Whether you are travelling by plane, train or automobile, Ottawa is the perfect destination for you next weekend away. Only 4.5 hours from Toronto, or under two hours from Montreal, our nation’s Capital is an exciting city to visit if you are looking for a spot to get outdoors and explore. Last week, I packed my bags for a quick little escape to Ottawa to visit some of my favourite spots and restaurants. So today, I am sharing with you some of my favourite things to do in this great city.
Where To Eat:
Breakfast: Wake up late and relax over a nice cup of coffee and brunch at The Manx Pub. This cozy underground pub is the perfect spot for great food and good conversation after a busy weekend. With an extensive and affordable brunch menu, there are a ton of options that please anyone looking for brunch, bruncher or bruncherer dishes.
Lunch: Stop by the Lowertown Brewery for some craft beer and comfort food. With a jam packed menu of delicious sandwiches and freshly made sides, this brewery offers more to its customers than just a unique and seasonal selection of beer. Just in time for those hot summer days, Lowertown Brewery has created a light and refreshing apricot beer to add to their premium roster of beers that is perfect for enjoying on a patio on a hot summer day.
Dinner: If you’re looking to splurge on a little your vacation away, than look no further than Restaurant e18hteen. Renown in Ottawa for their exquisite menu and extensive wine list, this restaurant has become a hot spot for local foodies, politicians, and visitors alike looking to indulge in their highly acclaimed foie gras or experiment with the chef’s five course tasting menu. Under the direction of Chef Jonathan Korecki, Restaurant e18hteen is a modern adaptation of the traditional steakhouse infused with Canadian and local flavours. Dessert: From cupcakes to tarts to custom made cakes, it is worth venturing outside of the market to indulge your sweet tooth at Thimblecakes. When it comes to my birthday, the only thing I’m picky about is the cake so there was no question about going anywhere else to order the cake than here.
Where To Shop:
Wander through the afternoon in the historic Byward Market. Canada’s oldest and largest public market, there are plenty of restaurant, boutiques, market stalls and arts facilities for tourists to visit. The market itself is home to over 60 retailers that offer unique gifts and fashion accessories as well as a variety of food shops.
Need help getting around? Hop on a ride with Ottawa Rickshaws to see the city the more scenic way!
Afterwards, stop for a snack or to stock up at the Italian grocery store La Bottega Nicastro or pick up something to wear for your night out on the town from my favourite boutiques Roadtrip and Trustfund. Where To Drink:
The Coffee: We first stumbled across this coffee shop since it was directly below my friend’s apartment, but Planet Coffee has since become our regular outpost making excellent coffee and delicious baked goods fresh everyday.
The Bar: Tucked away on Rideau Street, Hooch Bourbon House boasts a lengthy bourbon collection to create an innovative cocktail menu. Stop by and snack on one of their signature southern inspired dishes like the Chicken & Waffles slathered in a secret home made sauce.
The Party: With rotating weekly Friday (and Saturday) night dance parties, Babylon is the perfect spot in Ottawa for a fun night. Shake your sillies away to all of your favourite guilty pleasures at the Shameless dance party on the last Friday of every month Where To Visit:
With a wide variety of museums to choose from, there is something to peak any interest. Swing by the Ottawa Art Gallery or the National Gallery of Canada to browse their extensive collections of Canadian and contemporary art. Or, brush up on your history and visit the Canadian War Museum, Canadian Aviation and Space Museum or the Canadian Museum of History. I had the chance to touring the National Gallery of Canada during my last visit where I browsed through their extensive collections of Canadian and contemporary art. Currently hosting the Alex Colville Exhibition (on display until September 7) and a collection of Chagall’s Daphins & Chloe (on display until September 13), the National Gallery of Canada prides itself o keeping their collections interesting and exciting for all guests. Brush up on your Canadian history during one of the daily tours of the Centre Block and East Block of Canada’s Parliament that explore the Senate, House of Commons and Library of Parliament. Swing by in the evening and sit on the lawn to enjoy the seasonal sound and light shows are projected onto the parliament buildings that illustrate Canada’s rich history with light to music. Get Outside:
One of the best things about the city of Ottawa is that you don’t have to drive too far out of it to be completely surrounded by nature. Head over to Gatineau Park to explore the scenic area of Meech Lake; which is perfect for a summertime hike or to relax by the water. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, drive one hour out of the city to get on the water and raft or kayak down the Ottawa River with Wilderness Tours.
Spend some time pampering yourself by relaxing at Nordik Spa-Nature. Located only 10 minutes away from downtown Ottawa in Chelsea, Quebec, Nordik Spa-Nature is the largest spa in North America creating a tranquil oasis of various outdoor hot tubs, cold pools, saunas, quiet rooms, fireplaces and soothing music. Extend your stay by booking one of their signature spa services like a hot stone or Swedish massage, or pay a little extra for a float in the Källa salt water pool; one of the only two underground salt pools in the world! And if you get hungry, their onsite restaurant and lounge offers gourmet meals in a relaxed atmosphere.