Have a free weekend this summer? We are thinking it’s time for a weekend trip to Ottawa! A lovely city with a rich history and plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy. Planning a road trip to visit Ottawa is a great idea, especially if you are coming from Southern Ontario. You can take the Highway 7 route and enjoy amazing scenic views along the road. Remember to leave early to avoid traffic jams and fill your backpack with snacks, water, and some sweets for the journey.
One of the best things about the summer is that the days are longer, the weather is warm and you can travel lightweight. Plan your trip to arrive in Ottawa for lunchtime and enjoy different flavours in a local restaurant. During the afternoon rent a bike and experience a lovely ride along the Rideau Canal. You can also head down towards the Ottawa locks to appreciate the scenic pathway alongside the Ottawa River. Don’t worry if you haven’t ridden a bicycle lately, the trails around the city are mostly flat making it an enjoyable trip. It is always a good idea to bring enough water and snacks in your backpack, since hydration is important especially in summer.
After your ride around Ottawa, you need to recover your energy and it is time for dessert! Head back into the ByWard Market area and get a famous BeaverTail, a unique hand-made pastry served with a variety of toppings. Since you are already at the ByWard Market, make sure to take a picture with the recently installed Ottawa sign. Include your TruBlue backpack in the picture and send it to us on Instagram or Facebook! Keep walking around the market and choose from a variety of restaurants and pubs for dinner and have a drink. During summer, you can also enjoy a variety of music festivals, jazz and live music that happens on beautiful summer evenings and weekends.
But wait, your night does not end just yet! At 10 p.m. walk up to the Parliament Hill, the political and cultural heart of the city, to enjoy the Northern Lights. Yes, you heard right! This is Ottawa’s signature event, a unique and impressive 30-min sound and light show that is projected against the amazing Parliament Buildings, it is a must to see when visiting Ottawa.
The next morning, wake up early and head towards Ottawa’s downtown at 8:00 a.m. so you can enjoy a lovely breakfast at the Bridgehead Coffeehouse, which is a local favourite just a few steps away from the Parliament. At 10:00 a.m. head back to Parliament Hill for the Changing of the Guard Ceremony, make sure to come 10 mins early to get a nice spot and have your camera ready for pictures. This ceremony only happens once a day; it is full of colour and sound, so make sure you are in the first row to see it. Ottawa visitors and locals adore it.
After the Changing of the Guard Ceremony make sure to visit the inside of the Parliament, free tours are available to learn more about Canada’s Government. Don’t forget to also check out the Centennial Flame in front of the Parliament and the Library located at the back side. Walk around the Parliament Hill area and head towards the Fairmont Chateau Laurier Hotel, there is a path between the Hotel and the Ottawa River locks that will take you to Major’s Hill Park. Enjoy a lovely walk and get amazing pictures with the Parliament in the background from this park.
After that great walk, cross the bridge and head to the National Arts Centre (NAC) to enjoy a lovely lunch at Le Café restaurant, a charming covered patio just at the water’s edge of the Rideau Canal. To end this great weekend getaway, rent a canoe and make a tour along the Canal but this time in the water.
Visit Ottawa this summer and enjoy all the activities the city has to offer, just pack all you need in your TruBlue backpack and be ready for an adventure!