Top things to do in Ottawa this weekend

With September just around the corner, we all want to enjoy the summer while we still can. Also, given the trainwreck that 2020 has been so far, everyone is in a desperate need for as much fun as they can get, Ottawans included. For months, the lockdown made it impossible to enjoy what the city has to offer, but thanks to the recent restriction easing (finally!), Ottawa is, once again, the place to spend a weekend in. Whether you are an Ottawan or just plan on visiting, there’s enough happening in the city this weekend to keep you entertained. Here’s the top eight things to do in Ottawa on 29-30 August 2020.

#1 Gamble Some Money Away

For months now, gamblers have been struggling with no land-based casinos available. While online casinos can satisfy the craving, many casino lovers still miss the thrill of an actual casino hall, filled with the sound of the roulette and quiet chatter. Luckily, some of Ottawa’s land-based casinos are finally opening their doors. Casino Lac-Leany is probably the best one among those that are already letting visitors in.

#2 Float in a Tube

Sure thing, spending Saturday afternoon at the beach is not the first thing that one comes up with when thinking of Ottawa. Well, they are wrong. It’s supposed to be sunny on Saturday, 29 August, so don’t miss out on the opportunity to have a nature-y adventure without leaving the city. Head to Britannia beach, Westboro Beach or Petrie Island for a swim or a float in a tube. If you’re not a local, you can also learn more about the city with the guided tour.

#3 Enjoy a Drink on One of Ottawa’s Patios

Summer is for outdoors. Even if you aren’t much of a hiker, you can still enjoy the sunset in one of Ottawa’s many bars and restaurants that have a patio. The city’s an oyster, but some of the best ones are Kelly’s Landing, La Terrasse, and Banditos. You’ll love Kelly’s Landing if you’re craving a glass of wine on a cozy, rustic patio overlooking the Ottawa River. La Terrasse is perfect for a fancy cocktail (or four) and a free view on Parliament Hill. Banditos offers illegally (pun intended) delicious street food and a relaxed hipster-y vibe.

#4 Stroll Around a Farmers’ Market

If you have been to the city enough times, you know that Ottawans love their Saturday’s farmers’ markets like nothing else. It’s less about actually buying food and more about the experience. Visit Metcalfe Farmers’ Market or Carp Farmers’ Market and see for yourself.

#5 Get Some Thrill on ‘The Haunted Walk’

Now, this one may be a little more touristy than some prefer, but it’s by no means a tourist trap. Haunted Jail Tours organizes walks that have little to nothing in common with your typical long tours filled with boring dates and obscure historical facts. During ‘The Haunted Walk,’ you’ll hear the most blood-chilling ghost stories and urban legends that will give you a glimpse at a different side of Ottawa, filled with secrets and weird coincidences.

#6 Join Capital Pride

At the end of every August, Ottawans celebrate Pride. Covered in rainbow colors, Ottawa looks more cheerful than ever, and countless events take place throughout the city. Unfortunately, because of the pandemic-related safety concerns, most of this year’s Capital Pride will be celebrated online. Still, don’t let this discourage you. Check out the virtual program – perhaps, something will catch your eye. Also, no big event doesn’t mean you won’t get a Pride-themed cocktail in most downtown bars.

#7 Get Some Culture

Ottawa may not be famous for its world-renowned museums, but it sure has a thing or two to offer to a museum lover. If you’re one of those people who would rather stay inside, in quiet, mysterious galleries, head for Ottawa Art Gallery or Canadian Museum of History. Keep in mind, though, that both require a timed advanced reservation due to the quarantine restrictions.

#8 Learn How to Make Soap

Yes, you got it right. Learning how to create home-made soap may be an unconventional pastime, but it certainly is memorable. Emma Soap on Ohio Street offers two-hour classes to everyone who’d like to master the skill of making their own soap. If anything, you’ll be prepared for the apocalypse, when soap vanishes from grocery store shelves together with toilet paper.

As you can see, there is plenty to do in Ottawa this weekend. Sadly, no major concert or sports event is on the horizon because of the quarantine, but the city is delightful even without them. If you’re ambitious enough, you can easily fit the entire eight-point list into a couple of days.

One last thing. Be sure to take all the necessary precautions whenever going to a public place. Stay safe. Enjoy your weekend!

Photo: Yelp