Parliament Hill, Fall

Fall family fun in Ottawa: a 2020 itinerary

With stunning fall colours, outdoor activities, guided tours and fun attractions, Ottawa is the perfect autumn destination. And although sites and businesses have adapted to ensure visitor safety, much of the usual offerings remain the same! Use the itinerary ideas below to plan your own fun staycation with the whole family in Ottawa this fall.

Note: Sites and businesses may modify their hours, access and offerings; contact them individually to confirm before visiting. To visit Ottawa safely, please follow the most recent COVID-19 regulations as stated by Ottawa Public Health, as well as those stated by the specific establishments. 

DAY 1—Cycle, walk and tour

Accommodation options in the Ottawa area range from historic hotels to a jail-turned-hostel. Visit our Where to stay page for all the options and to take advantage of any promotions.

To enjoy the best of the autumn colours, visit during Fall Rhapsody, an annual celebration of the magical fall season in Canada’s capital region.

Use your own bikes or rent some to explore on two wheels while gazing at the multicoloured trees along the way. Create your own route by riding picturesque pathways like those that line the Rideau Canal and the Ottawa River, as well as cycling-friendly rural communities. Or book a fun cycling tour with Escape Bicycle Tours & Rentals or RentABike.

For an autumn stroll or a picnic with the perfect backdrop, head to the many Parks within the city. Or explore landscapes galore just outside the urban core, including forests, wetlands and farms located throughout Canada’s Capital Greenbelt.

If the weather’s nice, have a meal on an outdoor patio (see our list of some of Ottawa’s best patios for inspiration). Or enjoy local or international flavours by cozying up inside a restaurant.

In the evening, take an entertaining walking tour with companies like Ottawa Walking Tours and Haunted Walks to learn about Ottawa’s fascinating—and even spooky—past! Check out more fun tour options.

DAY 2—Paddle, zip and hike

Paddleboat your way through a water maze surrounded by autumn leaves at Éco-Odyssée, just North of Ottawa. Kids love discovering different species of flora and fauna while navigating the twists and turns.

Go high or go low at an adventure centre like Arbraska Laflèche. Expert guides at this wilderness site can take you ziplining, caving and more.

Drive or hike through forests of bright deciduous trees, green conifers and rugged hills in Gatineau Park. This popular fall destination is best experienced without the crowds by visiting locations like the Luskville Falls Trail, Meech Creek Valley and Philippe Lake. 

Reward yourselves with some of the Ottawa region’s best fall treats. Everyone loves the fall-themed sweets and warm beverages, and adults can indulge in tasty seasonal craft beers.

DAY 3—Museums, animals and farms

Check out the current museum and attraction programming throughout the city. Choose from national museums, historic sites and other cultural gems that highlight farm animals, airplanes, technology, nature, history and more.

If animals are a family favourite, go on a self-driven Canadian safari at Omega Park—a giant wildlife and culture park located just 45 minutes away in Montebello, Quebec. Keep an eye out for moose, elk, bison, wolves and bears, and learn about Canada’s First Nations on the walking trail.

Before heading home, stop by some of the pumpkin patches and apple orchards at the many local farms. Some also have family activities, tasty snacks and even fruit wine. Bring some of these souvenirs back to remember Ottawa’s fall sights and flavours!

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