Ottawa may not be the obvious choice when choosing a destination for your next holiday, but the city has a lot to offer. In fact, Ottawa is becoming increasingly popular among travellers who want to have a pleasant, relaxing holiday experience and a few adventures in between. The city has something for everyone too, so you can always have a lot of fun exploring it.
Before you start planning your trip to Ottawa, however, there are a few things you need to know first. These top 10 tips and tricks will let you enjoy the best of Ottawa and have a blast on your next trip to the city. Let’s get started!
1. Book Your Flights
Visiting Ottawa is fairly easy. There are a lot of flights to choose from no matter where you are in the world. There are even daily flights to Ottawa from most major US cities, which means you can be more flexible with the flights you book for the trip.
For the best experience – and to save on the trip – you can also fly to Toronto, and then take a short flight to Ottawa. Porter is a leading Canadian carrier and the company offers a lot of flights to Ottawa. Find more information on flyporter.com and start searching for flights in no time.
2. Uber or a Car
Ottawa is one of the best cities to explore on foot. You can walk to most of the attractions worth exploring, plus you have the best restaurants and coffee shops within walking distance no matter where you stay in the city.
If you do want to explore other attractions, Uber (or Lyft) is the transportation method to use. Ride sharing is very affordable in Ottawa; you can always find a ride in minutes no matter where you are. The only exception is when you cross the bridge to Quebec, since Uber and Lyft aren’t available there.
Another option worth considering is renting a car. Driving, naturally, gives you more flexibility and allows you to explore more while visiting Ottawa. You can rent a car for one or two days and have plenty of time to have fun.
3. It’s a Shopping Heaven
Ottawa is a hidden gem when it comes to shopping. A lot of shops, from designer outlets to indie retailers, will keep you entertained for days. There are plenty of deals to benefit from too, plus the city has a secret trick up its sleeves.
If you really love shopping, you will certainly love Ottawa’s courier service. You don’t have to lug around shopping bags as you explore more stores. Instead, you can have those bags picked up by a messenger and brought to your hotel. Pretty cool, right?
4. Take Guided Tours
Exploring Ottawa on your own is both fun and safe, especially if you are closer to the centre of the city. There are plenty of museums, galleries, shops, and other attractions to explore too. Ottawa is never boring.
However, consider taking guided tours if you are not familiar with the city and its attractions. Tours like the Express City Bike Tour and Spring Tulip Festival Tour will transform your experience in Ottawa completely.
Besides, guided tours take you to some of Ottawa’s best-kept secrets too. There are even cruises to take, including the infamous day cruise that takes you to the city’s most historic places.
5. Visit Parliament Hill
You can’t say you have visited Ottawa without visiting Parliament Hill. It is an unwritten rule of travelling to Ottawa. The structures are beautiful on their own, but the experience of visiting Parliament Hill is one that you don’t want to miss.
You can spend anywhere from a couple of hours to an entire day depending on when you visit the Hill. There are guided tours that will take you through the structures, along with exhibitions and shows to enjoy. It’s the ambience, however, that makes this place so special.
6. Have an Adventure
As mentioned before, Ottawa has something to offer to everyone, including those who enjoy a bit of an adventure when travelling. If you are visiting Ottawa and you want to have a blast taking a long hike and enjoying the scenery surrounding the city, then the place you want to visit is Gatineau Park.
Gatineau Park is situated not too far from Parliament Hill; it is a 15-minute drive from the centre of the city. There are so many things you can do here, including taking long hikes and swimming.
Gatineau Park is also open to those who want to spend the night outdoors. There is a camping ground and all the supporting amenities you’d expect from a park. Since you are spending the night, you also have more time to explore the park’s unique attractions, including the Champlain Lookout.
7. From Dusk ‘till Dawn
The nightlife in Ottawa may not be as lively as that in cities like Toronto, but that doesn’t mean you cannot have a great time hopping from one party to the next. The number of parties and clubs you can attend is on the rise thanks to the growing number of international travellers visiting the city.
Ottawa also has a unique rule about alcohol and tobacco. Alcohol and tobacco are priced differently during the day and the evening. You can buy your drinks at a cheaper price while enjoying the city’s growing nightlife.
It is also worth noting that partying isn’t the only thing you can do in the evening. Ottawa is also home to famous comedy clubs like the Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club, plus there are performances to enjoy if you time your trip to the city correctly.
8. Free Activities
If you love exploring museums and galleries, timing your visit to the city correctly becomes even more important. There is always a day during which all museums are accessible for free. Alternatively, you can buy a pass that lets you access the best museums for a small fee.
Galleries are just as interesting to explore. Ottawa has a bustling modern art scene, so finding galleries and exhibitions to explore is not difficult at all. In places like the ByWard Market, you can shop for art pieces to bring home.
9. Ottawa in Spring
The best time to visit Ottawa is in spring, between March and May to be exact. This is when the temperature in the city starts to rise to a comfortable level. You also get to see Ottawa in full bloom. This period is also when the city’s famous Tulip Festival is held.
Ottawa is also pleasant in the summer, but expect to see more travellers when you visit the city during this season. On top of that, hotels and other amenities are more expensive in the summer than in spring.
10. A Longer Journey
As mentioned before, you can visit Ottawa from Toronto thanks to flights from Porter. You can create a bigger itinerary and visit several cities in Canada on a longer journey, with Ottawa being one of the cities you explore along the way.
Staying longer in Ottawa is also a good idea, mainly because there are so many things to try. Now that you have these top 10 tips on how to have a blast in Ottawa, planning your own trip to the city will be easy.
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