5 MORE Things to Love About Ottawa

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In January 2012, I made my first trip to Canada's capital. It was freezing cold and snowy during that visit, but I nevertheless was able to pick out quite a few things that I really liked about Ottawa.

My first “5 things to love about Ottawa” post included:

  • The fact that Ottawa is walkable
  • The fact that Ottawa is bilingual
  • The fact that Ottawa has a great food scene
  • The fact that Ottawa has lots of cool bookstores
  • The fact that Ottawa is not an overwhelming city


I still maintain that those things are great reasons to love Ottawa (especially the food bit… SO much good food here!). But now that I've completed my second trip to Ottawa — and in the springtime, no less — I have a few things to add to that original list.

And so I give you 5 MORE things to love about Ottawa:

Ottawa is bike-friendly. I couldn't really appreciate it in the dead of winter, but Ottawa is an incredibly great city for cyclists of all sorts. The city has a lot of well-maintained bike paths, and there are places to lock your bike up all over the city. Ottawa also just started a public bike share program with rental/drop-off locations around the city. I rented a bike myself over the weekend and rode for miles along the Rideau Canal — a perfect way to spend a sunny afternoon.


Ottawa is green. Green in multiple sense of the world. Not only is Ottawa quite eco-friendly (with recycling bins next to every garbage can, and many restaurants pledging to use as many locally-grown ingredients as possible), but the city has quite a few nice parks, too. The place is literally green. There's the tree-line Rideau Canal, Major's Hill Park which overlooks Parliament, and Confederation Park near Dows Lake — just to name a few of my favorite “green” spaces in the city.


Ottawa is beautiful. I got a taste of it last year, but seeing Ottawa alive and bustling in the spring has confirmed for me that Ottawa is actually a pretty damn attractive city. There's the canal, the buildings on Parliament Hill, the parks, the river, and lots of historical old buildings downtown. Seeing the city sprinkled with tulips and flowering trees on this trip definitely helped confirm this, too.


Ottawa is full of things to do. I'd hazard a guess that most visitors to Canada don't include Ottawa on their itineraries. This is a shame, really, because there truly is a LOT to do here. There are fantastic museums to visit, Parliament to explore, the Byward Market neighborhood to eat your way through, outdoor activities to enjoy, and countless fun festivals to attend. Whether you're interested in food, art, music, culture, or nature, Ottawa has something (and probably a festival) for you.


Ottawa is safe. Lastly, Ottawa is a really safe city as far as world capitals go. As a female traveling alone, I have never felt wary walking on my own around the city (even at night). And as a tourist, I have never felt worried walking around with my camera out. There's a relaxed feeling to Ottawa that I really like, and that has made me feel quite safe traveling on my own here.


So now you have TEN reasons to visit Ottawa for yourself. Tempted?

*Note: My visit to Ottawa has been sponsored by Ottawa Tourism and the Fairmont Chateau Laurier. As always, though, all opinions are my own.

"It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and, if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might get swept off to." - JRR Tolkien

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15 Comments on “5 MORE Things to Love About Ottawa

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  1. When we were there – the weather was really dreary. We stayed in the University campus. Would like to go back as seemed like an interesting place.

    I lived in Ottawa for eight years, and spring is my favourite time in that city. Beautiful sunny days without the mind-melting summer humidity, Tulip Fest, the sight and scent of blooming crabapples and lilacs, lazy afternoons dawdling along the canal or around downtown and Byward Market. At centre-right in your last picture it looks like there’s a group of people possibly tossing a frisbee around, on the lawn of Parliament Hill – my friends and I did that, and I always thought it pretty cool that we could do that right in front of our nation’s seat of government, no problem!

    One small correction – the basilica across from the Maman sculpture is Notre Dame, not St. Patrick’s.

    I miss the smell of lilacs in springtime…

      I can easily see why spring would be your favorite season in Ottawa! I LOVED the city in the spring! And yes, it IS very cool that you can just hang out on the lawn at Parliament. Have you heard about the Wednesday morning yoga sessions on the Hill? That sounds cool, too!

      And thanks for that correction – Google image search led me astray!

    I agree about the “European” feel to your photos. Certainly looks a beautiful city with charming architecture. The sculpture of the spider is AWESOME. What were the last 3 photos of? Captions would be good.

      Really gorgeous city indeed! The last 3 photos (in order) are: the Ottawa Locks on the Rideau Canal in between Parliament Hill and the Fairmont Chateau Laurier; the “Maman” sculpture outside the National Gallery of Canada, pictured with St. Patrick’s Basilica; and part of Parliament Hill on a sunny Friday afternoon.

      Plenty more photos to come!

    Your description makes it seem kinda European.

      Well I suppose it kind of is! Definitely a lot of European influence all over Canada.

    ah, now I regret big time I haven’t visited Ottawa during my recent trip to Canada, it seems to be such an awesome city! Oh well, I have a reason to go back there I guess 😉

      Yup, definitely a reason to go back! I think a lot of people just assume it’s another government city, and so skip Ottawa. But it really is much more than that! I’ve really enjoyed both trips there.

    The last time I was in Ottawa I was only a kid, but it’s definitely a must-stop for our cross Canada roadtrip, we should be there sometime in August 🙂

    Glad you enjoyed, lovely photos 🙂

      I hope you enjoy it when you’re there in August! At the very least, make sure you rent a bike and do some exploring!

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