Things to do in Ottawa at Christmas time?
December 19, 2011 4:07 PM   Subscribe

In Ottawa for three days over Christmas break, what to do, what to do?

Boyfriend and I are heading into Ottawa for three days, Dec 27-29. We are driving there and so will have a car. I know nothing about Ottawa and welcome any suggestions about where to go/what to do.

We will be visiting his son and so will have a small child with us from noon to suppertime each day. The child will not be with us outside of those hours.

The boyfriend does not particularly have good associations with Ottawa but he's trying to make this little trip fun on my account. Any budget-friendly ideas or suggestions?
posted by JoannaC to Travel & Transportation around Ottawa, ON (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Go to Hull?

Seriously, if you're museum people at all, there's the Canadian Museum of Civilization, which is kid-friendly if you're talking about a school age child. Might be iffier with a toddler. $30 will get all three of you admitted.

More touristy stuff: skating the Rideau Canal. Skate rentals are available. Again it would be useful to know how old your boyfriend's son is and what his interests are.

Check out the free weekly Ottawa Xpress ahead of time and when you get there for other things adults and families can do together at that specific time of the year.
posted by maudlin at 4:27 PM on December 19, 2011

Are you thinking in terms of taking the child with you places? Museums, museums, museums. Science & Tech is the obvious one for kids. The Art Gallery and the Museum of Civilization are also great for kids.

Since you have a car, go down to Upper Canada Village and check out the christmas lights.

The Byward Market is always a nice place to wander, especially on a snowy evening (I should know, bonehead proposed to me on a snowy evening in the Byward Market!)

Are you scenery buffs? Take a drive up to Gatineau park, or head to the village of Chelsea for some really picturesque scenery. There's also the Christmas lights all through the city once the sun goes down.

Ottawa is quiet in terms of big name events in between Christmas and New Years', but the Blue Man Group is on during that time...if that's your thing.

Let me dig some more...
posted by LN at 4:28 PM on December 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions so far. His son is toddler-aged. I think places we could go where he could veg in a stroller and we'd have something moderately interesting to look at would be good. Also, adult suggestions are welcome since we'll only have the little one with us part-time...
posted by JoannaC at 5:12 PM on December 19, 2011

Rideau Canal will more than likely be closed for skating over the holidays. They need about 10 days of negative 10 weather before it opens. You can always go for a walk along the canal which is nice as well. You could walk from DT to the Glebe, and check out shops at Bank street. And it's too bad cause the canal just got the new ice shacks.

Second the byward market. Always good during the day. If your into the night scene, places in the market can be hit or miss, a lot tend to be a younger crowd, but I suggest you check out dueling pianos at fat tuesdays, and you could always settle for a beaver tail in the market, since canal is closed for time being.

Just across on the hull side is BDT, a micro brewery with tons of beers to try.

You could always check out a show at absolute comedy on preston, and afterwards there's tons of little bars on preston street (which is little italy) i would suggest checking out Heart and Crown, or Pub Italia (pub Italia has a deep catalog of drinks)

The sound and lights show is done by this time of year but you could check out the Christmas lights on parliament and in the park. There's a bunch of sit down pubs to check out along Elgin for the 25+ crowd. Or you could wander into the market from there.

If you like art, there's the Art Gallery, or NAC; if you have a student card you can get live rush tickets for $15 bucks last minute which would normally cost you close to $100. Blue Man group will be in Ottawa that week.

If you like hockey; you could check out the Senators. The senators skills competition is on the 28th of December. If your looking for cheaper hockey, you should check out the 67's. All 67's events are cheap and kid friendly, and the senators skills comp is very kid friendly as well. I believe there getting a new jumbo tron before the skills comp as well.

If you like country, you should check at Crazy Horse in Kanata (which slips my mind) on Wednesdays nights that has Mechanical Bull you can ride.

You could always enjoy a night of pool while watching the hockey game at Maclarens Pub or Tail Gators.

Depending on how young the toddler is there's Laser Quest.

You can always spend a day shopping at the Rideau Center. Lots of little shops around bank street north (close to parliament) or in the glebe area (bank @ 1st to 5th) stop and get coffee and check out shops. While your there you should check out the new look of the Congress Center

And tons of museums, War Museum, Museum of Nature... etc..

That's all for now, off the top of my head... Lots more to do in Ottawa in the summer, but hope the above ideas help
posted by MechEng at 5:33 PM on December 19, 2011

There's a children's museum built into the Museum of Civilization, and I think its included in the admission. My roommate's son just turned four and he loves the place to bits. The nature museum is also very kid friendly. Most museums and the national gallery are free on Thursday nights as well.

The canal probably won't be frozen solid enough for skating, but there's a man made rink in front of city hall that should be good.

If you're in the Glebe, stop for a hot chocolate at Truffle Treasures. A little pricier than starbucks but worth every cent. I've heard the Christmas lights are really pretty at Taffy Lane in Orleans too.
posted by peppermind at 6:27 PM on December 19, 2011

peppermind is the rink at city hall operational? I haven't been able to find a single thing about it online other than the announcement in May that they were going to try to build it.
posted by looli at 7:47 PM on December 19, 2011

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