Once the Rideau Canal Skateway has thawed and the spring tulips are past their peak, it’s time to enjoy summer in Ottawa. With Parliament not in-session the city takes on a relaxed vibe of holiday time, where outdoor museums and summer celebrations set the pace for a fun Ottawa summer vacation. Museums, festivals, and events all make excellent reasons to visit Ottawa. There are so many things to do in Ottawa this summer!
Ottawa Staycation: Become a tourist
The state of the economy has spawned a new word in the travel industry, the staycation. This is when you decide to stay home during your vacation. A summer staycation doesn’t mean hunkering down in the family room and watching reruns of TV shows, unless that is your idea of a vacation. What a staycation means is that you are not going to travel a long distance and have overnight stays away from your home. There are many ways to turn this summer staycation into a great vacation for the family.
Many people never think of their city or nearby towns in terms of tourism. It is time to look at them with new eyes. Do a little research. Try to see Ottawa as you would if you were actually coming here for a vacation, where would you go? Treat your Ottawa staycation the same way you would a vacation; the family can sleep in, watch cartoons in their PJs, go out to breakfast, and then have a plan for the day.
Make your first stop to an Ottawa’s tourist information centre and pick up some brochures and maps on all the things to do in Ottawa. You can also visit the Ottawa Tourism website to help you plan your visit to the Nation’s Capital.
Staying home for vacation can be as exciting as going away for vacation. The best part about a staycation is you don’t have to pay for airfare and hotels. This makes everything else you spend seem like a bargain.
Things to do in ottawa
Outdoor Ottawa museums, summer Parliament tours, and Canada Day festivities provide some fun options for an Ottawa summer vacation with the kids. Families can take part in numerous summer activities in Ottawa!
Ottawa Outdoor Summer Activities
Whether it’s renting a canoe at Dows Lake Pavillion, walking alongside the Rideau Canal, or visiting the outdoor art and monuments in the city, there are lots of outdoor activities and fun things to do in Ottawa this summer.
Ottawa shopping opportunities increase with the warm summer weather. Enjoy outdoor markets such as the ByWard Market district and pedestrian-friendly Sparks Street Mall where sipping a Latté nicely complements strolling the downtown district and window shopping.
Plan a day at one of the Ottawa Beaches. You can plan activities on the water or it can just be a day of sun and fun. Pack a picnic in the car and make it a family day. Look for fun things to do with the kids like rent a canoe, walk along the beach, or take a nature walk.
Things to do in Ottawa for Canada Day
Canada Day may be the city’s largest celebration. The festive sounds of the concerts, bright and awe-inspiring fireworks displays, fun and laughter of the kids activities, and smokey smells of barbecues fill the air and skies of Ottawa. The city stops to celebrate – the perfect atmosphere for a family summer vacation.
There are many things to do in Ottawa on Canada Day. You can also look for the numerous free Canada Day activities. Most museums offer free admission (including favourites such as the National Gallery of Canada and the Bytown Museum), free concerts, free shows, and of course the free fireworks display. These are just some of the many budget-friendly Canada Day activities.
Visit Ottawa Museums During Summer
While the National Gallery of Canada, the Canadian Museum of Nature, and the Canadian War Museum make great museums to visit for families, opt for those museums with a strong outdoor element during summer vacation:
- Bytown Museum: The Museum sits on the banks of the Rideau Canal. Visit to see the locks and canal in action or the historical costumes. Located at 1 Canal Lane.
- Canada Agriculture and Food Museum: Living displays create a working farm in the city. From piglets to chickens to cows, the agriculture museum explores the day-to-day activities of farming. Located on Prince of Wales Drive.
- Cumberland Heritage Village Museum: This Ottawa museum provides an immersive and educational experience that showcases life in the 1920s and 30s. Located on Old Montreal Rd. in Cumberland.
To make it easier to plan your vacation to Ottawa, I have compiled a list of Ottawa Museums, sites, and buildings.
Explore Canada’s Parliament
With Parliament often on hiatus during the summer, visitors to Canada’s Parliament buildings can see a different side of the Canadian government. Walk the grounds of Parliament Hill and admire the many monuments and sculptures, views of the Ottawa River.
During a Parliament buildings tour, visit the Centre block and the East block (a summer-only option). Climb the Peace Tower, sit in Senate chambers, or visit the grand library. Tours are most comprehensive during the summer as the tour schedule concedes less to the schedules of Senate sessions and Parliament sittings.
More things to do in Ottawa in the summer
Warm and pleasant summer weather makes Ottawa a perfect family vacation destination: experience the outdoor markets, museums, beaches, parks, and festivals of this vibrant Canadian city. There are so many things to do in Ottawa this summer, so why not take advantage of it! Bring the family for a fun filled day of summer activities in the Nation’s Capital.