Things to do in Ottawa

Our most recommended things to do in Ottawa

Ottawa: Hop On Hop Off Winter Tour by Vintage Bus

1. Ottawa: Hop On Hop Off Winter Tour by Vintage Bus

Step into a cozy, vintage bus on this hop-on hop-off sightseeing tour of Ottawa and Gatineau. Listen as a live guide provides fascinating context about the sights you pass along the way. Take in Ottawa’s historic scenery in the national capital area like the Rideau Canal. Hop aboard a bus that looks like an old-fashioned red trolley. Take a seat on a wooden bench and travel through Ottawa and Gatineau in this well-preserved piece of nostalgia. See as much of the city as you can in a short period of time. Experience Ottawa from the local perspective with a live guide on board. This unique multilingual tour of Canada’s capital lets you appreciate Ottawa’s historic scenery from every possible angle. Pass by sites like the Rideau Canal which connects the city to Lake Ontario and the Saint Lawrence River. Cruise by the lush Confederation Park and take in the Modern architecture of the Canadian War Museum. View where the money is printed as you pass the Royal Canadian Mint.

Ottawa: Half-Day Guided Craft Beer Tour by Bus

2. Ottawa: Half-Day Guided Craft Beer Tour by Bus

Prepare to hear some classic Dad jokes as you discover Ottawa's vibrant beer scene on a half-day tour of the city's best beer houses. Visiting either 2 or 3 craft breweries for sampling, you'll learn about the brewing process and be a beer connoisseur in no time. Enjoy a curated experiential beer tour that gets you behind the scenes at each location and gives you a chance to try new and exciting beers. Your guide keeps you entertained along the way with local tips and Dad jokes as they navigate the streets of Ottawa. Every tour is a unique adventure with locations varying along with the beers. Your trip includes immersive tours at each location, all sampling fees, and some food. For a safe and memorable experience, free water is provided along with tasting note cards so you can track your tastings. While this trip is a beer lover's dream, everyone can enjoy them. Great beer is the glue that ties learning and drinking together.

Ottawa: Bilingual Guided City Tour by Amphibious Bus

3. Ottawa: Bilingual Guided City Tour by Amphibious Bus

Climb aboard a unique vehicle that can travel on land and water and discover the historical attractions of Ottawa and the Ottawa River from different perspectives. Spend 40 minutes on land and 20 minutes on the water. Admire landmark monuments and attractions such as Lake Dow, Landsdowne Park, and Byward Market. Get a magnificent view of the city as you cruise along the river aboard the amphibious vehicle. See all the important sights of Ottawa and the city of Gatineau, located just across the water. Avail of an activity that is both fun and educational for the entire family, and ideal for those who are short of time but want to see it all.

Ottawa: Sightseeing River Cruise

4. Ottawa: Sightseeing River Cruise

Discover the natural beauty of the region that captured the imagination of the first European explorer Samuel de Champlain. Climb aboard the 'Paula D' for a 1.5-hour sightseeing cruise on the Ottawa River. This must-do experience offers an entertaining glimpse of the region's rich history and leaves you with plenty of time to enjoy the rest of your stay. For your convenience, there are two departure docks, one located in Gatineau and another in Ottawa. Once boarded, sit back and relax as you cruise down the river. Enjoy spectacular views of the city and learn about the river's past life as a watery highway for transporting resources with your guide's engaging and informative commentary in both English and French. During your cruise, you'll have the opportunity to see the Parliament Buildings, the Rideau Canal Locks, and the cities of Ottawa and Gatineau from the river. You'll also be able to spot some sights that are only visible from the water or from Gatineau. While you're taking in the sights, savor a nice cold beverage (at your own expense) on the large open-air upper deck. Alternatively, escape the elements and visit the closed-in lower deck to take advantage of the on-board canteen with a bar.

Ottawa: Canadian War Museum Admission

5. Ottawa: Canadian War Museum Admission

The Canadian War Museum is Canada’s national museum of military history. Designed by Japanese–Canadian architect Raymond Moriyama, the Museum’s structure and surrounding grounds reflect the concept of regeneration. From windows spelling out “Lest We Forget / N’oublions jamais” in Morse code, to uneven floors and rough concrete walls, the building acknowledges the price of conflict, while also showing hope for a more peaceful future. The Museum brings Canada’s military history to life for visitors of all ages through thousands of personal stories, objects, works of art, photographs, interactive presentations, and immersive environments. In addition to a series of galleries exploring Canadian military history from early wars in Canada to contemporary conflicts, the Museum features an impressive collection of large artillery and military vehicles in the LeBreton Gallery, as well as thought-provoking temporary exhibitions on everything from the First and Second World Wars to art produced by women in conflict zones. Memorial Hall and several additional spaces in the Museum encourage quiet reflection on the cost of war. To stand in the presence of the headstone of Canada’s Unknown Soldier in Memorial Hall is a powerful and moving experience, as is experiencing the Moriyama Regeneration Hall and visiting the Royal Canadian Legion Hall of Honour. The Canadian War Museum’s collections are among the finest military holdings in the world, comprising rare vehicles, artillery, uniforms, medals, small arms, and rare books and archives, as well as the outstanding Beaverbrook Collection of War Art. In addition to showcasing exhibitions from around the world, the Museum hosts vehicle demonstrations, scholarly lectures, engaging family programming, and a wide range of special events.

Ottawa: Hop-On Hop-Off Guided City Tour Day Ticket

6. Ottawa: Hop-On Hop-Off Guided City Tour Day Ticket

All aboard for this popular hop-on hop-off city bus tour of Ottawa that’s filled with fun, facts, and history! Stay on the bus for the complete 1.5-hour round-trip tour or hop off and back on throughout the validity of your ticket. Explore Ottawa's main sights like the Canadian Parliament buildings, Byward Market, and more en route. See the sights of Ottawa from a classic open-top, double-decker bus. Sit on the lower deck and enjoy the inside comfort or ride on the top deck and enjoy the fantastic views as your knowledgeable, bilingual guide points out landmarks and shares the city's history with you. Hop off at sites you want to explore and hop back on to resume your city tour. Do this at your own pace, and visit as many of Ottawa’s top sites as you like. See museums, parks, galleries, the Byward Market, the Canadian Parliament buildings, and lots more. Explore, dine, and shop throughout the capital city!

Ottawa: Haunted Night Walking Tour

7. Ottawa: Haunted Night Walking Tour

Experience Ottawa like never before on a 75-minute Original Haunted Walk. Spend an evening with fascinating tour guides who are chosen from the best local storytellers and have a passion for sharing the unexpected side of Canada's capital city.  On the Original Haunted Walk, your expert cloaked guide will reveal to you their favorite ghost stories from the Downtown Ottawa area and lead you by lantern light to some of the city's most well-known haunted spots. Visit locations such as the Fairmont Château Laurier, Grant House, and Ottawa’s haunted high school. A favorite stop is the haunted Bytown Museum where many of the guides have had their own experiences to share. You’ll never look at the city and these buildings the same again.  After being led through the streets of Downtown Ottawa, your guide can walk you back to the start location or leave you to enjoy a (sleepless) night in the city.

Ottawa: Rideau Canal Cruise

8. Ottawa: Rideau Canal Cruise

Discover the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Rideau Canal aboard a brand-new electric vessel. Admire top attractions like the Canadian Museum of Nature, Château Laurier, Dow’s Lake, and the National Arts Centre from this iconic waterway. The cruise departs from the heart of downtown Ottawa. Step aboard North America’s largest 100% electric passenger vessel, the only one of its kind. Your experienced and friendly crew will answer your questions and ensure your safety. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the view as your live guide shares entertaining insights into the region, its history, and rich cultural heritage. Discover the Rideau Canal from the Chateau Laurier to Dow's Lake. Learn about 30 different sites that have marked the history of Ottawa including the Trans-Canada Highway, Canadian Museum of Nature, Canal Ritz, Lansdowne Park, Bank Street Bridge, Dow’s Lake, Commissioners Park, Dominion Arboretum, and many more.

Ottawa: Scenic Helicopter Flight

9. Ottawa: Scenic Helicopter Flight

Soar over Ottawa city, the capital of Canada, snap breathtaking photos, and enjoy the view on this picturesque helicopter flight. Gaze out of the panoramic and curved windows and spot the serene Meech Lake and the Champlain. Start at the Rockcliffe airport at the Canadian Space and Aviation Museum. Have a quick safety briefing before boarding your helicopter. See Parliament Hill, the home of the Parliament of Canada, and Rideau Hall, the official residence of the Canadian monarch from above. Take-off in a Robinson R44 aircraft and fly at a cruising speed of 180 km/h. Choose between a 10-minute flight covering 30 KM, a 20-minute flight covering 60 KM, or a 30-minute flight covering 90 KM.

Ottawa: Haunted Carleton County Jail Tour

10. Ottawa: Haunted Carleton County Jail Tour

Come along on a frightening tour of the 19th-century Carleton County Jail, where you will meet your cloaked and lantern-carrying guide on a scary storytelling journey through the facilities. Find your way around by lantern light and enter Ottawa’s famous haunted jail, which now functions as a hostel. See some of the intact jail areas, which once housed some of the city's most infamous criminals, before they were hanged on the on-site gallows. Some say that their souls still haunt the site. Visit the jail's eeriest spots as your guide shares spooky stories of levitating coins and faceless ghosts. Learn about the gruesome assassination of Thomas D'Arcy McGee and tour the cellblocks where inmates were once imprisoned. Lastly, retrace the final footsteps of the condemned as you walk from Death Row to the last working gallows in Canada.

Frequently asked questions about Ottawa

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What people are saying about Ottawa

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 1,506 reviews

Our guide was outstanding and went well out of her way to make our day in Ottawa a special day. She pick us up and drove us to Ottawa and showed us everything there was to see She made it a special day and even showed us how to get to parts of Montreal we couldn’t find I’m not sure seeing Ottawa is worth the 2.5 hours each way but that’s not her problem she was great

Fantastic guide very informative and he had a great sense of humour.one of the best guides we had on our trip to Ottawa so far. Would recommend everyone take this tour great value for money.

Fantastic 90 min bud your. Our guide was excellent. Saw much of Ottawa that we wouldn’t have seen if we missed the tour.

It was an excellent option for us to get to know about the city as a first timers.

We totally loved our tour! It is a fun activity to do with kids too.