Canadian Museum of Nature

Unique nightlife ideas in Ottawa

Whether you’re looking for art, music, night markets, festivals or comedy shows, Ottawa’s vibrant nightlife scene has something to offer. Take a look at these unique night life ideas in Canada’s capital city.

Experience museums after dark

You’ve probably been to a museum, but have you ever been to a museum after dark? Nature Nocturne, hosted at the Canadian Museum of Nature on Elgin Street and Pique, hosted at the Arts Court near the ByWard Market neighbourhood, are two regularly occurring events in Ottawa you can’t miss out on.

Nature Nocturne transforms the museum's stunning exhibits with music, dancing and interactive displays, creating the perfect atmosphere for a night you’ll never forget.

Similar to Nature Nocturne, Pique showcases the contemporary art featured at the Arts Court. Paired with live performances, multimedia installations and DJs, the gallery turns into a hub of creativity and fun.

Listen to smooth jazz

Experiencing live jazz in Ottawa is a treat, with several iconic venues offering unique atmospheres and excellent music. Irene's Pub on Bank Street features cozy jazz nights every Tuesday, while Montgomery Scotch Lounge on Gladstone Avenue combines regular jazz jams with a sophisticated Scotch selection.

Forty One Restaurant at the Lord Elgin Hotel enhances Friday evenings with smooth jazz in an elegant setting. The Options Jazz Lounge at Brookstreet Hotel offers nightly performances, making it a top spot for a consistent live jazz experience. Bar Robo on Somerset Street West transforms from a coffee shop by day to a vibrant jazz venue by night, especially on the first and third Thursdays each month.

Belt your heart out at concerts

World-renowned artists are always stopping by the Canadian Tire Centre, TD Place, Bronson Centre and other venues throughout the city!

Get your tickets for HEART, Billy Idol, Avril Lavigne, Sam Hunt, Arkells, Evanescence and more playing at the Canadian Tire Centre during the remainder of 2024. Over at TD Place, you can see Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back – In Concert, Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship Of The Rink – In Concert, Paula Abdul and more.

Laugh your face off at comedy shows

Ottawa's comedy scene caters to both big laughs and up-and-coming stars. Large venues like TD Place host touring headliners like Russell Peters and Jim Jefferies. For a more intimate experience, check out Yuk Yuk's or Absolute Comedy, established comedy clubs known for incredible touring comics and local talent.

This year, the Great Outdoors Comedy Festival will be in Ottawa from August 9-11. See comedians Tom Segura, Bobby Lee, Nate Bargatze, Matt Rife and more!

Check out the best night markets in the city

Ottawa is home to a variety of night markets that reflect the capital city’s diverse culture and community spirit. The Ottawa Chinatown Night Market in Ottawa’s Chinatown is a standout event each year, filling the streets with food stalls offering traditional and modern Asian cuisine, along with captivating cultural performances and artisanal crafts.

The Parkdale Night Market, running from June to October, offers a unique blend of local produce and special themed events such as the Pride Night Market and Harvest Night Market, celebrating community milestones and seasonal harvests​.

The ByWard Night Market is the place to be on Thursday evenings, as Ottawa’s oldest market stays open late and boasts live music! Learn more about the various night markets in Ottawa.

Dance until your feet hurt at festivals

Every summer, the city of Ottawa explodes with festivals. Music lovers can dance to the beats of Escapade Music Festival, tap their toes at the 10-day Ottawa Bluesfest festival, or immersive themselves in the music at Ottawa Jazz Festival.

For a taste of international cultures, the city offers festivals like the Capital Ukrainian Festival, The Great India Festival, and the Tim Horton’s Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival. Ottawa has a festival waiting to welcome you all summer long. Be sure to check out all of Ottawa’s summer music festivals.

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