Things to do in
Ottawa

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Our most recommended things to do in Ottawa

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

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

All aboard for this popular hop-on hop-off city tour of Ottawa that’s filled with fun, facts, and history! Stay on the bus for the 1.5-hour tour or hop off and back on throughout the validity of your ticket. 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: Sightseeing River Cruise

2. 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: Rideau Canal Cruise

3. 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: 1-Hour Bilingual Guided Tour by Amphibious Bus

4. Ottawa: 1-Hour Bilingual Guided 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: Haunted Night Walking Tour

5. 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: Scenic Helicopter Flight

6. 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: Ottawa River Tour by Hawaiian Palapa Hut

7. Ottawa: Ottawa River Tour by Hawaiian Palapa Hut

Take a relaxing tour up and down the Ottawa River on a Hawaiian-style palapa hut in a boat trip like no other. Just head to one of the embarkment sites, climb aboard and get the party started. The activity provider's captains are all small vessel certified and licensed. Enjoy fancy drinks and snacks as the tiki bar takes you along the river, offering stunning views of the shoreline. Whether it’s just hanging out with friends for a fun time, spending some relaxing time with your family, taking a romantic cruise, or a group excursion, this tour is one of the most unique ways to get out on the water. Cruise the time away sipping drinks, and listening to or singing karaoke to your favorite tropical tunes.

Ottawa: Canadian War Museum Admission

8. Ottawa: Canadian War Museum Admission

Visit The Canadian War Museum, the national museum of military history, conveniently located west of Parliament Hill near downtown Ottawa. The museum is one of the world's most respected places for the study and understanding of armed conflict.  Discover the inspiring and touching stories of Canada's military contributions. Canada's rich military history is showcased through personal stories, artwork, photographs, and interactive presentations. Tour the extensive permanent exhibitions and expand your knowledge of the conflicts that shaped Canada, Canadians, and the world. The galleries have been designed to emphasize the human experience of war.  Explore at your own pace as you discover the rare and historically important artifacts, uniforms, vehicles, art, and memorabilia that make up the 3 million pieces in the collections. Each gallery highlights defining moments in Canada’s military history and the ways in which past events have shaped the nation.

Ottawa: Yacht Tour with Catered Lunch

9. Ottawa: Yacht Tour with Catered Lunch

Spend the day on the Ottawa River on this luxurious yacht tour. Whether you're organizing a team-building trip or a getaway with friends, you'll enjoy beautiful panoramic views of Ottawa as you coast down the river. Meet your crew aboard your yacht and start with a safety briefing. Set sail with your fully-licensed captain and crew. Enjoy lunch prepared by some of Ottawa's best culinary artists and served by your crew. Alcohol is not sold on yachts, but you may bring your own bottles to enjoy. From the open-air deck, take in Ottawa’s riverside landmarks. Admire views of the Chateau Laurier, the Rideau Canal Locks, the Parliament Buildings, and Rideau Falls from the waterway that separates the border between Ottawa, Ontario and Gatineau, Quebec. Choose from the 42' long x 14' wide Everly or the 37.5' long x 11.5' wide Dolce Far Niente yachts. The Everly’s massive bow and spacious cockpit allow you more space to bring the party outside. On the Dolce Far Niente, enjoy the inviting cockpit and cabin, the massive sit-down bow, and the extended swim platform.

Ottawa Private Tour with a Local

10. Ottawa Private Tour with a Local

Explore the city with a friendly local who is passionate about the city and eager to share all the information that will help you make the most of your trip. Get to know Ottawa through the eyes of a local on a 2, 3 or 4 hour private tour. Meet at your accommodation and head out on the tour to get familiar with the neighborhood. Learn about the best places to eat and buy groceries, the easiest ways to get around, and the top things to see and do. By the end of the tour, you'll feel more comfortable navigating the city and confident that you have all the information you need to make the most of your stay.

Frequently asked questions about Ottawa

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Other Sightseeing Options in Ottawa

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What people are saying about Ottawa

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 1,383 reviews

Everyone was very friendly and helpful. We were taken to the exhibit that i wanted to see. When we were lost a very nice young man came to our rescue.

Perfect duration and perfect time of the evening to take great photos. The guide was a very good story teller.

Really very pleasant. The guide was interesting and dynamic. Very interesting journey.

Very informative-really enjoyed our storyteller. Learned much about Ottawa.

Chris is such a cool guy. Very well paced and enjoyable time.