, which is why you should lean back, get cozy, and let me do all the explaining. I guarantee that by the end of this article, you’ll already be packing your bags!

1. Ottawa hosts many lively festivals throughout the year.

Ottawa hosts many lively festivals throughout the year

One of my favorite things about Ottawa is its lively festivals that paint the city with vibrant colors and fill the air with infectious energy. It’s no secret that the city knows how to throw a party, so visitors are in for a treat, no matter the season! 

The city’s festival calendar is a kaleidoscope of cultural celebrations, music extravaganzas, and exciting events that’ll leave you grinning from ear to ear.

Let’s start with the world-famous Canadian Tulip Festival, a springtime extravaganza that transforms the city into a floral paradise. As the tulips bloom in a spectacular display of colors, Ottawa radiates a contagious joy that spreads to every passerby. 

Regardless if you’re a flower enthusiast or just someone who appreciates nature’s beauty, this festival is sure to leave you mesmerized by the multitude of colors.

Then, when summer rolls in, it’s time to groove to the beats of the RBC Bluesfest, one of Canada’s largest and most renowned music festivals. 

Its regular lineup features top-notch artists from various genres, so the festival is a harmony of many kinds of melodies that fills the air with infectious rhythms. 

It doesn’t matter if you’re a blues fan, a rock ‘n’ roll enthusiast, or just someone who loves to dance; Bluesfest will have you swaying to the music all night long. 

And once autumn paints the landscape with warm hues, Ottawa gears up for the vibrant Ottawa International Animation Festival. North America’s largest animation festival brings together animators, filmmakers, and animation enthusiasts worldwide. 

It’s a great way to meet new people in the industry and fellow fans and even showcase your appreciation for animated works.

When it comes to festivals in Ottawa, we can’t forget Winterlude, the winter wonderland festival that embraces the city with a flurry of frosty fun! 

Picture this: the Rideau Canal, usually a picturesque waterway, turns into the world’s largest skating rink once the winter season arrives. Ice sculptures, hot chocolate, beavertails, and winter sports also create an enchanting ambiance in the city.

But the fun doesn’t stop there – Ottawa’s festivals go beyond the big names. Throughout the year, the city hosts a ton of niche celebrations that cater to all interests. 

From food festivals that showcase diverse cuisine to cultural events that celebrate Ottawa’s rich heritage, there’s something for everyone.

But these lively festivals do more than entertain; they create a sense of community and celebration that’s infectious. As you join in the festivities, you’ll find yourself immersed in a sea of laughter, smiles, and camaraderie. 

The joy and warmth you experience in the company of fellow festival-goers will make you feel like you’ve found a second home in Ottawa. 

Whether you’re tapping your feet at Bluesfest or strolling amidst tulip gardens during the Canadian Tulip Festival, Ottawa’s lively festivals will help make unforgettable memories. 

This city knows how to embrace life and celebrate the moments that make it special, making it an irresistible destination for anyone seeking a fun experience.

2. Ottawa is a big playground for kids and the kids at heart.

Ottawa is a big playground for kids and the kids at heart

If you’re looking for the ultimate playground for kids and the kids at heart, Ottawa is the place where family-friendly fun takes center stage! 

Whether you’re a little explorer with an insatiable curiosity or a grown-up seeking a nostalgic trip back to your childhood, it’s got you covered!

First stop: the Canadian Museum of Nature, where dinosaurs roam the halls and prehistoric wonders come to life! Kids’ eyes will light up with wonder as they encounter life-size T-Rex skeletons and learn about the fascinating world of fossils. 

It’s an educational and thrilling experience rolled into one, and even parents will find themselves captivated by the mysteries of our planet’s past.

Then, there’s the Children’s Museum in Ottawa, which is a world of enchantment and discovery where imaginations run wild, and creativity knows no bounds. 

Step into different role-play areas, from a bustling market to a spaceship exploring distant galaxies. It’s a haven of make-believe, where learning is disguised as play, and every corner holds surprises!

If you’re thinking about visiting during the warmer season or are just fond of water-based activities, cool off and make a splash at Calypso Waterpark. This aquatic wonderland promises a splashing good time for all ages. 

It’s got heart-pounding water slides, lazy rivers winding through lush landscapes, and thrilling wave pools. It’s a day that’s guaranteed to be a wet and wild adventure that everyone will cherish.

Even if that’s not your jam, the city is dotted with countless parks and recreational spaces perfect for picnics, playdates, and bonding moments. 

From Major’s Hill Park, offering stunning views of the Parliament Buildings and the river, to Andrew Haydon Park, where picnicking meets picturesque waterfronts.

We also can’t forget about the Ottawa International Children’s Festival, showcasing world-class performances for little theater enthusiasts! 

So, if you’re looking for a city that knows how to blend education, adventure, and play, Ottawa is the place to be. It’s a big playground where imaginations soar, laughter echoes through the air, and hearts are filled with treasured memories. 

3. Ottawa is home to a dynamic arts & entertainment scene.

Ottawa is home to a dynamic arts & entertainment scene

Prepare to step into Ottawa’s vibrant arts and entertainment wonderland, where the stage is set and the spotlight shines on a city bursting with creativity and talent. 

Here, you’ll be entertained like never before as its theaters and music venues roll out the red carpet for an unforgettable experience. For theater buffs, the National Arts Centre takes center stage.

It offers a great variety of performances that range from classic plays to avant-garde productions. You’ll immerse yourself in the magic of the stage as world-class actors bring iconic characters to life and whisk you away on emotional journeys. 

But it’s not just about the grand stages – Ottawa’s arts scene thrives in every nook and cranny of the city. Wander into local bars and intimate venues, and you’ll find a different kind of magic unfolding. 

Here, indie concerts and live music events set the beat of the night, luring music lovers with soulful melodies, catchy tunes, and electrifying performances.

You can just tap your feet to the rhythm or dance like nobody’s watching because the energy of the live music scene is just that contagious.

There are folk bands strumming acoustic guitars to jazz ensembles setting the room on fire. Ottawa’s music venues cater to every taste and create an electric atmosphere that’s impossible to resist.

Ottawa’s calendar is brimming with exciting arts and entertainment events that celebrate creativity in all its forms. The Ottawa Fringe Festival, in particular, showcases cutting-edge plays and emerging talents in a delightful explosion of artistic expression.

If you ask me, what truly sets Ottawa’s art scene apart is its warmth and inclusivity. The city’s artists and performers are not just entertainers; they’re storytellers, weaving narratives that touch the soul and ignite passion in the hearts of the audience. 

The sense of community and connection is palpable as you become part of the collective experience, sharing laughter, tears, and applause with fellow spectators.

So, whether you’re a seasoned culture buff or simply seeking a night of pure enjoyment, Ottawa’s arts and entertainment scene is sure to deliver. Get ready to be swept off your feet by the talent, creativity, and passion that fill the city’s theaters and music venues. 

It’s an experience that’ll no doubt leave you with cherished memories and a longing to return for more.

4. Ottawa’s winter adventures are one of a kind.

Ottawa’s winter adventures are one of a kind

As nice as spring and summer are, winter in Ottawa transforms the city into a magical wonderland of frosty adventures and heartwarming delights. And if you think winter is all about hiding away, think again — Ottawa is the best place for winter activities!

Imagine gliding across the frozen surface of the historic Rideau Canal with snowflakes gently falling around you. The world’s largest skating rink invites you to embrace the chill and glide along its 7.8km stretch, surrounded by a stunning winter landscape. 

And with friends or family by your side joining in on the fun, you’re sure to create lasting winter memories that’ll have you looking forward to next year’s winter season!

Speaking of winter playgrounds, Gatineau Park also beckons with its serene forests and glistening trails, just waiting for you to strap on snowshoes or cross-country skis. The park’s pristine beauty and peaceful ambiance make it a haven for winter adventurers. 

Plus, it’s literally just across the river, making it easy to explore the breathtaking winter wonderland and bask in the harmony of nature’s winter symphony.

And if that’s not enough to keep your winter spirits soaring, Winterlude is also one of the things that make winters in Ottawa so warm and fun! Aside from the activities, so many delectable delights that await you at Winterlude.

Like the iconic Canadian treat, Beavertails – warm, delicious pastries topped with sweet and savory toppings that are simply irresistible. I suggest you also treat yourself to a cup of steaming hot chocolate to warm you up while you’re enjoying the festivities.

If anything, winter in Ottawa isn’t just a season; it’s an invitation to embrace the magic and excitement that only this time of year can bring. The city offers an array of cool adventures that cater to every winter lover’s desires. 

Whether it’s skating on the world’s largest rink, exploring the serene beauty of Gatineau Park, and from marveling at ice sculptures to indulging in winter treats. Honestly, there’s never a dull moment in Ottawa’s winter wonderland.

That’s why you should bundle up and let your winter spirit soar as you dive headfirst into the snowy playground that is Ottawa. 

Embrace the thrill of the season, create unforgettable memories, and experience the joy that only winter in this captivating city can provide!

5. Ottawa offers various cuisines and exciting culinary adventures for every palate.

Ottawa offers various cuisines and exciting culinary adventures for every palate

For fellow foodies out there, prepare your tastebuds for a culinary journey like no other because Ottawa’s gastronomic delights await around every corner! 

The city’s food scene is a true smorgasbord of flavors, offering a delightful array of cuisines that cater to every palate and preference.

Whether you’re a serious foodie seeking innovative dishes or simply someone who enjoys hearty comfort food, Ottawa has something special in store for you. 

Its got charming cafes, upscale restaurants, bustling food markets, and even hidden gems in the neighborhoods. Ottawa’s culinary landscape promises a delightful adventure for your tastebuds!

Start your day with a leisurely brunch at one of the trendy cafes, where the aroma of freshly brewed coffee and the sizzle of breakfast delights welcome you. I personally recommend Oz Kafe at Byward Market with its contemporary Canadian dishes & coffee.

Make sure to treat yourself to some mouthwatering pastries, artisanal bread, and farm-fresh ingredients that create a delightful symphony of flavors. And don’t forget to snap a pic or two for your social media accounts!

As lunchtime approaches, immerse yourself in the diverse cultural offerings that grace the city’s menus. 

Discover the various available international cuisines, from savory Indian curries and aromatic Thai dishes to delectable Italian pasta and authentic Mexican tacos. Phuket Royal in Chinatown is a must-visit for its mouthwatering Pad Thai and Satay Chicken.

As for the tacos, Ahora, which is also located at Byward Market, serves up fresh and authentic Mexican food. I can’t recommend the enchiladas, nachos, margaritas, and tacos there enough!

Ottawa’s global culinary scene is a testament to its multicultural essence, allowing you to savor the world’s flavors right here in the heart of Canada. And when the sun sets, its vibrant food markets come alive, inviting you to explore a world of local delights. 

Dive into the bustling stalls at Byward Market and discover an array of fresh produce, artisan cheeses, succulent meats, and delectable desserts. Engage with local vendors who are passionate about their craft and try out their homemade culinary creations.

For a truly immersive experience, indulge in one of the city’s renowned food tours. Wander through charming neighborhoods, sampling delectable dishes while learning about Ottawa’s history and culture. 

It’s not just a culinary journey but a fascinating exploration of the city’s soul through its food. Ottawa also celebrates its love for culinary arts through various food festivals and events. 

From the mouthwatering poutine festival that pays homage to Canada’s iconic dish to the celebration of maple syrup, these events promise a feast for all your senses.

And let’s not forget about the city’s burgeoning craft beer and wine scene, especially since you can actually even go on a brewery tour here during your visit. 

Sip on local brews or sample the finest wines from nearby vineyards, all the while learning about the effort and techniques used to create these concoctions.

When you’re in Ottawa, every meal is an opportunity to embark on a culinary adventure. The city’s diverse cuisines and exciting culinary offerings are a true reflection of its vibrant spirit and open-mindedness. 

I’m not exaggerating when I say that getting to try out all the new food is an adventure in itself!

6. Ottawa’s got more than enough retail therapy options for even the worst shopaholic.

Ottawa’s got more than enough retail therapy options for even the worst shopaholic

Whether you’re a chronic shopaholic or just want to take your time looking around at all the merchandise, Ottawa is a retail paradise. Almost every nook and cranny offers a delightful treasure trove for all your shopping desires. 

Let’s start with the historic Byward Market, a vibrant hub of activity where tradition meets modernity. As you explore the market’s eclectic mix of shops, you’ll discover an array of unique souvenirs, artisanal crafts, and handmade delights.

For those wanting a more contemporary shopping experience, head over to Westboro Village, an upscale neighborhood known for its chic boutiques and stylish shops. 

Here, fashion-forward travelers can indulge in the latest trends, curated collections, and luxurious accessories that are sure to elevate your wardrobe to new heights.

But the shopping fun doesn’t stop there because Ottawa also has the CF Rideau Centre. It has an impressive selection of international brands and trendy Tanger Outlets, so there’s a shopping destination for every taste and budget.

Here in Ottawa, you can easily step into charming boutiques and discover local designers who infuse their creations with Ottawa’s unique spirit. You’ll even be able to unearth vintage treasures in charming antique stores spread across the city. 

From high-end luxury to quirky and offbeat finds, Ottawa’s diverse shopping scene caters to every individual’s taste and preference. And it’s not just about the shopping itself; the entire experience is a joy! 

It’s an enjoyable experience being able to wander through the city’s lively streets as the shop windows themselves invite you to explore their hidden treasures. Who knows, you might even meet friendly store owners who’ll give you good deals if you chat with them!

But perhaps the best part of Ottawa’s shopping adventure is the satisfaction of discovering something truly special and unique. You’re not just taking home physical souvenirs, but you’ll be making memories that’ll hopefully last a lifetime.