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Delve into Ottawa, Canada’s capital and home to impressive architecture, foodie delights and cultural one-offs. Get to grips with the city’s neo-gothic architecture at Parliament Hill or take in the local rough-and-ready charm at ByWard Market – be sure to sample the maple candy. At the National Arts Centre, you can catch the latest music and dance acts. The city’s also home to renowned festivals throughout the year, like the Canadian Tulip Festival in May.
When it comes to hostels in Ottawa, you have plenty of choice. From a former jail (now renowned for its ghostly residents) to an all-female hostel in a traditional redbrick house, each one has its history. You'll probably want to upload your photos of the Parliament building, so staying in an Ottawa hostel with free Wi-Fi is a good idea. Those with cafés mean you can get your caffeine fix in the morning, while Ottawa hostels with outdoor spaces and barbecues mean there's plenty of evening entertainment too.
The most central Ottawa neighbourhood is Downtown Rideau, the city's cultural district, where you'll find shopping opportunities amongst architectural beauty spots. Westboro Village is the city's urban hangout with a relaxed feel, home to boutique shops, restaurants and local cafés. For upmarket eateries, theatre and small galleries, head into vibrant Hintonburg.
Put the Rideau Canal at the top of your Ottawa list. UNESCO World Heritage-listed, the waterway runs right through the city and a stroll down the banks will take you past key sights like the Parliament building. For art, drop by the National Gallery of Canada to spot works by the greats – be sure to get a snap of the giant spider out the front too. Just down the river, you'll find Hog's Back Falls where you can take a picnic and chill out on the grassy banks. Another must for your list is to try a BeaverTail pastry. It's Ottawa's famous deep-fried doughnut and the local dessert of choice.
Getting from Ottawa International Airport to downtown takes around 30 minutes. Catch the number 97 bus from level one of the arrivals area. For connections to Montreal, Toronto and other major cities, trains run from Ottawa Train Station in the centre of the city. When it comes to getting around town, hop on the O-train – the local light rail network – or take a bus.