Ottawa for Young Adults The Best Leisure Activities in the City

Ottawa for Young Adults: The Best Leisure Activities in the City

The life of a young adult can get tiring at times due to school, work, and personal obligations. But every now and then, they deserve to have fun and relax. 

Ottawa is a wonderful city for young adults to explore and enjoy. With its lush parks, vibrant streets, and diverse museums, there is something for everyone to discover and appreciate. 

Take an art appreciation trip to the National Gallery of Canada.

Take an art appreciation trip to the National Gallery of Canada

Location: I380 Sussex Drive
Mobile Number:
(613) 990-19851
Operating Hours: Tuesday – Sunday: 10 AM to 5 PM
Admission Fee:

  • First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples: Free
  • Members: Free, Adults: $20
  • Adults 65+: $18 (Proof of age required)
  • 24 and under / Students: $10 (Proof of age or ID required)
  • Families (2 adults and 3 youths aged 17 and under): $40
  • Children (Age 11 and under): Free

Visiting the National Gallery of Canada is a great leisure activity for young people who are interested in art and culture. I myself am a frequent visitor to this museum, and I never tire of its endless wonders. 

The museum has a huge collection of over 93,000 works of art, ranging from ancient to contemporary, Canadian to international. Each visit is a new adventure, as I discover new treasures and hidden gems.

Art truly creates connections. Each artwork is carefully curated within the many exhibitions to tell different important narratives. 

If you want to engage more with the artwork, there are programs and activities for children and families, such as guided tours, workshops, and sketching sessions. 

Pro Tip: 

The best day to visit the museum is Thursdays because it offers free admission for all visitors from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM. 

Travel back in time at the Canadian Museum of History. 

Travel back in time at the Canadian Museum of History

Location: 100 Rue Laurier
Mobile Number:
(819) 776-70031
Admission Fee:

  • Adult: $22
  • Senior: $20, Student: $17
  • Child (2-12): $15
  • Family (6 pers. – Max 2 adults): $55
  • Members and volunteers: Free

The Canadian Museum of History is one of the most visited museums in the country, and it’s easy to see why. This museum takes you on a journey through years of human history in Canada, from the first peoples to contemporary society.

The museum also has special exhibition halls that host various exhibitions, events, and shows throughout the year. It’s not just a place to learn about the past, but also a place to have fun and be creative.

Young adults can find what suits their interests and passions from the many activities available as concerts, workshops, films, and games.

They can listen to the music of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, a label that preserves and promotes the cultural diversity of the world, or watch stunning films on a giant screen at the CINÉ+ theater.

Visitors can also test their knowledge and skills with online resources that cover topics such as folklorism, Indigenous heritage, and Canadian immigration. These activities are programmed to engage young adults in the appreciation of history and culture.

Pro Tip: 

Admission to the Canadian Museum of History is free on Thursdays from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM.

Hop on (and hop off) a bus for a tour.

Hop on (and hop off) a bus for a tour

Mobile Number: (800) 258-9182

One of the best ways to see Ottawa’s highlights is to take a hop-on, hop-off bus tour. It’s flexible, convenient, and perfect for energetic young adults.

You can board the bus at any of the designated stops around the city and enjoy a panoramic view of the sights from the open-top double-decker bus. There are guides who share interesting facts and stories about the places you pass by.

Some of the attractions you can see on the bus tour include Parliament Hill, Rideau Canal, and Byward Market. These three are basically the must-visit destinations in the city where you can find popular attractions and charming hidden spots.

The hop-on, hop-off bus tour operates daily from May to October, and on weekends from November to April. Buses run every 20 minutes from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, and each loop takes about 90 minutes. 

Pro Tip: 

Take the hop-on, hop-off bus tour on a Thursday evening to catch the ByWard Market coming alive at night with street performers, musicians, and lively crowds. It’s the perfect place to enjoy food after a day of sightseeing. 

Explore nature at Gatineau Park.

Explore nature at Gatineau Park

Mobile Number: (819) 827-2020
Admission Fee: General admission to Gatineau Park is free.

Gatineau Park is not only a paradise for nature lovers but also an ultimate natural playground for those who love adventures! This park has something for everyone, whether you want to enjoy nature, history, or culture. 

There are many reasons why young adults will enjoy Gatineau Park, and the outdoor activities take the top spot. You will be amazed by the breathtaking views of forests, hills, and wildlife that you will encounter along the way.

The park offers a variety of options to explore its beautiful landscapes, from hiking and biking to skiing and snowshoeing. The outdoor adventures do not end on land, you can enjoy watersports and rent a canoe or kayak.

Beyond its natural wonders, Gatineau Park is also home to a wealth of historical and cultural treasures. 

I like stepping back in time at the former residence of Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King and exploring the Carbide Willson Ruins, the remains of an industrial complex from the early 20th century.

With services and facilities such as information centers, parking lots, picnic areas, restrooms, and water fountains conveniently located throughout the park, I found visits to the park to be hassle-free.

For young adults who are eager to delve into the park’s fascinating past and ecology, there are guided tours available. 

I found the guides helpful in understanding the stories of the people who lived and worked at the park and learning about the unique plants and animals that make this vibrant ecosystem their home.

Solve some puzzles at the Escape Manor.

Solve some puzzles at the Escape Manor

Location: Elgin St.
Mobile Number:
Admission Fee: The admission fee for Escape Manor varies depending on the escape room you choose.

Escape Manor is the place to go if you want to experience the excitement of escaping from a locked room in 45 minutes! You’ll have to use your brains and teamwork to crack the codes, find the clues, and solve the mysteries. 

You can pick your own theme and scenario, from a spooky cabin in the woods to a daring jailbreak, to a wine cellar with a secret. 

And when you’re done with the escape room, you can chill out in the cool and cozy lounge. Definitely, I consider Escape Manor more than just a game, it’s an experience!

Learn history at the Parliament of Canada.

Learn history at the Parliament of Canada

Location: 111 Wellington St
Mobile Number: 866-599-4999
Admission Fee: Free

Visiting the Parliament of Canada is a fun way to learn about Canada’s history and politics. It’s located on a beautiful hill that overlooks the river, and it looks impressive and picturesque. 

You can take a free guided tour of the Centre Block, the main building of the Parliament, where you can see the Senate Chamber, the House of Commons Chamber, the Library of Parliament, and the Peace Tower. Basically, this area is where the action happens!

You can also climb up the Peace Tower, which is 92 meters high and offers a panoramic view of Ottawa and its surroundings. The Peace Tower also houses a carillon, a musical instrument composed of 53 bells that play melodies every hour.

If you visit during the summer months (from late June to late August), you can also watch the Changing of the Guard ceremony. It takes place every morning at 10 AM. 

Enjoy live music at The Rainbow Bistro.

Enjoy live music at The Rainbow Bistro

Location: 76 Murray Street
Mobile Number: 613-859-5123

If you love good music and fun, you should visit The Rainbow Bistro, Ottawa’s legendary live music venue. You can listen to local and international artists perform blues, rock, jazz, funk, soul, and more. 

You can check out the bistro’s website to know the calendar of events and the artists scheduled to grace their stage. You can also join the open mic night every Wednesday or the karaoke night every Sunday if you feel brave enough to sing along.

The Rainbow Bistro has a cozy and casual atmosphere and a menu of pub-style food. Its location, which is near the ByWard Market, makes it accessible for guests.

Explore the outdoors at Eco-Odyssée.

Location: Wakefield, Quebec
Mobile Number:
(819) 459-2551
Admission Fee: The admission fee depends on the adventures you choose. 

If you love nature and wildlife, you should explore Eco-Odyssée, an eco-adventure park that offers water mazes, hiking trails, and observation towers.

You can navigate through the water maze with 64 intersections and 5 km of waterways, where you can choose from different adventures and challenges on pedal boats while discovering the flora and fauna along the way. 

For those who love hiking like me, you can enjoy a hike through the forest trails. You can even climb up the observation towers to enjoy the panoramic views of the landscape. 

Eco-Odyssée is open from May to October and provides various packages and services for visitors. It opens again in December for the winter and it is transformed into a wonderland where people can skate and go snowshoeing. 

Ottawa is a dynamic and lively city that offers a variety of leisure activities for young adults. You can immerse yourself in the city’s abundant greenery, discover the city’s rich arts and cultural heritage, embark on nature escapades, and more.

Whether you crave thrill or tranquility, young adults will find many activities to suit their interests in the city.