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Ottawa Travel Guide, Ontario

Ottawa is Canada’s capital, located at the border with Quebec and nested on the banks of the majestic Ottawa, Rideau and Gatineau Rivers. It is not though the city with the biggest number of residents; actually it is the fourth with about one million residents most of whom speak English. French is also spoken and these two international languages makes tourists feel at ease here.

Being a capital getting here is not a problem with the Ottawa International Airport handling daily flights from different parts of the world. Tourism is very well developed and you can see it the moment you set foot in the city. Besides being a touristy centre it is also a cultural, business and professional training centre.

It is a nice place to be and it offers unrivaled vacation possibilities for all ages and all interests. It is a clean city with friendly people and plenty of historical sights and full of parks giving the city a romantic feel. The cultural and recreational experiences are many while the advanced technology and the well educated residents make you feel the high standard of living they have. The fact that it is home to such high tech giants as Nortel Networks, Alcatel and Cisco says something about the prosperity of the city.

Business, culture, history and natural outdoor attractions are the main reasons people come to Ottawa. There’s plenty to see: galleries and theatres, stunning architecture museums, heritage sites world-class shops, natural wonders and there’s plenty of activity around: sports, festivals, cultural activities.

Even if it is a big city, you don’t have to expect heavy traffic and getting around does not give you a headache. Most of Ottawa's major sights are clustered downtown, so it's not difficult to walk from one to another.

So plan ahead and visit all the attractions that might interest you. The informative brochure of the city might give you a hint. But basically all the major attractions are to be found around downtown which is a beautiful combination of old and new buildings. The typical architectural styles you’ll see are the late-Victorian brick houses and there are also the Gothic spires and towers of Parliament Hill. The buildings look great especially in spring when they are surrounded by beautiful flowers and the green spaces from the parks.

One of the major attractions is the Rideau Canal that slides through the city and makes a familiar part of the Ottawa landscape. It is a beautiful sight especially in summer when it id dotted with houseboats and cabin cruisers. Winter does not diminish its attraction as it is a perfect place to skate and go sleighing.

If you have kids they will love Ottawa as it offers them wonderful opportunities to have fun. One of the things they will love is watch the bands, rifles, and uniforms of the Changing of the Guard on Parliament Hill. The Canadian Museum of Civilization hosts the Children's Museum which they will definitely love. Then there’s the Central Experimental Farm where they can get close to their favorite animals. At the Canadian Museum of Nature they will get in touch with dinosaurs. And the list can go on with other museums. The Logos Land Resort offer year round outdoor activities. You won’t have time to visit them all so it’s better to set some priorities.

Ottawa by night is magnificent and there is plenty of action going on for all tastes. The most action goes on at historical ByWard Market BIA hosting a thriving outdoor market, classy shops, nightclubs and restaurants. The performing arts are at their best and there’s a vibrant local theatre scene so the entertainment options are plentiful and sure to satisfy everyone.

If you want to see a well developed city with high standards for all the major fields without being aggressive, Ottawa is the answer.
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Read our members' travel tips about Ottawa

  • marius_fCanal Ritz Restaurant
    travel tip by marius_f posted more then 30 days ago
    Canal Ritz is an Italian restaurant situated on the most perfect place possible: with a view over the Rideau Canal. The atmosphere is perfect. Although, unfortunately the restaurant is only average. It's a shame for such a beautiful...
  • MalikaCanadian Children's Museum
    travel tip by Malika posted more then 30 days ago
    It's the greatest place you can possibly take your kids in Ottawa. They have all kinds of exhibitions about the most different things. All the place highly educational destined to make kids understand and meet different aspects of life. ...
  • IvanCanadian Museum of Civilisation
    travel tip by Ivan posted more then 30 days ago
    The Canadian Museum of Civilization is located on the northern part of the Ottawa river. There are plenty of great exhibitions, both temporary and permanent, of course. The exhibition about the lives of Inuit and Native people are...
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Ottawa City Ratings

  • Rating66%
    City Rank261
  • History & Culture: rated for 70%
  • Night Life & Entertainment: rated for 80%
  • Family & Fun: rated for 60%
  • Outdoors Activities: rated for 70%
  • Food: rated for 70%
  • Sightseeing: rated for 60%
  • Shopping: rated for 60%
  • Public Transportation: rated for 60%
  • Must visit this place: rated for 70%
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