Welcome to Ottawa, Canada’s dynamic and culturally rich capital city, nestled along the picturesque banks of the Ottawa River. Steeped in history, brimming with vibrant arts and culture, and surrounded by natural beauty, Ottawa offers a myriad of experiences to enchant and delight visitors of all ages. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll unveil 21 must-see attractions and experiences that capture the essence of Ottawa, ensuring your visit is filled with exploration, excitement, and cherished memories.

  1. Parliament Hill: Begin your journey at the heart of Ottawa, Parliament Hill. Marvel at the iconic Gothic Revival architecture of the Parliament Buildings, take a guided tour of the Centre Block, and witness the awe-inspiring Changing of the Guard ceremony in the summer months.
  2. Rideau Canal: Explore the historic Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that winds its way through downtown Ottawa. Take a leisurely stroll along the canal’s scenic pathways, enjoy a boat cruise in the summer, or lace up your skates for a magical ice skating experience in the winter.
  3. ByWard Market: Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of ByWard Market, one of Ottawa’s oldest and most beloved neighborhoods. Explore bustling outdoor markets, eclectic boutiques, and world-class restaurants serving up delicious cuisine from around the globe.
  4. National Gallery of Canada: Delve into the world of art at the National Gallery of Canada, home to an impressive collection of Canadian and international masterpieces. Explore galleries showcasing works by renowned artists such as Emily Carr, Tom Thomson, and the Group of Seven.
  5. Canadian Museum of History: Journey across time and explore Canada’s rich heritage at the Canadian Museum of History, located across the river in Gatineau, Quebec. Discover interactive exhibits, cultural artifacts, and immersive experiences that bring the story of Canada to life.
  6. Canadian War Museum: Pay tribute to Canada’s military history at the Canadian War Museum, located near downtown Ottawa. Explore artifacts, multimedia displays, and interactive exhibits that chronicle Canada’s involvement in conflicts from the War of 1812 to the present day.
  7. National Arts Centre: Experience the performing arts at the National Arts Centre, Ottawa’s premier venue for music, theater, and dance. Attend a world-class performance by the National Arts Centre Orchestra, catch a Broadway musical, or enjoy a contemporary dance production.
  8. Ottawa River Pathway: Discover the beauty of the Ottawa River Pathway, a scenic trail that stretches along the banks of the river from downtown Ottawa to the city’s western suburbs. Enjoy picturesque views, wildlife sightings, and recreational activities such as cycling, jogging, and picnicking.
  9. Canadian Museum of Nature: Unearth the wonders of the natural world at the Canadian Museum of Nature, located in a stunning heritage building in downtown Ottawa. Explore galleries showcasing dinosaurs, fossils, minerals, and wildlife from Canada and around the globe.
  10. Supreme Court of Canada: Gain insight into Canada’s legal system with a visit to the Supreme Court of Canada, located on Wellington Street near Parliament Hill. Take a guided tour of the iconic building and learn about the role of the judiciary in Canadian society.
  11. Major’s Hill Park: Relax and unwind in the scenic surroundings of Major’s Hill Park, located just steps from Parliament Hill. Enjoy panoramic views of the Ottawa River and downtown skyline, explore landscaped gardens, and attend outdoor events and festivals throughout the year.
  12. Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum: Step back in time at the Diefenbunker, Canada’s Cold War Museum, located just outside of Ottawa in the town of Carp. Explore an underground bunker designed to protect government officials in the event of a nuclear attack during the Cold War era.
  13. Canadian Aviation and Space Museum: Take flight at the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum, located near the Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport. Explore vintage aircraft, interactive exhibits, and simulators that showcase Canada’s rich aviation history and contributions to space exploration.
  14. National War Memorial: Pay your respects at the National War Memorial, a solemn monument located in Confederation Square near Parliament Hill. Commemorate the sacrifices of Canadian soldiers who have served in conflicts around the world, and observe the annual Remembrance Day ceremony on November 11th.
  15. Ottawa Locks: Witness the engineering marvel of the Ottawa Locks, a series of eight locks that connect the Rideau Canal to the Ottawa River. Watch as boats navigate the locks, or take a guided tour to learn about the history and operation of this historic waterway.
  16. Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography: Explore the cutting-edge world of contemporary photography at the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, located within the National Gallery of Canada. Discover thought-provoking exhibitions and works by emerging and established photographers from Canada and beyond.
  17. Ottawa City Hall: Admire the modern architecture of Ottawa City Hall, located in the heart of downtown Ottawa. Take a guided tour of the building, attend a council meeting, or explore public art installations and exhibitions showcasing local artists.
  18. Royal Canadian Mint: Discover the art and science of coin production at the Royal Canadian Mint, located near the Ottawa River in downtown Ottawa. Take a guided tour of the facility to see how coins are made, and visit the boutique to purchase unique collector coins and gifts.
  19. National Research Council Canada: Uncover the latest innovations and scientific discoveries at the National Research Council Canada, located in the west end of Ottawa. Explore interactive exhibits, participate in hands-on experiments, and learn about cutting-edge research in fields such as aerospace, biotechnology, and renewable energy.
  20. Canadian Museum of Agriculture and Food: Experience the sights, sounds, and smells of farm life at the Canadian Museum of Agriculture and Food, located in the rural community of Manotick, just south of Ottawa. Explore historic buildings, livestock exhibits, and interactive demonstrations that showcase Canada’s agricultural heritage.
  21. Canada Aviation and Space Museum: Take flight at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, located near the Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport. Explore vintage aircraft, interactive exhibits, and simulators that showcase Canada’s rich aviation history and contributions to space exploration.


Ottawa, with its rich tapestry of history, culture, and natural beauty, offers a captivating array of experiences for visitors to explore and enjoy. Whether you’re marveling at the iconic Parliament Buildings, strolling along the scenic Rideau Canal, or immersing yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of ByWard Market, Ottawa promises an unforgettable journey filled with discovery, inspiration, and cherished memories. So pack your bags, embrace the spirit of adventure, and let Ottawa captivate your heart and imagination like no other city can.