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Cycling in the Capital - Parliament

Ottawa COVID-19 staycation: Things to do in Phase 2

What’s a summer vacation without patios, beauty treatments (including haircuts), shopping and outdoor fun? You can now add these and other options to your Ottawa COVID-19 staycation since additional businesses are reopening. Here are some of the fun things you can do in Canada’s capital while respecting the current pandemic restrictions. (For options that were already available—including golfing, biking and flying—see our previous article).

Note: The information below is valid as of June 12, 2020 or later. Visit our blog regularly for updates as the pandemic situation evolves and contact individual businesses to confirm availability. Please follow the most up-to-date COVID-19 regulations as stated by Ottawa Public Health. 


One of the most popular summer pastimes in Ottawa is hanging out on the city’s many patios. Some restaurants, pubs and breweries have even expanded their patio space, or created new ones in parking lots and adjacent properties! For inspiration on outdoor dining, drinking and simply relaxing, see our list of some of the city’s best patios. Cheers!


Cycling, walking, bus, boat and other types of tours are now allowed! Although some have not yet resumed operations, Haunted Walk is offering a new Private Bubble Tour for up to eight people. This is in addition to several tour services outlined in our previous COVID-19 Phase 1 staycation article.


Need some pampering or even just a trim? Select personal services are now open, including some barber shops, hair salons and spas. For instance, you can choose from many special treatments offered at Holtz Spa, Au Naturel Spa and Renu Massage Therapy and Spa.


Taking a dip in the water is the perfect way to beat the summer heat. City beaches are now open, although lifeguards don’t return until June 27. And kids will be happy to run through the city’s numerous splash pads.  


There are plenty of Ottawa-based virtual entertainment options to enjoy, like the ongoing National Arts Centre’s #CanadaPerforms series. Now the TD Ottawa Jazz Festival is presenting free online performances and live chats between June 19 and 28. And a retro cinema experience—drive-ins—are  making a comeback to fill those warm summer evenings.

Outdoor fun

In addition to cycling, hiking and other activities mentioned in our last COVID Phase 1 staycation article, some outdoor attractions have reopened. Head to Omega Park to take a self-driven Canadian safari, stroll on the walking trails or rent an overnight cabin. You can also jump off a cliff at Great Canadian Bungee, or go mountain biking at Camp Fortune. Some campgrounds are now taking reservations, including Gatineau Park.


Some street-front stores were already open (support your local business owners!), and now shopping centres are following suit. Visit the CF Rideau Centre downtown, Bayshore in the west end, or Place d’Orleans in the east end. Keep in mind that retailers decide independently when they reopen, so contact your favourite before visiting.

Farmers’ markets

Support local farmers and vendors by purchasing their goods directly! The ByWard and Parkdale markets are now open Thursday to Sunday for drop-ins or to pick up orders. You can do the same at the Ottawa Farmers’ Market (held on Sundays at Lansdowne) and at the Carp Farmers’ Market (held on Saturdays west of Ottawa). 

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