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How to Tour your Hometown of Ottawa

The capital of Canada is more exciting than you think. With so much history, art, and culture, Ottawa is a place that many tourists flock to every year. It’s reading week! If you have nothing to do, consider being a tourist in Ottawa, your city for at least 8 months out of the year! With so much to do in the city, here are some simple sights to see if you want to tour the nation’s capital!

1. Parliament
The ultimate touristy thing to do is a free tour of Parliament. Tours are led by young adults just like us, from all over the country. Each tour can be different; some guides know the basic, standard facts while others like to add extra tidbits (I’ve done it 6 times…no tour is the same, trust me). Not only do you get to see some gorgeous architecture, you also get to learn a bit more about how the Canadian government works. The best part of the tour, in my opinion, is the view from the Peace Tower. You get a 360 degree view of Ottawa, and on a clear day can see for miles.

2. National Gallery of Canada
For the art lover in all of us, the National Gallery of Canada is the perfect place to go. The National Gallery has a diverse collection of art, including Inuit Art, Canadian and Aboriginal Art, Garden and Water Courts, and outdoor sculptures. Hike up the hill in the back to Nepean Point, where you get a stunning view of the Rideau River (and amazing photo op). Admission is regularly only $10 for students, but from 5-8pm every Thursday, it’s free!


3. Giant Moose, anywhere
Canada is famous for their moose. To tourists, it’s one of the primary symbols of the Great White North. There are many places to find a giant moose in the city, including right outside the souvenir shop in the Rideau Centre. Grab some friends and have a funny photoshoot!


4. Rideau Canal
Bike, walk, run, skate…any time of year is a good time to spend on the Rideau Canal. The Rideau Canal is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and in the winter makes the longest skating rink in the world! Taking a walk along this historic canal is especially picturesque in the fall, when the leaves are hues of orange, red and yellow and the sun reflects perfectly off the water. If it’s warm and you really want to be a tourist, consider taking a canal cruise. Not only do you get a new view of Ottawa, but you will definitely feel like a visitor to the city that you are in 24/7!

5. Beavertails
Nothing quite says, “I’m a tourist, welcome to Ottawa!” like going to the Beavertails kiosk in the Byward Market. Since Ottawa is known for their beavertails, it’s only appropriate to get one! If you’re like me and like to be adventurous, try one of the non-traditional ones for a change of pace. Don’t forget to take a photo of your delicious treat… food instagrams make the best instagrams!

These are your classic tourist spots, but there are so many more to discover! Have any other ideas? Tweet us at @HCuOttawa with your favorite tourist activities!


Cover Photo, 1, 2

Avid baby goat enthusiast who crossed the border from Boston, MA to study at uOttawa. I love writing about anything and everything!
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