So you’re getting married, or perhaps your best friend is getting married and you’ve been appointed to the important position of Maid of Honor, either way a send-off bachelorette party is in the cards and Ottawa, Canada’s Capital, is the perfect place to host it!
Whether you’re looking to keep it classy or to kick up the wild, adventurous factor, Ottawa has a scene that is sure to please the most discerning of bachelorettes and their guests. And the best part? Most of the city’s best activities are within a short, 20-minute walk or drive from most downtown area hotels. For the most part, you can come to town, park the car and head out to celebrate one of life’s biggest milestones. Here are a few helpful ideas to get your pre-wedding celebration started:
Afternoon High-Tea at the Fairmont Château Laurier: Located in the middle of Ottawa’s downtown core, Zoe’s Lounge at the iconic Fairmont Château Laurier hotel exudes old-world class and charm from the 1920’s. Here, the afternoon tea service is available daily, offering a ‘Canadian Tea’ and a ‘Traditional Tea’; both of which offer small delectable sandwiches and desserts worthy of any Instagram gallery. Choose your tea from the Château’s tea sommelier or if you want to start celebrating early, opt for a glass of Moët Chandon champagne instead.
And if for any reason a little flower girl or ring bearer is in tow, there’s no need to worry. “Zoe’s,” as it’s known locally, has a ‘Little Prince and Princess Tea,’ which offers hot chocolate or tea – including a kid-friendly bubble gum flavoured tea – along with mini sandwiches and desserts. This unique Ottawa activity is a hit with locals and visitors young and old, and you can be sure that any potential mother-in-law will be impressed. To top it all off, Zoe’s has been recognized as one of the best bars in Canada by EnRoute Magazine!
Nordik Spa-Nature: Located at a short, 20-minute drive or taxi ride north of downtown Ottawa in Chelsea, Que., “Nordik” as it’s known locally, is the largest nature spa in North America and is the perfect place for a tranquil girlfriends escape. Head over with the girls to take in Nordik’s Thermal Experience and relax as you alternate between hot tubs, saunas, cold pools and periods of rest. Massages are also available.
The spa requires guests to talk amongst themselves quietly. But if you’d rather celebrate and chat, go to the spa’s Panorama Lounge, where the group can talk, order snacks and sip wine or delicious martinis by the glow of two flickering fireplaces.
Nordik is a great place to alleviate pre-wedding stress or to simply rest up before heading out to dance the night away in Ottawa’s bustling ByWard Market neighbourhood! “The Market,” as it’s known locally, is Ottawa’s entertainment district. It’s filled with great restaurants, clubs, bistros, coffee shops, boutiques and food retailers.
C’est Bon Cooking: This is a great group activity for women of all ages! Local company C’est Bon offers three-hour gourmet walking tours through several Ottawa neighbourhoods. On these tours, guests meet local Ottawa chefs, vendors and food artisans, while savouring delicious samples all along the way. C’est Bon food tours are founded on the belief that one of the best ways to understand a people and its culture is to explore local food markets and experience local specialties.
If your bachelorette group members are fans of chocolate, opt for C’est Bon’s delectable Chocolate Lover’s Tour. Available on Saturdays throughout the year, this tour starts at local chocolate shop Stubbe Chocolates and makes its way through the ByWard Market neighbourhood, showcasing the many forms and tastes of chocolate that Ottawa has to offer. Also, you can make this a private tour for your group if needed, as C’est Bon’s food tours only accommodate five to 12 guests. Or if chocolate is not your thing, other C’est Bon tours will take you through Ottawa’s eclectic Chinatown, Glebe and Wellington West neighbourhoods. This is a great way to have fun and discover Ottawa’s hidden treasures together.
No matter what activities you choose, you’ll want to keep celebrating long after the sun goes down, and there’s no better place to do that than at ALÉA Nightclub.
ALÉA: Opened with much fanfare last October, ALÉA is located at the extravagant Casino du Lac-Leamy and is the Ottawa-Gatineau region’s newest nightclub! This exclusive club, which has a capacity of only 219 guests, sits in the middle of the Casino’s busy gaming floor and in true modern fashion; it appears to be suspended from the ceiling. Head into this bronzed, cylindrical club to dance the night away to the latest House music beats. And if you need a break from dancing, go onto the Casino’s gaming floor and play to your heart’s content.
Or to take your bachelorette experience to a more VIP-style level, begin your evening with dinner at the Casino’s gourmet restaurant Le Baccara. Go as a group and savour a gourmet, French-inspired meal paired with wine from Le Baccara’s wine cellar, which is home to 500 different wine varieties and is part of a larger 13,000-bottle collection. You’re sure to have a night to remember!
Another option is to enjoy dinner in the bustling ByWard Market before heading over to the Casino.
Mezzanotte Bistro Italiano: At 50 Murray St., you'll find Mezzanotte Bistro Italiano, which with its modern Italian cuisine, luxurious lounge-like décor and white leather couches, is a great place for a bachelorette meal. This restaurant is an Ottawa classic, having been in operation for about 20 years. And on Saturday night, a DJ is on site to spin lounge music beats!
Ottawa Private Yacht Tours: Another VIP-style experience option is to take a private yacht over to the Casino. Leave from the famous Ottawa Locks and take in beautiful views of the Parliament Buildings as you float along the Ottawa River to Leamy Lake. And don't worry, everything will be taken care of as the 38-foot boat comes with a captain and a crew. Enjoy the sun and the tranquil water as you sip wine, enjoy cheese, dance and discuss the upcoming wedding! You can even jump in the water if you want.
Horse Country Campground: If you and your group are more the outdoor type, this experience is for you! Located at about a 90-minute drive west of Ottawa's downtown core, Horse Country offers horseback riding bridal/bachelorette parties. Enjoy a two-hour trail riding experience, group photos and a champagne toast! Groups of five to 10 people can be accommodated. A reservation is required.
Ottawa is a sophisticated, cosmopolitan capital where gourmet delights, the arts and even high-end shopping flourish. But with its vast green spaces, so many exciting, outdoor adrenaline-filled activities abound. With a wide selection of things to see and do, you can easily tailor a getaway to the tastes of any bride-to-be. For more ideas, explore our See & Do page.