Byward Market, Summer

Discover Ottawa with your small travel bubble

This 3-day itinerary is all about experiencing Ottawa’s summer vibes while following social distancing regulations. From culinary and bike tours to cruises and museums, there are plenty of beautiful landscapes and hidden gems to explore in Canada’s capital.

Day 1

Drive to Ottawa by car, take a VIA Rail train – or perhaps captain your canal houseboat with Le Boat and travel along the Rideau Canal, Ontario’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site, to downtown Ottawa.

Get familiar with Ottawa’s compact walkable downtown core, and learn about the history of Canada’s capital, with Ottawa Walking Tours.

Enjoy lunch on one of the many patios in the historic ByWard Market – or perhaps do a walking food tour for lunch, with C’est Bon Cooking Food Tours.

Boasting over 800 kilometres (497 miles)  of recreational pathways, Ottawa is a cycling enthusiast’s dream destination, with the longest recreational pathways of any city in North America. The Capital Pathway network extends from downtown to the east and west of Ottawa on both sides of the Ottawa River, as well as along the Rideau Canal.

Experience Ottawa’s natural areas, parks, and the Garden Promenade on a self-guided or guided cycling tour. Contact RentABike or Escape Bicycle Tours to reserve your bicycles and/or bicycle tour.

After an early dinner, enjoy an evening cruise along the Ottawa River with Paul’s Boat Line or along the Rideau Canal with Rideau Canal Cruises.

Day 2

With your own car (or car rental), drive a little ways west from Ottawa and partake in an underground experience unlike any other. Concealed under a hill near the town of Carp lies the Diefenbunker Museum, Canada’s Cold War bunker. Built in the 1950s in case of a nuclear attack, its four subterranean floors give visitors a glimpse into what might have been if cooler heads had not prevailed!

After lunch, experience Ottawa from a completely unique perspective by enjoying a guided, interpretive trip through Ottawa and Canada’s living history with Ottawa City Rafting – an ‘urban’ whitewater rafting excursion starting just a 10 minutes’ drive west of downtown Ottawa. The trip finishes with a full mid-river view of the downtown core, including the Parliament Buildings.

Alternatively, there are a number of open golf courses around the city, including The Marshes Golf Club in the west end of the city.

If you do not have access to a car, a short taxi ride to the north of downtown Ottawa will take you to the Nordik Spa-Nature, North America’s largest spa, to relax your mind and rejuvenate your body.

After dinner at one of the patios along the historic Sparks Street, book an evening walking tour with Haunted Walk of Ottawa, where guides lead guests by lantern light to well-known locations and share their ghost stories and darker history.

Day 3

This morning, learn about Ottawa’s artistic past and present, and delve into the world of Indigenous art, at the Ottawa Art Gallery (OAG).

Afterwards, take an Aqua-Taxi ride across the Ottawa River for some of the best views of Ottawa – pro tip: make sure you have your camera handy. Then take the Aqua-Taxi back or walk back across the Alexandra Bridge and through Major’s Hill Park for more stunning photo opportunities.

This afternoon, drive about an hour east of Ottawa for a dazzling trip through Omega Park’s 2,200-acre (890-hectare) preserve in Montebello, Quebec. You might see deer, elk, bison, caribou, and other animals roaming in their natural habitats.

Or stay in town to meet brewmasters and try local beers on a friendly, laid-back brewery tour with Brew Donkey Tours. Spend time with fellow beer fans learning about Ottawa’s booming craft beer scene and enjoying generous samples of ales, lagers and more.


**Due to COVID-19 health and safety measures, all activities and attractions require advance bookings.

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