Five Unique Ways to Enjoy Ottawa’s Nightlife
Clubbing and bars not your thing? Fortunately, Ottawa has so much more going on once the sun goes down. From fantastic quick food to quirky stops downtown, there’s always a way to turn your evening into a blast. We have a list of five off-the-wall things you can try in the city this weekend, no pints required.
If you’re looking for something with higher stakes than the average night out, both Ottawa and Gatineau have great gaming options. If you head south you’ll find the Rideau Carleton Entertainment Centre, and just across the river is the swanky Casino Lac Leamy.
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2. Play Pinball at House of Targ
House of Targ isn’t for everyone, but those who dig it are fans for life. Settled into a basement just beside bank street, Targ is always full of the sound of pinball machines, old-school arcade games and perogies sizzling. The atmosphere is a great combination of chill and fun, and every few minutes one of the staff uses a microphone to call out that the next person’s order of perogies are ready. The wait for your own name to be called is intense.
So grab a drink, find a game and make sure to bring some change.
3. Go out for Tacos
Ottawa is being recognized more and more as a city that offers some fantastic snacks, and no quick-bite is shining brighter than tacos. Some of the biggest buzz has been surrounding the tacos from El Camino on Elgin Street. You can order them with a bigger meal or just grab them at the takeout window, but either way, these tacos will surprise you. There are a ton of choices, including the basics like pork or chicken and some out of this world options like Japanese eggplant and Ox tongue.
Sidedoor Contemporary Kitchen has slightly more upscale tacos, which cost about $9.50 for two pieces. They’re worth the cost though, as each one comes in a deliciously soft shell and inside you’ll find a constellation of interesting flavours. The Bajan crispy-fish are a must try.
If you’re looking for classic tacos that are a little more economical, Corazon De Maiz in the market or Nacho Cartel in Sandy Hill won’t leave you disappointed.
4. Do a Haunted Walk
Do ghosts get your heart racing? Ottawa has downtown tours that go in and around some of the city’s spookiest locales. The Haunted Walk of Ottawa has experienced guides that will take you from Sparks Street through the heart of the ByWard Market and even into the Ottawa Jail Hostel. Once called the Carleton County Jail, the hostel is the site of three executions and is often considered one of the most haunted buildings in North America.
5. Play Some Board Games
Many locals don’t know that Ottawa has not one but two fantastic board game cafes downtown.
You can find Monopolatte on Somerset Street just on the edge of China town. Inside is a quirky and colourful café with just about every board game you can imagine stacked on the shelves. The servers are friendly and have an encyclopedic knowledge of how to play each game they offer.
A more casual alternative to Monopolatte is The Loft, a board game lounge just outside of the University of Ottawa. The décor alone is a good enough reason to visit. The Loft has a gorgeous hardwood floor set beneath gigantic wooden beams that crisscross the ceiling. The old stone walls are only interrupted by an enormous mural and floor-to-ceiling shelves that hold up their massive collection of games. So if your weekend goal is to cozy up to a fireplace and get your scrabble on, this is the place to visit.