Best Summer Activities in Downtown Ottawa

No matter how you slice it, our nation’s capital is an incredible place to experience all a city summer has to offer. From a wide range of entertaining festivals to indoor and outdoor recreational activities for the whole family, and other exciting cultural events, there is no lack of ways to enjoy the summer season in downtown Ottawa.

Canada Day, eh?

There is no better place to celebrate the nation’s birthday than in Canada’s Capital. Join hundreds of thousands of people commemorating the day with face painting, live musical performances, fireworks and lots more. Also, take advantage of free bus service throughout the day and easily travel between the numerous sites of celebration. In addition, the Canada Day Shuttle provides free rides between Jacques-Cartier Park in Gatineau and Major’s Hill Park in Ottawa. 

Don’t pass the Byward Market by

No visitor to Ottawa should pass up a chance to visit the historical ByWard Market. Expect quirky shops, restaurants, bars, and a welcoming community feel. At the centre of it all is the bustling outdoor market—offering fresh flowers, quality fruits and vegetables, and unique products made by local artisans.

Changing of the Guard

At 10 am every morning throughout the summer, Parliament Hill comes to life with showy drills and music. The Changing of the Guard first became a routine in 1959 and has since become a yearly tradition featuring a regimental band and pipers. Get there 15 minutes early to make sure you get a good view!

Copious culture

Museum and gallery lovers: Ottawa is a hub worthy of your curiosity. Spend a rainy day indoors at the truly stunning National Art Gallery of Canada. Featuring Canadian, Indigenous, international, and contemporary collections, it’s a must-see for the entire family. Visit the National Arts Centre for a dose of ballet, orchestral music, and get the chance to see some of Canada’s most talented performers work their magic.

Think of the children…and yourself

Located along the beautiful Rideau Canal, Pirate Adventures is an unforgettable experience aboard a 50-foot pirate ship decked out with 12 water cannons. Children love the pirate face painting and accessories, tattoos, and their imaginations go wild solving the secrets of the treasure map. Feel like a festival? You have many choices. Try the Ottawa International Busker Festival in August, also known as “Buskerfest.” The kids will be just as entertained as you are by the numerous street performers from all over the world.

Explore on 2 wheels

Cycling is very popular in Ottawa. To venture beyond the downtown core, rent a bicycle or bring your own and explore the hundreds of kilometres of pathways! Guided tours are also available.

Have you decided to make Ottawa your home? The construction of Ottawa’s glorious Arthaus condo project is already well underway and quickly selling out, but a few spaces still remain, so act fast, and beautiful Ottawa could soon be yours to explore all year-round.

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