There are plenty of fun things to do in Ottawa, regardless of the time of year (though it's a little chilly for those who are used to warmer weather -- make sure to bundle up if you visit in the winter!). The ByWard Market has a lot of nice restaurants. The clothing shops in the Market are pretty expensive, so I'd suggest heading to the Glebe for shopping. Bank St. has a lot of great stores. There are some great used book stores as well -- the Book Market in ByWard Market and the Book Bazaar on Bank St. The street vendors in the Market sell real wool hats, and alpaca wool hats as well! The National Gallery is worth a visit, as well as the Notre Dame across from it.
Lots of stuff to see in Ottawa, but the city basically shuts down at 9:00 PM. Go to Montreal for the night.
Ottawa is the capital of Canada and it can be a very rewarding destination. If you cannot stand politics, then you have come to the wrong city. Parliament Hill is unmissable both as a landmark and photo opportunity. If you want to go inside, it is open for tours, climbing the Peace Tower, and observing Question Period in the House of Commons. Other national institutions like the Royal Canadian Mint also run tours. There are enough museums to fill a week. The Canadian War Museum is probably the most well known. The Canadian Museum of Civilization, across the river in Hull-Gatineau, Quebec, should also be high up on your list. Culture lovers should stop at the National Gallery and check to see if any concerts are on at the National Arts Centre.
While there are not too many Ottawa hostels to choose from, those that exist provide a wide range of possibilities -- there are some major differences in size, atmosphere, and clientele. Be sure to compare the hostels in Ottawa, so that you find the best fit for you. Location is another important factor, especially if you visit during the cold winter. It is much more comfortable to stay close to the places you want to see.
Whichever Ottawa hostel you end up staying at, ask for advice to help you see beyond the monumental city and check out the everyday urban life. A typical place to start is Byward Market. The city and surroundings are great for cycling and walking. One good place to do this is the river path system, from where there are ever changing views of the centre. Get out of town and visit Gatineau Park for a more natural experience. A good thing about winter is the chance to skate on the Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Hi, I'm Jonathan A,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Ottawa hostels. Welcome.