Visiting Ottawa? Make Sure You’re Prepared!


If you’re traveling around eastern Canada and decide to visit the country’s capital, you won’t be disappointed. Unlike nearby Toronto or Montreal, which are bigger cities, Ottawa still has a small town vibe, but you’ll find much to do there.

However, you need to take a few items into consideration before starting your trip. It’s important to choose the right time to visit as winters can be harsh, research activities so you can make the most of your time, and remember to take the correct currency with you.

Learn About Local Delicacies

Image via Flickr by SteFou!

One of the appeals of visiting a new place is sampling the local cuisine, and fortunately, you’ll be spoiled for choice in Ottawa. You could try the classic poutine (cheese curds with gravy), bannock (a native North American simple bread), or beavertail (deep-fried dough covered with different toppings).

Get Some Canadian Dollars

Although most taxis and some shops accept U.S. dollars, you may struggle to spend your money in other places. Ottawa’s currency is the Canadian dollar, and you should try to exchange the currency before entering the country. Don’t worry if you forget to do it as many currency exchange offices offer competitive rates.

Choose the Ideal Accommodation

If you’re traveling during the busy vacation season, you should book your Ottawa hotel in advance since the best ones fill up quickly. Ottawa caters to all budgets, and travelers can choose from cheap youth hostel dormitories to luxurious resorts with spas and golf courses. Hotels surrounding the city center offer a good compromise of affordable prices and a great location.

Know the Best Time to Visit

Locals tend to agree that spring is the best season to visit Ottawa as the flowers are blooming and temperatures are getting milder. The peak season is summer, June to August, with busy streets, skyrocketing prices, and plenty to do. You can still catch some vibrant city festivals in autumn, but come winter, it’s all about hot chocolate and skating on the Rideau Canal Skateway.

Explore Ottawa’s Sites and Activities

One of the most popular tourist sites is the Parliament Hill with its impressive neo-Gothic style, but for those who prefer the outdoors, a visit to Gatineau Park is a must. Make sure you go for a walk along the Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, or if you have time, consider a canal cruise to Dow’s Lake.

Get Around With Ease

Ottawa is best explored on foot since most sites, restaurants, and bars are within walking distance. The transportation system includes a selection of buses and a light train line serving the city, but taxis are also readily available.

Like many other international capitals, Ottawa is a cultural hub with a rich history. It’s essential to organize your trip properly, choose the right season for your visit, and know exactly what to expect. Whether you’re visiting Ottawa for its lively festivals, exciting cuisine, or interesting attractions, you’ll find the ideal activity to suit your needs.