Great ways to spend the 2019 Holidays in Ottawa

Ottawa is much more than a government town, and though there are many levels of government there, as the Nation’s Capital, there is much to see and do. Some things cost a lot, other things not so much, and plenty to do that costs nothing. There are festivals celebrating culture, music, arts, seasonal changes and national pride. There is skating on the Rideau Canal in the winter, skiing at several sites close to the city as well as world-class museums and galleries that both educate and delight. Here are some great ways to spend the 2019 holidays in Ottawa.

Craft Sales

At the National Arts Centre, enjoy the Indigenous Women’s Art Market which features the work of Métis, Inuit and First Nations creatives, including jewellery, beadwork, paintings, sculptures, moccasins and more. At the EY Centre, the Signatures Originals Christmas Craft Sale is another Canadian handmade marketplace in Ottawa that features the works of over 200 artists, artisans, makers, and designers from coast-to-coast.

If you are travelling to Ottawa for the holidays, you may want to have completed all your Christmas gift shopping before you leave home. Find Christmas gift ideas online before your vacation, so that you can relax and enjoy your stay and need only think about gifts for yourself.

National Arts Centre (NAC)

The National Arts Centre hosts a range of holiday entertainment including A Jann Arden Christmas with the NAC Orchestra. Enjoy an East Coast Christmas with The Barra MacNeils; the Céleste Lévis Christmas Show, plus music from Serena Ryder and The Tenors on their "Wonder of Christmas Tour". On the Friday before Christmas, enjoy the soulful music of Christmas with Matt Andersen and Friends, including special guests Joey Landreth, Terra Lightfoot, and William Prince.

Christmas Glow

A magical family-friendly indoor wonderland is yours at Christmas Glow where children can follow Santa on his journey to deliver presents in six different countries. This is an interactive experience with light gardens. There are illuminated structures and fabulous playgrounds for the kids. With delicious food and festive drinks for all the family and daily live entertainment all under the twinkle of a million lights, this is an experience to remember.

Christmas Lights Across Canada

Ottawa takes part in the Christmas Lights Across Canada event, with its downtown streets and several monument sites lit with coloured lights. Go view Parliament’s Centre Block on which the Winter Lightscapes show is projected from 17:30 to 23:00. The best places to view the lights include the National War Memorial, the Garden of Provinces and the view from Alexandra Bridge.

Nightmare Before/After X-mas tour

Join an evening Haunted Walk tour for something a little different this holiday season. You do not often think about ghost stories when getting ready for the Christmas holidays, but this is a unique and engaging way to experience part of the city and see the Christmas lights. The tour guides are knowledgeable and can provide details about the murder of D’Arcy McGee and the subsequent visit to the gallows by his presumed murderer. Stories of the haunting of the jail are numerous, and it is eerie as you walk through the various floors of the city’s old jail.


The ByWard Market district transforms into Ottawa’s nightlife once the shops are closed. There are numerous bars and clubs as well as live entertainment venues such as The 27 Club and The Mercury Lounge. The National Capital region is also home to Casino du Lac-Leamy where you can try your luck on more than 1,800 slot machines, poker tables, roulette and more.