To most of the world, Ottawa is known primarily for being the capital city of Canada, home to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and a suite of impressive Gothic-style government buildings. But Ottawa is also an underrated destination thanks to its cultural attractions (the country’s national museums are located here) and a gorgeous setting at the confluence of three rivers in south Ontario. Throw in the highest standard of living in the country and a burgeoning food scene and you’ve got a versatile metropolis that in recent years has shed its historically stodgy image for a more casual vibe.
When to go
As temperatures climb into the 60s°F in May, check out the Canadian Tulip Festival, when more than a million colorful flowers carpet the city.
With lows of 55°F and highs in the 70s°F, summer is a great time to enjoy outdoor events in Ottawa, including its Canada Day celebration (July 1), a riot of parades and fireworks.
Expect temperatures between 40°F and 65°F, the perfect weather for enjoying Pumpkinferno, an outdoor exhibit of 7,000 hand-carved pumpkins held at Upper Canada Village park.
Enjoy the Rideau Canal Skateway, the world’s largest outdoor ice skating rink. Temps this time of year range from lows of 5°F to highs in the mid-30s°F, so pack accordingly.
OC Transpo operates 900 buses and six trains throughout Ottawa, making it a cinch to navigate the city. The VeloGo public bike share is another good option.
- On Sundays in the summer, 30 miles of roads in the heart of Ottawa are closed off to cars and opened to cyclists.
- Ottawa has two official languages: French and English (though an estimated 80 percent of residents claim English is their primary tongue, while just 16 percent of the city’s population claim French as their first language).
- The city’s unofficial snack of choice is the BeaverTail, a fried flat pastry topped with cinnamon and sugar.
Located 600 meters from the Supreme Court of Canada and just 350 meters from the offices at Constitution Square, the pet-friendly Radisson Hotel Ottawa Parliament Hill is an ideal location for all of your travel needs. The hotel also boasts an on-site restaurant, 24-hour fitness center, 24-hour business center, on-site parking, and free Wi-Fi.