Top things to do in Ottawa this winter

If you’re planning a visit to one of Canada’s biggest cities this winter, you will not be disappointed. The capital is located on the south bank of the Ottawa River and, apart from the river-specific activities, it offers plenty of museums, national parks, zoos, and important buildings to visit. Here are some of the destinations that deliver:

The largest outdoor skating rink

Snow, ice-skating, and other winter-related activities are Canada’s trademarks, so you shouldn’t be surprised to find that the Rideau Canal is turned into the largest outdoor skating park in the world during the winter months. It stretches for almost 8km (5 miles) and is open 24-hours a day.

And, when you’re looking to take a break, all you have to do is head to one of the many kiosks along the ice rink and ask for a BeaverTail, a deep-fried pastry delight that resembles the local sweets from New York and the Deep South.

The Parliament

Similar to the iconic Gothic buildings from England, Germany, and the Czech Republic, the Parliament building is an architectural jewel. It is located in the center of the city, facing the Ottawa River, and is home to the Parliament of Canada.

The campus counts for three separate buildings and an expansive formal garden, and a small part of the building can be visited. A tour lasts between 30 and 60 minutes and is available daily, starting from 9 a.m.

The ByWard Market

This place is considered Ottawa’s heart and is also one of the oldest markets in the country, with a history of over 100 years. There are several main buildings in the area, surrounded by open-air stalls from where you can purchase local fresh produce to cook a delicious meal.

And, if you’re tired of shopping, you can always serve lunch, supper or a mere snack at one of the many restaurants, kiosks, and fast-food trucks in the area, enjoying the company of the locals and tourists from all over the world.


If you happen to visit Ottawa during February, you will be more than pleased to spend at least one night at the Winterlude Festival. It runs throughout three of the four weekends of each February and includes many winter-related activities you can enjoy with your business partners or family members.

There is an ice sculpting international competition, as well as various other skating and skiing competitions. And, if you’re a fan of snowmobiles, you can find the perfect opportunity at the festival to learn more about these vehicles and how to drive them so you won’t require a lift from Extreme Max when you get caught up in the snow.

The National Gallery of Canada

Facing Parliament Hill downtown, the National Gallery of Canada is a must for all people interested in fine arts. It houses works of famous Canadian artists and world-renowned painters and artists like Picasso, Michelangelo, and Leonardo da Vinci.

Each year, the gallery also releases temporary exhibits that can be seen for an extra cost. However, the admission fee for the permanent collections is only $9, which makes the museum one of the most affordable of its kind.