Things To See in Ottawa, Canada

Ottawa Things To See

As Ottawa is the Canadian capital, it’s no surprise that the city boasts a fantastic array of cultural attractions. After visiting the various museums and galleries, you might enjoy a stroll through one of Ottawa’s beautiful parks or along by the famous Rideau Canal.

One place you’ll definitely want to check out during your stay in Ottawa is Parliament Hill. Here you’ll find the Parliament Buildings housing Canada’s Senate, House of Commons and Library of Parliament. You can take a free tour of the site or head up to the observation deck in the Peace Tower for fantastic views.

In terms of museums, one of our favourites is the Canadian Museum of Nature which is spread out over five different floors and which houses exhibits covering everything from birds to bugs. The Canadian Museum of Civilisation, which you’ll find across the Ottawa River in Gatineau, is equally fascinating and well-worth a visit.

If you’re looking for a bit of a breather from city life, make your way to Major’s Hill Park, just one of the gorgeous green spaces you’ll find in Ottawa. This park was first established way back in 1874 and today attracts large numbers of visitors with is beautiful setting, regular events and fantastic views out across the Rideau Canal and beyond.

On top of that, the city is filled with neighbourhoods for you to explore, from ByWard Market to the Glebe.

Attractions in Ottawa

  • Parliament Hill

    Downtown, Ottawa, Canada

    On this hill overlooking the Ottawa River, you’ll find the Parliament Buildings which are home to Canada’s Senate, House of Commons and Library of Parliament. After you’ve taken a guided tour which covers all that, you can head up to the observation deck in the Peace Tower for great views. Also make sure to check out the Centennial Flame, the Summer Pavilion and the Cat Sanctuary.

    Check website for tour times; tours offered free of charge.

  • Canadian Museum of Nature

    240 McLeod Street, Centre Town, Ottawa, Canada

    Having recently undergone extensive renovations, this natural history museum is one of Ottawa’s most popular museums. Exhibits are spread out over five different floors and cover everything from birds to bugs. There are lots of interactive exhibits throughout the various galleries, making it both an educational and entertaining place to visit.

    Open Tues-Wed & Fri-Sun 9am-5pm, Thurs 9am-8pm, closed Mondays; admission $10.

  • National Gallery of Canada

    380 Sussex Drive, ByWard Market, Ottawa, Canada

    With a giant spider sculpture standing sentinel outside, there’s no way you’ll miss the National Gallery of Canada. Inside, the gallery is spread out over three different levels. The collection covers everything from contemporary art to European art from as far back as the Renaissance.

    Open Tues-Wed & Fri-Sun 10am-5pm, Thurs 10am-8pm, closed Mondays; admission $9.

  • Canadian Museum of Civilisation

    100 Laurier Street, Gatineau, Ottawa, Canada

    One of the most recognisable buildings in Canada’s Capital Region, the Canadian Museum of Civilisation is visited by huge numbers of people each year. These visitors come to enjoy the large galleries including the Canada Hall which boasts life-size displays chronicling the history of the country. Don’t miss the impressive totem poles in the Grand Hall.

    Open Mon-Wed & Fri 9am-5pm, Thurs 9am-8pm, Sat-Sun 9.30am-5pm; admission $12.

  • Alexandra Bridge

    Alexandra Bridge, Ottawa, Canada

    Spanning the Ottawa River and connecting Ottawa with Gatineau, this bridge was originally built between 1989 and 1901 and has since undergone major restructuring. As you walk across the bridge you’ll get great views of both sides of the river. It takes about 15 minutes to walk across this impressive structure and along the way you’ll be able to see Parliament Hill, the Canadian Museum of Civilisation and plenty more.

  • Notre Dame Cathedral

    385 Sussex Drive, Ottawa, Canada

    The twin spires on the exterior of this cathedral are extremely impressive but it’s the interior that really shines, literally on days when bright light spills through the stained glass windows creating really cool colour effects. The Gothic architecture inside, including the ornately decorated ceiling, is definitely worth a look.

    Open Mon 11.30am-6pm, Tues-Sat 9am-6pm, Sun 8am-8pm.

  • Confederation Boulevard

    Confederation Boulevard, Ottawa, Canada

    Winding its way along a 7.5km long stretch through the heart of Ottawa and across into Gatineau, Confederation Boulevard is a ceremonial route which takes you past many of the area’s top attractions including the National Gallery of Canada and Parliament Hill. You’ll know you’re on this particular boulevard when you see banners on all the lampposts dedicated to cities, provinces and territories throughout Canada.

  • Major’s Hill Park

    Major’s Hill Park, Ottawa, Canada

    Filled with colourful flowerbeds, interesting statues and freestanding artworks, Major’s Hill Park was first established all the way back in 1874 and today is one of Ottawa’s most popular parks. Located on a hill above the Rideau Canal, this park affords visitors with great views of the famous waterway.

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