Fun things to do in Ottawa?
May 7, 2017 12:05 PM   Subscribe

I'll be in Ottawa for work towards the end of June. I'll have a day or two on either side of the event I'm going to, and want to see some of the city. I've never been to Canada before. What would be interesting or fun to see?

I like art museums, history, and music. Also books, although I don't think this will be a shopping trip. I presume there is a bus to take tourists to all of the main sights, and will probably take that but would also welcome pointers to (walkable) places that are not on the routine routes.
posted by Grinder to Travel & Transportation around Ottawa, ON (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
There are so many great museums there! See as many as you can. I suggest the Mint, Art Gallery, Civilization and the War one (if that's your thing). Eat a smoked meat sandwich (I think Dunn's is closed, if not, go there), get a parlament tour if you can. See the tulips! Check out the downtown market area (good food and night life), walk along the canal.
posted by saradarlin at 12:18 PM on May 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

Also see the changing of the guard at paralament.
posted by saradarlin at 12:19 PM on May 7, 2017

Parliament Hill is lovely, and definitely worth a visit - historic buildings that house Canada's Parliament, on the banks of the Ottawa River. There are guided tours. More information at the Parliament visitor's site.

Byward Market is walking distance from Parliament Hill.

Since you like art museums, I'd definitely recommend the National Galleries. Here's a list of their collections, there's a wide variety of art on display.
posted by photoelectric at 1:16 PM on May 7, 2017 [2 favorites]

The art gallery is very good I think the group of seven exhibit is closed until Canada day. The Canadian War Museum is quite interesting. If it's nice weather it's not far to walk from the parliament buildings. It's on the Ottawa river and there's a good walking path. The reason I recommend the war museum is because Canada had a corps specifically tasked with creating art about the war in ww1 and ww2 and there are paintings interspersed with all the exhibits.

I could talk forever about Ottawa. Feel free to memail me.
posted by TheLateGreatAbrahamLincoln at 1:17 PM on May 7, 2017

Does end of June include the last week up to July 1? That's Canada Day, when Ottawa has the biggest party in the country going on (300k+ in the central core). This year is Canada's 150th so all bets are off. It's looking to be quite a bit bigger than usual.

The 150 event calendar is here. There's lots of stuff in the run up to Canada Day. Two of the events on in your time frame are Inspiration Village and possible Kontinuum.

The usual summer festival calendar is here. Mid to late June is Italian week(s) and toward the end of June is one of the Beer Festivals.
posted by bonehead at 1:44 PM on May 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

Get a beaver tail (fried dough) at the Byward market.
posted by brujita at 3:04 PM on May 7, 2017 [3 favorites]

Be sure and watch for the signs that say 'Civilization' and point across the river to Quebec. It always makes me smile.
posted by srboisvert at 5:49 PM on May 7, 2017 [2 favorites]

For music there's often good bands at the Mercury Lounge, Barrymore's or Babylon. ( im partial to the Mercury Lounge)
Definitely check out the Canadien Museum of History on the Gatineau side.
The Byward Market has some interesting Little shops and food stalls.
posted by winterportage at 5:52 PM on May 7, 2017

Sadly, the Civilization signs say "History" now.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:45 PM on May 7, 2017

Definitely check out Rideau Hall, the Governor General's residence. The house and grounds are beautiful. Guided tours run year-round, and there are lots of additional activities during the month of June. Best of all, FREE.
posted by gox3r at 5:24 PM on May 8, 2017

We visited last summer and both really enjoyed the Mint and the Canadian Museum of Nature. I was partial to the nightly light show projection on the Parliament buildings and he liked the changing of the guard. The War Museum was too heavy for me. We walked everywhere we visited and found the city core to be clean and accessible by foot.
posted by eisforcool at 8:51 PM on May 8, 2017

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