The Ultimate Tourist’s Guide for Exploring Downtown Rideau

The Ultimate Tourist’s Guide for Exploring Downtown Rideau

Ottawa’s a pretty large place with so many great places to explore. You’ve got the Downtown Ottawa area with its urbanized feel, then you have Downtown Rideau. 

Unlike its counterpart, you can say that Downtown Rideau places more emphasis on the arts and history of the city. There are plenty of exciting things to discover here, especially if you are a first-timer to Ottawa. 

An Overview of Downtown Rideau

Downtown Rideau started its life as the original “downtown” of Ottawa. The area was first settled in 1826 when Lieutenant-Colonel John By began construction of the Rideau Canal

Rideau Street quickly became the main commercial district of the city, and it remained the heart of Ottawa until the late 19th century. 

In the early years, Rideau Street was home to a variety of businesses, including stores, hotels, and taverns. The district was also a popular gathering place for residents, who would come to shop, socialize, and enjoy the city’s nightlife.

In the late 19th century, the construction of Parliament Hill and the ByWard Market led to a shift in the focus of the city. 

These new areas became more attractive to businesses and residents, and Rideau Street gradually lost its status as the city’s downtown.

However, Rideau Street remains an important part of Ottawa’s history and culture. The area is home to a number of historical landmarks, including the Bytown Museum and the Château Laurier Hotel. 

Besides the iconic Rideau Canal, this part of Ottawa offers so many incredible things that you can discover. 

Notable Locations in Downtown Rideau

Part of what makes exploring Downtown Rideau such an enjoyable experience is the many attractions you can find along the way. Make sure to stop by these landmarks and take plenty of pictures! 

Rideau Canal

Website: https://www.visitrideaucanal.com/

Address: Rideau Canal, Ottawa, ON, Canada

Contact details: 613-283-7199

We really can’t talk about this part of Ottawa without mentioning the Rideau Canal. Besides being one of the signature attractions here, it has an extreme amount of significance to the capital, and for a very good reason. 

This man-made body of water is a tour de force, having been considered an engineering and architectural feat by man when it was first created. 

Today, it stands as one of the city’s most popular attractions, with its waters surrounding the iconic Parliament Hill.

Thanks to its beauty and historical significance, the Rideau Canal has been crowned a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a title it has more than earned. As a tourist, you definitely want to see this marvelous man-made structure with your own two eyes.

Its scenic beauty is truly a sight to behold, lined with lush greenery and flowers in the spring and summer.

Please embed: https://www.instagram.com/p/BCek_KeqxD5/

Of course, it’s also known as the world’s largest skating rink in the winter. Here, it transforms into an icy wonderland that offers a stunning backdrop.

Aesthetics aside, this place is a hub of activity too. The summer season makes it an ideal location for locals and visitors alike to stroll, jog, or cycle along its banks. 

Come winter, you can have a chance to go skating with locals and other tourists and even strike up conversations with them. I think this is a great opportunity to make some new friends. 

You also don’t want to miss the chance to experience the canal during the Winterlude Festival, where it takes center stage. From ice sculptures to winter sports, it becomes even livelier as it comes alive with activity.

Boat tours along the canal are a popular choice, offering a different perspective of the city. The guides here are well-versed, sharing intriguing stories about the waterway’s history and its integral role in shaping Ottawa.

Now, when you are taking a cruise, be on the lookout for the charming locks along the canal, such as the Ottawa Locks and the Hartwells Lockstation. 

It’s simply a fascinating experience to watch boats navigate these mechanisms and is an intriguing glimpse into the waterway’s engineering marvels.

Parliament Hill

Parliament Hill

Website: https://visit.parl.ca/sites/Visit/default/en_CA

Address: Wellington St, Ottawa, ON K1A 0A9, Canada

Contact details: 613-992-4793

Operating hours: 

  • 24/7

You may know Parliament Hill as the heart of Canada’s democracy, symbolizing our nation’s rich history and political significance. The architecture is nothing short of majestic, with the Gothic Revival style adding a touch of grandeur that you can’t miss.

During the summer, catch the Changing of the Guard ceremony, a colorful display of military precision that adds a cultural flair to the experience.

And when the sun sets, don’t miss the “Northern Lights” sound and light show, which allows you to see a different side of the government building’s beauty.

Parliament Hill’s “Northern Lights” show

Speaking of views, the panorama from Parliament Hill is simply breathtaking. 

You get a sweeping look at the Ottawa River, Gatineau Hills, and the cityscape. This makes it a perfect venue for snapping some Insta-worthy shots or simply taking in the scenery.

Now, the proximity to the Rideau Canal adds another layer to the experience. You can seamlessly transition between the two attractions to see different sides of the city.

Parliament Hill during Canada Day celebrations

And let’s not forget the events and celebrations that happen here.

From Canada Day festivities to other national events, Parliament Hill is where the action unfolds. It’s a vibrant spot that comes alive during these occasions.

If you’re into history, guided tours are available to give you the lowdown on Canada’s political workings and the stories behind the Parliament Buildings.

The Famous Five Statue

The Famous Five Statue

Address: 2 Rideau St, Ottawa, ON K1N 8X5, Canada

Operating hours: 

  • 24/7

The Famous Five Monument, also recognized as the Persons Case Monument or the Women Are Persons! Monument, stands as an illustrious bronze tribute in Ottawa, Canada. 

This remarkable sculpture commemorates the historic “Persons Case” of 1929, a pivotal legal triumph that affirmed women as “persons” under the British North America Act.

Because of this, it constituted a profound advancement in the recognition of women’s rights within the Canadian constitutional framework. 

The five distinguished women immortalized by this monument are exemplary figures who played instrumental roles in the battle for gender equality:

  • Irene Parlby (1878-1960): A luminary in the fields of law, politics, and activism.
  • Louise McKinney (1868-1931): A trailblazer as a teacher, writer, and ardent activist.
  • Nellie McClung (1873-1953): A formidable force as a writer, educator, and committed activist.
  • Emily Murphy (1868-1933): A pioneering judge and jurist who left an indelible mark on Canadian legal history.
  • Henrietta Muir Edwards (1874-1954): A distinguished doctor and fervent suffragist.

The talented artist Barbara Paterson was the one responsible for creating this masterpiece and it was unveiled in the year 2000. 

Its prominent location on Wellington Street West, adjacent to the Senate of Canada Building, strategically situates it amidst the political heart of the nation. 

The Famous Five Statues in Ottawa but from a different angle

The sculpture itself is a poignant representation, portraying the quintet gathered for a tea party, a symbolic celebration of their hard-fought victory in the Persons Case.

This bronze masterpiece not only serves as a captivating tourist attraction but also functions as a poignant reminder of the indispensable contributions of women to Canadian history. 

The Famous Five Monument stands as a testament to the perseverance and dedication of these remarkable individuals who catalyzed legal and societal change, leaving an enduring legacy for generations to come. 

In its evocative portrayal, it encapsulates the spirit of progress and the indomitable strength of those who championed the cause of women’s rights in Canada. 

Pro Tip: 

One of the best times to visit the monument is during sunset. The warm glow of the setting sun against the bronze statues is nothing short of magical. 

Plus, the whole area takes on this serene vibe, making it the perfect spot for reflection!

Rideau Hall

Website: https://www.gg.ca/en/visit-us/rideau-hall

Address: 1 Sussex Dr, Ottawa, ON K1A 0A1, Canada

Contact details: 866-842-4422

Operating hours: 

  • Monday-Saturday: 8:00 AM–4:30 PM
  • Sunday: 8:00 AM–5:30 PM

You really don’t want to miss an opportunity to drop by the Rideau Hall. Besides being the governor general’s residence, it’s also got gorgeous scenery that will have you snapping a few pictures to take home as a souvenir. 

The architecture alone is worth the visit. The sprawling grounds and the official residence itself are like a snapshot of Canadian heritage.

The ballroom, the staterooms—they’ve all seen dignitaries, royalty, and probably a few moose-themed soirées.

Now here’s what many of us consider to be the main star of the show: the gardens. These aren’t your run-of-the-mill flower beds, as expert landscapers have been hired to truly create a breathtaking yard. 

The Rideau Hall gardens are a masterpiece. When you stroll through them, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a botanical wonderland.

The best part is that it’s free to wander around the grounds. You can saunter through these regal gardens without spending a dime, and it’s like getting a VIP tour of Canadian history without opening your wallet.

It doesn’t end there, though, as the hall often hosts public events, such as the annual Winter Celebration and Canada Day. You can join plenty of other Ottawans and tourists here instead if you want to be somewhere else other than Parliament Hill. 

Confederation Park

Confederation Park

Website: https://ncc-ccn.gc.ca/places/confederation-park

Address: Elgin St, Ottawa, ON K1P 5J2, Canada

Contact details: 613-239-5000

Operating hours: 

  • 24/7

I and plenty of other Ottawans describe the Confederation Park as an urban oasis. It’s nestled right by City Hall and a stone’s throw from Parliament Hill, offering you a perfect blend of tranquility and vibrancy.

When it comes to events, Confederation Park is one of the city’s go-to spots for festivals and gatherings. We hold all sorts of occasions here, such as live music concerts, company outings, cultural celebrations, and more.

This place is buzzing with activity a lot of the time. The energy during these events is contagious, and you’ll find yourself right in the middle of the action.

Confederation Park’s monument

If you’re a history buff, the location has a fair share of monuments and plaques that tell tales of Canada’s past. You can take a leisurely stroll and soak in the stories etched into the very fabric of the green space.

And the best part? Confederation Park is a fantastic starting point for exploring the rest of Downtown Rideau.

It’s like the green gateway to all the cultural, historical, and entertainment wonders this area has to offer.

Pro Tip: 

Go and grab yourself a coffee and find a bench. The people-watching here is top-notch. 

You’ve got tourists snapping pics, locals on lunch breaks, and maybe even a busker or two adding to the lively atmosphere.

The Connaught Building

The Connaught Building

Website: https://www.pc.gc.ca/apps/dfhd/page_nhs_eng.aspx?id=454

Address: Ottawa, ON K1N 6Z6, Canada

Contact details: 613-957-2355

Operating hours: 

  • 24/7

The Connaught Building is a historic office establishment and a designated Classified Federal Heritage Building. Today, it stands as one of the most recognizable structures in the city. 

We Ottawans know this place for its gorgeous Tudor-style Gothic design, showcasing the capital city’s architectural legacy. 

Now, here’s the kicker—it’s not just about the exterior. Once you venture inside Connaught, you’ll be greeted by a lobby that’s straight out of a vintage movie. 

The marble, the woodwork, the attention to detail—it’s a nod to a bygone era of elegance. It’s the kind of place where you half-expect to bump into folks from the roaring twenties.

Besides the gorgeous architecture, the building also has some political chops as well. It’s been home to various government offices over the years, bearing witness to plenty of important decisions that shaped Ottawa and Canada into what it is today.

Connaught Building’s streets

Of course, one of the best things about this establishment is its location. The Connaught Building sits proudly on Wellington Street, right in the heart of the action. 

You can easily make it part of your Downtown Rideau adventure, sandwiched between iconic spots like Parliament Hill and the National Arts Centre.

Pro Tip: 

During the first week of June an event called ‘Doors Open Ottawa’ takes place. This gives you access to many of the city’s unique and historically significant buildings, including the Connaught Building. 

In this period, you can get a backstage pass to explore the historical nooks and crannies of this iconic landmark.

Major’s Hill Park

Major’s Hill Park

Website: https://www.pc.gc.ca/apps/dfhd/page_nhs_eng.aspx?id=454

Address: Mackenzie Ave, Ottawa, ON K1N 1G8, Canada

Contact details: 800-465-1867

Operating hours: 

  • 24/7

In 1826, Colonel John By, the engineer who oversaw the construction of the Rideau Canal, chose Major’s Hill as the site for his headquarters. 

The location was named after Major H.C. “Long” Major, a British officer who had been stationed in the area during the War of 1812. 

By’s house, which is still located in the park today, served as the center of operations for the canal project. The colonel’s home was also used as a social gathering place for By and his officers.

Major’s Hill Park with people

Today, Major’s Hill Park is a cherished part of Ottawa’s downtown core. The green space is a popular spot for walking, jogging, cycling, and picnicking. 

It is also home to a number of historical landmarks and a former greenhouse that now serves as a restaurant.

The views are off the charts too! From this vantage point, you can see Parliament Hill, the Ottawa River, and the Château Laurier.

But it’s not just about the scenery. Major’s Hill Park is one of our go-to spots for events and festivals. 

During Winterlude, it transforms into an icy landscape with ice sculptures and outdoor activities. In the summer, it’s the perfect spot for a picnic or a lazy afternoon reading a book.

Where to Shop in Downtown Rideau

Are you someone who loves to go shopping? You’ll be pleased to know that Downtown Rideau is home to some of Ottawa’s most prominent shopping centers. 

Make sure to drop by these locations and ready your wallet! 

CF Rideau Centre

Website: https://shops.cadillacfairview.com/property/cf-rideau-centre

Address: 50 Rideau St, Ottawa, ON K1N 9J7, Canada

Contact details: 613-236-6565

Operating hours: 

  • Monday-Sunday: 10:00 AM–9:00 PM

When you visit the CF Rideau Centre, you are entering a shopping mecca that has everything from high-end international brands to local gems. 

You’ve got your Zara and H&M rubbing shoulders with Ottawa originals like DAVIDsTEA and Stomping Ground.

And let’s not forget about the big players. Nordstrom and Simons have set up shop here, bringing a touch of luxury to the heart of the city. 

It’s not every day you can go from scoring a deal at H&M to treating yourself at Nordstrom, right?

Of course, the Rideau Centre is not just about clothes. It’s got tech covered too. 

Apple, Microsoft, and other prominent gadget brands can be found here. If you’re looking to upgrade your phone or get a new gadget, you can definitely find the perfect shop in the Rideau Centre.

As for the dining scene, you will surely have a blast with the plentiful choices. After a long day of shopping, you can get some sushi from Big Catch, or indulge in some Canadian classics at Milestones.

Oh, and did I mention the rooftop dining area with killer views? It’s a game-changer.

So, whether you’re a fashionista, a tech geek, or just want a taste of Ottawa’s local flavor, the CF Rideau Centre is your one-stop shop. 

Pro Tip: 

Make sure to keep an eye out for events and pop-up shops. The Rideau Centre often hosts cool activations and collaborations, and it can enhance your shopping experience even further!

ByWard Market

Website: https://www.byward-market.com/

Address: 55 ByWard Market Square; Ottawa, Ontario; K1N 9C3

Contact details: 613-244-4410

Operating hours: 

  • Monday-Sunday: 9:00 AM-5:00 PM

One of the things that I love the most about the ByWard Market is its energy. It’s simply contagious, and it makes the shopping experience incredible. 

Now for the stalls. You’ve got the iconic BeaverTails stand, serving up those irresistible Canadian pastries. 

Tourists go nuts for them, and locals secretly indulge in them more often than they’d like to admit. It’s a guilty pleasure, and you can’t visit the ByWard Market without trying one.

Then there’s Le Moulin de Provence, the bakery that proudly displays the Obama Cookie. Yep, you heard it right – even former President Obama couldn’t resist the allure of their pastries.

For those into unique finds, the market is a treasure trove. There’s Maker House Co., showcasing handmade Canadian goods that make perfect souvenirs or gifts. 

And for the artsy crowd, the Cube Gallery is a must-visit, featuring local artists and their captivating works.

Now, let’s not forget about the fresh stuff. The produce stands are a game-changer. 

From vibrant fruits and veggies to artisanal cheeses and maple syrup, it’s like a feast for the senses. You can literally taste the local goodness.

But what really seals the deal for me is the history. The ByWard Market has been around since 1826, and it’s woven into the fabric of Ottawa. 

Walking those cobblestone streets is like stepping back in time while indulging in the best that modern Ottawa has to offer.

Pro Tip: 

If you’re planning to visit the ByWard Market, come on a Saturday. That’s when the outdoor market kicks into high gear. 

Local farmers, artisans, and vendors set up shop, creating a bustling open-air bazaar that’s as vibrant as it gets. It’s the perfect time to snag some unique finds and soak in the lively atmosphere!

St. Laurent Shopping Centre

Website: https://stlaurentshoppingcentre.com/

Address: 1200 St. Laurent Blvd, Ottawa, ON K1K 3B8, Canada

Contact details: 613-745-6858

Operating hours: 

  • Monday-Thursday, Saturday: 9:30 AM–9:00 PM
  • Friday: 9:00 AM–9:00 PM
  • Sunday: 11:00 AM–5:00 PM

St. Laurent Shopping Centre is a bit east of the hustle and bustle, which means you often get a more relaxed shopping experience compared to the downtown core. But don’t let that fool you – it’s got the goods you want.

The establishment is a mix of local and international, giving you a well-rounded buying extravaganza. 

You’ve got your usual suspects, like H&M and Sephora, for your fashion and beauty fixes. But wait, there’s more.

Simons, the Canadian fashion powerhouse, has set up shop here. It’s your go-to for chic and trendy finds with a Canadian touch. 

And if you’re feeling a bit fancy, you’ve got Michael Kors and Coach holding it down in the luxury department.

For the tech-savvy, there’s an Apple Store to fulfill all your gadget needs. 

Now if you are passionate about helping the environment, you should definitely check out terra20. It’s a Canadian store with a focus on eco-friendly and sustainable products.

It has all sorts of neat items, like home goods, personal care items, soaps, and more. It’s guilt-free shopping at its finest.

When hunger strikes, you’ve got some solid options.

The food court is no slouch, offering a variety of choices for every craving. It’s the perfect pit stop between buying sprees.

Another thing to note is the events. St. Laurent often hosts cool pop-up shops and affairs, adding an extra layer of excitement to your shopping trip.  

Where to Eat in Downtown Rideau

Part of a good trip always involves some delicious food. These are some of Downtown Rideau’s offerings that are sure to give your tastebuds and stomach a good time. 

Sidedoor

Website: https://www.sidedoorrestaurant.com/

Address: 18b York St, Ottawa, ON K1N 5T5, Canada

Contact number: 613-562-9331

Social media: 

Operating hours: 

  • Monday: 4:00 PM–10:30 PM
  • Tuesday-Thursday: 12:00 PM–10:30 PM=
  • Friday-Saturday: 12:00–11:00 PM

Must-try dishes: 

  • Pork Char Siu Taco
  • Grilled Octopus
  • Thai-Style Chicken

Price: $$$ – Expensive

Sidedoor is well known for its internationally inspired menu. A few dishes you can find here include tapas & tacos, steak, seafood, and more. 

It also features a good collection of wines, perfect for accompanying your meal. 

The place’s ambiance is spot-on. It’s got this cool, laid-back vibe that makes it perfect for everything from casual lunches to a night out with friends. 

Now, let’s dive into the menu. 

The Pork Char Siu Taco is practically legendary around here. You get tender, flavorful pork char siu nestled in a taco shell, topped with crunchy slaw, and drizzled with hoisin sauce. 

It’s a flavor explosion that hits all the right notes: sweet, savory, and just the right amount of kick.

Next up is the Grilled Octopus. It’s perfectly grilled and tender on the inside, with a delightful char on the outside. 

The accompanying chimichurri adds that zing of freshness that makes it a standout appetizer.

Now, the Thai-Style Chicken is a certified winner. These are succulent chicken thighs marinated in Thai spices, fried to perfection, and served with a side of Thai chili sauce. 

It’s a flavor journey that transports you straight to the streets of Bangkok.

But here’s the thing – Sidedoor doesn’t stop at these three. The menu is a culinary adventure, from their sushi rolls to the bao buns; there’s always something new to discover. 

Shawarma Palace

Website: https://www.theworldsbestshawarma.com/

Address: 464 Rideau St, Ottawa, ON K1N 5Z3, Canada

Contact number: 

Social media: 

Operating hours: 

  • Monday-Thursday, Sunday: 11:00 AM–1:00 AM
  • Friday-Saturday: 11:00 AM–2:00 AM

Must-try dishes: 

  • Shawarma
  • Mixed Shawarma
  • Chicken Kebab

Price: $ – Affordable

As the “Shawarma Capital” of Canada, Ottawa has so many delicious stores waiting for you to discover. Shawarma Palace is one of them. 

It’s famous for its perfectly seasoned and slow-cooked wrap that melts in your mouth with every bite.

The Mixed Shawarma, now that’s a game-changer. Why settle for one when you can have a mix of beef and chicken in a single glorious wrap? 

The variety of flavors, the freshness of the veggies, and that garlic sauce – it’s a shawarma party in your mouth.

And let’s not forget the Chicken Kebab. It’s grilled to perfection, tender on the inside with that smoky char on the outside. 

It’s simplicity done right, served with all the fixings and wrapped in that pillowy soft pita.

However, the meat and veggies alone don’t complete the dish. Special mention goes to the dressing. 

Shawarma Palace has a garlic sauce that’s practically legendary. When you drizzle it on your wrap it amplifies the flavor to new heights. 

And if you’re feeling adventurous, try the hot sauce – it’s a flavor kick that takes things to the next level.

Lastly, generous doesn’t even begin to cover the size of the portions here. One thing’s for sure, you won’t leave Shawarma Palace hungry.

Bento Sushi

Website: https://www.bentosushi.com/

Address: 50 Rideau St, Ottawa, ON K1N 9J7, Canada

Contact number: 613-691-1812 

Social media: 

Operating hours: 

  • Monday-Saturday: 11:00 AM–7:00 PM
  • Sunday: 11:00 AM–6:00 PM

Must-try dishes: 

  • Spicy California Crunch Roll
  • Dynamite Crunch
  • Salmon Volcano Roll

Price: $$ – Average

Bento Sushi is the perfect restaurant to go to if you desire some delicious rolls, and want a bite to eat at a place right in the middle of Downtown Rideau after exploring its attractions. 

First things first, the Spicy California Crunch Roll. It’s a classic with a twist in the form of a hot kick combined with the creamy avocado and a crunch factor that makes for a perfect piece of sushi. 

Now, let’s talk about the Dynamite Crunch. The name says it all. 

It’s a flavor explosion with an incredible crisp. You’ve got shrimp tempura, spicy mayo, and a satisfying crunch rolled into one delectable bite.

And then there’s the Salmon Volcano Roll. If you’re a salmon lover, this one’s for you. 

It’s a piece of sushi that brings together the freshness of salmon with a hint of spice and that signature Bento crunch. Each bite is like a mini celebration of flavor, as the fish and the sauce merge together in perfect harmony.

But what sets Bento Sushi apart is the quality. 

The fish is fresh, the ingredients are top-notch, and the attention to detail in each roll is impressive. It’s sushi crafted with care, and you can taste the difference.

Sí Señor Mexican Street Food

Website: https://www.sisenor.ca/

Address: 506 Rideau St, Ottawa, ON K1N 5Z7, Canada

Contact number: 613-421-7490

Social media: 

Operating hours: 

  • Tuesday-Saturday: 12:00–9:00 PM
  • Sunday: 11:00 AM–4:00 PM

Must-try dishes: 

  • Quesabirrias
  • Torta de Chilaquiles
  • Signature Tacos

Price: $$ – Average 

Sí Señor Mexican Street Food offers some spectacular authentic Mexican flavors. As someone who appreciates a good taco, this place has my stamp of approval.

First off, let’s talk about the Quesabirrias. It features tender, flavorful beef, and melted cheese, all encased in a crispy tortilla. 

This dish simply blends everything well together. The creamy taste of the cheese perfectly complements the savory beef, making for a delicious meal.

The Torta de Chilaquiles is a Hispanic dish that deserves more attention. If I had to describe it, I’d say it’s like a Mexican sandwich on steroids, in the best way possible. 

You have a breakfast sub that consists of chilaquiles, which are fried tortilla triangles simmered in salsa, refried beans, queso fresco, and crema, all stuffed into a bolillo roll.

Regardless of the time of day, this is a filling meal that is bound to satisfy your cravings, especially if you are a sandwich lover.

And then there are the signature tacos. Each one is a work of art, showcasing the vibrant and bold flavors of Mexican street food. 

For your fillings, Si Señor offers a pretty diverse selection. You have the Pastor, Carnitas, Asada, and plenty of other proteins to suit your personalized taste. 

New York Fries

Website: https://www.newyorkfries.com/locations/rideau-centre

Address: Rideau Centre, 50 Rideau St, Ottawa, ON K1N 9J7, Canada

Contact number: 613-563-4766

Social media: 

Operating hours:

  • Monday-Saturday: 10:00 AM–9:00 PM
  • Sunday: 11:00 AM–6:00 PM

Must-try dishes: 

  • Signature Fries
  • Poutine
  • Bacon Double Cheese Dog

Price: $ – Affordable

New York Fries (NYF) in Rideau Centre really knows how to make this beloved snack special. Anyone who appreciates a good spud needs to visit this place, and I’ll be telling you why in a bit.

The star of the show is, of course, the signature fries. Crispy on the outside, and fluffy on the inside, it’s cooked to golden brown perfection. 

And the best part? You can customize them to your heart’s content with an array of mouthwatering sauces.

You can also make your chips more exciting by opting for the loaded sets. There’s flamin’ bacon, pulled pork, and even nacho fries! 

Now for a classic: Poutine. This Canadian favorite gets the royal treatment at NYF.

The squeaky cheese curds, and the savory gravy, all smothered over those perfectly cooked potatoes, make it the perfect comfort food, one I wholeheartedly recommend to tourists. 

And then there’s the Bacon Double Cheese Dog. You get a juicy hot dog, crispy bacon, and gooey cheese – all snugly nestled in a soft bun. 

However, it doesn’t end with just the menu. You could say it’s about the experience of dining in this lively establishment. 

The smell of fresh fries wafting through the air, the sizzle of hot oil – it’s a sensory delight.

Where to Stay in Downtown Rideau

A trip isn’t complete without a great place to stay. These hotels in Downtown Rideau offer some of the best accommodations so you can be well-rested for the next part of your trip. 

The Westin Ottawa

Website: https://www.marriott.com/en-us/hotels/yowwi-the-westin-ottawa/overview/?scid=f2ae0541-1279-4f24-b197-a979c79310b0

Address: 11 Colonel By Dr, Ottawa, ON K1N 9H4, Canada

Contact number: 613-560-7000

Social media: 

Price: $$$ – Expensive

The Westin Ottawa is a top-notch choice for accommodations in Downtown Rideau. 

One of its main draws is its prime location. Being in the center of Downtown Rideau, it’s quite easy to walk to popular attractions like Parliament Hill, the ByWard Market, and the Rideau Canal. 

Westin’s rooms have absolutely nailed the balance between comfort and style. The beds are so soft it feels like you are sleeping in a pile of clouds. 

You’ll be tempted to hit the snooze button just to soak in that Westin Heavenly Bed experience. Add the city and canal views from your room during the sunrise and sunset and you’ve got picture-perfect scenery right at the palm of your hand.

Now this is an absolute game-changer for shopaholics out there. The direct connection to the Rideau Centre is an awesome treat, letting you indulge in retail therapy. 

This close proximity to the mall also offers you plenty of dining and relaxation options. When you’re done, you can simply have a quick walk back to your room. 

If you don’t want to miss out on some exercise, Westin also has an excellent gym that has all the equipment you need. You can go for a run on the treadmill, or pump iron with the various weights available. 

Oh, and did I mention the pet-friendly policy? Your furry friends are more than welcome here with you! 

Courtyard by Marriott

Website: https://www.marriott.com/en-us/hotels/yowcy-courtyard-ottawa-downtown/overview/?scid=f2ae0541-1279-4f24-b197-a979c79310b0

Address: 350 Dalhousie St, Ottawa, ON K1N 7E9

Contact number: 613-238-1122

Social media: 

Price: $$ – Average

Courtyard by Marriott is perfect if your Downtown Rideau itinerary involves exploring the ByWard Market, Parliament Hill, and the National Gallery of Canada. The location, combined with its reasonable prices, makes it a prime choice for many tourists.

The rooms here have this contemporary, cozy vibe that hits the right spot. You can find plush beds that are perfect for resting after a day of exploration around the capital, and the city views add that extra touch of charm.

For dining options, the hotel has The Bistro, its on-site restaurant. It’s become a local favorite thanks to its delicious menu items. 

Whether you’re craving a hearty breakfast to kickstart your day or a casual dinner after exploring the city, it’s got you covered with a diverse menu.

Now, for fitness enthusiasts, the 24-hour gym is simply awesome. You don’t have to worry about missing your workout routine, as you can visit it whenever you have free time. 

One thing I have to mention is the staff. They’re like your local guides—friendly, knowledgeable, and always ready with recommendations for the best nearby spots. 

Need a tip for a great local eatery or directions to a lesser-known location? Just ask them, and they’ll be happy to share their insider knowledge.

ARC The Hotel

Website: https://www.arcthehotel.com/

Address: 140 Slater St., Ottawa, ON K1P 5H6, Canada

Contact number: 800-699-2516

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Price: $$ – Average

ARC The Hotel has this chic, boutique vibe that’s both modern and inviting. It’s like a stylish oasis in the midst of Downtown Rideau. 

If I had to give the design a description, I would say that it is contemporary elegance with a touch of warmth.

When you enter your room, you can expect sleek furnishings and luxurious bedding. You also have a front-row seat to the urban hustle and bustle.

But here’s something interesting: the Pillow Menu. 

Yes, you heard that right. You can choose the perfect pillow to suit your preferences. 

It’s these thoughtful touches that make your stay at ARC feel personalized and luxurious.

And for those who appreciate good dining, the ARC Lounge is simply lovely. It features a gourmet breakfast, a filling lunch, and a cozy dinner

Like the rest of the hotels on the list, it’s also got an awesome location for touring Downtown Rideau. It’s close to landmarks such as Parliament Hill and the National Arts Centre, making it another great choice if you want to explore them much more easily. 

And did I mention the in-room Nespresso machines? If you’re craving some caffeine, you can have a freshly brewed espresso while taking in the cityscape from your quarters, which is a simply delightful way to start your day.

Château Laurier

Website: https://www.fairmont.com/laurier-ottawa/

Address: 1 Rideau Street, Ottawa – Ontario K1N 8S7, Canada

Contact details: 613-241-1414

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Price: $$$ – Expensive

For an accommodation that is truly luxurious and awe-inspiring, you should consider the Château Laurier. 

You see, staying in this hotel isn’t just for the incredible facilities; it’s also about the iconic factor. This historic beauty is practically a symbol of Ottawa.

The rooms here offer the best luxury, with a blend of classic elegance and modern comfort that is nothing short of enchanting.

Everything about it is simply perfect and is a reflection of the staff’s commitment to providing a refined and cozy haven. The plush bedding, comfy pillows, tasteful decor, and more ooze high-class. 

If you love a great view, you will be very satisfied, as Château Laurier offers some of the best views in the city. 

The hotel overlooks notable landmarks like the Rideau Canal and Parliament Hill. When you wake up first thing in the morning, you will be treated to a beautiful sight of these locations wrapped in dazzling rays of light as the sun rises.

Wilfrid’s Restaurant is your primary choice for dining in Château Laurier. The locally inspired dishes, and the sophisticated ambiance – it’s a spot where you can savor the flavors of Ottawa in style.

And for those who appreciate a touch of indulgence, the Fairmont Gold experience is a game-changer. Exclusive lounges and personalized service make you feel like you have a VIP pass to luxury within an already luxurious setting.

Useful Tips When Touring Downtown Rideau

Before you go and explore Downtown Rideau, you ought to do some planning to maximize your time and have the best experience possible. Here are a few things you can do to make your trips memorable. 

Choose the right season to visit. 

The Downtown Rideau area is best explored during the warmer months, from spring to early fall, when the streets are bustling with activity and outdoor events. 

However, the winter season also holds its own charm, with the Rideau Canal transformed into an icy wonderland for skating and festive activities.

Consider all your public transportation options. 

Consider all your public transportation options

Downtown Rideau is easily accessible by public transportation, including the OC Transpo bus system and the O-Train light rail. You can also choose to walk or rent bicycles to explore the area at your own pace.

Start with the Rideau Canal. 

Start with the Rideau Canal

The Rideau Canal is the heart of Downtown Rideau, and it’s a great place to start your exploration. You can stroll along the canal locks, admire the historic architecture, and maybe even rent a paddleboat for a leisurely ride.

Take a cruise down Rideau Canal. 

Take a cruise down Rideau Canal

You definitely want to take a cruise in Rideau Canal, as it is one of the best ways to experience this marvelous landmark’s beauty. 

You get a different view of many signature landmarks such as Parliament Hill, the Canadian Museum of History, the canal locks, and more from this POV. 

Discover the various museums and galleries in Downtown Rideau. 

Downtown Rideau is home to several museums and galleries that showcase art, history, and culture. 

I recommend that you visit the ByTown Museum, the National Gallery of Canada, the Museum of Nature, or the Canadian War Museum to delve into different aspects of Canadian heritage.

Taste the local cuisine. 

The Downtown Rideau area offers a diverse culinary scene, from cozy cafes to fine dining establishments. There are plenty of local delicacies worth sampling, and you can also feast on international cuisine while enjoying the vibrant restaurant atmosphere.

Enjoy the various outdoor activities that are available. 

Ottawa transforms with each season, offering unique experiences throughout the year. You can go skating on the Rideau Canal during winter, enjoy vibrant festivals in spring and summer, and witness the stunning fall foliage in autumn.

Attend the seasonal events.

Downtown Rideau hosts a variety of events throughout the year, from summer festivals to winter celebrations. Check the local event calendar to see what’s happening during your visit.

Explore the area by foot. 

Downtown Rideau is a pedestrian-friendly area, so take your time and enjoy the sights and sounds on foot. You are very likely to uncover hidden gems as you observe the streets, admire the architecture, and soak in the unique atmosphere.