Ottawa, Canada's capital, nestles between the Rideau River and the Rideau Canal in one of the most picturesque urban parts of Canada. The bi-lingual city offers a wealth of different exploration sites and attractions. From beautiful natural landscapes to cultural pursuits, the perfect weekend getaway in Ottawa could be just what you need.
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Ottawa's perfect blend of a relaxed urban vibe, outdoor spaces, and vibrant culture makes it the ideal weekend getaway destination.
1. Parliament Hill
Take a guided tour through the iconic landmark of Ottawa, the Parliament. The Victorian sandstone splendor of the government buildings dominates the downtown skyline overlooking the Ottawa River. Admire the antique architecture and Gothic revival of the parliament built between 1859 and 1927, complete with spires, pointed arches, stained glass windows, and carved stone. Explore the sprawling Peace Tower located at the center of the Parliament buildings distinct with ornate stone carvings and clock face.
2. National War Memorial
Explore the impressive 70 feet arch War Memorial constructed in 1939 in commemoration of all Canadian nationals killed during the First World War. The Tomb rests at the foot of a striking bronze sculpture with the years of conflict when Canadian soldiers went to war inscribed around the base of the rose-grey granite arch. The Memorial represents the epicenter of Ottawa's Confederation square, which is a quiet and humbling place to visit on your weekend getaway in Ottawa.
3. Notre Dame Basilica
Opposite the National Gallery is the Notre Dame Catholic Basilica consecrated in 1846. The cathedral is the oldest and largest church in Ottawa and currently functions as a dual-language place of worship with masses conducted both in English and in French. The modest structure boasts a brightly colored interior featuring mahogany carvings, gothic iconographies, and stained glasses. Walk through the 17 windows picturing the scenes from the life of Christ and the Virgin Mary.
4. Rideau Canal
Wander through the 124-mile long canal (or, maybe not all of it), flowing through the heart of downtown Ottawa, constructed as an alternative military route to connect Ottawa and Ontario during the war of 1812. In warmer months, stroll or cycle along the scenic banks of the canal or canoe down the canal with undistracted views of the city. In winter, the frozen waterway creates the world's largest skating rink, offering you a unique skating experience through downtown Ottawa.
5. ByWard Market
Explore the history ByWard market hosting the oldest and largest farmers' markets in Canada. The market has retained its unique traditional feel thanks to the restaurants and electric boutiques sprawling through the series of interconnected streets. Look for the charming cobblestone courtyards tucked behind the Sussex Dr. shops for restaurants serving tasty and unique local delicacies. In the night, the market adapts to the urban vibe of Ottawa as it transforms into the city's entertainment hub with clubs and bistros giving you the best of Canadian brews and music.