Ottawa vs. Winnipeg Which is better to visit

Ottawa vs. Winnipeg: Which is better to visit?

Had enough of endlessly clicking the next button when you just want an answer on which is better to visit between Ottawa and Winnipeg? We got you covered because we compiled and compared everything you need to know to help you make your choice!

Ottawa is the better city to visit if you’re looking to save on your trip because its average daily cost per person is cheaper than Winnipeg.

However, Winnipeg is the right place for those who love green spaces and interactive learning experiences for the whole family.

Ottawa, the picturesque capital of Canada, boasts a rich tapestry of history, culture, and natural beauty. This vibrant city is home to many iconic landmarks and impressive attractions, which is why we’ll never get tired of singing our home praises!

On the other hand, Winnipeg, the cultural heart of the prairies, has a warm and welcoming atmosphere that embraces both tradition and innovation. 

This city is renowned for its thriving arts and entertainment scene, which is certainly something you have to see! It’s one of the main reasons we couldn’t pass up the chance to visit it every chance we got!

Both of these popular cities have their unique allure and a myriad of experiences waiting to be discovered. This is why we’ll do our best to help you find out which of these two is the best choice for your next holiday!

Costs in Ottawa vs. Winnipeg

Costs in Ottawa vs. Winnipeg

The costs in Ottawa are 51.5% lower than Winnipeg’s, with the average daily cost per person per day being $125 and $258, respectively. These costs include accommodations, food, transportation, and entertainment.

You may refer to the table below with data sourced from on the average costs in Ottawa and Winnipeg for a look at the breakdown of costs.

Expenses  Winnipeg Cost Ottawa Cost 
Local Transportation (taxi, buses, subway, etc.)N/A$7.40
Food (Meal for a day)$5.54$17
Entertainment (Entrance tickets, shows, etc.)$2.59$41
Accommodations (Hotel/hostel per person)$94$19

Based on the data, Ottawa particularly enjoys much cheaper accommodation costs as compared to Winnipeg. However, Winnipeg offers cheaper meals and entertainment, making it better for visitors who prioritize these costs more.

Safety in Ottawa vs. Winnipeg

Safety in Ottawa vs. Winnipeg

Based on data from Statistics Canada, Ottawa is safer than Winnipeg. According to each city’s 2021 report of criminal code violations, Ottawa had 31.9% fewer incidents compared to Winnipeg. 

Just remember that the data presented doesn’t paint a full picture of either city’s safety situation. Each location has its own unique circumstances, such as socioeconomic factors or its local police, which affect its crime rates and overall safety. 

  Winnipeg (2021)Ottawa (2021)
Total Criminal Code Violations of Winnipeg and Ottawa
Actual incidents Total57,94339,412
Unfounded Incidents470919
Total cleared16,16913,994
Total persons charged11,5458,306

Weather in Ottawa vs. Winnipeg

Weather in Ottawa vs. Winnipeg

Depending on the season, Ottawa experiences temperatures of 6°F to 80°F and is rarely below -13°F or above 88°F. Whereas Winnipeg is around -2°F to 80°F and rarely gets lower than -21°F or above 89°F.

So both cities experience similar overall temperatures throughout the year, with warm summers and freezing winters.

Lifestyle in Ottawa vs. Winnipeg

Lifestyle in Ottawa vs. Winnipeg

Ottawa is a top spot to visit for history buffs, culture vultures, and anyone else who likes to work up a sweat via amazing outdoor activities.

Whereas Winnipeg is the place to be if you’re looking for unique winter escapades, the arts, and diverse culture. 

Depending on what’s more important to you, there’s no objective way to tell which of these cities has the better lifestyle. That’s why we broke down various aspects of each city’s lifestyle below for you to determine which one speaks to you more.

Attractions in Ottawa vs. Winnipeg

Attractions in Ottawa vs. Winnipeg

Because Ottawa and Winnipeg both offer a variety of attractions for you to visit, neither is objectively better than the other. 

In Ottawa, you’ll find a wealth of national landmarks and cultural institutions that reflect the city’s status as the capital of Canada. For example, the impressive National Gallery of Canada showcases a vast collection of Canadian and international art.

Then there’s the Canadian Museum of History, which offers immersive exhibits on the country’s past. Ottawa is also known for its historic landmarks, including Parliament Hill and the Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

You can also explore the historic Byward Market, a bustling hub of gourmet food stalls, trendy shops, and vibrant nightlife.

Winnipeg, on the other hand, has a thriving arts and cultural scene that delights visitors. The Exchange District is a treasure trove for art lovers, with numerous galleries showcasing contemporary works and historic architecture providing a unique backdrop. 

The city is also home to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, a groundbreaking institution dedicated to promoting human rights education and understanding. The Forks is yet another must-visit destination in Winnipeg.

And for nature lovers, Assiniboine Park offers a picturesque oasis with its stunning gardens, zoo, and the iconic Leo Mol Sculpture Garden.

Cultural Experiences in Ottawa vs. Winnipeg

Cultural Experiences in Ottawa vs. Winnipeg

Ottawa and Winnipeg offer distinct cultural experiences that showcase the diversity and heritage of Canada. 

In Ottawa, you can immerse yourself in the country’s history and traditions through its national museums, indigenous experiences, and vibrant festivals. The city pulsates with artistic performances at the renowned National Arts Centre, from theater to dance. 

Winnipeg embraces its multicultural roots, offering a lively arts scene, captivating exhibitions, and a rich tapestry of cultural festivals that celebrate its diverse community. 

Both cities provide unique opportunities to explore and appreciate the cultural fabric of Canada, making it a tough choice for travelers seeking an authentic cultural experience.

Outdoor Activities in Ottawa vs. Winnipeg

Outdoor Activities in Ottawa vs. Winnipeg

When it comes to outdoor adventures, both Ottawa and Winnipeg have something special to offer. So it’s safe to say that it’s a tie between both cities concerning this aspect.

Ottawa, nestled along the picturesque Rideau Canal, is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. You can paddle along the waterways, rent a bike, explore the scenic paths, or simply enjoy a leisurely stroll along the canal’s banks. 

Gatineau Park, just a short drive away, beckons with its extensive network of hiking trails, stunning vistas, and opportunities for wildlife spotting.

In Winnipeg, nature lovers will find themselves spoiled for choice with places like Assiniboine Park. This urban oasis offers lush green spaces, beautiful gardens, and the chance to encounter wildlife at the Assiniboine Park Zoo. 

For a peaceful retreat, the historic and serene Kildonan Park, with its peaceful walking paths and charming picnic spots, is a must-visit. 

If you’re seeking a bit of adventure, visit the Forks, where the Red and Assiniboine Rivers meet. It provides all visitors plenty of opportunities for cycling, riverfront walks, and even skating in the winter months.

Food Scene in Ottawa vs. Winnipeg

Food Scene in Ottawa vs. Winnipeg

Since we all have different food preferences, Ottawa isn’t objectively better than Winnipeg in terms of its food scene or vice versa.

Ottawa, being a multicultural capital, offers a diverse array of cuisines that’ll please any palate. It has a focus on international flavors, like French & North American cuisine, and Asian flavors ranging from sushi to Thai and Indian dishes, to even Italian!

Don’t miss the chance to indulge in Ottawa’s iconic BeaverTails, a sweet doughy treat that’ll leave you craving more. For a taste of Canada’s rich culinary heritage, be sure to try the savory tourtière or the mouthwatering poutine.

Meanwhile, a culinary adventure awaits you in Winnipeg with its local delicacies and international flavors. Visitors can explore the tantalizing flavors of Ukrainian cuisine and traditional Indigenous delicacies. 

Because Winnipeg is home to diverse ethnic communities, you can also find authentic international flavors including Vietnamese, Filipino, Middle Eastern, and African cuisine.

Dive into a plate of freshly caught pickerel, a prized local fish, or savor a mouthwatering serving of perogies. Perogy is a traditional Ukrainian dish that’s found a special place in Winnipeg’s food culture. 

The city’s vibrant food truck scene offers an abundance of delicious street food options, ranging from gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches to mouthwatering tacos. 

And let’s not forget the famous Winnipeg-style hotdog, served with a unique blend of toppings that will surely leave an impression!

When it comes to dining, both cities boast a wide range of options to satisfy every craving and culinary curiosity. 

Ottawa’s Byward Market is a bustling hub of food vendors, restaurants, and artisanal shops, offering a vibrant atmosphere and a vast array of flavors. 

In Winnipeg, the Exchange District is a food lover’s paradise, with its trendy restaurants and charming cafes nestled among beautifully preserved historic buildings. 

Nightlife in Ottawa vs. Winnipeg

Nightlife in Ottawa vs. Winnipeg

The nightlife in Ottawa and Winnipeg is equally exciting and offers different kinds of entertainment options for a great night in town.

In Ottawa, the capital’s vibrant energy extends into the evening, with a variety of options to suit different preferences. From lively pubs where you can enjoy a pint of locally crafted beer to fancy cocktail lounges, the city caters to every kind of night owl. 

Elgin Street and the Byward Market area are bustling with bars and clubs, creating a lively atmosphere perfect for a night of dancing and socializing. 

Don’t miss the opportunity to catch live music performances or experience the thrill of laughter at one of Ottawa’s comedy clubs.

As for Winnipeg, the city’s nightlife scene offers its own unique charm and character. The Exchange District comes alive after dark with its trendy bars and hipster hangouts. 

You can enjoy a cozy evening at one of the city’s intimate lounges, where you can sip on artisanal cocktails and engage in conversations with fellow patrons. 

Osborne Village is the place to be for those seeking a lively ambiance, with its vibrant pubs, live music venues, and late-night eateries. 

Winnipeg’s cultural scene extends into the night, with theater performances, concerts, and art events that captivate your senses.

Both cities offer a range of nightlife establishments to cater to different tastes and preferences. In Ottawa, places like the Loft Board Game Lounge provide unique and enjoyable experiences.

Meanwhile, Winnipeg’s King’s Head Pub and Le Garage Café are renowned for their warm and inviting atmospheres. 

So whether you’re in the mood for dancing, enjoying live music, or simply savoring a craft cocktail in a cozy corner, both Ottawa and Winnipeg have plenty of options.

Shopping in Ottawa vs. Winnipeg

Shopping in Ottawa vs. Winnipeg

Ottawa and Winnipeg are tied when it comes to shopping because both cities have their own unique offerings for different kinds of shoppers.

Ottawa boasts a range of shopping districts, each with its own character and charm. For upscale fashion and luxury brands, the trendy boutiques along Sussex Drive and the Rideau Centre offer a delightful experience. 

If you’re looking for one-of-a-kind finds and locally crafted goods, Byward Market is a treasure trove of artisanal products. You can find handmade jewelry, artwork, and unique souvenirs that capture the essence of Ottawa. 

Don’t forget to explore the Sparks Street Mall, known as Canada’s first pedestrian street, where you’ll find an array of shops, restaurants, and entertainment options.

Meanwhile, Winnipeg offers a diverse shopping scene that caters to various tastes and budgets. 

If you’re in search of big-name brands and department stores, Polo Park Shopping Centre is a must-visit destination. Here, you’ll find an extensive selection of retailers, ranging from high-end fashion to electronics and home decor. 

For a more independent shopping experience, Osborne Village is the place to be. This vibrant neighborhood is known for its unique and quirky shops, offering everything from vintage clothing to handmade crafts. 

Also, don’t miss the opportunity to explore the Forks Market, a historic landmark that houses an array of local artisans, boutiques, and food vendors. This makes it the perfect spot to shop for authentic Winnipeg souvenirs.

Events and Festivals in Ottawa vs. Winnipeg

Events and Festivals in Ottawa vs. Winnipeg

In both Ottawa and Winnipeg, the calendar is filled with exciting events and festivals that showcase each city’s vibrant culture and spirit. So Ottawa and Winnipeg are essentially tied in this regard. 

Ottawa, being the capital of Canada, hosts a plethora of national celebrations and cultural gatherings throughout the year. 

One of the most iconic events is Canada Day on July 1st, where the city comes alive with fireworks, concerts, and a multitude of outdoor activities on Parliament Hill. 

Another highlight is Winterlude, a winter festival that transforms the city into a winter wonderland, featuring ice sculptures, skating, and various winter sports.

Meanwhile, Winnipeg is known for its lively festival scene that embraces the city’s diverse heritage. 

Folklorama is a renowned multicultural festival that takes place over two weeks in August. It celebrates the vibrant cultures of over 40 ethnic communities through food, music, dance, and art. 

The Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival is another beloved event, attracting performers from around the world to showcase their talent in unconventional and intimate settings. 

Additionally, the Winnipeg Folk Festival draws music enthusiasts from far and wide to enjoy a weekend of live performances by acclaimed local and international artists.

Both cities also have their fair share of arts and cultural festivals, such as Ottawa’s Canadian Tulip Festival, held in May. It showcases millions of blooming tulips, paying homage to the gift of tulips from the Netherlands as a symbol of friendship. 

There’s also the Ottawa International Animation Festival, which celebrates the world of animated films and brings together enthusiasts, filmmakers, and industry professionals.

In Winnipeg, the Winnipeg Jazz Festival is a must-visit for jazz aficionados, featuring an impressive lineup of local and international jazz musicians. 

The Winnipeg Comedy Festival brings laughter to the city with hilarious stand-up performances by top comedians from across the country. 

And for those who appreciate visual arts, the Nuit Blanche festival transforms the streets into a sprawling art gallery. It’s got installations, exhibits, and interactive art experiences throughout the night.

Family Friendliness of Ottawa vs. Winnipeg

Family Friendliness of Ottawa vs. Winnipeg

Ottawa is more family-friendly than Winnipeg in terms of safety, with only 39,412 crimes reported in 2021. In comparison, Winnipeg had around 57,943 incidents. 

However, Winnipeg is more family-friendly than Ottawa when it comes to having more interactive learning experiences and green spaces.

Conclusion — Ottawa vs. Winnipeg: Which is better to visit?

Ottawa and Winnipeg are both great cities to visit at the end of the day, which is why it’s no wonder you’re having trouble choosing which one to go to for your next trip. Both places have awesome attractions and charms that just can’t help but draw you in.

However, the better city still depends on what exactly your priorities are on your trip, such as the kinds of places you want to visit, the food you want to eat, etc.

We made a quick little table below to compare each city using the factors we previously discussed. There are also some suggestions we made to hopefully help you out with your choice.

Factors   The Better City Why
CostsOttawaThe average daily cost per person per day in Ottawa is 51.5% lower than in Winnipeg.
Safety Ottawa Ottawa’s official number of incidents is 31.9% lower than Winnipeg's.
Weather Tied Ottawa and Winnipeg have overall similar climates.
Lifestyle Tied (depends on the kind of lifestyle you prefer) Both cities have various attractions, cultural experiences, outdoor activities, dining & shopping options, and night scenes. If safety is your priority, Ottawa is better. If it’s having more space for the kids, Winnipeg has the advantage.