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Ottawa COVID-19 staycation: Things to do in Stage 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 Stage 1 article).

Note: The information below was 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. 

Exclusive discounts

Sign up for the new and free #MyOttawa Pass to access deals from over 75 businesses in the region, including accommodations, tours, dining and more! The pass is available until September 7, 2020 and some of the offers can be booked now and redeemed after that date. 


Many restaurants, pubs and breweries have opened their patios, expanded them, or created new ones on closed streets and sidewalks! Check out our list of Ottawa patios open for business, and for more detailed highlights, see our list of some of the city’s best patios. Cheers!


Several tours—modified for physical distancing—are back. Have a spooky experience on a Haunted Walk, learn historical highlights with Ottawa Walking Tours, join a culinary walking tour with C’est Bon Cooking, or pedal between beers with the Thursty Pedaler.


Cruise on Ontario’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site with Rideau Canal Cruises, or enjoy panoramic views from the Ottawa River with World Famous Paul’s Boat Line (both cruises feature bilingual narration). For a quicker trip and to access shoreline sites in Ottawa and Gatineau, board Au feel de l’eau’s Aqua-Taxi. Or rent one of Le Boat’s luxury, self-drive houseboats to explore the 202 kilometres (126 miles) of the Rideau Canal between Kingston and Ottawa.


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 (lifeguards are on duty since June 27). Beaches maintained by the National Capital Commission—including those in Gatineau Park—are also open. And kids love to cool off in 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, online festival programming and more. Plus, drive-ins are making a comeback, including at Place des festivals-Zibi Gatineau near downtown Ottawa, and at Wesley Clover Parks west of the city.

Outdoor fun

In addition to cycling, hiking and other activities mentioned in our Stage 1 staycation article, you can now: go whitewater rafting within the city or in the countryside; take a self-driven Canadian safari; stroll the trails or rent an overnight cabin at Omega Park; pedal boat through a water maze at Éco-Odyssée; jump off a cliff at the Great Canadian Bungee; and go mountain biking at Camp Fortune. Many campgrounds are now open, including Ontario Parks’ hidden gems Fitzroy Harbour, Rideau River and Voyageur.


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). 

Note: For information on open restrooms and toilets throughout the Ottawa region during COVID-19, please visit the article Open washrooms in Ottawa, Eastern Ontario and the Outaouais on our friend’s website Ottawa Road Trips

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