Ottawa is that rare find among major cities: a place that’s grand to visit and where you can happily imagine sticking around. A true city of neighborhoods, Ottawa’s vibrant communities are largely linked by bike paths and dotted with inviting shops and fine restaurants. Getting around is a breeze, which is a good thing, since world-class art museums, major national landmarks, green spaces, and first-class shopping vie for visitors’ attention from all corners of the capital.
Ottawa hotels reflect the local marriage of cosmopolitan city offerings with a practical sensibility and economical pricing you might expect from a much smaller burg. One boon to cost-conscious families on holiday are the many hotels that offer suite-style rooms, perhaps a result of the city’s business travelers. Plus, rare for a major city, you’ll find plenty of individually owned bed and breakfasts, many of them in historic homes.
When you’ve had your fill of Ottawa’s high culture, the city’s shopping centers, boutiques and outlets make for a retail paradise. No shortage of shops offer Canadian and Ontario-themed mementos of your visit, from handicrafts to local specialty foods. It’s no doubt that Ottawans take shopping seriously, as a bustling marketplace is one major centrepiece of the city. Elsewhere, distinct neighbourhoods offer ample opportunity to chat with shopkeepers and soak up local history as you seek out bargains.
Ottawa’s culinary scene has gone through an explosion of international influence and locally inspired innovation. The city is home to the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu Ottawa Culinary Arts Institute, which annually pumps new top-notch chefs into the local restaurant scene. The city’s French heritage is nowhere better represented than on the plates at bistros around town. Plus, the international energy of a capital city means you can satisfy cravings for just about any international cuisine you might desire.
Ottawa is a mix of cultural sites and outdoor attractions. From the museums that scatter the city to the iconic landmarks like Parliament Hill, this is a destination with substance. Browsing local markets or soaking up the great outdoors give you a flavor of life here as a local, while the nightlife can be as high brow, chilled out or as vibrant as you fancy it.
While it lacks the global fame of Toronto and Vancouver, Ottawa is a lively capital city rich in culture and history, and boasts some of Canada's most important and eye-catching buildings. With major museums, as well as many smaller, independent ones, it's a fine city break destination, and also has large festivals taking place through the year.
Ottawa's downtown district is particularly lively at night, with sophisticated bars, cozy pubs, and lounges featuring live music. Although there's not a huge nightclub scene, there are a few places for dancing, with clubs that have a relaxed, friendly atmosphere and unpretentious attitude.
Ottawa is a safe and friendly city with plenty of attractions for younger visitors, and you can expect a warm Canadian welcome for you and your clan. As well as being full of interesting historic sites, where everyone can have fun while they learn something new, there are green spaces to break up the city landscape and give kids space to frolic.
Canada's capital city boasts ornate, historical buildings, impressive museums, and a rich cultural calendar to keep you busy all year round. The diversity of the city is reflected in its eclectic arts scene, and there's a strong French influence left over from its past, with architecture and design that would look at home in many European cities.
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