Canadian Museum of History, Parliament, Summer

Romance in Ottawa: a summer 2024 itinerary

With its easygoing charm, memorable activities and easy access to the outdoors, planning a meaningful romantic retreat in Ottawa is a breeze. Whether you prefer relaxing experiences such as spas, cruises and food or bonding over activities like flying, ziplining and paddling, you’ll find the perfect way to reconnect in Canada’s capital. Get inspired with the itinerary ideas below and plan your own romantic getaway in Ottawa this summer.

DAY 1—Cruises and spas

Nothing rekindles the flame like a few nights at a historic hotel, cozy B&B or other accommodation. Choose your ideal place to stay and see our special offers.   

Start with a relaxing cruise on Ottawa’s picturesque waterways. Enjoy panoramic views from the Ottawa River — including Rideau Falls and the Ottawa Locks — on World Famous Paul’s Boat Line. Or drift through downtown Ottawa on Ontario’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site with Rideau Canal Cruises (an eco-friendly, electric boat). Both cruises have multilingual narration.

Explore the entire length, or a section of the scenic and historic Rideau Canal from the comfort of a self-drive luxury houseboat with Le Boat. Or hop on an eco-friendly and quiet water taxi for a quick and picturesque ride on the Ottawa River between several locations in Ottawa and Gatineau with Water Taxi, Eh?.

Take it up another notch with Ottawa Private Yacht Tours and Rentals. You can rent a luxurious boat with crew, or pilot it yourself for time periods ranging from half-day to overnight. Imagine sitting on the yacht deck with a glass of bubbly as you cruise on the many waterways in the Ottawa region.

Get pampered at one of Ottawa’s relaxing spas. Look for special couples’ treatments offered at Holtz SpaAu Naturel Spa and Renu Massage Therapy and Spa within the city. Or visit the largest spa in North America, Nordik Spa-Nature, located just 10 minutes from downtown Ottawa in Chelsea, Quebec, to benefit from their indoor-outdoor thermal therapy amenities and multiple dining options.

Take advantage of beautiful views and romantic settings on some of the city’s best patios. Choose from rooftop lounges, quiet hidden courtyards and streetside spots.

Or round out the day at Saunders Farm and enjoy a CiderHouse, campfire or trivia night!

DAY 2—Flying, rafting and paddling

Take an unforgettable flight above the city in an authentic, open-cockpit WWII-era WACO UPF-7 biplane! Hold hands and take selfies (hold on tight to your device!) while seated side-by-side behind the pilot. Flights with Ottawa Aviation Adventures depart from the Canada Aviation and Space Museum or the nearby Rockcliffe Airport just east of downtown.

Keep the adrenaline pumping and bond over a truly unique experience: the first interprovincial zipline in the world! The new Interzip zipline takes you soaring 37 metres (120 feet) over the Ottawa River between Ontario and Quebec at speeds of up to 40 kilometres per hour (25 miles per hour). Get outfitted at the departure location (the Zibi site just west of downtown) before enjoying the thrilling panoramic journey.

Discover why Ottawa is a flatwater paddling paradise by using your own equipment, or renting a canoe, kayak, paddleboard and other paddle craft at outfitters and marinas. Put-in locations abound within the city centre and beyond.

Relax at one of Ottawa’s sandy beaches located along the Rideau and Ottawa Rivers. While they’re epic sunset-viewing spots, the entire city is a photographers’ dream! Take lots of memorable photos together by visiting the best places to photograph this summer in Ottawa.

Cool off with some of Ottawa’s best locally-made ice cream and other frozen treats offered throughout the region. You’ll find the perfect match no matter your dietary restrictions.

Hold each other tight while on a spooky and entertaining Haunted Walk tour. You’ll be guided through the surprisingly dark side of the city’s history.

DAY 3—Food, tours and outdoor exploration

Discover local goodies at some of Ottawa’s farmers' markets which range in frequency from daily to monthly, and in location from city centre to countryside. You can get a snack or a meal from food vendors, as well as browse plants, artisanal items and housewares.  

Continue treating your tastebuds by taking a culinary walking tour of different neighbourhoods (including food samples, or consider many other informative and fun walking and cycling tours (some of which have private options)!

If you both love exploring on two wheels, use your own bikes or rent some (consider a tandem bicycle to pedal together!) and go cycling. Ride picturesque urban pathways or roll through rural communities on your own or with a tour.

You can also explore many of the city’s gems at your own pace with self-guided experiences that lead you to urban art, outdoor sites and even filming locations.

Stroll or hike hand in hand through Ottawa’s many natural spaces. Visit the lookouts, lakes and forests of Gatineau Park, or the sand dunes, boreal landscapes and conservation spaces in Ottawa’s vast Greenbelt. The options for connecting with your loved one are endless in Canada’s capital!

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