Ottawa’s entertainment scene goes beyond world-renown festivals and performances of all types at the National Arts Centre (Canada’s stage). Niche events, eclectic happenings and independent—and legendary—venues all contribute to the region’s rich cultural identity. Get inspired to fill your calendar with some highlights from our long list of unofficial entertainment museums!
Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival - The Unofficial Museum of The Longest Day
Each year, you can experience indigenous culture through music, dance, workshops, food and more at this free, family-friendly summer festival. Hosted by Indigenous Experiences at their Mādahòkì Farm, the Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival presents some of Canada’s best Indigenous talent, especially during the popular Competition Pow Wow. You can also meet special animals such as the rare and endangered Ojibwe Spirit Horses.
Château Lafayette – The Unofficial Museum of Foot Stomping
To fit in with the locals, just pop in to Ottawa's oldest bar, order a quart of Labbatt 50 (or a local craft beer), and sing along to the regular live music acts (no cover). The Château Lafayette has been a legendary watering hole in the historic ByWard Market neighbourhood since 1849—before Canada’s Confederation!
The Rainbow Bistro – The Unofficial Museum of Blues and Brews
Check out this long-running music hall’s packed calendar of live performances. Since its roots as Ottawa’s “Home of the Blues”, The Rainbow Bistro has hosted some of North America’s most influential artists, international performers, as well as emerging talent in various genres. Dan Aykroyd and Jim Belushi even performed an impromptu set at this ByWard Market area institution!