15 Holiday Family Friendly Activities to do Around Ottawa

| December 21, 2017 | 7 Comments

15 Holiday Family Friendly Activities to do Around Ottawa


The holiday season is upon us! With all of the hustle and bustle of upcoming celebrations before you, there should also be time to spend with your family to enjoy the season. Not sure what to do? There is so much to see and do in Ottawa during this time of year with your family. To take some of the guess work out of where to start to look for fun activities to do with your family in the Nation’s Capital, here is a list of fifteen things you can go out and experience during the holiday season with your family!

Holiday Family Friendly Activities

Twinkling Light Displays


 Christmas Lights across Canada

Photo credit: Bruce MacRae via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA


 1. Christmas Lights across Canada, Parliament Hill – December 7, 2017 – Jan 7, 2018 at 7 pm
For the past 32 years, Parliament Hill has come alive with illumination. Starting in 1985, this celebration was created to display landmarks and sites along Confederation Boulevard such as Parliament Hill, national museums, monuments, embassies and other important institutions. It also brings light to the Ottawa during the winter months and helps to get the holiday season started in Canada’s Capital Region.

2. Taffy Lane in Orleans – Throughout December
Is visiting neighbourhoods to see how they have decorated their homes one of your family traditions? Take in what the citizens in this part of the city do to transform their homes into a sea of illuminated Christmas wonder. You can stroll through this neighbourhood and enjoy the sights of the season.

3. Magic of Lights, Wesley Clover Park – until January 6, 2018 – 5 pm -10 pm 

Pack the family into the car and enjoy the beauty of the Magic of Lights display at Wesley Clover Park! It is their annual drive-through light display. It features the Enchanting Tunnel of Lights, amazing animation, some favourite holiday characters, and a whole lot more!

4. Alight at Night, Upper Canada Village – until Jan 6 (excluding Christmas Day) from 5 pm -9 pm

Have you ever wanted to walk in a winter wonderland? Take to another level by having it lit up with almost one million lights at night at Alight at Night at Upper Canada Village! It is Eastern Ontario’s biggest outdoor light festival. Your family can go on an evening stroll through this wondrous setting while taking in the lights adorn the heritage buildings, trees and fences of Upper Canada Village. It comes together to create a one-of-a-kind magical backdrop.


Throughout the Holiday Season

Canada 150 Public Skating at Parliament Hill – until Feb 25, 2018 Noon-7:40 pm

Bring the family to skate at one of the last Canada 150 events in Ottawa. Set up in front of one of Canada’s most iconic buildings: Parliament Hill.

Note – *Please refer to their website for all of the details before attending as reservations are needed 48 hours in advance.*

5. Christmas in the ByWard Market Weekends – Until December 30, 2017
The holidays have arrived in a fun way to this district of Ottawa.Take in one of Ottawa’s oldest neighbourhoods while enjoying free wagon rides, drinking hot apple cider and singing Christmas carol.

6. Family fun Activities at the Fairmont Le Château Montebello – Throughout December
The Fairmont Le Château Montebello has put together a unique and memorable holiday package that includes a visit from Santa, a dinner dance, and a Yule log. There will also be a wide range of winter activities such as sleigh rides, curling, skating and more!


Museum Fun


Cumberland Heritage Village Museum- Vintage Village of Lights

Photo credit: Cumberland Heritage Village Museum


7. National Gallery of Canada – Throughout December
The National Gallery of Canada has some holiday activities for the family to enjoy. From the Christmas Concert performed by the National Capital Concert Band, to making art inspired by their national collection and current exhibitions, there is something for everyone in the family to enjoy.

You are also able to take in all of the exhibits and special events happening at the following museums during the holiday season:

8.   National Gallery of Canada

9.   Canadian Museum of History

10. Canadian Agriculture and Food Museum


After Christmas Day

The holidays don’t end once the presents have been opened! Below are some other activities you and your family can take in until school reopens on January 7th.

11. Winter in Flight – Canada Aviation and Space Museum – until Dec 26, 2017 -Jan 7, 2018  10 am – 5 pm 

Kids ages 4-8 years old will enjoy Space Adventures: Exploring a New World where kids can kids can hop on a “rocket,” journey to an imaginary planet, and use scientific skills to explore this new world. Visitors ages 4-7 will love to take in the Kuujjuaq Christmas Candy Drop where they will learn about Inuit customs, and find out about Inuk bush pilot Johnny May and discover his unique way of sharing holiday spirit. Everyone can also get into the fun while carving bush plane images into soapstone.

12. Canadian Museum of Nature – until January 7, 2018, 10 am  – 5 pm

Visitors will be treated to a tropical getaway at the museum this holiday season. Live butterflies welcome visitors to the Butterflies in Flight exhibit. Take a trip to the rainforest by watching Amazon Adventure movie in 3D. Have fun in the colourful and tropical Activity Zone. Finally, there are fun, hands-on science activities are available in their Lab.  It is the place to escape the cold and get warmed up during the holiday season!

13. Rideau Canal Skateway, Jan 5 – March 4

Grab the family, sharpen your skates and hit the ice of the longest skating rink in the world! A visit to the Rideau Canal Skateway would make for a perfect family outing to end the holiday season and to welcome winter into Canada’s capital.


New Year’s Eve Celebrations

14.  Canada 150 Closing Party on the Hill – Parliament Hill – December 31, 2017, 9 pm – Midnight

Close out Canada 150 and say hello to 2018 with fellow Canadians as Parliament Hill is throwing a one-of-a-kind Canada 150 experience. Revellers can take in a skating party until 10 pm, a multimedia show, musical entertainment, and a countdown to midnight!

15.  Hogman-eh! : A Family-Friendly New Year’s Eve Party – Aberdeen Pavillion/Horticultural Building Lansdowne Park – December 31, 2015, from 5 pm-Midnight
The Scottish Society of Ottawa is in its fourth year of ringing in the New Year by hosting this free family-friendly event! There will be dancing, live bands will play, and a food court and scotch whiskey tasting will be available in the Aberdeen Pavilion. For the kids, entertainment such as storytellers, face painting and balloon sculptors will be available in the Horticultural Building. At midnight, fireworks will light up the night sky to make the start of 2016!

Hopefully, this list of family-friendly holiday activities around Ottawa and the Outaouais region allows you to make some time to spend with your loved ones, and to make some fun and lasting memories. Enjoy and happy holidays!



What activities do you and your family like to do over the holiday season?

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Category: Attractions, Blogs, Holiday, Ottawa & Surrounding Area, Ottawa Events, Stuff of Interest, Themes, Tips, Weekly Themes

About the Author ()

My name is Lian Wright. Born in Toronto, I came to Ottawa as a student to study Political Science at Carleton University, and came away with an Honours Degree, and decided to stay. I'm a huge sports fan, have a love of reading, and like experiencing new things whenever I can. I am now a mother of three children (11, 1 and 7 months old) and am kept constantly on my toes. My blog, Pieces of Me, is my way of sharing what I have enjoyed and encountered in my life so far as a mother. So far, being a mom has had it's expected ups and downs, but that's what makes being a parent so fulfilling for me. I've loved and learned from what's happened so far, and I can't wait to see what's in store for me next. I hope you enjoy the journey with me!

Comments (7)

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  1. sarah says:

    We would definitely be checking out all the beautiful light displays and the Canadian Museum of Nature.

  2. Lynda Cook says:

    Sounds like a lot of fun and great activities to do with the family!!

  3. Calvin says:

    Wonderful activities to do together! Looks like ottawa is a good place to be during the christmas holiday

  4. Elizabeth Matthiesen says:

    Definitely lots to see and do in the area. Merry Christmas to all/

  5. LisaM says:

    We will have to go visit one year in winter to see all the lights!

  6. lori galbraith says:

    We had friends who went to Christmas Lights at Parliament Hill, their pictures were amazing. I would love to go one day.

  7. AD says:

    I would love to spend Christmas in Ottawa with my family; I used to spend it there when I was a single and working in the capital.

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