Ottawa is a beautiful city with much to offer its residents and visitors. Located in the Ottawa Valley on the south bank of the Ottawa River, it’s Canada’s fourth-largest city. With over 1 million people living there, Ottawa has plenty of opportunities, from employment to entertainment. As Canada’s capital city, Ottawa is very much a major centre for Canadian politics, arts, and culture. If you’d love to be in the centre of it all, keep reading to see more about what life is like in Ottawa.
Ottawa is a city with beautiful green spaces and scenic landscapes. It’s home to many historic buildings, like the Parliament Buildings that were built in 1859 and are now designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Ottawa has been called the “most educated” city in Canada because of its many universities, colleges, research institutions, museums, and libraries.
You’ll also find plenty of shopping opportunities in Ottawa. There are many shops and boutiques to visit, as well as large malls like The Rideau Centre that you can spend hours strolling through. However, there’s so much more to do in Ottawa than just shop. In the summertime, be sure to check out the festivals and outdoor activities happening daily. There’s also plenty to explore on the Ottawa River, where you’ll find opportunities for boating and fishing.
You can even check out some of the more unique sites in town like Carleton University which has Canada’s largest collection of Earth Science materials or the International Spy Museum that houses over 2000 artefacts from around the world. Start your day off at the ByWard Market for fresh produce and take a stroll down Elgin Street to check out what’s new in fashion. Ottawa is also home to museums of all kinds. The National Gallery of Canada holds one of the largest art collections in North America as well as works from nearly every important artist who has ever lived: da Vinci, Van Gogh, Picasso, Monet’s, and so many more. Ottawa’s economy relies heavily on the public sector, with companies like Shopify and Thales Canada leading the way.
Ottawa Real Estate
Ottawa is a city that has it all, including neighbourhoods with an authentic small-town feel and high-rise condos in the heart of downtown. Newer condos and townhouses are located closer to downtown Ottawa, while the older houses are found on the outskirts. With so many homes for sale, as well as rentals available, there is no shortage of options to suit any budget. The average home price in Ottawa is around $630,000 with a strong market in both condos and single-family dwellings.
Ottawa is a car-friendly city with many highways and public transit options. Driving here is straightforward, thanks to the grid system of roads that make for easy navigation. Many Ottawa residents prefer public transportation because they can explore their surroundings without worrying about parking or traffic jams. OC Transpo offers reliable service throughout the entire year so you never have to worry about how you’re getting from place to place. The best airport to rely on if you’re an Ottawa local is Ottawa International Airport.
Distance to Nearby Cities from Ottawa
- 6km (4 miles) to Gatineau
- 156km (97 miles) to Laval
- 166km (103 miles) to Montreal
- 171km (106 miles) to Longueuil
Things To Do In Ottawa
With so much to do in this vibrant city, you’ll never be bored with exploring all that it has to offer. Some of the top-rated Ottawa spots to see are:
- Parliament Hill and Buildings
- Parliament Hill and Buildings are Ottawa’s most famous landmarks. You can experience the changing of guards, enjoy a guided tour, or watch one of many public events on site.
- Canadian War Museum
- The Canadian War Museum is the largest of its kind in Canada. It documents and explores Canada’s military heritage from 1754 to 1963, focusing on both what happened overseas and how it impacted Canadians at home. Visitors can explore exhibitions that highlight wartime experiences through interactive displays, film screenings, audio tours, collections, archives, and online resources.
- Rideau Canal National Historic Site
- The Rideau Canal National Historic Site is a must-see for any Ottawa resident or visitor. The canal, which links the Gulf of St. Lawrence to Lake Ontario through Ottawa and Kingston, was completed in 1832. It allowed ships to bypass Niagara Falls on their way from overseas ports into the Great Lakes system.
- National Gallery of Canada
- The National Gallery of Canada is home to more than 40,000 works and presents some of the best Canadian artists. You can see paintings by Tom Thomson in a gallery that showcases his work extensively or explore exhibits from other cultures around the world.
- Canada Aviation and Space Museum
- The Canada Aviation and Space Museum welcomes visitors to experience the wonder of flight and space travel. The museum, located near Ottawa International Airport, is home to more than 200 aircrafts on display, including a full-scale replica of NASA’s 1960 Lunar Roving Vehicle.
- Rockcliffe Park
- Rockcliffe Park is the oldest park in Ottawa, and includes a beautiful arboretum. The formal gardens are open to the public year-round for free tours on Saturdays from April through November. In winter you can enjoy skating at this popular rink or relax with friends by warming up around one of the three firepits.
- Royal Canadian Mint
- The Royal Canadian Mint is one of the largest producers in the world of gold and silver coins, medals, and medallions. The mint also produces Canada’s circulation coinage. Visitors can tour the factory and museum, see how coins are made at an interactive station, or watch a free show on Canadian coinage.
Day Trips From Ottawa
Ottawa is a great city to live in, and there are plenty of day trips around the area that can be taken. Ontario has a ton of beautiful scenery to offer and these are some of our top recommendations out of Ottawa:
- Merrickville is a quaint small town with plenty of places to explore. Only about an hour drive, this area has an old-world feel and you can enjoy the beautiful scenery while strolling down some historic streets in this picturesque village. Start your day exploring Merrickville by walking around downtown, stop for lunch at one of many cafes or restaurants, and then stop in at the Merrickville Museum afterwards.
- Gatineau Park
- Gatineau Park has plenty to offer for outdoorsy types. It’s about 50km away from Ottawa so it makes an excellent day trip! The park surrounds the banks of the Ottawa River and includes both Canadian forests as well as maple sugar bushes. You can explore on foot or rent bicycles, all at your own pace.
- Montreal is just a two hour drive from Ottawa, and it offers plenty for visitors to see. There’s the Old Port of Montreal where you can explore historic ships, art galleries and museums galore. One of the most loved places to visit is Museum Pointe-à-Callière which provides an in depth look at Montreal’s history as well as its contribution to modern society.
- Just a two-hour drive from Ottawa, Kingston is another Canadian city that offers plenty for visitors to see. The limestone buildings and fascinating history of this small town will impress any visitor! Check out the Waterfront Pathway or see the historical charm of downtown to gain the full experience.