Some friends and I decided to take a weekend getaway to Ottawa,Ontario. There is so much to do and see there and we couldn’t wait to discover this city!
We started our journey from Brampton at around 5am. We wanted to get an early start to the day so we would be able to truly enjoy our time in Ottawa as we weren’t staying for a long time. We made a few pit stops along the way but we pretty much drove straight into our first sight seeing activity in the city. The drive took us about 4 and a half hours!
STOP #1 – Canada Science and Technology Museum – Ingenium
Our first stop was the Canada Science and Technology Museum – Ingenium. We did reserve and pay for our tickets online, this is a must so that the museum is able to control the amount of people in the building at one time. The museum had so many cool exhibits, especially for kids, there were steam trains, music and sound exhibits, a human body exhibit, live experiments and shows at certain times of the day and so much more! We spent about an hour in this museum, which was enough for us but if you are taking smaller children, definitely allot more time to roam around!
STOP #2 – Rideau Hall
Next, we headed on over to Rideau Hall. This was surprisingly hard to find, there is no parking lot and only one small entrance at the moment, the only place you can enter from is through Sussex Gate, and that is on foot. You will need to find valid parking in one of the nearby streets, and walk in, the walk to Rideau Hall is about 8-10 mins, it isn’t a hard walk by any means and you are able to see some of the sculptures they have nearby as well. Rideau Hall itself is beautiful, the fountain that is usually working is currently under construction but the building itself is really grand and extravagant, there are these huge doors and carving that make it feel very regal! The main purpose of this building is to hold the offices of the Governor General, there are 175 rooms and it is 102,000 sq ft! It is free to enter and explore the grounds, currently tours have been stopped due to covid!
STOP #3 – The National Gallery of Canada
Next, we went to another museum called The National Gallery of Canada! This had a totally different vibe when compared to the science museum, this was much more intense, quiet and truly about appreciating the artistic capabilities of those that contributed to the gallery. The building, the rooms and everything felt light, airy and unique as you walked from room to room discovering and exploring each exhibit. Our tickets for this gallery needed to be booked in advance, again to control the flow of people that would be in and out of the building. We spent about an hour here as well, again it is a lot to walk through and see, if you are an art lover you will need more time here!
STOP #4 – Notre-Dame Basilica, Ottawa
Next we took a quick visit to the Notre-Dame Basilica, there were multiple weddings happening so we took a quick look around the outside, looked at the structure, the carvings and beauty of it all and continued on our journey!
STOP #5 – Byward Market
Our next stop was Byward Market, and this place was busy! There was so much to do, see and eat here! We started by visiting Le Moulin de Provence, it is a large bakery that has so much to choose from! We got croissants, tarts, strudels, and much more! Fun fact, Obama actually visited this location a few years ago, and there is a special cookie named after him here! Next we explored the area, saw some cool cars, shops and much more. Specifically, we visited the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, we picked up some sweet treats and were on our way again! There was a special feature in the market during the time we went! A festival called Carivibe was happening, there was steel pan, music, specialty booths and other live entertainment! It was a lot of fun to watch and groove along!
STOP #6 – SideDoor Restaurant, Byward Market
We started to feel a bit hungry, so we decided to visit a restaurant right in the market called SideDoor, it was a bit hidden away but had a beautiful patio and interior! They got our party of 6 seated quickly and luckily it was still golden hour (their happy hour), so we were able to snag some drinks and food specials! We had their golden margarita, it was excellent, it was tasty and presented beautifully, our tables ordered a lot of different things, pork dumplings, shrimp wontons, fried chicken wings, spicy noodles and bajan fish tacos. The stand out item had to be the tacos! During golden hour you can get these for $4.50 each which is a steal in my opinion, because these are packed with flavour! They are seasoned to perfection and the toppings compliment it so well, there was jalapenos, cabbage, pineapple and avocado on top! By far one of the best tacos i’ve ever had! 100%, I would recommend you visit SideDoor if you are ever in the area!
STOP #7 – Hilton Garden Inn, Downtown Ottawa
Next, we checked into our hotel, we stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn, Downtown Ottawa, check in was fast and easy, the staff was very accommodating to our request to have our 3 booked rooms close together! The hotel was immaculately clean and aesthetically beautiful! We quickly changed to the canal to pick up the boat for our cruise!
STOP #8 – Rideau Canal Cruise
We pre-booked tickets for a ride to explore the Rideau canal! It was a bit chilly so we brought sweaters which helped, the boat ride was informative and our guide was very funny! It was a great and unique way to experience the canal and surrounding areas! The boat ride was about and hour and a half!
STOP #9 – Tavern on the Hill
Lastly, we took a short walk to our dinner spot! We decided to dine at Tavern on the Hill! It has a gorgeous layout and the string lights and relaxed vibe was amazing! The view of parliament hill was also unmatched! The route we choose to walk had great views of the Fairmount hotel, Parliament and the canal! This great picturesque walkway lead us right to the restaurant patio! We ordered some chicken tacos, relaxed and then headed back to the hotel and called it a night!
STOP #10 – Parliament
The next morning, we got up early and took a short walk in the rain to Parliament! We walked right up and got a great view of the entire building. There is a lot of construction happening around the building at the moment so definitely be prepared for that!
That concluded our time in Ottawa, we headed on our way back home, and already started reminiscing and missing our time in the city! If you haven’t already, definitely check out Ottawa!