Ottawa or Vancouver Which one should you visit

Ottawa or Vancouver: Which one should you visit?

When comparing Ottawa and Vancouver, you can find some similarities, but there are also some pretty significant differences. 

I’ve found that both Ottawa and Vancouver are very multicultural cities, but the latter’s significantly larger size gives more room for other races to live in. 

My trips to Vancouver have allowed me to meet some Indonesians and Filipinos there, and it’s quite an interesting experience. 

Another thing I’d like to point out is the location of the two cities. Ottawa is a landlocked country surrounded by lush landscapes, while Vancouver is nestled between some mountains and an ocean.

This gives Ottawans access to amazing parks with numerous hiking trails, while Vancouver locals enjoy easy access to water sports. 

These things that I’ve mentioned really make you think about which one you should go to, right? Let’s take an unbiased look at the two cities so you can decide on the perfect destination. 

If you’re looking for a city close to nature with a laid-back and cosmopolitan atmosphere, you should visit Vancouver. 

But if you desire something more urban, calm, and peaceful, then you will love Ottawa.

These two cities have relaxing atmospheres that everyone is sure to love. But despite that, the two are distinct enough that they can offer different experiences to cater to all sorts of people. 

Now, let’s take a closer look at the two cities and make further comparisons between them. 

Visiting Costs

Visiting Ottawa will be 25.35% more affordable in comparison to Vancouver. When we compare expenses, the capital city’s accommodations and food are 27.05% and 2.76% cheaper, respectively. 

In terms of transportation, Ottawa and Vancouver are nearly identical, with the latter being 0.43% cheaper. 

You can take a look at the table below to see data from and

This will give you a more detailed look at your overall possible expenses when visiting Vancouver and Ottawa. 

ExpensesVancouver CostOttawa Cost
Hotel or hostel for one person$89$19
Typical double-occupancy room$178$38
Hotel (3 days)$479$367
Hotel (1 week)$1,119$856
Hotel (2 weeks)$2,237$1,712
One-way ticket$3.10$2.79
Monthly pass$120.00$125.50
Taxis, buses, subway, etc.$12$7.40
Meal, inexpensive restaurant$25.00$26.50
Meal for 2 people, mid-range restaurant, three-course$105.00$100.00
McMeal at Mcdonald's (or equivalent combo meal)$13.00$12.38
Beer at a pub$9.00$9.00
Water (1.5L)$2.49$2.34

Based on the table alone, you’re going to be spending a lot more on Vancouver’s accommodations compared to Ottawa. Other than that, the food and transportation prices aren’t that far apart. 

Safety & Security

Safety & Security

According to Canada Crime Index, Ottawa is significantly safer than Vancouver, with a crime severity index (CSI) of 50.2. Meanwhile, Vancouver has a high CSI of 90.1.

Ottawa is objectively the safer place to visit, with both violent and non-violent crimes occurring less often there. The same can’t be said for Vancouver, with common cases of petty theft, vandalism, and sporadic cases of violent crime. 

Crime Severity Index50.290.1
Violent crime64.398.9
Non-violent crime45.086.8

If safety is a very big concern for you, then you will no doubt prefer Ottawa over Vancouver. But if you aren’t too concerned by this fact, then Vancouver should be a fine place to visit. 

Moving on, let’s talk about their attractions. 

Attractions in Ottawa and Vancouver

Attractions in Ottawa and Vancouver

Vancouver and Ottawa offer some of the most breathtaking sights in Canada. If you want to experience some of the best that the cities have to offer, check out some of their most well-known landmarks below. 

Exploring Ottawa

Ottawa is well known for its culture, which is deeply rooted in the arts and history. These locations perfectly show off the beauty of the city. 

Royal Canadian Mint

Royal Canadian Mint

Location: 320 Sussex Dr, Ottawa, ON K1A 0G8, Canada
Operating hours: Monday-Sunday: 10 AM–5 PM
Admission fee: 

  • Adults (18+): $12
  • Children (ages 5-17): $8
  • Seniors (65+): $10
  • Infants (ages 4 and under): Free
  • Family (2 adults, 2 children): $30

The Royal Canadian Mint is a Crown corporation that makes all of Canada’s coins for everyday use. It also features some special pieces for events and collectors. 

It is thought to be one of the best mints in the world because of its incredible production quality. 

The facility features guided tours, which let you see how the coins are made. You can learn about the art and skill that go into making them and see different stages of production, from making the dies to striking the metal currency.

The facility also has a shop where you can look at and buy a wide range of items related to money. There are collector coins, special editions, and other limited items that you can get as a souvenir or give as unique gifts.

The history and importance of Canadian currency are often shown in exhibits at the mint. You might be able to see rare nickels, dimes, pennies, historical artifacts, and interactive displays that show how Canada’s money has changed over time.

Some tours and exhibits at the mint have interactive displays that keep people of all ages interested. 

These interactive parts can teach you about how coins are made, what security features they have, and what role the mint plays in making coins for Canada and other countries.

Besides that, the Royal Canadian Mint is also known for its unique and artistic designs. If you look around the facility, you might be able to learn about the currency’s construction and what inspired some of Canada’s most famous coins.

ByWard Market

ByWard Market

Location: 55 Byward Market Square, Ottawa, ON K1N 9C3, Canada
Operating hours:

  • Monday, Tuesday, Sunday: 10 AM–5 PM
  • Wednesday: 10 AM–5:30 PM

ByWard Market is in the heart of Canada’s capital city, Ottawa. It is a lively center of activity with a unique mix of cultural experiences, artisanal crafts, and tasty foods.

This popular shopping location has been around since 1826 and has a long history that has given it quite a popular reputation for both locals and tourists. 

It has a wide variety of food stands, restaurants, cafes, and pubs that serve a wide range of international cuisines, local specialties, and farm-fresh produce. 

You can enjoy everything from gourmet chocolates and pastries to fresh seafood and dishes from other cultures.

The ByWard Market is known not only for its food but also for its lively arts and crafts scene. There are a lot of galleries, boutiques, and shops with handmade jewelry, clothing, pottery, paintings, and other unique items in this area. 

It’s a great place for art lovers and shoppers who want to find unique items.

On the weekends, street performers, musicians, and artists show off their skills at the market. The mood is lively and happy, which adds to the appeal of the location.

The ByWard Market is open every day, and it also has special events throughout the year that turn it into a center for community events. There are seasonal festivals, concerts outside, art shows, and food-related activities here. 

With its rich history, a wide range of goods, and lively atmosphere, the ByWard Market is a must-see for anyone who wants to learn about Ottawa’s lively culture and food scene.

Bytown Museum

Bytown Museum

Location: 1 Canal Ln, Ottawa, ON K1P 5P6, Canada
Operating hours:

  • Wednesday-Sunday: 10 AM–4 PM
  • Monday and Tuesday: Closed

Admission fee: 

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

The Bytown Museum is a small but important museum in Ottawa. The Commissariat Building, which houses the museum, was built in 1827 with the goal of keeping and sharing the early history of the capital city

You can learn a lot about Ottawa’s interesting past by going to the museum. It focuses on the beginning of the 19th century and how Lieutenant Colonel John By helped the city grow. 

Bytown was originally established as a construction site for the Rideau Canal. This is a historic waterway that connected Ottawa to Kingston and was constructed for military purposes.

You can look at displays in the museum that show different parts of the town’s history, such as the building of the Rideau Canal, the problems workers had to deal with, and the growth of the town. 

Inside the museum, you can also find a collection of artifacts, photos, and documents that show how the first settlers lived. It also shows how Bytown became the capital of the country.

The facility has both permanent and temporary exhibits that show different parts of Ottawa’s history. These give you a dynamic, always-changing experience with new stories and points of view.

In addition to its exhibits, the Bytown Museum has educational programs, guided tours, and special events throughout the year. 

All in all, it’s a place where both people who live in Ottawa and those who are just visiting can find out more about how the city started and how important it was in Canadian history.

Major’s Hill Park

Major's Hill Park

Location: Mackenzie Ave, Ottawa, ON K1N 1G8, Canada
Operating hour: Open 24 hours

Major’s Hill Park is a beautiful urban area in the middle of downtown Ottawa, surrounded by Parliament Hill and the Ottawa River. For many locals and tourists, this historic park is a peaceful place to get away from the busy city streets.

The park is full of history and natural beauty and was named after Major Daniel Bolton Hill, an engineer who worked on the Rideau Canal. 

It has rolling lawns, big trees, and beautifully designed gardens that make it a peaceful place for both locals and tourists to relax.

The Parliament Buildings, the National Gallery of Canada, and the Chateau Laurier are just some of the famous landmarks that you can see from the park. It’s a popular spot for picnics, long walks, and other outdoor activities all year long.

Major’s Hill is a great place to relax, and it also has many cultural events and festivals. 

During the summer, it turns into a dynamic place for music concerts, art shows, and performances. The amphitheater in the park is often filled with the sounds of live music by both local and well-known artists.

By going to the park, you can learn more about its history. There are plaques and monuments that pay tribute to important military figures and events that shaped the park and, by extension, Ottawa as a whole. 

You can also enjoy the natural beauty of the park as you walk along its paths, take in the wide views, or sit by the peaceful reflecting pool.

Needless to say, Major’s Hill Park is a treasured spot in Ottawa where nature, history, and peace all come together.

Exploring Vancouver

When in Vancouver, you can expect to find attractions that highlight the city’s diversity, vibrant energy, and multicultural identity. Here’s what you can expect from its attractions. 

Museum of Vancouver

Museum of Vancouver

Location: 1100 Chestnut St, Vancouver, BC V6J 3J9, Canada
Operating hours: 

  • Monday-Wednesday, Sunday: 10 AM–5 PM
  • Thursday-Saturday: 10 AM–8 PM

Admission fee:

  • Adults (18+): $20
  • Seniors (65+): $15
  • Students (with ID): $15
  • Youth (6 to 17): $15
  • Children (5 and under): Free
  • Individuals self-identifying as Indigenous: Free

The Museum of Vancouver (MOV) is a cultural center in British Columbia. It’s a good place to start if you want to learn about the city’s past, present, and future. 

With more than 65,000 artifacts, photos, and historical documents, the museum gives you a deep look into Vancouver’s past and how it is still changing.

There are a lot of interesting displays at the MOV that show different parts of Vancouver’s history. From the history of native peoples to the growth of cities, the museum tries to help you learn more about the city’s identity and the things that have shaped it. 

Permanent exhibits like “csnam, the city before the city” and “Neon Vancouver | Ugly Vancouver” show the history of the native people and the famous neon signs that used to be on the streets.

To make things more interesting, the MOV will also regularly feature temporary exhibits on topics like cultural diversity, social issues, and modern art. 

Through interactive displays, multimedia presentations, and thought-provoking stories, you are encouraged to think about Vancouver’s past, get involved in its present, and think about its future.

As a cultural center, the Museum of Vancouver is a big part of keeping the stories of the city alive and spreading them. 

By giving the citizens a place to talk, learn, and get ideas, the MOV encourages them to connect with Vancouver’s long history and add to the story of this cosmopolitan metropolis.

VanDusen Botanical Garden

VanDusen Botanical Garden

Location: 5251 Oak St, Vancouver, BC V6M 4H1, Canada
Operating hours:

  • Tuesday-Thursday: 9 AM–5 PM
  • Monday, Friday-Sunday: 9 AM–8 PM

Admission fee: 

  • Adult (19-64): $8.90 (Winter/Spring), $12.30 (Spring/Summer), $8.90 (Fall/Winter) 
  • Senior (65+) $6.25 (Winter/Spring), $8.60 (Spring/Summer), $6.25 (Fall/Winter) 
  • Youth (13-18): $6.25 (Winter/Spring), $8.60 $8.60 (Spring/Summer), $6.25 (Fall/Winter) 
  • Child (5-12): $4.45 (Winter/Spring), $6.15 (Spring/Summer), $4.45 (Fall/Winter) 
  • Children 4 and younger: Free

The VanDusen Botanical Garden is a lush and beautiful place to relax. 

It is a piece of land that is a total of 55 acres, which makes it quite a large place to explore. The garden also has an abundant collection of plants from all over the world, which makes it great for people who love nature and horticulture.

The Korean Pavilion and Garden, the Elizabethan Maze, the Sino-Himalayan Garden, and the Fragrance Garden are some of the beautiful areas that you can find here. 

There are many different kinds of plants and styles in these different places, each with its own charm and atmosphere.

At VanDusen Botanical Garden, you can walk along beautiful paths, find peaceful ponds, and look at the colorful flowers that change with the seasons. The place is well taken care of, making it a great place to relax and think.

This location not only has a lot of natural beauty, but it also has educational programs, workshops, and special events all year long. 

From guided tours to gardening classes, you can learn more about plants and how to grow them in a way that is good for the environment.

Visitors of all ages can find peace and inspiration at VanDusen Botanical Garden, which has beautiful scenery, a wide range of plants, and educational programs. 

It is a must-see for anyone looking for a quiet place to get away from the busy city of Vancouver.

Vancouver Aquarium

Vancouver Aquarium

Location: 845 Avison Way, Vancouver, BC V6G 3E2, Canada
Operating hours: Monday-Sunday: 10 AM–5 PM
Admission fee:

  • Regular: $47.45 
  • Child(Ages 3-12, must be accompanied by a paying Adult): $29.95 
  • Student(Post-Secondary, Ages 19+ w/ID): $41.95 
  • Senior(Ages 65+): $41.95 
  • Infant/Toddler(Ages 0-2): Free

The Vancouver Aquarium has been around for a long time and is a public aquarium and marine science center. It is one of North America’s biggest aquariums, where marine life is also studied, protected, and taught.

The aquarium is home to more than 50,000 aquatic animals from all over the world. 

People can observe sea otters, dolphins, beluga whales, penguins, jellyfish, and tropical fish in interesting displays. These serve the purpose of showing how interesting and important it is to care for the ocean and the environment.

In addition to its hands-on exhibits, the Vancouver Aquarium is dedicated to marine research and conservation. It works on projects to protect and restore marine ecosystems that are vital to our environment’s overall health. 

One of the facility’s main goals is to raise awareness about how pollution and climate change affect aquatic life. It also conducts scientific research to learn more about our oceans and how to best preserve them.

You can also learn about marine biology, how marine ecosystems work, and how to protect them through the aquarium’s educational programs, interactive displays, and interesting shows. 

It’s a great resource for both locals and tourists, and it makes you and other people more aware of how beautiful and fragile our oceans are.



Location: Vancouver, BC Canada
Operating hours (shops): Monday-Sunday: 10 AM–6 PM

Gastown is the city’s oldest neighborhood and has a lot of historical significance. It has also become a popular spot for both locals and tourists.

The area was named after “Gassy” Jack Deighton, a steamboat captain who opened the area’s first saloon in 1867. It has a lot of old-world charm, but it also has a mix of modern shops, restaurants, and galleries. 

The famous steam-powered clock is the most iconic landmark in Gastown. It draws people’s attention with its hourly whistles and performances.

The streets of the neighborhood are lined with boutique shops and galleries that sell unique clothes, artwork, and goods made in the area. 

There are also a lot of restaurants, pubs, and cafes in the district that serve a wide range of dishes. These include traditional comfort foods and exotic cuisines from all over the world.

Besides that, Gastown is full of historic charm that goes beyond its buildings and shops. 

There are many interesting landmarks in the neighborhood, such as the statue of “Gassy” Jack, the Gaoler’s Mews courtyard, and the Blood Alley. Each of these places has its own story and personality.

Overall, Gastown is a wonderful mix of history, culture, and modern things to do. It invites you to stroll through its pretty streets, take in the atmosphere, and find out what makes it one of the most famous neighborhoods in Vancouver.

The Ottawa and Vancouver Food Scene

The Ottawa and Vancouver Food Scene

Both Ottawa and Vancouver offer diverse and exciting culinary experiences, with a focus on fresh ingredients, innovative flavors, and a celebration of local and international cuisines. 

Whether you’re in the mood for refined dining, casual eats, or exploring cultural culinary gems, both cities have plenty to offer food enthusiasts.

Ottawa’s Cuisine

The food scene in Ottawa is made up of a mix of traditional Canadian and international cuisine. It also places plenty of emphasis on farm-to-table dining.

The city’s proximity to its nearby agricultural areas makes it very important to use fresh, locally grown ingredients.

There are a lot of farm-to-table restaurants in Ottawa where chefs focus on using seasonal produce, artisanal meats, and seafood that is safe for the environment.

The city is also known for its multiculturalism, which has led to a wide range of foods from all over the world, such as Italian, Lebanese, Vietnamese, Indian, and more. 

For the alcohol lovers out there, you will be pleased to know that Ottawa has a thriving craft beer and cocktail scene. This gives you the chance to taste some incredible concoctions. 

There are many breweries and cocktail bars in the city that serve creative and unique drinks that you can find as you explore the nearby areas.

Vancouver’s Cuisine 

Vancouver’s food scene is renowned for its fresh, local, and diverse culinary offerings. The city’s proximity to the ocean provides access to an abundance of seafood, including salmon, oysters, and spot prawns, which are incorporated into many dishes. 

A variety of cuisines have an influence on the city’s dining scene. These include Pacific Northwest fare, Asian fusion, and farm-to-table concepts. 

It is also known for its vibrant food truck culture, offering a wide range of street food options. 

Vancouver’s emphasis on healthy eating is reflected in its abundance of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free meals. Additionally, the city has a thriving coffee culture and a growing number of craft breweries and distilleries.

Shopping in Vancouver vs Ottawa

Shopping in Vancouver vs Ottawa

Vancouver is renowned for its diverse and eclectic shopping scene, while Ottawa offers a mix of shopping options, from upscale boutiques to bustling markets. 

With the numerous options available, you are bound to find something that you like.

Shopping in Vancouver

The city has a mix of high-end fashion districts, trendy neighborhoods, and unique shopping enclaves. 

Robson Street, which is in the downtown area, is known as the best place to shop in Vancouver. It has a mix of high-end brands, international stores, and small shops that are unique to the area. 

Gastown is known for its independent boutiques, designer shops, and art galleries, which sell clothes, home decor, and other unique items. 

Granville Island is another popular place to shop because it has artisanal food vendors, craft studios, and specialty shops. 

Vancouver also has a number of shopping malls, like Pacific Centre and Oakridge Centre, where you can find a wide range of well-known brands.

Shopping in Ottawa

Ottawa boasts several shopping centers and malls in its downtown core, like the Rideau Centre and CF Rideau Centre. These places have a wide range of stores, including well-known fashion, beauty, and lifestyle brands. 

Also, the ByWard Market is a must-see spot for local food, handmade goods, and one-of-a-kind souvenirs. There are also small shops, boutiques, and galleries in the market. 

Ottawa is known for having a thriving arts and crafts scene. Many local artists and designers sell their work in shops and craft fairs all over the city.

Nightlife in Vancouver vs. Ottawa

Nightlife in Vancouver vs. Ottawa

Ottawa and Vancouver both offer distinct and vibrant nightlife scenes, each with its own unique atmosphere and offerings. The former offers a more relaxed and intimate atmosphere, while the latter is livelier with its thriving music scene.

Vancouver’s Nightlife

Vancouver is known for its energetic and diverse nightlife, offering plenty of options for everyone. The city offers a vibrant mix of bars, lounges, nightclubs, live music venues, and entertainment choices. 

Neighborhoods like Gastown, Yaletown, and Granville Street are popular for their bustling nightlife. They feature a wide variety of bars, pubs, and clubs catering to different tastes and music genres. 

Vancouver is also home to a thriving live music scene, with venues hosting local and international acts across various genres. 

Additionally, the city has a dynamic cocktail and craft beer culture, with many establishments offering unique and innovative libations.

Ottawa’s Nightlife

Ottawa’s nightlife has evolved significantly in recent years, catering to a diverse range of tastes and preferences. The city offers a mix of entertainment options, including bars, clubs, live music venues, and pubs. 

The ByWard Market area is a popular nightlife hub, with a variety of bars and clubs that come alive in the evenings. Elgin Street is another vibrant area with a concentration of bars, lounges, and live music venues. 

Ottawa also hosts numerous festivals and events throughout the year, such as Winterlude and Canada Day celebrations, which often feature outdoor concerts, fireworks, and entertainment.

In short, both Ottawa and Vancouver offer ample opportunities for a memorable nightlife experience. 

Whether you’re looking for lively clubs, intimate bars, live music, or a relaxed evening with friends, you can find something that suits your preferences. Both cities have a range of options to explore and enjoy after the sun goes down. 

It’s worth noting that the nightlife scene may vary based on the time of year, events, and individual preferences.