Byward market, Summer

Summertime getaway: an Ottawa itinerary

Summer visits to Ottawa are full of fun outdoor activities, mega music festivals and tasty culinary adventures. Plan your weekend getaway to Canada’s capital with our three-day itinerary and get ready to make some unforgettable memories this summer!

DAY 1 – Sights, eats, shops and a show

Arrive in Ottawa and check into the hotel of your choice. Most of our accommodation members are located downtown near many of the city’s main attractions.

You can walk to many of the attractions located within walking distance of each other in the city centre, or join one of the hop-on and hop-off tour services. Travel on Gray Line’s double-decker bus or Lady Dive’s Amphibus, and get off at the sites you want to visit. Along the way, you’ll enjoy informational narration in English and French (some tours also offer audioguides in other languages).

When hunger sets in, savour fresh local flavours at some of Ottawa’s best restaurants, or make your own picnic by visiting the outdoor vendors in the ByWard Market area. Save some time to browse the many independent shops and boutiques in this vibrant neighbourhood to hunt for local or Canadian-made fashion and goods.

In the evening, head to the iconic Parliament Hill for the free nightly Northern Lights Sound and Light show. Enjoy this beautiful multimedia show featuring images projected onto Centre Block accompanied by a bilingual soundtrack.

DAY 2 – Culture, adventure and treats

Get your museum fix at Ottawa’s seven national museums and other great cultural attractions. Whether you’re into art, history, war, nature or underground bunkers, you’ll find it here in Canada’s capital!

Don’t miss some of the blockbuster special exhibits presented at these museums. Choose from Leonardo da Vinci, Gauguin, pterosaurs and highland warriors among other epic themes!

Get outside and experience memorable adventurous activities within the city and in the nearby countryside. The options for land, air and water fun are endless, including the highest bungee jump in North America, zip lining through a forest, epic whitewater rafting and flying in an open cockpit biplane.

After the adrenaline wears off, reward yourself with one of Ottawa’s best locally-made frozen treats including ice cream, gelato and restriction-friendly alternatives.

DAY 3 – Bikes, beers and beats

Round out your weekend by indulging at one of Ottawa’s hot brunch spots. From rooftop views to greasy diners, you won’t be disappointed.

Rent a bike or use your own to explore the hundreds of kilometres of pathways that weave through the Ottawa region. Cycling options vary from flat, leisurely rides along the Rideau Canal and the Ottawa River, to challenging mountain biking in the Gatineau Hills!

Cool off with a refreshing local craft beer at a restaurant, pub or the many breweries scattered throughout the region, or sip cocktails on a beautiful patio.

It’s easy to plan your visit to coincide with one of Ottawa’s many music festivals. From spring through fall, you can catch world-renown acts and up-and-coming artists performing rock, blues, jazz, folk, chamber music and more.

For more summer ways to spend a few days in Canada’s capital, check out some of the cool tours that take you to hidden spots, haunted sites and delicious food.

Stay up to date

Stay up to date on upcoming events and ideas to plan your next trip to Ottawa with friends, family or on your own by signing up for the Ottawa Tourism Newsletter.