The Ultimate Handbook to Exploring Lowertown

The Ultimate Handbook to Exploring Lowertown, Ottawa

Curious about the buzz surrounding the neighborhood everyone’s talking about? Okay, maybe not everyone is dishing on the hot gossip, but trust us, it’s all the rage.

Amidst the rich offerings Lowertown has, it caters to basically everyone – well, mostly those who have a penchant for art. 

Let us show you the way through this gorgeous neighborhood through this ultimate handbook. This guide is so comprehensive that you might just feel like a local after reading it! 

What to Do in Lowertown, Ottawa 

Catch live music performances at The Rainbow Bistro

Address: 76 Murray St, Ottawa, ON K1N 5M6, Canada

Phone: +1 613-859-5123

Website

Immerse yourself in the local music scene by indulging in a night out at The Rainbow Bistro. The spirited vibe ensures a night that’s one for the books. 

Expect to hear a lot of blues tunes, often accompanied by soulful vocals and chilling guitar performances. 

Explore ByWard Market

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

Website

ByWard Market is perhaps the most popular destination in Lowertown, hence why you shouldn’t miss it if you find yourself in the neighborhood. 

Offering a unique mix of establishments, it caters to a diverse crowd, ensuring that there’s something here for everyone. 

A few things you can expect during your visit are farmers’ market stalls, locally-made clothing, dynamic gay bars, stylish stores, and more. 

To know more about this exceptional destination, make sure to read our ultimate ByWard Market guide!

Watch theatre shows at La Nouvelle Scène Gilles Desjardins

Address: 333 King Edward Ave, Ottawa, ON K1N 7M5, Canada

Phone: +1 613-241-2727

Website

La Nouvelle Scène Gilles Desjardins is a performing arts theatre that comprises four resident theatre companies, all proudly Ottawan. 

It stands out as a charming destination in the city where one can indulge in quality French theatre as well as the occasional live music. The theater is on a smaller scale, making the shows more sacred and intimate. 

Watch engaging productions at Ottawa Little Theatre 

Address: 400 King Edward Ave, Ottawa, ON K1N 7M7, Canada

Website

There’s another theatre in the neighborhood and it’s called Ottawa Little Theatre. After all, it’s not Lowertown without a gazillion of artistic spots in the area!

Anyway, despite its name, Little Theatre hosts big productions like Murder on the Orient Express, an exciting adaptation of Agatha Christie’s famous novel. 

Other shows you can expect from their 2024 season are The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and An Act of Grace. Check out their website for the full list. 

Take a quiet stroll at MacDonald Gardens Park

— Media credit: @rubyandbellathedoodles

Address: 541 Rideau St, Ottawa, ON, Canada

Phone: +1 613-580-2595

Website

MacDonald Gardens Park is a serene park near the Rideau River where one can unwind in the presence of nature. 

Take a stroll, watch the locals walk their dogs, and even catch the rich wildlife that made this park their home – the possibilities are close to endless. 

It’s a nice spot to bask in fresh air and meditate, all while indulging yourself in beautiful nature views. 

Appreciate local architecture at The Connaught Building

— Media credit: @wong.jessica88

Address: Ottawa, ON K1N 6Z6, Canada

Directions

History buffs, rejoice! You might just fall in love even deeper with Lowertown after a brief visit to The Connaught Building. 

Doubling as an office building, this historical landmark was designed with Tudor-Gothic-style architecture – a rarity in a city like Ottawa. 

Take photos and see a glimpse of how Ottawa used to be by visiting this remarkable structure. 

Appreciate local art at the Ottawa Art Gallery

Address: 50 Mackenzie King Bridge, Ottawa, ON K1N 0C5, Canada

Phone: +16132338699

Website

Lowertown, a neighborhood rich in art and culture, wouldn’t be as renowned as it is without the Ottawa Art Gallery. It’s a hotspot where art aficionados and local artists meet to form a community filled with expression, experimentation, and life. 

To see what’s on, make sure to visit their website before your visit. Aside from the enriching art displays, the Ottawa Art Gallery also hosts events and talks where one can further indulge oneself in this captivating world. 

Experience the local nightlife at Brigid’s Well Pub

Address: 310 St. Patrick St, Ottawa, ON K1N 5K5, Canada

Phone: +1 613-222-0710

Website

Combine the local charm with authentic Irish pub influences – that’s exactly what Brigid’s Well Pub is. Located in the basement of a church, it gives an eccentric dive bar feel. 

Discovering it is very much akin to finding a piece of Ottawa’s treasure. This unique locale is unbeatable, and once you stumble upon it, you’ll take a piece of its charm with you, hoping to find it in your own city. 

But while you’re here, sit down, and enjoy a glass of their tap beers. 

Where to Stay in Lowertown, Ottawa 

Holiday Inn Express & Suites Downtown Ottawa East

Address: 235 King Edward Ave, Ottawa, ON K1N 7L8, Canada

Phone: +1 613-680-8006

Pricing: $$

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If you want to be just within walking distance from the heart of Lowertown, you should consider Holiday Inn Express & Suites. The costs are definitely on the heftier side, but considering its unbeatable location, you truly get what you pay for.  

Additionally, the rooms are cozy and homey, making it a wise choice for those considering staying longer. 

Auberge Des Arts

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Address: 104 Guigues Ave., Ottawa, ON K1N 5H7, Canada

Phone: +1 613-562-0909

Pricing: $

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If you’re visiting Lowertown to immerse yourself in the bustling local art scene, why not complete your trip by staying at a stylish location? 

Auberge Des Arts, an unassuming neighborhood addition, is a charming accommodation perfect for those who want to feel right at home. 

The owner will also give you tips and interesting stories about the city and will go out of his way to make sure your stay is spectacular. 

The breakfast is astronomical by the way – an exciting inclusion prepared by the owner himself. 

Days Inn by Wyndham 

Address: 319 Rideau St, Ottawa, ON K1N 5Y4, Canada

Phone: +1 613-789-5555

Pricing: $

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Offering rooms with a focus on function and comfort, Days Inn by Wyndham is a simple, no-fuss accommodation that will help you open the world to the finest locations Lowertown has to offer. 

While higher-priced rooms will guarantee you better room amenities, you can expect the basics in the more affordable choices, ensuring a seamless stay. This includes a desk, an iron and an ironing board, a coffee maker, and more. 

Ottawa Backpackers Inn

Address: 203 York St, Ottawa, ON K1N 5T7, Canada

Phone: +1 613-241-3402

Pricing: $

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Ottawa Backpackers Inn, the cheapest one out of the bunch, is the wisest choice for budget travelers not looking to indulge in an expensive stay. 

The most exciting part? You get to meet fellow travelers during your stay! 

Plus, it’s also within walking distance from Lowertown’s exciting destinations like the ByWard Market. 

For the price and the location, it truly doesn’t get better than this. 

Where to Eat in Lowertown, Ottawa

RamaKrishna Indian Restaurant

Address: 417 Rideau St, Ottawa, ON K1N 5Y9, Canada

Phone: +1 613-789-7979

Pricing: $$

Website

Looking for the neighborhood’s finest Indian restaurant? RamaKrishna Indian Restaurant has the tastiest Daal Makhani and guess what – it has your name on it!

Aside from this tasty vegetarian dish filled with Indian spices, they also have other mouthwatering variations of biryani, curries, bread, and more. 

BAMM’s Snack Shack

Address: 74 Cobourg St, Ottawa, ON K1N 8G8, Canada

Phone: +1 343-984-0725

Pricing: $

Website

BAMM’s Snack Shack is what we consider Lowertown’s hidden gem. Its simple facade is enough to draw you in, beckoning those in search of the soul of the neighborhood. 

As soon as you step inside its doors, it will feel like you’re inside someone’s home because of its inviting feel, urging you to stay for hours. 

To complete the already heartwarming experience, try the bowie burger – a juicy and delightful concoction that will have Marshall Ericksen forget about that burger place with a green door and a flashy neon sign. 

Social Restaurant + Lounge

Address: 537 Sussex Dr, Ottawa, ON K1N 6Z6, Canada

Phone: +1 613-789-7355

Pricing: $$$

Website

Social Restaurant + Lounge is a charming, upscale restaurant with a regal vibe. Their patio exudes a vibrant feel, effortlessly blending in with the dynamic Lowertown. 

The two things they’re most popular for are cocktails and oysters, which also rank at the top of our list of recommendations. 

Have the duck confit too while you’re at it. It’s perfectly tender with exciting bursts of flavors – perfect for those looking for something more complex in terms of flavors. 

Metropolitain Brasserie Restaurant

Address:  700 Sussex Dr, Ottawa, ON K1N 1K4, Canada

Phone: +1 613-562-1160

Pricing: $$$

Website

Metropolitain Brasserie is a luxurious enterprise, serving delightful French classics. 

The steak frites is an outstanding dish. Centering around grilled beef, it has a rich and distinct flavor profile with mouthwatering hints of smokiness. 

Their oyster bar, a delightful inclusion, is also popular among guests. 

Benny’s Bistro

Address: 119 Murray St, Ottawa, ON K1N 5M5, Canada

Phone: +1 613-789-6797

Pricing: $$$

Website

Poised with a colorful interior, Benny’s Bistro is an exciting breakfast, lunch, and brunch spot. 

It’s also a great location for day drinking. Imagine sipping on some mimosas after devouring Benny’s salmon gravlax faster than you can say très bien. 

Cafes to Visit in Lowertown, Ottawa

Ideal Cafe

Address: 176 Dalhousie St, Ottawa, ON K1N 7C6, Canada

Phone: +1 613-562-1775

Pricing: $

Website

Nestled in a quiet corner in Lowertown, Ideal Cafe provides a short reprieve to anyone looking to escape the energetic pulse of the city. 

The coffee they serve is really good; the baristas really know what they’re doing back there. Moreover, the perfect cup stays consistent throughout our several visits. 

Don’t miss out on their scones; It’s one of the most popular things on their menu! 

Bridgehead

Address: 224 Dalhousie St, Ottawa, ON K1N 1L5, Canada

Phone: +1 613-562-9996

Pricing: $$

Website

Bridgehead is a popular local chain with 20 coffeehouses and 1 roastery in the city, which everyone is free to visit. 

They offer a lot of the classics like flat white, americano, and chai latte, making them the perfect spot if you want to grab one of your favorites. However, if you feel inclined to try a new drink, they might not be the best spot for that. 

If you want to support small farmers, Bridgehead stands out as an impeccable choice. 

Happy Goat Coffee Co. 

Address: 229 Rideau St, Ottawa, ON K1N 9M2, Canada

Phone: +1 613-680-2880

Pricing: $$

Website

Albeit on a smaller scale, Happy Goat Coffee Co. is another local coffee chain that takes pride in its delectable flavors and unmatched aesthetics. 

It’s a great place to work or engage in a conversation with a friend because of the relaxing ambiance. 

Oh, and their friendly baristas are worth a special mention. Their friendliness knows how to elevate anyone’s experience. 

Luxe Blooms Flower Cafe

Address: 254 Dalhousie St, Ottawa, ON K1N 7E4, Canada

Phone: +1 613-244-0888

Pricing: $

Website

The first time we visited Luxe Blooms Flower Cafe, our first impression was immediately shaped by its frilly and feminine interior, as if tailor-made for Lolita fashion meet-ups. 

Lolita fashion, a Japanese subculture heavily inspired by Victorian and Rococo aesthetics, finds an unmistakable resonance here. 

With an eclectic mix of goodies to choose from their menu, it presented us with a dilemma, one that we didn’t have any problems with welcoming. After exploring their variety of items though, we awarded gold stars to most of them!

Planet Coffee

Address: 24a York St, Ottawa, ON K1N 1K2, Canada

Phone: +1 613-789-6261

Pricing: $

Website

Planet Coffee is another enchanting spot that has a local, community-centered charm. It goes without saying that it attracts plenty of curious visitors hoping to get the taste of the lovely Ottawa. 

That said, you can always spot the friendly locals, making this location filled with people from different places, intertwined together with their love for coffee. 

Their flat white is definitely a must-try, especially for those who want the perfect balance between sweet and bitter. While their coffee is outstanding, make sure to try their baked goods as well. 

Where to Shop in Lowertown, Ottawa

Librairie du Soleil 

— Media credit: @thebookshelfjournal

Address: 33 George St, Ottawa, ON K1N 8W5, Canada

Phone: +1 613-241-6999

Website

Librairie du Soleil is a lovely bookstore that houses a rich collection of French titles. In fact, it can perhaps be considered the one with the most French books in the city. 

Think of a French novel and you’ll probably find that one here. 

Other than books, expect to also see DVDs and CDs tailor-made to accompany anyone’s French studies. Additionally, they also have postcards, mugs, and other exciting souvenir trinkets.  

La Bottega Nicastro

Address: 64 George St, Ottawa, ON K1N 5V9, Canada

Phone: +1 613-789-7575

Website

La Bottega Nicastro is an Italian market in Lowertown fully stocked with a diverse array of anything you need to whip up a good, classic Italian dish. We’re talking about cheese, pasta, pasta sauces, wine, bread, and more. 

Don’t have the energy to prepare your own meal? They also have delicious takeout food ranging from pizzas to lasagna!

Oh, and they also have exciting cooking and wine classes from time to time, so be on the lookout for those!

EQ3 Ottawa

Address: 60 Byward Market Square, Ottawa, ON K1N 7A2, Canada

Phone: +1 613-562-9111

Website 

Just moved into the city? First of all, welcome! And second, to bedazzle your space to make it more hip and up to your liking, here’s a local tip: schedule a trip to EQ3!

It’s a lovely furniture store with a multitude of items to help you accessorize your home. From rugs and sofas to lamps and dinnerware, they have everything you’ll ever need.